Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: molly & robert josiah bingaman

by anne

Molly and Robert Josiah Bingaman live in Midtown, Kansas City, Missouri. Molly is a personal wardrobe stylist who started Ladybird Styling after realizing that creativity in dressing does not come naturally to many and that people need and want help (wait til you see her closet below!). Rob is a painter who works out of his studio in their detached garage when he’s not teaching painting at the University of Kansas in Lawrence or working on Wheelhouse Review with photographer Mike Sinclair documenting artist studios in Kansas City. Their home is a classic A-frame bungalow with porch that’s over 100 years old (thanks to Molly’s parents, who bought it and then rented it to the couple). Despite Rob having his own artistic eye, when it comes to their home decor, Molly’s choices typically win out, even though the home is still in a constant state of design flux. Overall, the result is mix-matched and playful, with occasional aims at cozy sophistication. Thanks, Molly and Rob, and thanks to Mike Sinclair and Jennifer Wetzel for the great images! — Anne

Image above: Our dining room walls have been repainted about six times since we moved in four years ago. Despite tall ceilings and a bay window, it’s a very dark room, so the white walls we eventually settled on and glass chandelier have made all the difference!

Image above: The best parts of an old home are charming details like arched doorways. I embellished this one between the dining and living rooms with handmade paper pinwheels.

More inside this fabulous Kansas City home after the jump . . .

Image above: Our couch is one of the last remaining seating options from the year I first discovered antiquing. I was so taken with the character of old chairs and tables that I was blinded to their impracticalities. I’ve learned my lesson over the years, though, through chairs you can’t sit on and tables that fall apart, but this couch has stood the test of time. I purchased the curtains online but thought they looked too ordinary when they arrived, so a friend helped by sewing a punchy pom-pom trim onto all the edges. The container of twigs in the corner also houses my collection of old folding rulers. I had wanted birch branches last Christmas, but after being shocked by their price, I discovered that stretching out my old white rulers afforded me the same look. I kept them in even after the holiday.

Image above: This blue chair replaced an old pink one and is a much more modern style for me. As I get a bit older, my style is evolving to include pieces with cleaner, straighter lines, and I think Rob is glad for the change. The shelves in the back let me display and switch out objects, photos and small potted cactuses. We inherited the painting of the woman from a dear relative who died last year. I like having it in our house as a reminder of him, even though it’s not something we would have picked on our own.

Image above: I originally wanted paint that was almost black in our entryway, but ended up with this shade of midnight blue, and it’s grown on me. Black and white stripes have long been a dominant element of my aesthetic, so I was delighted to find these sturdy coat hooks at Anthropologie. The glittery silver wreath is often moved from room to room and given a different ribbon or embellishment. Right now it has an old tassel I plucked off a curtain somewhere else. Small elements are the easiest to change and can change the look of a thing dramatically.

Image above: My mother-in-law is a really talented interior designer in Wichita, and whenever she comes to visit, I hit her up for free advice. She helped me arrange these objects on the entry table. The mirror doubles as both reflective surface and casual picture frame for Polaroids. I like having pictures of my friends to look at when I first come in the door. The “No Whining, No Complaining, No Frowning” print is by Hammerpress and reminds our guests to remain happy at all times. (Editor’s note: See our Hammerpress Studio tour!)

Image above: A weird space between two doorways holds some of our artwork. Often on birthdays or holidays, we make each other things, and they end up being displayed where we both can see them, as is the case for these three pieces. I made the circular orb on the bottom for Rob out of triangular scraps of paper for his birthday one year and titled it “birthday planet,” and he gave me the black billboard painting above it.

Image above: When we moved in, we had to paint practically every room, so by the time we got to the kitchen, I was determined to work around the green cabinets. I removed some of their doors to get a more open look and to display brightly colored dishes.

Image above: This table was another set that was given to us for free. I painted it and roughed it up a little to make it work with the cottagey feel of the kitchen. The space under the table is a perfect place for our dogs to snuggle.

Image above: I found this unusually shaped chair at my favorite shop in Kansas City that is now only operating online (The Curious Sofa). I’m always drawn to prints, so often my challenge is making several prints work together at once. I repainted the top of the ceiling in the dining room to solve a design problem of ceilings that are really tall, and to coordinate with the chair.

Image above: This is my Ladybird office, which was decorated and shopped for all at once. I sort of surprised myself by going much more modern in here, but the cleaner lines help me feel organized and uncluttered while I work. It was important to me that everything fold into my branding for Ladybird. If I had to have office supplies, they were going to be fun looking, so I chose splashy printed binders for my bookkeeping, unique pencils, and sticky notes in every color. There is a good mix of new and old in this room, and it makes me happy to work in here on the days I’m not out with clients.

Image above: I think it’s important for creative people to have a place to store their visual ideas that they can easily access and continually change around. This might be my favorite part of the room. I’ve clipped out pictures, doodles, and notes from friends and hung them with miniature clothespins. The board on the left is just a painted metal lattice thing that I found somewhere while antiquing.

Image above: The stairs leading up to our attic bedroom are impossibly narrow, so most furniture won’t fit. This is a blow-up bed that serves as a place to read or escape the dog-filled sometimes chaos of the first floor.

Image above: I wanted our bedroom to be as cozy as possible to match the built-in charm of the slanted walls. When I began, I envisioned the entire thing in different shades of white and cream (which led me, idiotically, to choose white carpet). But sticking with a set plan, especially one devoid of color, is nearly impossible for me, so that didn’t work out. The bed posts where purchased at an antique mall and then later screwed onto a board and mounted to the bed frame. To cover ugly blinds, I made a shade out of old sheet music. The rest of the pieces in this room are antique finds. The birch branch divider comes down to the living room at Christmas time to hang stockings on, because we don’t have a fireplace.

Image above: I help people with their wardrobes and closets for a living, so I know how important it is to have everything organized and visible when you’re getting dressed. The open floor plan of our upstairs allows me to have a humongous closet, which is a dream come true. Handbags, belts and scarves all have enough space to breathe while still being accessible to me every day.

Image above: It’s important that accessories and jewelry be visible while you’re getting dressed in the morning, and a good trick is to keep them near a mirror so you can try different things to finish your look. I display and organize my jewelry on clear vintage cake plates, punch cups and trays. Here, old bottles hold my bracelets beautifully.

Image above: It used to be that Rob and I shared this space for our closets, but it was only a matter of time before that plan failed spectacularly. The solution was to keep things separate, and Rob moved his closet to a different part of the room and then built me this amazing bar for all my tops. The angled walls meant we had to be creative to utilize our space, but we finally got there. The natural woven baskets on the left are for my laundry. I’ve learned that unless things look good when perfectly organized, I won’t keep up with it. This way, it’s in my best interest to keep my laundry off the floor!

Image above: Kansas City has fabulous antiquing. The first weekend of every month, a whole district of pop-up antique markets open up in the West Bottoms, and there are so many amazing finds to be had. I got this mirror, which was just what I was looking for, for $19 (!!), and it fit this narrow space above the sink perfectly.

Image above: I love the combination of pale pinky-purple walls, textured gold towels, and brown chevron rug. For once I was able to stick within a set color palette without folding to impulse buys. This old white dresser holds toiletries, extra linens, and other daily items that just aren’t pretty enough to be out in the open.

Image above: The top of the dresser is another place that gets changed around a lot. This bronze piece of coral spoke to me at an antique shop and now makes its way into displays all around the house. Metallics like this piece and the silver mercury glass vase are just fancy neutrals, so they work anywhere and can be mixed together — just like I tell my clients with their outfits!

Image above: Rob and his dad transformed our detached garage into a top-notch painting studio. His paintings are as large as they can be while still fitting through the double doors. This space is perfect for him to spend the hours and hours he needs to make his work, and it’s important to have a dedicated space outside our home to do this.

Image above: This is Rob’s studio desk, where he writes, looks, and thinks.

Image above: Here we are with our two pets, Piccollo and Douglas.

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  • hello neighbor! what a lovely space you have :) my husband and i live in the south plaza area and love it here in kc. just wanted to say how much i adore your home!


  • I have been compiling a list in search of the perfect deep dark midnight blue so I must ask, what shade have you used in your entryway? Lovely!

  • I want Molly to do a series of those “circular orb birthday planet” things! I would totally buy one. I would also love to know where the woven laundry baskets are from.

  • Oh please do reveal the paint brand and exact name of that amazing shade of midnight blue in your entry way. Lovin’ your whole shtick going on at home and studio!

  • Oh my goodness this is just amazing!!! I cant even begin to point out everything i love..because each room is so unique and full of creativity! Such a beautiful job.. wow (speechless)

  • Your home is an inspiration. I have a very cramped dining room with a ceiling light. Currently I have a shaded pendant over the table, but your dining room shows me that I might be better served by a clear chandelier! May I ask where it’s from? Or if anyone has any (low-budget friendly) suggestions?

  • This is so perfectly gorgeous! That might be the prettiest bathroom I’ve ever seen. I like that you kept the green in the kitchen. It’s warm and homey, while still remaining oh so chic.

  • One of my favorite tours – I love how whimsical and pretty your home is! And I adore all of your antiques. You have a great eye! Thanks for sharing!

  • The thing I love most about Rob and Molly’s house is that it feels as good as it looks. I’m so proud of you both for living your dreams. Your pal, Lauren

  • So pretty! And I am SO happy to see a house that isn’t overwhelmed with Danish modern furniture. This feels cozy and inspired. Definitely a home to live in. Thanks so much!

  • Where did you get the attic bedspread (on the blow up bed)? I LOVE textured white bedspreads that aren’t frou frou duvet covers.

  • WOWZERS, thanks for all these comments. Here are some answers to the above questions:

    1. The woven laundry baskets are from Target!
    2. The name of the artist who made the painting of the girl in the dining room is T.J. Fuller
    3. The chandelier is from Menard’s! Can you believe it?! 100 buckaroos and the only thing like that I could find.
    4. The midnight blue paint in the entryway is Valspar Signature “Night View”

  • I love everything she says about her design decisions. She must have been born in the 3rd week of July, because this is how I need to make my decisions.

  • I love this house — pretty much all of it!! So jealous of that great mirror and all the great antiques in Kansas City …

  • You must share those paint color names! I love your palette. So simple, yet clean and cozy and refreshing. Great place!

  • Absolutely lovely in every room! Comfortable and without unlimited funds at your disposal. I was excited to see each new photograph and your description of what you did with the space. A happy, peaceful place!

  • Looooooove this – SO much, super stylish….Really Great- Thank you, for posting and sharing, one of my favorite spaces…

  • I love everything about this house, its ambiance that if I would comment everything I like I would write a two pages comment. The room and the dressing room remind me of my old bedroom at my parents house. Oh, and “I’ve learned that unless things look good when perfectly organized, I won’t keep up with it. ” This is so true for me, chaos for me brings more chaos, I”m so clean, organized and I keep up with the plan so much better when things are the perfect way. Congratulations on creating such a great place! And thank you for sharing.

  • I absolutely love the light orchid paint in the bathroom! What is the brand and color name?

  • I love this house. All I could think about while going through the tour was that they seemed to fill it with things that they loved and somehow it just all works together. Also, have to send a big “ROCK CHALK” out to the owners!

  • So happy to see a beautiful Kansas City home, and I love all the props given to local artists, photographers, and other creatives. Go KCMO!

  • What a gorgeous home- I am in love with the turquoise closet with the white fuzzy wall to wall carpeting!!…So elegant and full of character…Just the right balance of function and aestheticism…and your dogs are ADORABLE!!!

  • I am in love with every bit of this home. It’s perfect. Grown up yet totally creative and unique. Very cool… will for sure be using much of this home for inspiration.

  • This house and its people (puppy dog included) look adorable. They make me want to be one of the pals that gets invited over.

  • Lovely home through and through! What year was the house built? Very interesting what they did with the attic rooms (since furniture won’t fit up the stairs). Its reassuring to see great style with small protable peices!

  • I see that my comment that I found this design depressing didn’t make it into the comments. Do you only allow “amazing” “I love it” comments? That doesn’t further the design discussion. I think they need to be more discerning with the second hand stuff they bring in because in this case it still looks like tired, second hand stuff. I read every post of this blog and have always commented favorably up until now. But why not have a true conversation, not just posting a bunch of I love it comments?

    • maggie

      i don’t see any comments of yours in our quarantine or trash folders- please resubmit for approval. if your comment is phrased constructively you are welcome to speak your mind. we allow negative comments on a regular basis.


  • Grace, I bet it was the pom poms on the lounge curtains that won you over…..

  • Absolutely amazing! I am so impressed at how beautifully everything came together. So
    proud of two of my favorite and most talented people!

  • I think this is a great example of putting an original spin on the design in your home. Using fresh upbeat colors to bring vintage and antique finds to life is a big check + in my book. I saw that someone had also commented about paint colors – would love to know the paint color in the bathroom and the entry (the deep almost navy blue color).

  • yes, please:
    orchid paint, please?
    white desk chair source, please. NEED THAT CHAIR!

  • I rarely comment on these things, but WOW. I LOVE this. Just impeccable. We have incredibly similar taste. Maybe it’s because our professions are similar? ;) I think I need to get myself to KC for some antiquing, because other than Brimfield, options in Boston are woefully inadequate! Thanks for sharing your beyond lovely space.

  • Both the main bedroom and the attic bedroom look like such great spaces to escape and relax. The attic bedroom especially makes me want to curl up with a book and blanket and ignore the world outside.

  • I was thinking how cute this place looked and how it reminded me of an apt. I had in Midtown K.C. Then I see that’s where it is! Nice job.

  • The most inspirational tour I have seen yet, love all of the birch branches and the jewelry holders! THANK YOU for sharing!! I have angled walls and no closet in my 3rd floor attic/living space and would love to hear where you can source the materials used for your [amazing] closet!! Also, that arrow above the arch in picture #1, WHERE!?!?!

  • Where did you find your curtains, I love-love-love those colors (I found the pom-poms) I hope you don’t mind if I copy!! :)

  • maybe i missed it, but what was the paint color you used in the bathroom? it’s at the exact perfect place between pink and purple!

  • I’m with Cathy Jo– that beautiful orchid color used for the bathroom! It’s divine. I must know where to get it. Please tell!

  • Beautiful! My husband and I would love to redo our attic into a bedroom, but we live in the great Northeast. Did you need to insulate the roof at all?

  • Your home is so cozy and inviting! I am absolutely obsessed with that teal velvet armchair. Where did you find it??