Ask Maddie Montague where she finds inspiration for her eclectic home style and she does not hesitate before replying: “Family, travel and art.”
Those three influences are closely linked for the 27-year-old Prairie Village homeowner. Montague has been a globetrotter since a very young age, thanks to family vacations. Her father, founder of a Kansas City-based advertising agency that specializes in travel, ensured Montague and her five siblings had the chance to see the world and experience life in other countries. “Every summer we’d rent a place somewhere. My parents would throw us all in a house and make us love one another for a month,” she jokes.
Montague has also taken advantage of opportunities to travel independently; she recently added stamps from China to her passport during a stint working abroad as part of the Bloch Executive MBA program, which she completed in May.
Her cosmopolitan upbringing is evident in the way she mixes styles, bringing together pieces that reflect a wide range of cultures. “I like to collect things when I travel,” Montague says. “Luckily most of the things I’ve fallen in love with have been small enough that they haven’t been a pain to carry back.”
In the living room, the clean lines of iconic midcentury European designs, including a cowhide Le Corbusier “LC4” chaise longue and a Mies van der Rohe “Barcelona” bench, are softened by a buttery leather armchair and large, cozy sofa with washed linen slipcovers from Restoration Hardware. In the master bedroom, a midcentury-style wooden storage bench Montague had custom made stands at the foot of a bed where a linen-upholstered folding screen serves as a grand headboard. The antique bedside tables, passed on to Montague by her parents, are decked with a couple of black velvet portraits of native Alaskans she bought from a local artist in Juneau, and a pair of jade horses that were brought back from Shanghai. And in the kitchen, the navy blue contemporary cabinetry is picked up in the Asian-inspired raku vase from a ceramicist in Key West, which sits at the center of the marble-clad island created by Carthage Stoneworks.
The world tour continues outside to the cabana, where Montague has created a spot for poolside lounging that calls to mind a Moorish riad. “I love Moroccan style but I haven’t been there yet, so I really want to go see it in person,” she says, adding that South America is also on her shortlist of dream destinations.
Although the decor takes its cues from far-flung locales, the house itself is a classic all-American design: a split-level ranch. Montague bought the house in 2012 and worked with Jennifer McFarland Berka of Gastinger Walker Harden Architects to transform the interior with a more open floor plan. The remodeling included taking down the walls that divided the entry way and kitchen from the sitting room to create one spacious living area and replacing the rear wall of the dining area with concertinaed floor-to-ceiling glass doors that offer a view to the pool and built-in fire pit and connect indoor and outdoor living spaces. (Montague sometimes moves the custom live-edge maple dining table out onto the deck when entertaining.) On the upper level, a small hallway between the master bedroom’s closet and en suite bathroom was removed to allow for a larger open-plan bath and dressing room.
Despite the wide array of exotic influences, the home maintains a cohesive look courtesy of a neutral palette punctuated by a few boldly hued pieces. “All my walls and furniture are monochromatic, so I like to bring in color through art,” Montague says. As you enter the house, your eyes are immediately drawn to the vivid red, gold and coral of a limited-edition Pendleton wool blanket designed by Dale Chihuly, which she bought at the artist’s museum in Seattle and had stretched like a canvas and hung in the house’s foyer. A large painting by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (on loan from Montague’s parents) provides a shot of royal blue and sunny yellow above the white brick-clad fireplace in the main living area. And in the smaller lower-level sitting room, the soothing, natural blues and greens of a landscape by local artist Rich Bowman provide a restful focus while relaxing on the Eames lounge chair.
In addition to inheriting some pieces of furniture and art from her parents, Montague says she picked up her appreciation of interior design from her mother. “My mom helps me a lot with envisioning where certain pieces should go and what colors would work well in a space,” she says. “She has a really great eye.” But the first-time homeowner says she has definitely been bitten by the bug for design herself and is enjoying the opportunity to develop her own sense of style and is becoming more confident in her ability to meld her diverse influences.
“I’m learning to trust my gut,” she says. “If I love it, I love it and it will all work together.”
Gastinger Walker Harden Architects
Kansas City Remodel
The Fiddly Fig