Issue: May 2007 Issue
Clothier Christian Boehm and his wife, Kelli, aceented every inch of their Chagrin Falls home with porcelain treasures from their extensive travels.
Cross the threshold of the Chagrin Falls home of Christian Boehm and you will take a step back in time where French-colonial style meets modern-day amenities. Set back on a private cul-de-sac, Christian, vice president and director of marketing and merchandising for the Tom James Co., has made the 4,850-square-foot mansion a home with his wife, Kelli, and two daughters Madison, 10, and McKenna, 8, and countless antiques most would have to travel thousands of miles to see. Their two-story French colonial is the product of Kelli's ingenuity and attention to detail that warrants a closer look at every nook and cranny in the home - from the crown molding to the patterned carpets.
Kelli and Christian Boehm
Photo by Darnell Wilburn
"Kelli designed the house on a paper napkin with our builder," says Christian, sitting at their round, marble kitchen table. The house was built in 1998 and everything from the floor plan to the crown molding has a touch of Kelli.
French influence: The couple, married for 13 years, describes their home as a French colonial, rather antique style. Their periodic taste is evident by the dark and painted woods, patterned walls and carpets and gold crown molding - all of which Kelli painted herself - around nearly every ceiling light fixture in the house. Christian gives Kelli all of the credit for designing every accent in the house and for adding the numerous porcelain antiques and oil paintings that cover each room of the home.
Porcelain Pagoda: "I love big, very ornate things," says Kelli, walking from the dining room to an attached sitting room in which every hard surface is covered with Meissen and Dresden porcelain pieces ranging in size from tiny figurines to oversized lamps. All are antiques the Boehms have purchased from dealers or collected on their annual trips to Europe and other exotic places. At the beginning of April, Kelli and Christian had just returned from a week vacation to Argentina.
"[My taste] is very different from most people," Kelli says. "[Most] are very surprised when they walk in."
Seeing Double: Kelli loves collecting unique items that nobody else has - and she normally does so in pairs. Throughout the house, if there is one bedside table, chances are good there will be an identical one on the other side of the bed. Two of her favorite twin pieces are the porcelain statues that greet each visitor in their foyer and the tall, dark wood antique bedside tables with gold detailing that sandwich the upstairs guest-room bed.
Complementing Tastes: "Christian likes to decorate people with clothing and I do the home decorating," laughs Kelli, showing they have each found their niche in the aesthetic. But Christian does his fair share of decorating - at his downtown Cleveland office. "I have some stuffed fish, but those weren't allowed in the house," he says, adding the office was the only place they were permitted.
Outdoor lover: The Boehms' backyard overlooks 90 acres of wooded landscape where they see everything from deer to rabbits to the occasional coyote. An avid hunter, Christian loves anything to do with the outdoors, be it skiing, boating or camping. His daughter, Madison, takes after Christian with a love for the outdoors, making their home's location all the more appealing.
All in a day's work: Christian's job with Tom James Co. requires quite a bit of travel for selecting fabrics and staying abreast of fashions. As a couple, they average one European vacation a year, with Kelli taking advantage of their treks to seek out new pieces for their home. Christian joined the company, which supplies custom made-to-measure and ready-made attire, in 1991, working in Houston before opening a Cleveland office in 1993. Kelli works with her husband as a sales assistant.
With summer weather fast approaching, Christian and Kelli will look forward to entertaining clients and friends at their Chagrin Falls estate, hosting crawfish broils and lobster races.
Contemplating change: Although she loves their home, Kelli is already formulating ideas for their next house the couple plans to build in the near future. A bigger kitchen is definitely on the list. "I have a file with a 1,000 pictures of ideas," says Kelli, holding her hand a foot above the kitchen table to illustrate the thickness of her folder.
While the adjacent living room with an archway accented by two pillars (something Kelli says they will have more of in their next home) is a family hot spot, Kelli points to a small flat-screen television sitting on the kitchen counter and says that is the most watched television in the house. The kitchen is their family gathering place and the Boehms would like a bigger space to entertain.
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