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Streamlined furnishings and a zesty palette make an Elmhurst bungalow feel twice its size

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What do you get when an art museum technician and a painter decorate their home? A light-filled space where collections are skillfully showcased, art takes center stage, and an unexpected palette abounds. This is the case of the Owen home, a 1930s bungalow in the Elmhurst section near Providence College. Together, Michael, who spends his days at the RISD Museum as head lighting technician; Margaret who paints and teaches painting in and out of her home studio; and their teenage son have assembled lively rooms that keep their interests in plain sight. Part of the double parlor, typical of the architectural style where the first two rooms are connected, the living room is kept open for laying out yoga mats at a moment’s notice, with a coffee table on casters easily pushed out of range for impromptu stretching. Margaret also uses the room as a rotating gallery of her work. “I use the larger wall spaces here as an extended studio space, so I can feel what it’s like to live with the paintings,” she says. Currently on display are two of her recent large oil paintings along with pieces by friends Kristin Sollenberger and Holly Wach. Cherished objects like geology equipment handed down from a great grandfather, a grandmother’s collection of dishes from a trip to Portugal, and an antique wooden buddha infuse the room with personal history. Flowers from nearby Juniper Blue Studio provide fresh inspiration. Says Margaret, “I have an appetite for light and open space that this little bungalow satisfies all year long.”