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Downsizing in Style

Byline to come later

story by ELIZABETH NEELLEY

Photography BY VICKI HUNKLER

Elegant and comfortable -- these are the perfect words to describe the home of George and Pam Boland.

Located in West Paducah, the Bolands built their brick patio-home several years ago in order to downsize from their previous Paducah home, where they had raised their two children, Reid and Whitney, many years before. Ready for a change, they found local builder Marcus Burnett, who worked with them to customize their floorplan -- for instance, changing a second guest bedroom downstairs to an office for George.

Pam worked with local decorator DJ Lyons, and with her own strong sense of style coupled with DJ's recommendations, the Boland home is the ideal example of a graciously appointed French Country style home, yet it is casual enough that visitors desire to sit down and stay a while.

Upon entering the home, it is quickly evident that the Bolands have an appreciation for great art, fine furnishings, beautiful fabrics and collectibles -- among which include an extensive collection of J. Nichols clay botanical sculptures. The collection is cleverly grouped in various vignettes throughout the home, or when not styled in a grouping, thoughtfully placed on display alone.

Some sculptures of note are a tray of spring-time bulb flowers, including tulips and daffodils; tulip tree blooms and branches arranged in a glass vase on an entryway table; a cluster of pink dogwood blossoms resting on the edge of their grand piano; and probably the largest of the collection, a potted red amaryllis surrounded by paperwhites. This particular botanical belonged to her mother and is shared by she and her sister Renee, who happens to own the other half of the duplex. Pam shared that whomever hosts Christmas at their house is the one who gets to display the amaryllis in their home for the next year.

The house has a traditional layout, with a formal living and dining area off both sides of the foyer. While her previous Paducah home had a brighter color palette, with lots of yellow says Pam, DJ encouraged her to go with a more neutral palette of colors, like taupe, gray and khaki.

While hesitant to veer away from her sunnier paint colors, Pam explains the neutral, more earth-toned wall colors really worked well and helped her achieve the overall look she wanted.

One room that shows of its darker color palette nicely is the formal dining room, which is decorated in a black and gold theme, featuring a round glass-topped dining table on an urn base and surrounded by black ladder back dining chairs. Hanging over the table is a large, dark-colored wrought iron Tuscan style chandelier. Similar styled chandeliers also hang in the foyer and formal living room.

Just beyond the formal living and dining areas, also off the entry area, is a room designed just for George. Used as an office, the dark charcoal-colored walls and lighter gray built-in shelves contrast perfectly with the white trim molding. Many of the accessories and artwork in the office reflect George's love of Atlantic coastal life, like a set of black & white shrimp boats prints and other decorative accessories that hearken back to the couple's time in Boca Raton, FL, where their children were born and where they lived for 15 years before moving back to Paducah.

Just past the office is a small hallway that leads to a downstairs guest bedroom and bath, a charming guest area that had me thinking "chateau chic at its best."

It is a delightfully decorated, taupe-colored room with twin beds and gray fabric headboards. A subtle silver thread is woven into the headboard fabric and contrasts easily with the natural colored linen bed coverings, pillow shams and embroidered throw pillows.

On the wall opposite the twin beds is a repurposed wardrobe cabinet that Pam gave a new look with a creamy white-washed paint treatment.

The easy flow of the home continues in to the great room, where one's eyes are immediately drawn upward to the cathedral ceiling and the exposed beam trusses, which have been given a distressed finish, stained a dark brown and joined together with custom made black iron hardware. The beams are one of the features of the home, unique to their duplex, that they had the builder add, not in the original blueprint and not included in the other duplexes on their neighborhood street.

The golden khaki walls of the great room are the ideal canvas for a series of framed watercolor prints of various front doors, balconies, courtyards and iron gates -- all painted from different European settings by an architect friend who began painting after retirement.

George and Pam have collected these pieces of art over many years. "I think we have chosen our art for different reasons. Some just give a warm or emotional reaction, some just give me a special feeling every time I look at them, and some were created by personal friends. They just make me happy," explains Pam.

Other pops of color abound in the great room, including the lime green and white quatrefoil fabric on the cushions of two French-style ladder back chair and an ottoman, and two spindle shaped, greenish-blue lamp bases placed at either end of a "new-to-this-home" rustic wood credenza.

It seems to be the sitting areas and accent chairs in the home that bring lots of color to the more neutral toned surroundings. This color indeed continues in to the breakfast room area, where four parson chairs are covered in white, tangerine, gold and black floral fabric sitting around a wood pedestal table. Next to the table is a vivid green stained sideboard with a hanging wall hutch above it, filled with green and white plates. A rooster figurine and majolica type dishware helps to carry on the French Country theme. A fleur di lis designed chandelier above the kitchen table helps complete the look.

The kitchen isn't absent of color either. A small, but bright red butcher block island is positioned in the middle of the kitchen and stands out well against the more lightly stained kitchen cabinets and brown-speckled granite countertops. As it seems with most kitchens, Pam confirms that this is where so many of their house guests congregate and gather.

"I've never had a home where people didn't congregate in the kitchen! Now everyone seems to spread out to the great room and porch area - weather permitting," says Pam.

In keeping with the earth toned walls throughout the home, this palette continues in the master bedroom with a light taupe paint color, complemented with light blue touches and fabrics, as evidenced in her bedding and pillows, and two comfortable chaise chairs that are placed on either side of a large window that overlooks the small, but well-landscaped, backyard.

It is in the master bedroom where Pam proudly shares with me two of her favorite pieces of art -- portraits of her children, both at age 4, painted by renowned portrait artist, Louise Altson, who only paints portraits of children when they are four years of age.

If George and Pam get tired of relaxing in one of the several sitting areas downstairs, there's a staircase off the kitchen that leads to a smaller den and guest suite upstairs. Sometimes, they (and their family dog, Max) escape to the second floor den to watch TV and relax in a cozy space. The upstairs also makes for a quiet and more private area for any guests who may be staying the night. Pam and DJ made sure not to leave this part of the home untouched, using a blue and white theme in the upstairs bedroom, as seen in the blue and white floral bedding and the blue willow dishes on the wall.

The Boland home is a great example of how to elegantly downsize -- how to maintain one's love for art and other collectibles, all while keeping a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere. The Bolands may have an empty nest, but it is full of hospitality, warmth, and of course, style. n

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