Kelly Millspaugh Thompson on interior design, vintage decor and more | Home Front

Jul 25, 2013

Kelly Millspaugh Thompson is owner of Stylish Patina, a home decor and accessory shop with modern pieces and vintage, antique finds in Falls Church.

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. Got a question about decorating? She's happy to whip out her paint chips and suggest the perfect hue, call a retailer to help track down a hard-to-find accent piece or offer some do-it-yourself. Built on years of reporting experience, Home Front is an online conversation about the best way to feather the nest. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and, yes, the occasional complaint.

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The cushions on the back of our sofa are not attached, and the stuffing sinks and stays that way! What can I use to get them to hold their shape?

You could have them restuffed with firmer pillow cushions.

Thanks for being with us today Kelly Millspaugh Thompson. The owner of  Stylish Patina, Kelly is known for salvaging furniture as well as her vintage furniture warehouse and barn sales. She is hosting a monthly furniture market in Falls Church this summer. My colleague Rachel Lubitz wrote about her recently and here is the story. She calls her style "vintage modern." She knows a lot about chalk paint and where to find great accessories. So let's get chatting with Kelly.

Joe Yonan suggested I ask you this question and he also gave me some ideas. We are redoing our kitchen - complete renovation. We have had at least 12 free designs done by different cabinet sellers over the past 8 years. You might say I am indecisive, but what I really need is a good kitchen designer - I find that these designers simply work with dimensions and charts to fit in the cabinetry but with no real creative design. We are willing to pay a designer, but what we need is someone who is skilled at design and moving things around without changing walls, even if they work for a cabinet company! Any ideas.


This is a common problem, I have used NVS Kitchen before and found one of thier designers to be very helpful,  I'm happy to look up her contact info for you just email me

Another suggestion is having an interior designer work with a kitchen designer on your behalf.  I'm happy to assist further.



Hello! I have had the cushions on my couch restuffed to achieve that firmness I need. I have a matching chair, but the cushion is attached. Is there a way to restuff? I guess I would have to take the whole chair in, seems like a pain.

well this depends on how handy you are at sewing:-)  You could create a zipper in one side of the cushion that would allow you to do this or the other option is taking it into a professional.  I use a great upholstry shop in Merrifield called Cris Already Covered Interiors tell him Kelly sent you! His phone number is (703) 204-1040

Are there any general rules of thumb for "good" office paint colors? Neutral? Color? Ours has lots of sunshine and adjoins our BM Buxton Blue bedroom. Any suggestions welcome, thanks!

I LOVE paint color so yes I have some great options for you and no there are no general rules around color for offices in a home or commercial space even for that matter.

The first thing I'd ask is what is on the floor and what style and color is the furniture.  Without knowing that information I can still give you some great color / neutral recomendations.

Behr - Silver Tradition has become a staple of mine ..I know it's not any fancy brand like F&B and BM but I love it it's a great very light grey.

Restoration hardware have a gorgeous color caled Silver Sage

BM Grey owl is lovely

I have even more options I suggest on my Pinterest Board -


we bought a small house and we wil need to furnish it; living room and dining for now. If you only have 6k where will you go beside Ikea? is it wise to hire an interior desinger? i know I can use one. thanks

This is a great question - if you know what you want I'd save the money and not hire a designer b/c they will eat up the budget BUT some designers (like myself) will do an intro consult for a small fee and just look at your space and give you suggestions and then you can do the leg work.  This is think is totally worth it.

Now how to spend your money and where?  Dining sets you can find a deal on if you are open to vintage and potentially a little DIY.  The big purchase will be your couch and this I'd look for end of summer sales at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Arhaus, Crate & Barrel.  Or go in and ask them if they are selling the floor model.  This is a great way to get a good piece of furniture on a budget.

Rugs - ikea makes a great sisal for $130 for a 8x10 get 2 one for each room.  You can do this for $6k contact me direct for some more advice I'm happy to help!

Hi Kelly, any tips on tight-budget shopping?

I always have tips on this!  I'm frugal at heart which is why I love vintage.  

1. For big items like couches go to the Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, Arhaus and shop sales and floor models you can get some amazing deals!

2. If you have time I it's yard sale season you would be amazed at what you can find at a good yard sale or even estate sale.

3. Come and see us at the shop or our rough luxe market I am very price sensitive and try to keep furniture reasonable.

4. Refresh what you have!  look around your house and see if you can update something you have with a little DIY project.  I sell Chalk Paint® at the shop it requires no sanding or prep work you just slop it and go.


Good morning: we're looking for a light fixture for our dining room, and I've run into the unexpected issue of size. I've read a lot about how high a fixture should be above the table, but what should we consider when looking at size and style (our table is narrow, but a little over 7 ft. long)? We have a simple cherry wood table with Eames chairs. Thanks.

At a bare minimum, your light fixture should be at least 30 inches from the top of the table to the bottom of the fixture itself.

Then it should also be half the length of your dining table.

As for style I'd go with something simple clean lines and longer vs. wider.  Feel free to contact me directly for more insight.

Hope this helps!

What are the biggest differences between your warehouse sale and your store? How you run it, and what you sell? Prices?


The shop - 410 S. Maple Ave Falls Church is heavier on the gift items and decor elements or what I woudl call smalls.  This is open Tues-Sun.  We do have furniture as well.

Rough Luxe Marketplace is a monthly sale we only open 3 days a month and it heavy on furniture - 2500 sq ft of vignettes of vintage furniture combined with modern elemenst.  There is "raw" furniture that basically is not updates but good solid wood and ready for a DIY project as well as lovely furniture that has been transformed with Chalk Paint® or new upholstry.

Both accept cash and credit and the prices are the same in both locations I always have some really great deals, most is mid range and then I always have some higher end items. 

I've attended both the shop and your new warehouse rough luxe marketplace, I'm in love. I was just curious as to how you keep your prices so affordable??? I'm always pleasantly surprised when I see the price tags (: Especially since it's really great furniture.

THANK YOU!!! This is something I am really committed to!  I want everyone no matter what budget to have a lovely home.

I just search and search for items that are high quality and affordable so I can pass the savings along to my customers !

Jura, can you recommend a warm, not-too-dark neutral color to use throughout most of a house with variant lighting? Trim and ceilings are white (I think it's BM decorator white), and we want something fairly light, but warm as some parts of the house are kind of dark. Thanks!

Benjamin Moore Desert Tan is nice. Lots of designers like Farrow & Ball Elephant's Breath. Martha Stewart Gingerroot is a good choice. I like Benjamin Moore Coastal Fog, too.

Do you paint your closets? If so, do you paint them the same as the room/hallway they're in, or a different color? I have a powder room that I will be painting coral. It's next to a closet, which is next to a pantry. Should I paint all three the same color? My husband thinks it'll be fun to paint all three different colors, but I think it's far too busy.

Laugh, your husband is not afraid of color obviously! Yes you can paint yoru closets most folks just do white but I love to add a pop of color it's fun to open it up and see it :-)

Are great option is to paint just the back in color and the rest white so it pops out.

My 8 year old asked me to redocorate his room. He wants the theme centered aroung dogs. His room has plenty of natural light. Can you point me to great option s for bed linens and paint color. He likes blue, grey and organge.

I like the linens at Garnet Hill - there are lots of fun graphic patterns and modern fresh prints. You could find some great black and white photographs of dogs and frame them. Also you could find a hooked rug with a dog on it or find some fun pillows with dogs. I might go with a tan or khaki color for the walls and use navy with it. Paint colors could be Yosemite Sand by Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams Bagel.

Whenever I see photos of dining rooms in magazines, or in nicely staged homes, they always have lovely solid-color plates, cloth napikins, and nice tumblers in a season-appropriate hue, on the table. First, do people really set the table like this and leave it that way all the time? Second, do people really have more than one set of dishes? Or are they just going out, buying a fabulous set of four place settings, and using it merely for the photo shoot? I've heard that stylists can bring items (such as glassware, flowers, and props) to homes for photo shoots, but I'm not sure if that includes items like these.


Everyone is different some people are really into setting thier table but in all honestly those magazines are staged and yes I would say 98% of people don't live that way:-)

As far as multiple dish sets it is common to have holiday dish setting but usually most families have an everyday set and then a fancy china set.

You can make your table look festive without buying to dishwear just leverage colored napkins, flowers, etc.

I'm new to the DIY movement but I think it's so fun. Everything I see on Pintrest looks so great. What kind of DIY projects do you like for furniture/etc and where should I start?

I am addicted ti Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan I sell it in the shop basically you can paint it on wood, metal, plastic, concrete, etc. and it sticks with out priming or sanding it's AMAZING!  

Because of the no prep you can actually get things done quickly.  I can redo a dresser from Drab to Fab in 3 hours.  

if you are new to DIY this should be where you start...I sell it in the shop so come and see me!

How do you insure a vintage piece won't fall apart? What makes a good investment?

It's all about buying good solid pieces that will last.  I love vintage for the quality.  Things to look for are dovetail drawers, solid condition, drawers slide easily, etc.

If you buy the right vintage items they will outlast you!

You seem to have an eye for old vintage goods. If I'm holding a tag sale how do I know, out of all my old stuff, how much the pieces are worth? How to put a good price on them?

You can take a look at what things are selling for on etsy or on ebay to get a feel for pricing.  Usually at a tag sale, yard sale folks are looking for a bit of a bargain so use that as you baseline and then price a little below it so you can move stuff out!

I'm in the process of remodeling my kitchen. Planning on white cabinetry. We are still in the process of deciding on countertops, but I've been drawn to several types of gray colored granite (Kashmir White, Moon White, etc). If we went with a granite with a lot of gray in it, would we be limited in our wall color choice? Would we only be able to use cool paint colors? Do you have a favorite shade/coloring for countertops? Thanks!

I love redoing kitchen!  I am into greys right now and have a design client that they are doing White cabinets with black honed granite just lovely.

If you go with the white and they a grey ish stone you can absolutly still use a cool color on the walls.  I'd want to know what is on floor but I'd say yes.

I have a board on pinterest dedicated to kitchen -

Love Love Love it, cannot wait to come to your store. No question just excited to find a new fun place. thanks

Thanks for the support!!

hi-- looking for an orange benjamin moore paint accent that is lively but not crazy-- tangerine fusion? orange parrot? something else? thx

Cactus Flower is one of my favorites.  Firenze is a nice one. Autumn Cover is warm.

What are two or three main things to keep in mind when remodelling a bathroom? Everyone always says, budget, budget, budget. But, besides that, what tips do you have? Is the most important thing to choose good hardware? Or to choose a good brand (e.g. Kohler)? Or to choose a color scheme? Or to choose a statement piece?

Ist question - how imporatnt is budget.

2nd question - is it a master or a just a hall bath?

If it's a master I suggest invensting in good quality fixtures and timeless finishes for resell and you should enjoy it.

If it's a powder room.  Get decent toilet, etc. but there are lots of budget frienly options that still look great and won't kill your budget.

Contact me direct if you need more help.

I have a 1920s kitchen that I'd love to remodel inexpensively to give me more bench space but I have a hard time getting a flow. This is because there are three doorways - one from the hall, one from the living room and one to the outside - that break the space up in a very annoying way. Are there any easy tips you can give me for working around this?

This is a tough question without seeing a picture or floor plan send me an email

Thanks Kelly! Our floors are walnut color hardwood and desks are neutral.

The colors I sent would all look great, feel free to contact me with additional questions!

I have two windows (30"w x 24"h) with frames that sit right beneath my annoyingly low 91" basement ceiling. The windows don't provide much light, but we have recessed lights in the space. I'd like to hang full length drapes. Do you have any advice on how to make my windiws look more substantial? And, also, do I need any special hardware to mount the curtains since the window frames meet the ceiling? Thanks!

I would mount your hardware close to the ceiling with the brackets on the outside of the window so you can frame the curtains on either side to make them look larger and more substantial.

Hope this helps!

Thank you for joining us today Kelly. We will be watching your website for your latest activities. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thanks everyone for the questions feel free to contact me via the website if I didn't get to your question!



In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

Home Q&A archive
Kelly Millspaugh Thompson
Falls Church native Kelly Millspaugh Thompson's lifestyle brand Stylish Patina is where vintage meets modern in home furnishings and decor. Kelly's design aesthetic is rooted in the idea of curating a livable yet beautiful home with character. Her flair for finding vintage and antique pieces and giving them new life while incorporating modern elements for a functional home is at the heart of Stylish Patina Design. To learn more about Stylish Patina visit the blog and website
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