Kathy Ganley’s home in suburban Minneapolis is at once an inviting, expansive space for her family as well as an informal art gallery. “Art is like the jewelry to an outfit. It’s one of a kind, and I think it’s just a way to make a house feel like a home,” says the Midwestern representative for Mason Lane Art Advisors. Her palatial 6,500-square-foot home is a showcase for original paintings, woodcuts, and photographs—there’s even a still life in the laundry room. “You’re in there, why shouldn’t you look at something that’s awesome?” Ganley says cheerfully.
Her eclectic approach to displaying art balances styles, materials, and design elements—while occasionally even subverting expectations. A massive oil painting by Richard Kooyman hangs in a utility space where an iMac helps keep track of family schedules. “We added the desk in the kitchen,” Ganley says. “You need the computer nearby, checking people’s schedules. Messages coming in from school. Everyone lives in the kitchen.”
The wall decor ranges from Benjamin Moore paint to Phillip Jeffries grasscloth wallpaper. “I think Kathy likes wallpaper because it has that soft texture rather than flat paint,” says interior designer Brandi Hagen, who has worked with Ganley for 10 years and helped collaborate on her home. “It’s just a better background for her art collection.”
The floor plan is traditional. To the right of the entrance foyer, there is a formal living room; to the left, a formal dining room. The kitchen, family room, and sunroom take up back parts of the house. Upstairs, there are five bedrooms and four bathrooms. The backyard pond was a favorite spot for her children to ice skate in the winters when they were young (two of the Ganley’s three children now attend college out of state; the youngest is at a local high school). These rooms often feature Ganley’s prize furnishings brought over from London, where the family lived for a decade. Ganley discovered the dining room’s elegant French sideboard, inset with blue tiles, at an antiques store. “You can put a pitcher of water or a bottle of wine [on them] and you don’t have to worry about damaging the wood,” she says. A reupholstered George Smith chair in the family room is the perfect place to binge-watch Bridgerton or The Crown.
Some of the art reminds Ganley of specific times in her life. Case in point: an acrylic painting by Michael Schultheis over the 1950s-style Hickory Chair sofa in the family room. “He does these abstract paintings based on whiteboards,” Ganley says. “You know how a whiteboard has stuff written [on it], then it’s erased but you still see something behind it? My husband and I met in business school so the whole economics-whiteboard thing resonated with us.”
The living room’s muted tones contrast dramatically with the ultramarine splash of an oil painting by Rebecca Kinkead of three divers. The canvas reminds Ganley of summers at the family’s second home in Leland, Michigan, 12 hours or so away by car. “When my husband and I looked at it, we thought, That just takes us to the cottage. And the kids jumping off the dock at night.”
Ganley occasionally moves the artwork around depending on her mood, but she herself is staying put in the Midwest, learning the art market for prospective customers. “In London, it was so easy to find art,” she says. “I moved here (just over a decade ago) and it took a long time to figure out how to access works. I’m excited to help people learn. Buying art is fun. I think there’s an opportunity here to do that.”