The minute you meet Leslie, your heart is happy. She is one of those people who radiates sunshine. So when I found out Anne, one of our designers, was going to be working with Leslie to help her bring all that light and love to her interior design, I couldn’t wait to see what this talented team would come up with.
Like Leslie, the story of her house is very interesting. It is located in a wonderful old Kansas City, Mo., neighborhood. But when Leslie and her husband, Dan, bought the house, “wonderful” was not a word you would use to describe it. “Eyesore” might fit it better. The house had been vacant for nine years. The yard was overgrown, there were birds flying in and out, and the interior was a disaster. The pervious owners had planned to tear it down so they could rebuild on the lot.
When Leslie and Dan saw first saw the house, they both had an immediate emotional reaction to the diamond in the rough: Leslie, because she saw the house’s potential; Dan, because it held many cherished childhood memories. His grandfather and father had lived in the house next door for many years. Dan visited often, mowing both lawns more times than he cared to remember. They knew it would be a lot of work, but they were determined to bring the house back.
The house’s original open-concept kitchen was Leslie’s favorite feature. She could see what it could become with a little TLC: the hub of the home, where their four kids (and all their friends) could gather. Now it looks like it’s straight out of the pages of a decorating magazine. The shots in today’s column are a product of their 11-month renovation, which has brought to life Leslie’s vision, room by room.
Leslie does not dream in black and white, but in full-blown saturated color. Her spirits lift when she is surrounded by bright hues and lively patterns, and she uses them fearlessly when she decorates. Her home is a Technicolor tribute to her joie de vivre.
So, here is how we enter this story. Leslie has been a longtime customer. One day, Leslie was in the store looking for fabric for her living room drapes. She is an intuitive decorator, but some drapes had her stumped because the window was an odd size. Fortuitously, Anne was working that day and helped Leslie figure out the drape dilemma. They soon discovered they both had a penchant for a perky, preppy look. Before you know it, they were a team, bringing Leslie’s vision to life.
Anne visited Leslie’s home and got a feel for the space and the look Leslie was creating. She made suggestions about furnishings that fit the scale and style of the rooms, fabrics that would look nice and accents to finish things off. Leslie would fire Anne texts of things she saw on Instagram, and Anne would find them for her. “She understands exactly what I need!” Leslie says.
This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at www.nellhills.com