At Home with Ladybird Styling
Molly Bingaman is has been in Kansas City just three years, but her Volker neighborhood Victorian is finely polished. This 28-year-old lady owns some serious furniture — no college leftovers or Craigslist finds in her house. For example, how many twentysomethings boast a polished cherry wood dining table for eight? And everything is arranged with an eye to vignettes, reflecting Molly’s training as a painter.
“I have visual skill,” she says, “but after school I didn’t know where to apply it. I was always making things with my hands, crafting, manipulating things. I went through a phrase where I was collecting junk to make sculptures with, and that’s how I discovered all these interesting things at antique malls.”
She also discovered her husband, Robert, while volunteering at a Christian camp in Colorado. Robert, who is also a painter, originally hails from Wichita, where his parents own a fine antiques business. “Robert’s been getting antiques for Christmas — including a huge set of valuable china — since he was, like, seven,” says Molly.
But don’t get the idea that the house is a joint project between the two artists. “Several of our worst fights have been over things like color palette,” Molly admits. “Finally, I made a stipulation: I get to decorate the house the way I want.”
Though several of the more substantial furniture pieces — a massive display case in the living room, the occasional table opposite — are gifts from Robert’s parents, Molly has adapted them to her aesthetic. She took doors off the display case and removed the mirrored backing to give it a less formal look. She mixed vintage finds throughout the house, including a black leather sofa that she scored for only $600. And although she doesn’t sew, she fashioned the pelmet over the front window using iron-on adhesive and “a lot of pins.”
While searching for what to do with her life, Molly had considered returning to school to study counseling. Then she founded Ladybird Styling and started doing wardrobe consultation, and she realized that she’d found the perfect match of the visual and the altruistic: “Some people think wardrobe styling is frivolous and materialistic, that it’s not a matter of life and death, but self-esteem is a matter of life and death. This is a chance to encourage people, give them a boost that really can carry into other parts of their lives. It has a huge impact.