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!
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.