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A Magic Touch

New dazzle for an Old Metairie home

Denise Kingston with Mr. B, her Ragdoll breed cat.

Cheryl Gerber

Denise and Daniel “Danny” Kingston’s home in Old Metairie showcases traditional design at its best. There is an inviting warmth to each room, with decorative painter Bekye Fargason’s treatments taking the lead to transform a once-ordinary home into a visual adventure. The package is wrapped with silver-leafed ceilings in the music room and foyer, and it was a touch of magic that changed the formerly dark hardwood paneling on the doors, crown moldings and one side of the living room into a soft neutral color.

Denise Kingston says it was fun to redo the home they purchased in 2008 into something warm and inviting. The home is located off Metairie Road. “Now we feel there’s a special quiet beauty about our home that was nice, but not distinctive, when we purchased it,” she says.

Kingston is credited with the interior design of the home. “It was a joy to search and find just the right new lamps to complement the antiques in each room,” she says. “I wanted my personal style to be reflected in my home and I think adding new and unusual lamps helps to define each room.”

Many of the fine antiques for the house were purchased from Peter Fargason’s Crown & Colony Antiques, Etc. “Peter is Bekye’s brother and he has a great shop in Fairhope, Ala., where I found many things for our home,” says Kingston. “Each room has some ‘treasure’ such as the pair of Mario Villa metal end tables in the living room that I found in a Metairie consignment shop.”

Nothing showcases the homeowner’s talent for traditional style with a flair more than her choices of items, such as the juxtaposition of an antique chandelier in the music room with a charming crystal light fixture she just happened to find at Lowe’s. “Don’t tell a soul it came from Lowe’s,” she says, raising a finger to her lips, “but you’ll have to admit it’s perfect for the space.”

Fargason’s contribution was much more than her decorative painting, since examples of her fine art are displayed in both the music and living rooms. “Bekye’s paintings are just the right addition to add elegance and soft glow to both rooms,” Kingston says, “and nothing added more to the new look than Fargason’s decorative wall treatment of the once dark hardwood paneling, doors and molding.”

“I painted the woodwork with three colors – sea foam blue, gray and cream – that I layered, distressed with heavy sandpaper, then waxed to give the surfaces an antique finish,” Fargason says. “I used the same three-layered decorative paint treatment on the walls of the foyer, living and music rooms, as well as the master bedroom. One of my most interesting projects in the house was creating the faux-quarried limestone finish on the walls of the master bathroom.”

While the front of the house has a “ready for the pages of a magazine” quality, the large family room, which boasts a wall of windows that overlooks the pool and manicured rear garden, has a cozy, casual warmth. Here, a pair of couches and an easy chair surround the large coffee table that gives the room a “sit-and-stay-a-while” feeling. “One of my favorite things in the family room is the oversized lamp that I found at one of my favorite shops near our beach home in Perdido Key, Fla.,” Kingston says.

Instead of a formal dining room, the Kingstons enjoy the open space that adjoins the family room and kitchen and provides right place for their large dining table. “We love the large fireplace that has a cook top for making a nice pot of gumbo in cold weather.”

The Kingston’s home is definitely a gathering spot for their family, which includes Victoria, a student at Louisiana State University; Tim, an attorney with Gordon Arata McCollam Duplantis & Eagan LLP; and Tim’s wife, Dr. Suzy Kingston, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital. “We love everything about this house from the silver-leafed ceiling to the cozy fireplace in the breakfast room. Most of all it’s a place the entire family enjoys.”

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