Ben and Rachel Kauffman are true collectors. Not of works of art or designer wares, just interesting doodads and knickknacks that, curated just so in their Prairie Village home, make for a very interesting space.
Like most 30-year-olds, they are on a budget. They prefer this eclectic look partly because of their pocketbook and partly because of their sheer fascination with unearthing jewels amid junk.
They find deals on high-priced items on Craigslist and eBay and fill in the rest from thrift stores and garage sales. “Things that are used are more comfortable to us,” Ben says. “They’re still nice but not as intimidating.”
Rachel not only decorates their home with her favorite things but sells them on her Etsy shop page, Moth Eaten Deer Head. She has always loved thrift-store shopping. Her style was more kitschy as a teen, whereas it’s “slightly more serious” now. Only recently did she realize her affinity for “things with faces,” both the once-living (like a puffed up puffer fish, shark in a jar and bat in a shadow box) and artistic animal representations.
Ben is a chef at Whole Foods and apprentices as a blacksmith, making knives that he hopes to someday sell. He mostly concurs with Rachel’s design direction. “I love it all,” he says.
The couple’s midcentury home has a few undesirable features from that era like spindles, wallpaper and wood paneling, and they’re conscious to branch out from that period. “We didn’t want to be stuck in a time capsule where everything is midcentury,” Ben says. For instance, he nixed a starburst clock above the fireplace. “We want to stay away from the atomic look. We like it, but it’s not for us.”
They have made several updates to the home, with more projects in the future. “Looking at the ‘before’ pictures, I have no idea what we saw in this place,” Rachel says. They bought the house in 2011, and the biggest selling point was the Shawnee Mission schools for 9-year-old Felix.
As it is now, Ben and Rachel’s home is the quintessential representation of their personalities and interests. “If we had a lot of money, we’d have a Saarinen table and a Corbusier lounger,” Rachel says. “Everything would be really nice just like everyone else’s.”