Style Inside: Antique Central
The multitude of highly collectible antiques—portraits, statues, silver, furniture and more—that graces the home of Jon Davis and Dan Shelton is much more than just treasures. It represents memories, various excursions around the world, and an appreciation of the past. The Central West End residence is a reflection of the pair’s taste and passion for collecting beautiful things.
T&S | How long have you lived in the home?
Jon Davis | We bought the building 10 years ago and spent one and a half years completely rehabbing it. We literally gutted it down to four brick walls. Every single thing in the 3,500 square feet of existing space was rebuilt, and we added on another 2,500 square feet. We have an antiques shop, Shelton Davis Antiques, on the first floor.
T&S | Are you used to living in this style house?
JD | We moved from Compton Heights, where we lived for 23 years. We had renovated two houses there, and our last one was huge with a very large yard. We absolutely loved it and thought we would stay there forever, but when we were presented with the opportunity to buy this building, it was too good to pass up. Besides buying and selling antiques, I’m a designer and contractor as well, so this building was a testament to my work. I designed all of it and worked with my brother and his best friend to build it. Architecture and rebuilding old homes is a passion of both mine and Dan’s.
T&S | Did you change the original layout a lot?
JD | When we bought the house, the rooms were completely closed off from each other. We knocked down a lot of walls to open it up, and it feels like a much bigger house now. The living room is one of our favorite spots, and it opens up to the sunroom and rooftop garden. It’s great when we entertain because guests can mill about from the garden to the living room.
T&S | The patio garden is beautiful. Is that a hobby of yours?
JD | Dan is an outstanding gardener, so he takes care of all that. We’ve always had a huge yard, and all the landscaping was done in the dirt, so this was a big change to do a container garden. It’s great because even though you’re on the second floor, you still have an outdoor space.
T&S | The kitchen seems simpler than other areas of the house. Was that on purpose?
JD | To some degree. The kitchen is totally visible from the dining room and partially from the living room, so my goal was to make it look like a library, using lots of wood and showcasing the natural beauty of the stone countertops. I wanted it to be formal and sleek and not scream out, ‘There’s the kitchen!’
T&S | How would you describe your style? Has it changed over the years?
JD | Our style is traditional but very eclectic. In many ways, it’s more diverse and eclectic than a lot of contemporary interiors. We probably have a diversity of 200 years of antiques. Dan and I have been together 36 years, and even when we first met, we both loved antiques. But I think we’ve refined our taste as we’ve gotten older. We’ve learned more and been more places.
T&S | What do you like collecting?
JD | Pretty much everything … a lot of paintings. We’re especially passionate about portraiture. We collect silver and decorative arts. We just love beautiful things! Our favorite period is the Gilded Age, the late 19th century, but we have pieces that are far older and some newer. I have many different favorites, but they could change on any given day.
T&S | What is your decorating philosophy?
JD | I’m a big believer in finding things as you find them. I wait for something to come along, and the perfect piece always does. If you’re patient enough, you will develop a home and interior that you are always passionate about.
T&S | Any stories behind the animal pieces in the bedroom?
JD | The rug is an antique Kodiak bear rug that is at least 100 years old, and the parrot is an unusually large Austrian cold-painted bronze. The peacock in the far corner was my pet as a child! I grew up on a farm and got him from my parents when I was 12. He was quite mean and met an early demise when he tried to attack my dad because our Australian Shepherd grabbed him. I always told them I wanted to keep him, so my parents showed up on my doorstep one day with him. I’ve had him in this condition since I was 21.
T&S | What do you appreciate most about your current home?
JD | The main thing is that we’re able to have our antiques shop right where we want it. Also, Compton Heights was very residential, and it didn’t have quite the vitality of this area. We really love being able to stroll out the door and go to a restaurant or walk around. It’s fun sitting on the rooftop because you can hear people having a good time and music from the bars. You always feel like you’re on vacation. And we just love the space we developed. It’s very comfortable and works well for us.
Photos: Suzy Gorman