Comfort and Joy

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Kansas City interior designer Brenda Freebern creates picture-perfect holiday style with lush greenery and beloved personal treasures to give her client a fresh new start and the home of her dreams. 

Story by Jeanne de Lathouder    |    Photos by Matthew Anderson

Well versed in creating spaces that bespeak the tastes and personalities of each and every homeowner, Brenda Freebern makes dream homes come true. Owner of her own business aptly named Picture Perfect Interiors, this Kansas City designer is known for making homes sing with personal style down to the last detail. Her client and good friend Rose Giguere will happily attest to this and couldn’t possibly imagine her new home without Brenda’s magic touch. Nestled within the Wilshire Ridge subdivision of Overland Park, Rose’s home had to be — among many things — meaningful, special, and a place all her own.

“When I met Rose, she was at the rough-in stage of building a new home,” Brenda recalls. “She had recently lost her husband, who was the light of her life, and was trying to follow their plan of building her dream home. As her family is very important to her, she wanted a fresh new space to start the next phase of her life—but also wanted this home to be hers,” she adds.

As the two of them started planning, Brenda quickly realized that Rose had a delightfully vibrant personality and was not afraid to show it. She also discovered that her client had some whimsical personal treasures — several hats that belonged to both her mom and dad, as well as a collection of her mother’s vintage purses — that they decided to incorporate into the new décor along with some old family photographs and a few cherished pieces of furniture. They worked closely with a project manager to select plumbing fixtures, lighting, tile, flooring, and paint colors in a subtle neutral palette accented with soft grays. Next, they carefully began strategizing the furniture that would be required. Working with a just few key existing pieces, they also selected new upholstery, rugs, and occasional tables that would meet Rose’s needs and also accommodate her family when they came to visit. Of all the rooms they designed for her home, Rose’s most blissful and relaxing space is undoubtedly the alcove and seating area in her master bedroom, as it also turned out to be her grandchildren’s favorite hangout.

“On move-in day, I had scheduled the delivery service to bring the rugs and furniture, and the drapery installer to install window treatments while Rose was loading her personal items from the other house,” Brenda recalls. “I brought accessories along with me and placed a few key pretties before she got there. Later in the day she walked through the door, teared up, and with a stunned look on her face, gave me a hug and said, ‘I have a home!’” adds the designer. “This was such a special moment, and I loved helping her navigate the building process and make sure she had the home of her dreams.”

As Rose settled in, she continued to incorporate her personal treasures into her new décor. Eventually, she began to think about holiday decorating and came into Brenda’s store for an annual open house to select her general theme.

“I knew I wanted to work with Rose myself to make sure her first Christmas in her new home was perfect,” says Brenda. “Then we spent the day going through the décor she already had and added new pieces using both traditional hues and an unexpected twist of color along with some whimsical accents in the lower level. Of course, with Rose, it was all traditional with a healthy dash of glam for fun,” she laughs.

For the front entrance, lavish garlands and wreaths adorned with red ribbon create a warm welcome for holiday guests, while on the back porch, a display of mixed greens embellished with lighted spheres emits a cozy evening ambiance. Elegantly dressed for a party, the main-floor living room is decked out in red and gold for a traditional Christmas palette, and a lighted garland adds a splash of holiday sparkle to the  artwork on the fireplace. In the dining room, long-needled pine branches, berries, and ribbon on the dining room chandelier create a festive look without using the tabletop space that is on reserve for large family get-togethers. In the lower-level bar, mercury glass sconces, lush greens, and ribbon add a holiday feel while leaving the countertops open for entertaining.

“I loved helping to design and decorate Rose’s home,” says Brenda, “because everywhere you look there is exquisite detail — wood treatments on the ceilings, impeccable lighting, the perfect tile that works beautifully with her on-trend yet timeless granite, paint colors, and fabrics, and her eye-catching accessories, pillows, and lamps,” adds the designer. “She is a such a joy—her gracious entertaining style is so evident when you first walk through the front door.”

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