As style rules go, the old saying is true: What goes around comes around. Those bell-bottoms your mom wore in college will someday be the height of future Paris fashion. The same goes for interior design: The faded and chipped table your grandmother used to store her phone books is now the perfect piece of furniture to refurbish and rest under the flatscreen. Those vintage and worn pieces that rust in garages and hide in attic corners are waiting for the right hand to find them. And lucky those pieces will be if that hand is Kathy Wilder's.
Wilder's passion is in designing rooms that are chic but livable, and that passion has led to creating a stunning home and jump-starting a new career path. Still in its very early stages, she is starting her own interior design company to share her style. (For now, Kathy Wilder Interiors can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The Wilder home is stately and impressive, a two-story mid-1920s beauty tucked away down a tree-lined street in Dilworth. At first glance, it seems to be the typical drive-by-slowly house in a neighborhood of beautiful homes. The front porch is wide and inviting, perfect for afternoon tea. But the real charm lies beyond the front door.
Each room of the house faces the challenge of functioning for a family of five while still maintaining a cohesive sense of style. The front living room sets the tone for the entire home; it is the adult space, but accessible enough to be comfortable for her three small children. Two chairs in a bold brown and gold geometric pattern face the sturdy brown sofa. A brass antique martini bar is within arm's reach of the sofa; one could reach for a glass and not even move from the pink geometric print pillows that grace the comfortable brown fabric.
Wilder's style is a mix of modern and antique, of Art Deco glamour in brass and daring patterns with a family style and sense of heritage. Or as she puts it, "Layered. Eclectic. Elegant."
The chairs are new; the rest? Vintage, be it a gift or value find. At the heart of the living room is a mirrored coffee table that once lived in her neighbor's backyard. The neighbor offered Wilder the rusty piece, and a bit of DIY creativity made it an inexpensive centerpiece that compliments the daring patterns in the space.
"I ran out to Lowe's and had a piece of plywood cut to the table's dimensions," Wilder says. "I bought mirrored tiles from Ikea and in an evening over a bottle of wine, my husband and I made this table. The mirrors reflect light and make it feel more airy."
Older residents of Dilworth know her address as something other than a pretty home: It's the house with the murals: 85-year-old murals to be precise. Large panels of rural Americana and ocean scenes with no artist's signature cover the walls of the dining room. Keeping with the integrity of the house and history of the neighborhood, the murals will stay as long as the family owns the home. Though their presence proves to be a tricky element to design around, Wilder makes it work. Brightly colored silk pillows resting on retro '70s brass and brown velvet dining chairs add contemporary touches to the room and still tie in with the rest of the house. Inherited or free art or furniture is sometimes the only kind many of us can budget, but Wilder's style proves it doesn't need to be a deterrent from sophisticated interior design. It's a wild, layered idea that works.
"I think sometimes people feel weighed down by things that they have that they want to use somewhere and don't want to get rid of," Wilder says. "It's fun to use one of those pieces that has a story, but then buy your cool blue couch to go with it. And your pink curtains."
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