Keep it cozy, casual, and unique—that’s the Motto Katie Gaston adheres to when decorating the circa-1929 Homewood abode she shares with husband Michael. “I have always loved that cozy, cottage feel, so I’ve constantly been drawn to comfortable interiors, ” she says. “I try to keep it fun and just a little quirky.”
Katie purchased the historic house in 2008 before she was married. Since then, the home has undergone two renovations, all without changing the footprint of the structure. “It’s important to me to keep as much of the original house as possible, just updating parts of it as needed, ” Katie explains.
A new coat of paint and updated light fixtures were the main changes in most of the original rooms, but the kitchen received a major overhaul. “We took out a wall to open it up a bit and added a breakfast nook, ” Katie says. “Luckily, we were able to add the nook without changing the foundation in any way.”
Another major part of the renovation process was creating more usable space for Katie and Michael, who married in 2011. An existing bedroom was reformed to serve as a master bathroom and closet. And the couple also completed the basement, adding in a bedroom and bathroom downstairs, along with a small living room.
“The house has just been a process over time, ” Katie says. “We’ve tried to create a place we can actually live in and not have to tiptoe around anything. So we’ve just taken our time with it and let it evolve on its own.”
When Katie is not decorating her house, she spends much of her time buying merchandise for her home and gift store, Full Circle, located in Forest Park. And sometimes the two tasks overlap, as was the case when she found the vintage wooden Italian café chairs for her dining room while on a shopping spree for her shop. “I knew the chairs would just make the room pop, ” says Katie. “That’s what I’m always trying to find for both the store and my home—something I can enjoy looking at every single day. To me, that’s what decorating is all about.”
ABOVE LEFT “I love Christmas and the holidays, but going all out and decorating isn’t realistic for me, ” says Katie. Instead, she utilizes items already on hand, such as glass jars filled with simple greenery from the backyard, to create a natural holiday look. “Just taking a wreath and looping a ribbon over the top can really change its look, ” she says.
ABOVE RIGHT The breakfast nook, an addition that was made without changing the structure’s footprint, serves as a popular hangout for not only Katie and Michael but also family and friends. “The banquette is a cozy spot to enjoy the morning together, ” Katie says. “And the table is perfect for our nieces and nephews to gather around when they come to visit.”
TIP: Beautiful wreaths are an easy do-it-yourself project. Simply purchase a pre-formed wreath and insert a few stems from the yard such as magnolia, nandina, and holly to create a just-purchased-from-the-nursery look.
ABOVE Katie’s home décor has been a collection over time of items she can’t live without, such as the vintage Italian café chairs and vintage chandelier in the dining room. “I hate to pass something up that I just love, ” she says. “I know I can always find a place for it eventually.”
Katie’s Forest Park shop, Full Circle, opened in 2011. With a lifelong interest in interior design and her past experience as an antiques dealer, Katie decided this was the logical next step in her décor obsession. “I was ready to get more into accessories rather than just focusing on formal European antiques, ” she explains. “I also wanted to start mixing accessories with things that were handmade and made in the USA.”
Full Circle carries clothing, jewelry, and home décor accessories, including textiles, candles, and furniture. Katie maintains the store much like she does her home, making sure never to sway from her signature style. “We really sell a little bit of everything, but in the back of my mind, I always try to keep it unique and fun, ” Katie says. “I want the store to be a place where people can go to find something they wouldn’t find elsewhere.”
This holiday season, Katie is decking the halls of her own house with many items she sells in her shop. “We’re bringing even more holiday items into the store this year, ” she says. “Just like at home, I’m trying to keep it pretty natural with décor that doesn’t scream Christmas but is still festive.” Here, Katie shares some tips for holiday decorating:
ABOVE LEFT When creating containers of greenery, wrap some wire around the bottom of the leaves on each steam to make them look fuller.
ABOVE RIGHT Felted animal ornaments, mercury glass jars and felted wool garland create a simple yet jovial holiday feel.
ABOVE LEFT Even packages can maintain a natural look, including the nametags. This holiday season, custom stationery and paper goods are a highlight of Full Circle’s offerings.
ABOVE RIGHT Olive trees, a symbol of peace, are a natural addition to holiday decor.
ABOVE AND BELOW RIGHT Ornaments don’t have to be in traditional holiday colors—and they don’t have to grace the limbs of a tree. Try blending them in containers with greenery or adding them to tabletop décor for a more unique approach.
ABOVE LEFT Add the aroma of your favorite vino with Rewined wine-themed candles, a top seller at Full Circle.
Full Circle • 3908 Clairmont Avenue South. 205.202.5907.
text by Paige Townley • photography by Jean Allsopp