Designer Snapshot: An Artistic Eye

By Paula M. Bodah

Whether you get lost in a beautiful landscape or prefer to find your own meaning in something more abstract, art is an essential element in decorating. Karen Davis, of Davis Raines Design, believes in the power of art to personalize a home. “I strive to design homes to be really lived in,” she says. “Artwork adds authenticity and balance that complement the colors, furnishings, lighting, and feeling in the space.”

Karen was the interior designer for the Adirondack-style home in northwest Connecticut that we featured in the story “Beauty & Brawn” our winter edition of New England Home Connecticut. “The artwork for this home reflects the owners’ love of the surrounding landscape, appreciation of fine art, and the memories of great camps in the Adirondacks,” she explains.

A piece called Ominous Sky, by Eric Sloane hangs in the entryway. “Sloane was a local painter who captured the scene and the rural spirit of Litchfield County,” Karen says. ‘It seemed appropriate to have this painting greet visitors to the home.”

davis raines entryway

Photography by John Gruen

Niagara Falls holds special meaning for the homeowner, who says, “I grew up in Buffalo, New York, close by Niagara Falls and visited it often. In college, I studied Fredrick Church’s Niagara at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. I was drawn to it because Church amazingly portrays the power and beauty of the Falls.” It’s only fitting then, that Niagara Falls, by Matthew Cornell, should occupy a place of honor in the dining room. “It has some of the same characteristics as Church’s work—the power, the beauty of one of America’s wonders,” the homeowner says. “You can sense the speed of the water falling over the cliff and nearly feel the mist spraying off the water.”

davies raines kitchen

The two paintings of Indian braves were given to the homeowner’s grandfather by a Chickasaw boy in Anadarko, Oklahoma, in the 1940s as payment for dental work, Karen relates. “Growing up with the paintings and hearing the story about them piqued by client’s interest in Native American history and culture,” she explains. Family vacations in the Adirondacks further stoked his love of the rustic genre. “This house was born of the original interest in those paintings.” 

davis raines

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