The Art of Living

Step inside the beautiful Boulder abode of interior designer, Kimberly Demmy and see how she took a robust assortment of works, from museum worthy pieces to family sketches, and made them lighten up her space without weighing you down.

Words: Eleanor Perry-Smith | Images: Daniel O’Connor

To Kimberly, this landing felt barren until she decided to make it a miniature living space. From this angle we get glimpses of an abstract black and white Robert Motherwell signed limited edition print and a Katelyn Alain abstract.

This door in North Boulder doesn’t simply swing open. Rather, it glides upon an off-center axis, granting entrance to a space where artwork, architecture and furniture meld like ice cubes in a cocktail. High ceilings and long white walls uphold a vast swath of art as skylights and handpicked fixtures illuminate the small drawings, massive paintings, collectable furniture and sculptures. At the mercy of untrained hands, this home might have been a claustrophobia-inducing disaster.

Fortunately, Kimberly Demmy is an interior designer. She’s the seamstress creating such seamless harmony here, that not a stitch of effort pokes through. “I didn’t want the house to feel like an art gallery,” she insists. It doesn’t, despite 50-some works of art and an open floor plan. With painstaking intentionality, the home that Kimberly shares with her boyfriend is a lesson in sophistication and sincerity.

Neutral tones and earth-inspired art bring nature inside. The Neo Sectional couch by Niels Bendtsen curls around a custom RSH Studio coffee table. Inviting Catifa 80 Chairs by Arper inspire one to pick a book off the custom Poliform case from Studio Como. Underfoot is a custom Harlequin Rug from Shaver Ramsey Oriental Rug that leaves enough space to enjoy wood floors leading to a Motswiri Dresser by Jiun Ho from Town Studio. Black Resting Stones by Jerry Wingren bring a balancing, smooth texture to the space while a cheery Red Flower signed print by Donald. Sultan hangs at the entry to Kimberly’s office.

It’s also a balanced celebration of international, local and personal talents. “This is actually a drawing I did in sixth grade,” Kimberly says, pointing to a ladybug created in pencil. It hangs beside framed textiles, a painting by Kimberly’s mother, a Mary Mackey abstract and Geoffrey Ridge etching in Kimberly’s office. Aligned in a row, the pieces would clash if it weren’t for the understated furniture. A white Eames Management Chair is tucked into a horseshoe Portica Collection custom desk with white surfaces from Room & Board. “I think sometimes color can be overused and I believe that less is more in most cases,” Kimberly suggests as she walks into an airy living space.

Every square inch of the living room has a story. Initially, it seemed closed off and dark (despite so many windows) when Kimberly first set foot in the house. Silver-rimmed recessed light frames peppered the ceiling like shotgun spray. So she whitened the frames, door trim, window trim and painted the walls a refreshing, colorless hue. “There are infinite shades of white, and the right one must be carefully selected,” she submits. It’s an applied insight that lets the art and furniture speak for itself—and there’s plenty to say.

Kimberly’s office is clutter-free thanks to tons of storage space in her Sapporo cabinets with fronted glass doors by Stua. Her Portica Collection custom desk by Room & Board is complimented by an Eames Management Chair.

A Bernard Venet limited edition sculpture rests atop a custom RSH Studio coffee table, serving as the room’s core. Underfoot, a custom Shaver Ramsey rug is adorned with a Harlequin design. A pattern emerges—customization is part of what prevents the space from feeling staged, as it speaks of an individualized modern eclecticism.

“That book case, for me, was instrumental in pulling everything together,” Kimberly says pointing to the floor-to-ceiling Poliform shelving from Studio Como. She is keenly aware of what makes a space feel like home, always taking the size of a space into consideration when looking for balance in a room. Nothing should feel too heavy or too open. “I really wanted to make sure I brought in some warmth,” she says regarding the living room. And nothing softens like books and the wood accents found throughout the house.

Kimberly’s refreshing dining room is graced with primary colors, such as a red feather headdress made by the Bamileke people of Cameroon, Africa and a large, deep blue painting by Osmundo Echevarria. An inviting azure landscape photo by an unknown Boulder photographer hangs above a built-in fireplace. The riding table is Pjur by Zeitraum and seats six. Gubi dining chairs by Boris Berlin and Paul Christiansen. A ceramic pendant handcrafted by artist Lesley Anton lights by Kimberly’s dinner parties.

Overhead in the foyer, two hanging wood totem sculptures by Jerry Wingren grace the double-high space above the gliding front door. They bring welcome and whimsy into an area that could have trumped arriving visitors.

“The suspended totems in western red cedar were placed, in collaboration with Kimberly, in consideration of several factors,” says artist Jerry Wingren about the pieces; “One was the ability to see the upper side of the sculptures from the upper level. Another consideration was that of getting a lead-in into the space, drawing your eye in and up.”

Natural light from the west illuminates Kimberly’s Charles Bed by B&B Italia from Studio Como. She bookends it with Atlas Nightstands by Stua and Tolomeo wall lamps by Artemide.

Jerry and Kimberly’s combined efforts usher intrigue into a benign space in most other homes. “In fact, when I try to verbalize Kimberly’s design, it’s that she gets all of the elements to be in harmony,” Jerry adds.

The line of vision from Jerry’s pieces moves to the stairwell where a black and white Robert Motherwell print compliments the dark wood atop each stair. The contrast entices one to go exploring, where the upper landing with two Cassina Le Corbusier cowhide LC1 Sling Chairs offers a private perch. To the left is the master bedroom.

A signed Richard Serra print is an interesting segue into the simple elegance of Kimberly’s bedroom. Donald Sultan signed prints depicting fruit bring a light but lush atmosphere to the walls, as the B&B Italia Charles Bed serves as a cozy centerpiece. In the bathroom, natural light and a balcony are graced by a little betta fish swirling on the counter. “He’s sick right now,” says Kimberly, who clearly has a heart for uncommon creatures, as an adopted cat with a cleft palate has been following her around the house. “If you just have an eye for something, it doesn’t really matter what it is or where it’s from,” she says, which can apply not only to her pets, but to her wide display of personal and collectable objects. Her attitude drops any pretense as the vein of sentimentality continues throughout the house.

Even the kitchen cabinetry has built-in space for art and displays an E. Tafoyo pot and sake bowl by Kazu Oba, whose works can also be enjoyed at the Boulder Japanese restaurant Amu.

Even the mud room is laden with simple art in a way that doesn’t over stimulate, but invites, as the adjacent kitchen leads to the dining room—perhaps the most enticing room of all.

Here, Kimberly paired a ceramic Lesley Anton Barnacle Pendant light fixture with a Pjur dining table by Zeitraum and six Gubi chairs that are so easy on the eye, one can’t help but conjure the memorable gourmet meals they’ve facilitated. A massive blue Osmundo Echevarria painting takes up an entire wall beside the muted furniture, evoking a mellow mood, as the opposite wall cases a recessed fireplace. The overall feel is soothing and energetic at once. “I see layers upon layers of relationships, and they all have to merge together,” Kimberly notes, which means that even the chair upholstery texture complements the rug, as the paint finish matches the lighting effect.

On her way back to the front door, Kimberly passes a Katelyn Alain painting saying, “I look at this picture and it mesmerizes me.” She’s perhaps unaware that every visitor is likely mesmerized by the uncommon artifacts and qualities in her house. But because of her efforts, even amidst these brilliant works of human hands, everyone inevitably becomes a natural part of the ambiance. And that’s saying something.