By Sara Anne Donnelly
Photographs by Meredith Perdue
A Belfast home brimming with art, curios, and color
Nothing stays put for long in Kathy Feyler’s downtown Belfast house, which teems with curios and art. “When I buy one piece, I get excited and think, ‘Okay, I have to change the living room around now,’” says Feyler, a hair stylist who works out of her home. Small, oddball items, many acquired secondhand, make up the bulk of her changing scenery. Take the paint-by-number dog portraits in her hallway.
“I like that they’re not perfect,” she says. “It’s kind of outsider art.”
Feyler’s never tried the minimalist approach and probably never will. “I went into someone’s house the other day — she had barely anything in there,” she recounts. “I go, ‘Oh my god, I love this!’ Not saying I could do it, but I admire it.”
Feyler has painted her 1900 three-bedroom Victorian using two shades of the same hue (Parrakeet on the bottom and Verdant on the top, both by Sherwin-Williams) to create dimension and a bright-white trim to “sharpen it up.” A 4-foot-tall sculpture of a woman’s head adorned with Christmas lights serves as signage for her hair salon, an idea inspired by a trip to London’s Camden Town, where many of the shops have sculptural trade signs. “Like the shoe store had a giant shoe hanging out front, and the pub had a giant mug of beer,” she says. She found her gigantic calling card, which she likens to a Greek goddess, at a gift shop in Northport.
A sketch of Feyler as a baby hangs over an antique bureau. Feyler has covered the dresser’s original dark varnish with a whimsical, multi-colored paint scheme. She drapes her necklaces on the antique glove molds. A silver fish ornament with a pink-feather tail adds a splash of unexpected color. The fish is typical of the hundreds of small trinkets that Feyler rotates out of storage based on her mood. “I’m bohemian, yard sale, antique, and Target, all mixed together,” she says.
Feyler styles hair in what was originally the dining room. Her workstation is a midcentury credenza found at a yard sale and topped with a cherry-red Formica counter made by a friend. The mirror is from TJ Maxx. The wall color is Sherwin-Williams’s Saffron Thread. “Orange is my favorite color,” Feyler says. “I like what it feels like.” Lounge chairs; Feyler’s congenial dog, Emmett; and the aroma of freshly brewed tea wafting in from the kitchen lend the salon a comfy, homey feel. “It’s just a natural, easy place,” Feyler says.
The Living Room
The living room doubles as the salon’s waiting room, so Feyler felt it was important to make it comfortable to a wide variety of visitors. The wall color is the most muted in the house — Hemp Rope, from the discontinued Martha Stewart line. The ample wall space allows Feyler to show off her eclectic art collection to a captive audience: puppets made by her son in elementary school, for instance, hang in the company of an abstract oil painting snagged at a Blue Hill yard sale. “I bought it mostly for the frame,” Feyler says. “I was going to put something else in it, but then I stuck it on the wall and I liked it.”
In addition to her hundreds of random tchotchke and eccentric art, Feyler has collected magazines of all kinds since childhood. A photo in one of them gave her the idea to paint the low kitchen ceiling a dark color — Cedar Green by Benjamin Moore. “I wasn’t going to change it in order to make it look loftier,” Feyler says. “Instead, I went with what it was to give it a more cottage feel.” The vintage, round, red sign for fried clams and the antique copper jello molds add a touch of kitsch to the walls. The rainbow collection of Fiestaware, displayed on open shelves, includes pieces that belonged to Feyler’s grandmother. “I could never decide what color I like best,” she says, “so I just use them all.”
The chandelier, another yard-sale find that Feyler has repainted, casts a warm glow over the space she calls her “refuge.” The faux-fur throw pillow and blanket, both from Pottery Barn, add to the indulgent, cocoon-like atmosphere. The restful, smoky-blue wall color is Benjamin Moore’s Sea Star. Here, all electronics are banished. “I get in my really comfy bed with a book and I just go ahhhh,” Feyler says. “I know that I’m going to get a good night’s rest.”