Seller Story: St. Louis, MO

I have a PhD. in interior design and it’s my true love; I spent much of my career teaching at Southeast Missouri State and working on large design projects. It also ties into my affinity for historic preservation. After my husband and I finished our doctorates at the University of Missouri, we bought our first historic property in 1971: a Greek Revival house 100 miles south of Saint Louis in Cape Girardeau. We’ve since bought two other historic sites in town, including the Oliver-Leming house, former home of the woman who designed the Missouri state flag in 1913. I opened a gallery in Cape Girardeau in 1997, and in 2013, we founded the Kellerman Foundation for Historic Preservation, which is dedicated to preserving the architectural character of southeast Missouri.

What I love most about historic places is the ambiance. My dissertation explored the effects of light, color, space and form on humans, and the research in that field concludes that light and high ceilings contribute to a psychologically healthy environment. Every one of our houses has at least 12 ft. ceilings, which is why I think I feel so stifled in a modern space.

My husband and I became further involved in preservation when we bought The Georgian in downtown St. Louis, a commercial building that has been converted to condos. I volunteered to furnish its public spaces, and I’m thrilled for those chairs and tables to go home to someone rather than live across from an elevator. The key is quality — no matter what the period or style; you have to pay attention to the wood, technique and detail.

Seller Story: St. Louis, MO
Seller Story: St. Louis, MO
Seller Story: St. Louis, MO

Tell us about the Hans Christian Andersen plates:

I found them at an antiques dealer in Florida. We have a condo in Jacksonville, but we used to go to Palm Beach, which is a fantastic place for antiques.  Everyone takes all of their wonderful belongings down there.

What’s your favorite piece of art in the sale?

The mixed media drawing by by Gary McCall, who was a student when I bought the piece for our gallery back in the nineties. When you have a big opening, you sometimes need a few filler pieces, so we would buy lesser-known artists that we thought were especially good. I need to look him up and see how he’s doing!

What kind of advice would you give about hanging art?

I see art almost as the beginning of a space; I tend to place it first and then develop furnishings around it. By and large, the general public hangs art too high! It needs to be seen as a composition.

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