Bernadette Léonore February 27, 2021 Home Design
“Always interested in the arts, we had early careers in the restaurant and plumbing businesses,” Vivian shares. “We married and settled in Oxford, MS in 1999 where we began our art careers and business in earnest. We are developing a sort of arts compound where we live, work and promote regional artists. We have taken our time reclaiming the acreage we acquired and look forward to the coming additions/evolution, including a sculpture garden in the field outside our home.” The arts compound she’s referring to is the rural art gallery she and Walter opened three years ago, sitting off the ground in a treehouse-like setting, aptly named The Oxford Treehouse Gallery, just 200 yards from their home. The gallery, as well as their home, houses a lot of their own art, too. Walter is an artist/blacksmith and Vivian is a painter and block printer.
And comfy it is. The living room is the most inviting space to unwind and imbibe in style. “Matthew has been writing about booze and drinking culture for 14 years (culminating in his book You Suck At Drinking) so we have to have a good bar!” They also have a side table in the living room with whiskey on it for those occasions when they are “too lazy to get up and walk to the bar.” Contentment, Sarah reminds us, is often found in the small, thoughtful details.
Vivian continues, “We wanted a floor plan that opened to the outdoors as much as possible. A place to showcase the art we collect in an inviting, user/dog-friendly space. A place to casually entertain guests while we cook. We chose a Danish dining table/chairs to maximize our view of the fields behind our house that will one day include more sculptures.” The Neill’s worked with architect firm, Howorth & Associates to see their vision to fruition.
Adore Your Walls started four years ago when CEO and founder Liz Lidgett started offering art advisory services to restaurants, businesses and homeowners to find the perfect piece of art for their style, space and budget. The business started from her home in Des Moines, IA, but she has worked with national brands and clients all over the country to add more color and culture to their walls. This last year, Adore Your Walls gained startup experience from Kate Wagner, Liz’s sister, as COO. The two share a passion for creating more beautiful rooms with carefully curated art. The company has since grown rapidly and Liz and Kate recently moved from Liz’s dining room table to a 1,000-square-foot office in the historic Temple of the Performing Arts in Downtown Des Moines.
One of the things that makes family heirlooms so special are the stories they collect over time. Objects give us the ability to recall adventures that have been told and retold, or spark the memory they carry. Cherished items often cross oceans, countries, and generations to create their stories, probably with a few scratches and bumps along the way. It’s as if these treasures traveled down the branches of our family tree and ended up in our living rooms.
Image above: This Austin home turned an unused closet space into a modern bunk bed + trundle combo. The blackboard back wall is a fun touch and a great way for kids to create their own personalized space.
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