Text by Jeanne Delathouder
Morris and Allison Kay’s home radiates warm holiday joy. Wholeheartedly designed to welcome family and friends, the couple’s new residence offers the perfect floor plan to accommodate their lifestyle while also complementing their passion for cooking and entertaining. Like many empty-nesters, the Kays sought to downsize their living space after their children finished school. Their new home features an open layout that consolidates all of their most-used spaces, including the master bedroom, onto the main floor. Upstairs, an office, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms provide a cozy retreat for their kids when they all come home to visit.
“We didn’t set out to achieve a certain look or style for our home, but we both knew what we liked and the feel we wanted to create,” says Allison. “We visualized a look that was clean, had layers of different tones and textures, and would be set for welcoming family and friends in a comfortable setting,” she adds.
Against a gentle palette of neutral hues accented with soft touches of gray, the couple’s new home features lofty vaulted ceilings and wide-open living spaces that flow seamlessly from room to room. Since they both love to cook—and their friends do as well—Allison and Morris designed their kitchen as the focal point so they could have lots of interaction in and around the area. They also knew they wanted a screened porch that would allow them to open up their entertaining spaces to enjoy football-watching afternoons in the fall.
On the main level, they wanted to showcase some special pieces and fresh holiday décor that would coordinate with their new style and color palette. Allison worked closely with designer Shelayne Thompson of Shelayne’s Botanicals & Holiday Décor to find the perfect holiday embellishments as well as some extra accent pieces Allison could keep on display year-round. Along with her team of decorators, Shelayne fashioned a majestic flocked spruce tree with a mass of gleaming vintage-like ornaments she chose exclusively for their distinctive handcrafted charm. Made of materials including glass, metal, papier-mâché, sequins, crystals, pearls, pinecones, and fabrics, her brilliant holiday mix forms a sparkling tableau of texture and light.
Allison also worked with good friend and interior designer Honey Miller, whom she continues to rely on for ideas and advice on furniture purchases and placement, rugs, accessories, and eye-catching artwork. Instead of aspiring to create a single look when planning their home, Allison says she and her husband focused mainly on creating the ideal backdrop for what they love to do most—entertain with family and friends. “During our last holiday gathering, the nicest compliment I received was from a good friend who commented that what she loved most about our home was that every piece seemed to be placed for a reason—with great thought and patience,” she recalls. “I can’t think of a more wonderful way to describe our home and our lifestyle.”