Featured Homes

The Perfect Fit

A personalized dining nook pays tribute to its owners’ past, present and future

Homeowners Brian and Shelly McGowan have a lot in common, including a diverse sense of style.

Because she grew up around horses, Shelly wanted a piece of that past represented in their new dining space, while Brian brought an East Coast sensibility to the table. When you add in historical elements and a modern color palette, you get a colonial, coastal, equestrian style that’s as eclectic as it is charming.

“I wanted a visual feast for the eyes,” Shelly says.

Interior designer Kelee Katillac created this colorful space that functions as a piece of art. Its symmetry is undeniable. The addition of neutral-colored cabinets provides plenty of storage, with room above for Shelly’s horse engravings; the linen weave curtains also pull from the equestrian style with bridle bit details. When it comes to the table setting, it’s back to the classics with an 18th-century-inspired handmade table from England—the heart and soul of the room, according to Shelly. Built directly into the center of it all is a tufted turquoise leather banquette that Katillac designed. A favorite design piece, it’s a flawless complement to the sunflower gold fabric walls and colorful Oushak rug.

“I call it ‘Hollywood Colonial,’” Katillac says. “Think of the chic versions of New England country inns that were theatrically designed for midcentury movies. This space is a fresh, glamorous version of both colonial and equestrian.”

For years to come, this intimate dining nook will continue to be lovingly used by the family of four. “I can’t wait to see what treasured memories will be made in this special dining nook,” Shelly says.

Why it Works

Katillac brought a strong architectural point of view to the space, creating the framework and providing a sense of place within this southern Overland Park home. “I wanted to manifest a style that they had dreamed of, using colors and architectural references that are meaningful to them,” she says. She added windows for lots of natural light and designed (and had built) the banquette as well as the cabinets, unifying and personalizing the McGowan’s dining room.

Speaking of colors, Katillac nailed the color combo, but adds that “Shelly has an aptitude for color.” Building on hues that personally express the family, the color palette inspiration came from one of the first fabrics found for this space: Duralee’s black floral-framed curtains. “Composing a foundation of colors gives the flow,” Katillac says. “I envision a home as a color wheel, and at the center is the inspirational fabric or item.” Morphing from this room’s color wheel is, of course, the vibrant sunflower gold-upholstered walls, turquoise leather banquette—which ranks high in showmanship—and the Oushak rug in a coral red.

Bringing in historical furnishings always paints a pretty picture, no matter what style(s) surrounds it. The Chippendale chairs and distressed-oak Georgian table featuring cross-cut chestnut banding gracefully represent the Colonial period. Historically inspired sconces light the way.

Get the Look

Mix your favorite styles with your favorite colors to create a personalized dining room that will complement any chef-inspired menu


1. The Visual Comfort light fixture with double shades from Wilson Lighting provides a classic addition to any dining table.


2. Nature brings in its own sense of beauty—so hang up these botanical prints from J’adore Home & Garden and enjoy their company.


3. Pull up a comfy, colorful banquette for an intimate conversation around the dinner table. Available at Madden McFarland, the Hickory Chair Farm Wing settee is fully customizable.


4. Made from wool kilim rugs, this decorative pillow from Webster House provides a burst of color and geometric wonder.


5. Bring a little 18th-century style into your home in the form of a beautifully crafted Stickley Chippendale chair from Traditions Furniture.


6. In an earthy coral red and gold, the oversized Oushak rug from Knotty Rug was made in Turkey almost 100 years ago. It features hand-knotted wool-on-wool with a Turkish knot.