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Mix Master: Inside a Hip, Eclectic Home

 

Antique Leather Bench

Meet Tracy Porter, cofounder with husband, John, of her eponymous bohemian-chic home design catalog and website, and mom to 9-year-old twins, Max and Fin; Siggy, 7; and Gus, 3. Tracy approaches all facets of her life—decorating, raising her family and running her business—with the same kind of joyful flair. And she doesn't give a second thought to the inevitable mishaps that can occur with four energetic boys racing through a house full of personal treasures and family heirlooms. "I don't believe in getting overly attached to 'things,'" says Tracy. "You have to let go of the idea of perfection. Fork marks or rings on the table just add more character."

Tracy has furnished her traditional gray clapboard house with a fanciful mix of her own globally inspired designs and vintage accessories—such as hand-painted ceramics and silver—snapped up at antique shops all over the country. Unexpected combinations, like a modern, white laminate chair from Wal-Mart with a 19th-century chinoiserie secretary, pepper the house. She clusters smaller objects on mantels, tables and trays. Her rule of thumb is simple: throw together what you love. "Asian or American, new or old, things don't have to be expensive to be beautiful," she says. "I'll take the kids to find cool rocks or pieces of wood, and pair them with a candelabra or a vase. It's all about having fun."

Tip: An antique leather bench scored at a Wisconsin yard sale displays a worn flag and the Porter boys' cowboy boots.

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