Contemporary Comfort

Once in a while, you simply know, “This is it”

Story Jan Swoope | Photographs Luisa Porter

Long before Kazie and David Richardson moved into their Columbus home in 2001, they were journeying toward it. “We were supposed to be here,” says Kazie, standing in the living room, surrounded by mid-century modern furniture the Dallas native collected years before she ever saw the house that would become its ideal setting. “David has loved this house for as long as he can remember.”

Growing up in Columbus, David had often noticed the home that was built in 1936. In a city known for its columned antebellum and decorative Victorian architecture, this structure stood out. Its minimalist lines are indicative of Bauhaus design, or International Style. Bauhaus, an art school operating in Germany from 1919 to 1933, is widely considered to be the most influential modernist art school of the 20th century, where functionality was valued above ornamentation. In architecture, its concepts often emerged in asymmetry, smooth facades and a geometric aesthetic — a look that appealed to the Richardsons.

“We looked at every house for sale for over a year, even looked at a lot to build on,” Kazie says, “but David would always run by here.” Unfortunately, the house, though vacant, wasn’t for sale. David even contacted members of the former owners’ family in Boston, to no avail. Patience paid off. When it did finally become available, “We just knew it was meant to be,” says Kazie.

During renovations, the couple personalized the home with a completely new color persona. The white exterior and cheery interior walls were transformed to the calming hues of taupe and chocolates, shades with names like Afternoon Tea and Stonehenge Greige.

“I spend all day with color,” says David, a color and design expert and proprietor of The Paint Store. “When I come home, I don’t need it busy; I need a neutral palette.” The result is serene and stylish.

Kazie’s expertise is in accounting and finance, but she harbors a thriving artistic side, too. Several of her original non-representational paintings are framed throughout the house. In fact, the walls showcase a variety of canvases by area artists including Elayne Goodman, Carol A. Jones, Selden Lambert, Ralph Null and Eugenia Talbott, among others.

The early artwork of their 13-year-old daughter, Ayden, is framed and displayed as well.

Distinctive focal points are found throughout, from a classic Heywood-Wakefield chest imaginatively stenciled by Jane Harmon (David helped paint it), to a guest room headboard made of repurposed solid mahogany doors. Abundant details reveal that David — rooted in the realm of color and design — and Kazie — anchored in an analytical background — nevertheless share the same vision for the environment they want to create.

Both are eager to learn more about the history of the house built 80 years ago on a bluff overlooking the Tombigbee River near downtown Columbus. It no longer surprises them when a passer-by stops to say “I remember when … ” if they are outside doing yardwork. Most share tidbits about the home or its former occupants. The Richardsons appreciate every memory.

“We love this house,” says Kazie. “I think we feel honored that we’re here, to live here and to take care of it.”

“Kazie and I looked at so many houses,” David agrees, “and when she and I both walked into this one, even before we went upstairs, it was, ‘This is it.’”