This Elegant Renaissance-Style Home Draws on European Design

A floral designer's passion for all things European blooms elegantly in her historic Georgia home, where business mixes with pleasure.

formal dining area with chandelier

Kim Cheney's historic home in Savannah feels a bit like a Parisian flea market—its rich melange of highbrow-ish antiques sit at home comfortably with all manner of quirky treasures. This is only fitting given that Kim is a former antiques store owner who is also a seasoned traveler. The cottage that Kim shares with her husband, Dale, doubles as a three-dimensional business card. Kim runs her floral business from home and says her decor gives customers insights into her design style.

Kim's collections come from antiques and consignment shops both at home and abroad. Some items have unusual stories, such as a duck decoy that was used in a movie shot on location in Savannah. But no matter where she discovers things, one rule always applies: Anything goes. As such, old globes are displayed with vintage suitcases. An antique wooden candleholder hangs out with silver dishware. And a lynx-fur blanket, once used as a limousine coverlet, warms an antique sofa. Overall, the result is a layered and refined aesthetic that offers texture and depth for good measure.

Kim is a self-described cheapskate. But years after she first saw this mid-1800s French chandelier in an Atlanta antiques shop, she gulped and shelled out $3,500 for the piece, which features hand-wired crystal and a verdigris finish. Billowing window treatments and worn cane-back chairs give the dining room a Renaissance vibe.

Vintage Profile

buffet and chairs with traditional decor

A cabinet detailed with bronze ormolu and topped with marble is surrounded by a series of silhouettes in Kim and Dale Cheney's living room. Gold and black accents tie the vignette together and exude elegance. Plain white walls allow accessories to be in the spotlight.

Add a touch of gold to your room!

Golden Shades

sitting area with tufted ottoman

Dark accents ground the faded hues of the rug and furniture. A large astronomical globe Kim found in a Greek junk shop provides visual interest in the living room. On the chair to its left rests a pillow made from her grandmother's fur coat—mink dyed to look like leopard skin. 

Statement Piece

hutch with vintage dishes

Kim discovered this 3-foot-tall antique hanging candleholder in a little antiques shop in Florence, Italy. She painted the back of the china cabinet's shelves pea green to make the dishes inside pop. Silver serving dishes sit on top of the cabinet and decorate the wall above.

Cabinetry trends that will make your cupboards more interesting.

Curio Collectibles

dining table and chair in corner

The duck decoy atop this curio cabinet cost Kim a mere dollar. The curio cabinet—found at a yard sale in Atlanta—was too heavy to hang on a wall, so Kim propped it on a table in a kitchen corner. White walls and a white table make the worn wood elements of the room stand out.

Fresh Paint

white kitchen with peninsula

Kim and Dale folded the kitchen's maple cabinets into their pale European-inspired color scheme with a subtle grayish-green paint. Aged wood complements the clean cabinets and granite countertops. Open shelving displays beautiful vintage dishes.

Learn how to convert cabinets into open shelving.

White Hobnail

antique milk glass vases

A kitchen cabinet showcases Kim's collection of milk glass. Most of her pieces are known as hobnail, which is harder to find. The layers of vases and glasses give matching white shelves dimension and dynamic shadows for a stunning, bright-white display.

Garden Bench

room for floral design

Vases and botanicals fill a room off the kitchen that serves as her floral-design studio. The old rolling hamper (under the bench) came from her grandfather's clothing factory in Bucyrus, Ohio. Open shelving over the workbench turns glass and metal containers into wall art.

Travel Souveniers

table with vintage globes and suitcases

Kim's home office has a strong travel-inspired theme, bolstered by globes from her collection. The lamp is actually a repurposed concrete garden urn. Old suitcases are stacked for a vintage look, but also for extra hidden storage.

Gray Display

neutral bedroom palette

In the master bedroom, Kim balanced feminine frills on pillowcases and a bedskirt with charcoal-gray accents. Bustled tie-up shades grace the bedroom windows and add subtle pattern and color. Dark shades on the chandelier complement the dark frames of the wall art.

See more vintage bedroom ideas here.

Rouge Accents

vintage chair and large-scale painting

An upholstered armchair with carved arms and legs brings a jolt of color to a white corner. A large portrait becomes a dynamic backdrop.

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