Tuesday, July 12, 2022


A month ago I received an email from a potential client. She asked if I would be interested in looking at her home and helping her redecorate with her collections. I sent her the usual info and we scheduled a meeting.

When I walked into her home I gasped; this was no ordinary redecorating project, this gal had incredible stuff! My first response was, "What do you need me for?!!" Usually a customer wants me to pick paint colors, fabric, tile, bedding, etc. but this was a completely different project. 

After an hour walk-thru and long discussion of what she loved, didn't love, wanted to achieve, and lifestyle routine. I left full of ideas but one crucial element I knew I needed first was my friend and decorating cohort, Shon Ledbetter. Shon would get this. 

Shon and I have worked together on a hundred different vignettes and displays since we first met as dealers at Top Hat Mercantile when it opened in the West Bottoms of KC in 2014. The two of us had booths next to each other and always designed and installed the main entrance displays every month. He has also been my help for the last 2.5 years at Glenwood Antique Mall every first Wednesday night during dealer work night. He has been my legs, arms, strength, has the truck, has tools, has the passion for old things and can complete my sentences. He has become my best friend which is hard to find after 50!!

Shon would get this house and was happy to come on board. He also met with the client while I was in New York and the two hit it right off immediately as she is fun, laid back, not fussy, and more than anything had loads of great stuff for us to work with and also.... trusting. She allowed us to come and go into her empty house for 4 days while she was out of town.

Day one was spent removing items from the walls, rearranging a bit and planning what needed to be done. From then on Shon and I basically dived in and began talking all the while about what we were going to do, making notes of things we needed and moving, moving, moving through her house, basement and garage getting it done. (Shon wins at climbing and shlepping from her basement stairs maybe 100 times!) 

Captions below each picture will explain a bit more:

Images of the home the first time we walked through.

The bicycle was already installed. We hung her 8' flag and pennant collection.

The brown sectional needed to stay so I sewed 3 large pillows from her camp blanket collection and added more textiles.

We displayed more blankets from her bannister, hung that colorful wind chime and moved the blue work bench behind the sofa with an industrial light and native baskets. I also hung extra antlers over each doorway.

The large deer was there and Shon added the two others. The heat vent determined what was added to the top of the bookshelf. I gave her plenty of room to add more stuff!

Because of her great vintage book collection, I kept all blue and green books here as well as her turquoise pottery. There is still room to keep adding, because I know she will!

We added an old fireplace screen she had (and firewood). The Indian picture was made by me for her approval. I told her collecting some yard long photos would be good here because of the shallow space above the mantle. There was no power for the lamp so I suggested one of those battery lightbulbs to make that amber shade pop. The male mannequin was dressed exactly like that and hidden in her laundry room!

Our client has an amazing collection of oil paintings, drawings and amateur art. So much so it was screaming for their own 'artist's corner'. Shon removed a wall mounted TV and other furniture. I began hanging everything she had and displaying some art on easels. 

The dining room was large and dark with a low ceiling. She wanted the windows kept open with no coverings. Her massive flag collection was screaming to be a centerpiece bouquet.

Take note: I did nothing here! This wonderful natural curiosities cabinet was 95% as I found it. It was stuffed with every natural element you can imagine (sea shells, bird's nests, beehive, eggs, feathers, bones, driftwood, turtle shells, etc.) but hidden against a dark wall. We moved it to the corner for better viewing.

I call this the 'classroom corner' with flags, dictionary, working fans, jar of pencils, etc. The schoolhouse light was in her collection but no power is in this ceiling... I hung it anyway!

Everyone's favorite:
I wasn't thrilled with the 'Old Man & the Sea' needlepoint at first but it certainly set the tone for this wall of seaside treasures. Shon brought in the birdbath from the back porch, I found the smaller items in her basement stash: old miniature liquor bottles, mother of pearl pocket knives, mini globe, hobnail lamp, and an assortment or cogs & gears. Her son caught the mounted fish. Ammo boxes below hold heavy rusted chains.

The master bedroom: We talked her into removing her heavy, new headboard and end table. She had wood planks from old football bleachers that Shon cut and assembled into a new headboard; vintage industrial lamps were added for reading. Her Pendleton blanket will soon get new shams to coordinate.

One of my favorite displays:  I took all the red books from the living room bookcase and displayed them here along with her red blankets, red buddhas and red Swedish Dale horses. I kind of love this!

Our client had a great collection of framed nudes that worked perfectly against the dark dresser. She ultimately wants an older dresser here (and lamp!) I also suggested some trays to put under her figurines.

We painstakingly marked the boards to be cut exactly so the numbers would be jagged.

This amazing cabinet is obviously her favorite (from Prize in KC). not much to add to this!! Live birds are in a birdcage to the left but we are begging her to switch it out to one of her vintage birdcages (yes, she has two large ones!).

We did not finish all she would like to have done, but hopefully she will hire us back to complete the rest... Stay tuned!

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