Home & Garden

Celebrity designer Kerrie Kelly opens the doors to her Sacramento house

“Everyone ends up in the kitchen,” said Kerrie Kelly about her East Sacramento bungalow. “As the night progresses, this becomes our dance floor.”
“Everyone ends up in the kitchen,” said Kerrie Kelly about her East Sacramento bungalow. “As the night progresses, this becomes our dance floor.” rpench@sacbee.com

‘Everyone deserves great design” – including the woman who trademarked that motto.

Living up to her credo, Sacramento celebrity designer Kerrie Kelly put a lot of herself into her own 1925 bungalow. Her Fabulous 40s home has been a five-year work in progress while Kelly forged her international brand.

“I love East Sacramento,” she said. “I travel so much that when I’m home, I just want to relax.”

A Sacramento native, Kelly has built a national following and reputation with her work showcased on HGTV and in several publications ranging from Sunset magazine to The New York Times. An author and official trendspotter, she now has seven lines of home design products under her name: tile, countertops, fabric, lighting, rugs, furniture and cabinetry.

In their own home, Kelly and husband Vinny Catalano created a relaxed atmosphere that feels welcoming, not stuffy.

Catalano, an area vice president for an employee benefits company, said his wife borrows items from around the house for photo shoots. “I do get a kick out of how things disappear and reappear,” he said.

When asked about his role in the house’s interior design, Catalano joked, “I say ‘yes.’ 

Throughout the house, there’s a sense of whimsy along with classic style.

Hardwood floors radiate warmth, echoed in a mix of burnished metals and neutral plaids. Two modern gold chandeliers studded with green, gold and clear crystals add a playful ambiance to the front rooms.

A vintage typewriter facing the front door holds a love poem cribbed from “Winnie the Pooh.” Guests are invited to scribble graffiti (in chalk) on the back of a bathroom door (painted in blackboard paint that matches the black-and-white decor). Local gallery finds and second-hand treasures catch attention on every wall.

“The biggest part of this is the house is just so livable,” Kelly said. “It’s not huge; three bedrooms, three baths. But it’s got space enough to sing, eat, play, live. We adore it.”

Examples of her fabrics, mostly as pillows in handsome geometric patterns, are scattered around her couches and chairs. Handcrafted by Amish furniture makers to her specifications and part of her new furniture collection, a large persimmon orange dresser features a see-through glass top to showcase treasures in the top drawer. The home office’s rug and chairs are both her designs.

While busy on her many projects, Kelly kept working on her house.

Methodically, she pieced together an eclectic design, room by room. Each has its own personalty but feels part of the whole.

“The living room is like my design room,” Kelly said. “It has all my design books.”

With a subtle equestrian theme, it also reflects her ties to Ralph Lauren. After launching her design career 20 years ago, she worked for Lauren’s home collection in the late 1990s.

“For a long time, we didn’t use this room at all,” Kelly said. “That’s when I became my own design client.”

Kelly reoriented the front room to highlight its bay window and excellent view of the tree-lined neighborhood. She used a cozy mix of plaids, checks and leather to give the room a country feel.

The living room flows into the dining room, where black-painted linen-weave wallpaper provides a lustrous glow. Bookshelves hold treasures from several generations.

“The dining room is all family,” she said. “There’s a story behind everything.

“Those are grandpa’s cameras,” she added. “And that’s his trumpet. Somewhere in there is his shaving kit. These are all things that bring back memories. When we sit in here after a family dinner, we like to reminisce.”

The large kitchen is the heart of the house. Part of an addition by a former owner, it features a tall, peaked ceiling with wide white beams, contrasting with the near-black paint. Black Silestone counters contrast with bright white cabinets and subway tile backsplash. A central island forms an inviting bar next to an open triangle of extra space.

“I love to cook for people, we love to entertain,” Kelly said as she stood next to the counter. “Everyone ends up in the kitchen. As the night progresses, this becomes our dance floor.”

Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, 916-321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

At home with Kerrie Kelly: Snapshot of personal style

Favorite color: “Navy blue. I like to say it’s the color of the decade. I also like black. (Husband) Vinny (Catalano) loves purple; that’s our business logo color.”

Paint colors:  ‘Almost Black’ by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams’ ‘Snowbound.’ The ‘Almost Black’ is an interesting color; it changes depending on the light. In the dining room, it looks almost navy.”

What did you splurge on during your home project? “The built-in coffee maker. It’s like having your own Starbucks in the kitchen.”

Favorite accessory theme: “Monograms. I can’t get enough of them. I don’t know how it started, but I now seem to have letters all over the place.”