Neumann describes her renovated home as her mini-mansion. She
tore down walls and reconfigured the entire living space, which
included an open-plan first-floor living and dining room.
designer Kelly Neumann of Vyolette Design and Consulting to choose the
favorite room in her house is like asking a woman to pick her favorite
pair of shoes. The sparkly, the comfortable, the sexy — each is a
favorite in its own way.
purchased the 1952 red brick duplex in Milwaukee seven years ago and
after visualizing the space for weeks in her head, created a design
plan that kept the home’s shell intact while completely breaking
down the two-story interior to create her perfect living space. The
first floor is an open living area and includes a spacious kitchen
with a hearth room and a powder room. The upstairs includes a master
suite, two bathrooms, guest room and an office.
the dining room, Neumann pairs resale shop-find chairs with a
high-end inlaid wood dining table.
all of the rooms differently," Neumann says. "They all evoke
different feelings. My home is like one big mood ring!"
M: You aren’t
afraid of color! What is your connection to the color purple in
KN: Color evokes
feelings, moods, comfort and excitement. A color sets the pace or mood
for the vision. Purple did that for me. I was naturally drawn to the
depth of the color in particular because it has so many layers, shades
and moods. Growing up I never cared for the color purple, although my
first sofa at 18 was purple. As I evolved I reinvented the color
purple over and over again. I fell in love with the color. It is me.
M: Not many
people could put a room like this together, let alone a whole house.
Why does it work from a design standpoint?
KN: The first
step is having a vision. I had that. Re-creating space, thinking about
what I like. As a designer, I pushed it as far as I could. Again,
layering the patterns, colors. The most important factor is balance.
That is what design can lack; it becomes "off" if not done
properly. Confidence along with intuition is what my design for myself
and my clients is all about. My design worked because it visually
agreed to my eyes. It is a process of selecting until it feels right
and looks right. I am very visually blessed to be able to
"feel" when design is right.
master suite includes a custom-designed walk-in closet and
master bathroom connected to the bedroom. "I knew this
space was about keeping it all happening in one zone, which
makes my daily morning routine stress-free," Neumann says.
M: This décor
is very personal to you. How does it express your personality?
for yourself is so very important. It is your oasis that keeps you
afloat from day to day. It should be a safe haven, surrounding
yourself with a design and with items that make you happy at different
levels and for various reasons. My home is me, every room, every
style. It is a mirror of who I am and how I feel. It’s not just one
style or one look. It takes all my likes and loves into a space and
creates a story. It is possible to design for yourself and still be
able to re-sell your home. It can be done. The key is to make sure the
"shell" or permanent items are timeless. From there you are
simply "dressing" your home. If I took all my treasures away
someone else could walk right in with minor changes and start dressing
the space to their likings. A big step that people miss when designing
their homes is that they put too much emphasis on what others will
think. Design is like fashion. No need to change it every day, but it
can be just as exciting and personal. My design is my personality.
2-inch polished emperador brown marble hexagon tile is the show
stopper in the master bathroom. Other special features include a
vanity retrofitted from an old dresser and a stand-alone soaking
M: The home is a
great representation of high-low design. What are a few of your
favorite finds and the stories behind them?
KN: Where do I
start? Curb finds, secondhand stores, rummage sales, resale shops,
family heirlooms. The other side of the coin is investing in quality
items and knowing where to spend: quality flooring, plumbing fixtures,
a piece of furniture that will last for 20-plus years, beautiful light
fixtures. Sure, I splurged on many items, but I knew how to offset it
with the high and low of design. That is an art in design that is a
great asset to have for clients and staying within their budget. It
can be done, it just takes patience and time. The key is knowing where
to spend your money. Again, design is a balance, and not just visually
with colors and objects, but with money. You have to know where to
spend, where to place that "eye candy," what is worth it and
what is not. Design for me is a game: a game of intuition, balance and
getting it right. Who says one has to go to one store in one month and
create his or her home? It would be impossible to truly design a home
from one source. That would not be true design in my book.
M: Who inspires
KN: In my
younger years I really thought everyone can decorate or design. I grew
up in a home that was beautiful every day; it’s just what I thought
was normal. Everyone has a gift. I was using it, but didn’t tap into
it immediately. It was naturally evolving as my life was the canvas to
my creativity. I took opportunities to create anything I could. The
answer is an obvious one for me: my late mother Karen. She was not a
designer by trade, but she was a visionary of many sorts. She could
take nothing and make it the most beautiful thing you have ever seen.
I do not have the patience of my mother in creating small,
time-consuming things, but what I did get from her is the vision. One
thing that the buying of this home did for me is bring me back home.
It is clear to me that my mother lives in this home. I would say that
is the most beautiful part of my home.
chaise lounge faces a fireplace and creates a restful vibe
outside the master bedroom.
M: What is the
typical reaction of visitors to your home?
beautiful, "It is so ‘Kelly.’" That means I accomplished