Posted on 2016-10-16 by Michelle Aiello | Photos by Shaun Ring
The aesthetic voice of Moriah and Brandon Kinzer’s Ashford Oaks home speaks a language of homogenous neutrals. But don’t grab a pillow quite yet. Spilling from one room to the next, the white, ivory, and gray palette is anything but boring. Instead, the straightforward shades join forces for a look that delivers a chic background for entertaining and family living for Moriah, Brandon, their children Kylie (15), Laiken (12), Will (11), and their two French Mastiffs, Matti and Cooper.
Previously, the family lived in Brandon’s very small hometown of Allen, Kentucky (located between Prestonsburg and Pikeville). Moriah became acquainted with interior designer Barrett Campbell Hudkins when she hired her to design their Lexington condominium. The two collaborated on paint colors, furniture, lighting, and just about every other detail, and soon discovered they had a great working relationship. When Will, who has autism, was accepted into a new school in Lexington, it became necessary for the family to relocate (Brandon’s business is located in Allen, and he commutes there about three times a week).
From their first discussions about building a new house, the Kinzers knew that it needed to be welcoming, comforting, and most of all, a soothing and stress-free environment, both for Will and the rest of the family. Along with an appreciation for a pale palette with longevity, practicality was a factor in a house with three children and two large dogs. Sensible fabrics and surfaces that can be easily wiped clean made the subdued color scheme possible.
When Moriah Kinzer contacted Hudkins in the spring of 2015, she explained that the deadline for completion was a tight one—in order for Will to begin at his new school full-time, they had to move in before the end of the summer. Since Kinzer was currently driving Will to and from his current school three days a week—a two and a half hour commute each way—she didn’t have time to be very involved in the design process.
At the time, the home was partially built, but working with Jason Justice of Justice Builders was, according to both Kinzer and Hudkins, a wonderful experience.
“He was very cooperative in creating a custom-built home that fit the family’s needs—and in the time frame in which they needed it,” said Hudkins. “And since I knew Moriah’s taste from working with her in the past, she pretty much handed me the reins and gave me complete creative freedom,” she added. Justice and his team accommodated their choices for color, hardware, tile, doors, trim, and just about every other detail.
While the Kinzer home is certainly gorgeous and well designed, many of the home’s interior details come from a place of practicality and function. For example, the reclaimed oak floors were specifically chosen to stand up to daily wear and tear from their two 200-pound dogs.
“It was a solution as well as an aesthetic choice,” explained Hudkins. “Texture is what it’s all about, because if you’re not using color, (the design) can end up looking stark or sterile.” Laura Whitaker of Many Moons Design provided the reclaimed hardwood flooring from a variety of barns near Harrodsburg. Whitaker used the same species of oak to ensure cohesiveness and extra durability. She also used a sealer so the floors will keep their beautiful texture and not develop a yellow tint over time.
Once all the major furnishing pieces were in place, interior stylist James Snowden came on board to create all the finishing details. Many of the accessories were selected, styled, and installed by Snowden and his local interior design company, FABLE + FLAME.
“He was the icing to Barrett’s cake,” Kinzer said with a laugh. Working closely with Hudkins, Snowden carefully selected accent pieces that brought the design scheme together and complimented the clean aesthetic of the Kinzer home.
“Their home is a study in neutrals,” he said. “When styling the home, much attention was given to texture, which provides a great deal of the visual interest.”
In each of his projects, Snowden’s goal is to represent and define the homeowner’s aesthetic. When asked to describe his process, he said,
“I try to tell a story about those that dwell in the home. The Kinzers already shared so much of my taste that the project became a wonderful friendship between homeowner and designer. Clean, uncluttered, casual refinement – that is how I would describe the home, especially in the open concept kitchen/living room area, which is my favorite space.”
The home opens onto a bright foyer featuring a striking Fredrick Ramond for Hinkley pendant light fixture that was purchased from Brecher’s Lighting. “The foyer is a completely round room, so the spherical chandelier really plays with that and accentuates it,” said Hudkins.
To the left of the foyer is Will’s bedroom, which was originally intended as an office or multipurpose room. It has a bold, masculine quality that still remains in line with the home’s neutral and relaxing aesthetic. Décor elements include a tufted leather headboard and cowhide rug, and twin mounted deer skulls with antlers. The first floor powder room was converted to his adjoining bath, with marble vanity, subway-tiled walk-in shower, modern fixtures, and plenty of natural light.
Down the hall is a mudroom area that leads to the garage – complete with ample shelving, cubbyholes and hooks. To the left is a conveniently located laundry room. Sliding barn doors are another of Hudkins’ problem-solving design elements. They prevent the laundry room door from opening into the hallway. They also create more space in the bedrooms and pantry. “(The doors) eliminate any traffic situations, and because we had used them in the condo, I knew Moriah really liked the aesthetic and functionality,” she said.
The great room is a lofty space featuring natural wood beamed ceilings, and a pleasing configuration of cozy furniture, arranged for interaction and conversation. Hudkins explained that the twin chandeliers have a very interesting mesh screen instead of glass, which casts a beautiful pattern on the ceiling when illuminated at night. “It gives a kind of crosshatched texture, similar to wallpaper,” said Hudkins. The sofas feature machine washable slipcovers – a must for any family with multiple children and pets.
The dining room, which shares the same space, has an equally serene attitude, with more natural woods and sophisticated rustic elements. The dining table and chairs, along with the vast majority of the furniture in the Kinzer home, is from Arhaus Furniture.
Through a set of glass doors is an elevated screened-in porch with a stone mantle and mounted television – perfect for relaxing with family after a long day. When the weather is nice, the doors are left open, and the space serves a second living room. The porch overlooks a horse paddock and a pool for a very private feeling.
While the traditional French Country details seen in several of Justice Builders’ designs prevail throughout the Kinzer home, the kitchen speaks in an edgy, modern voice. Sleek, marble countertops, glossy white subway tile, and contemporary bar stools contrast with more rustic décor items in adjoining spaces, but continuity is maintained with a pair of large, industrial chrome pendants that illuminate the island. The cabinetry was designed by Terry Burns of Burns Custom Cabinetry. The inset doors with latches were something that the Kinzers wanted from the beginning.
A trick that Hudkins divulged is that the toe kicks under the kitchen furniture have been stained the same color as the floor, so it appears that there is negative space, but nothing can become lost underneath.
The island slab is a solid piece of Vermont Danby marble – twice the thickness of traditional countertops. According to Hudkins, who spent three months sourcing the material, using a standard thickness would make the seam of the farmhouse sink much more visible. The reclaimed shelves came from a dynamite trailer floor on Jason Justice’s farm. “Jason cut the slabs himself and brought them over one weekend, and they worked perfectly,” said Hudkins.
Overlooking the paddock and pool area, the master bedroom further supports the tranquil scheme. Under a soaring, vaulted ceiling, a gray tufted headboard, and distressed end tables add warmth and dress the room for comfortable lounging that suits the rest of the house. A stunning, hand-painted wood chandelier from Arhaus Furniture acts as an accent piece. Ann Little of Ann Little Custom Interior Painting created the faux finish on the ceiling, which is meant to look like wood that has been sanded and painted several times. The armless sofa at the foot of the bed features another washable slipcover, and the sliding barn door leading to the master bath allows a king size bed to fit comfortably in the room. The window treatments in the master bedroom, as well as those used in the rest of the home, were designed by Danna Harrington of BH Designs.
The master features the remaining piece of the Vermont Danby marble used in the kitchen, a stand-alone tub, dual sinks, and a walk-in shower.
Furniture from the Kinzer’s former residence found a new home on the second level, which was designed to be an “apartment” for daughters Kylie and Laiken. A beautiful distressed double desk from Arhaus Furniture works well with a pair of vintage inspired chairs.
Hudkins tied the furnishings to the overall scheme using the slightest hint of color in the girls’ rooms. Kylie’s room is painted the faintest shade of gray-toned lavender. Hudkins, who tries to use original art whenever she can, explained that since fashion is one of Kylie’s major interests, she hired an artist in New Orleans (Ann Cicero) to draw a pair of vintage inspired fashion sketches. The drawings were framed by Frames by James.
Laiken’s aqua-hued room has more of a beachy feeling. Her chandelier is made of smoky crystals that resemble shells. She also has original art on her walls that Hudkins picked up while in New Orleans.
The basement features a guest suite with an adjoining sitting room and kitchenette, plus a theater room and home gym with rubber flooring and framed inspirational quotes on the walls. The basement area leads directly to the pool, so it serves as the family’s entertaining space.
The distressed, washed charcoal cabinets in the kitchenette work perfectly with the modern stainless steel tile backsplash. The countertops are granite, but according to Hudkins, resemble very old slate that has been oiled over a period of years.
The sitting room is accented with a charcoal gray tufted sofa, four oversized cowhide ottomans, a pair of chairs, and a collage of block prints by local artist John Lackey. The Abraham Lincoln accent pillow came from FABLE + FLAME, and Hudkins commented that the design resembled woodcut and reminded her of Lackey’s work.
Because the basement is off the pool, the sofa in the theater room is covered with waterproof fabric and the floor tile, which came from Louisville Tile, is actually a porcelain tile that resembles painted wood. The theater room has a cozy, modern look – which is a refreshing change from the rows of individual recliners seen in many others.
The flagstone pool area was designed to feel like a lagoon, according to Hudkins. Because it has the tree line behind it, it was easy to create a very natural-looking space, and the sounds of horses in the field behind the pool contributes to the natural feeling as well. Naturally, the outdoor furniture is from Arhaus as well.