Previously published in 501 Life Magazine on Sunday, 23 July 2017
by Donna Benton
Photos by Makenzie Evans
You know when you walk through that one front door and suddenly there are so many cool things to look at, all competing for your attention, that it’s just a big fuzzy blur? And then you start to focus on this and that, and your mind is filled with all these questions. “Where did that come from? Did you make this? Can I play with that?” There are all those questions that you want to ask, but the rules of hospitality say, “Be cool, now!”
These are questions that you need to know the answers to so you can unlock the mystery of the makers of this dwelling that is equal parts lounge, workspace, museum and art gallery.
When you begin to regain your senses and your sense of social decency, you catch a tantalizing scent of coffee brewing. Not just any old cup, but a fresh-ground fragrance filled with hints and undertones of earthy goodness. A sign that a true coffee aficionado lives here; if you weren’t already tipped off by the declaration of coffee-love that is scrawled across a giant chalkboard wall above the coffee bar. The aroma quiets your brain just enough to catch a few notes of your favorite song playing somewhere in the background as if this house has theme music, which it should.
This home in Conway was built for kids, creativity and coffee, great meals and music, friends and fun. It is the home of the talented family of Krys and Jenny Keylor. “We are both passionate about many things, which doesn’t always work well with the amount of time we actually have in our day,” said Jenny. “But creating and being free to create is so important.”
It is apparent that the Keylor home is designed around creativity. When the creative spirit strikes, you are always in reach of a container of art supplies, a nice collection of vinyl records or a musical instrument leaning in the corner.
Jenny artfully blends this mix of custom artwork, eclectic furniture and artist’s tools-of-the-trade into a colorful and comfortable composition. “I don’t follow design rules,” said Jenny with a laugh. “I don’t really even know what those rules would be. I just know they exist. If I’m being honest, I don’t really like rules.”
Jenny has a workshop and creative space in the back of the house. Her tools are artfully organized over a custom workbench where she creates unique jewelry that she sells on her online Etsy shop called Teapots and Robots. “It’s the coolest and most humbling thing to see people wearing something that you’ve made,” she said. Part of the creative process is finding some quiet time to restore your creative energy, and a green velvet sofa in the workshop is the perfect place to recharge.
Krys is a musician and songwriter and is pretty handy with a project. “My favorite thing is to work on a project together,” said Jenny. “I love the before and the after — the story and the transformation. We have painted cabinets, knocked down walls, remodeled the laundry room, added wood walls and features, installed new lighting and created a master suite. And, we are still going! We do the work ourselves when time and money allow. We learn a lot along the way, save a lot of money and it means so much more.”
The kids’ rooms are filled with creative toys, and the walls are covered with their artwork. Josie is 8, and her latest passion is sewing, but she doesn’t have any of her sewing creations around because she likes to give them away as soon as she makes them.
The boys — Stone (12), Aiden (10) and Destin (6) — hang out in a triple-decker bunk bed made by their dad.
They like to talk Legos, robots and Star Wars.
Much of the furniture and décor in the home are pieces that have been handed down from family, created by the Keylors or discovered in a flea market, reclaimed or reimagined. “I love seeing the hidden beauty in something and bringing it back to life,” said Jenny. “I think your home should reflect you and yours. It should be filled with things that make you smile and make others feel welcome. So, that’s what we’ve done — made our house our home. My desire is that people come in, enjoy a cup of coffee, get comfy and lose track of time.”