When designing a home, there is one word that always brings trepidation to any first-time designer: Matching. Although conventional wisdom claims that items only need to “go together,” rather than “match,” the idea of coordinating each individual piece with finesse and care is still quite daunting for most. Canton homeowner and designer Kim Duease has worked with several clients who have had the same dilemma. Duease’s carefree design philosophy and wisdom can make anyone look at their design task happily, especially after viewing Duease’s eclectic and cozy home.
For Duease, the path to the perfect home began 18 years ago when she designed her 3 bed/2.5 bath home. Rich with Southern charm, Duease’s home draws you in with thecowboy (and cowgirl) boots on the stairwell, the fish-shaped handles on the kitchen cabinets and the grand painting above the fireplace that harkens to Antebellum times. Although there are many adjectives that could be used to describe the home, traditional is not one of them, as the space not only reflects Duease’s vibrant and energetic personality, but also the flow of both her and her family’s life.
She explains that the elaborate décor is “all done for practical purposes, but you are still living your life and moving along, and as you find stuff, you bring it in.” Duease adds, “If you love it and it speaks to you in such a way that makes your heart sing, get it. You’ll find a place to use it.”
Duease has incorporated several pieces she received from her family into the home, including a pair of maracas that once belonged to her great grandmother and antlers that had been her brothers. “I love mixing old and new antiques with modern throughout the home,” Duease says. The antique touches include classic French tables and Italian antiques.For a modern edge, the contemporary artwork, baby grand piano, black and-white patterned wallpaper in the hallway and the geometric wallpaper in the bathroom are perfect complements.
When looking at the mixture of items in the Duease home, it is clear that function plus art is paramount. One of Duease’s custom pieces is her “Lily Beth” floor lamp in the adjacent area. The piece began as an old mannequin long ago, and Duease added her flair with old magazines and Victorian postcards to create a decoupage on the chest area. The full skirt is a mix of tulle and tapestry, along with imitation flower pieces, which are perfectly placed on the shoulder area.
Another showstopper that has been turned into a true focal point is the dining room table. Duease discovered the Monastery table one of her many travels. The rusted iron is visible through the glass top, and the chairs reflect a modern style in stark white. The chandelier is one of Duease’s most interesting designs, as it hangs from airplane cables overhead.
Duease says her favorite room is the kitchen. “It’s the center of the house – the hub – and then everything goes off of it.” The kitchen was a natural spot for Duease to begin her design process, because of the way it flows into the dining and living rooms. The most recent addition to her house is a rare and complete merging of Duease and her husband’s tastes.
The new addition creates a rare and perfect merging of ideas. For her husband, Richard, the room was to have a rustic style, much in the spirit of a Vail ski lodge with exposed wood beams and a brick wall. He also picked out a brown leather-tufted Chesterfield couch, which added a masculine feel to the spa. For her, the addition of Italian antiques put her spin on the space and coordinated with the other rooms in the house.
The outdoor space was as much of a consideration for Duease, who says the family spends as much time outdoors as they do indoors. In fact, one would feel just as comfortable and at home outdoors thanks to the twin-sized bed, upholstered furnishings and dining table.
Fearless Design Comes Home
The Past Tastefully Reinterpreted
Beloved Pieces Will Also Create a Harmonious Style
Story by Elizabeth Link
Photography by Terry Sweeney