The Good Life: House Tour with Editor-in-Chief Jessica Kellner

Take a house tour with Mother Earth Living’s editor-in-chief Jessica Kellner.

| July/August 2014

  • Exterior of Editor-in-Chief Jessica Kellner's House
    The home’s south-facing front makes it ideal for a solar photovoltaic array, as well as the perfect place to grow peppers, tomatoes and herbs. The raised planter is an elevated table garden from Minifarmbox (minifarmbox.com).
    Photo by Barry Rustin
  • View of the Family Room in the Kellner-Duft Household
    James made the coffee table in the front room from an antique door. The handmade ladder leads to a storage loft.
    Photo by Barry Rustin
  • Family Portrait of the Kellner-Duft Family
    Homeowners Jessica Kellner and James Duft and their son enjoy the trails in the 14 acres of woods they share with their neighbors.
    Photo by Barry Rustin
  • View of the Open Living Room Design
    A wide set of sliding doors leads out to the side porch and yard, and makes the back part of the house feel open and connected with the outdoors.
    Photo by Barry Rustin
  • Skylights and Exposed Beams in the Master Bedroom
    A sloping ceiling line with exposed beams lends interest and allows the bedroom décor to stay minimal. Skylights along both sides of the bedroom create the feeling of sleeping under the stars.
    Photo by Barry Rustin
  • Bedtime Stories in the Nursery Room
    In the nursery, an organic cotton Prairie Rug (prairierugs.com) next to storage cubes made of recycled paper from Way Basics (waybasics.com) makes a good place for reading together.
    Photo by Barry Rustin
  • Large Open Kitchen
    Open shelves and skylights make for a bright and cheery kitchen.
    Photo by Barry Rustin
  • Side of the Kellner-Duft Household
    On the side of the house are two porches. One, to the left, is shielded from view by kudzu and houses a wood-fired pizza oven. The other is shaded by an apple tree. The yard’s flowers and herbs attract bees and hummingbirds.
    Photo by Barry Rustin
  • Sunroom and Dining Room
    In the sunroom, a built-in planter grows greens nearly year-round. Local artist Erok Johannsen painted the mural on the wall based on photos he took at the back edge of the property. The table is an 1800s auction find.
    Photo by Barry Rustin
  • TV and Entertainment room in the Kellner-Duft Household
    The master bedroom floats above the back living room in the part of the house that made up a small addition a few years after the first remodel. This part of the house has in-floor radiant heat beneath concrete floors.
    Photo by Barry Rustin

  • Exterior of Editor-in-Chief Jessica Kellner's House
  • View of the Family Room in the Kellner-Duft Household
  • Family Portrait of the Kellner-Duft Family
  • View of the Open Living Room Design
  • Skylights and Exposed Beams in the Master Bedroom
  • Bedtime Stories in the Nursery Room
  • Large Open Kitchen
  • Side of the Kellner-Duft Household
  • Sunroom and Dining Room
  • TV and Entertainment room in the Kellner-Duft Household

One of my favorite parts of my job as editor of Mother Earth Living is connecting with you, our readers. Our audience feels sort of like a family.

We connect in numerous ways. We correspond through email. At our Mother Earth News Fairs (for which my husband, James, is programming director) I see and chat with readers from all over about their lives. When I go on-site to a photo shoot, I get the chance to spend the day in the homes of the awesome people who we feature in the magazine. And through our various social media pages (if you don’t already, please meet up with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, InstagramGoogle+ or YouTube), you all share with us everything from pictures of your homes, gardens and families to what you ate for dinner last night.

I love the sense of community we feel when we share our triumphs (a huge chard harvest!), our discoveries (the best mushroom-barley risotto recipe) and our challenges (“What can I freeze vegetables in that isn’t made of plastic?!?”). Recently, I decided I wanted to enhance that feeling of community by sharing my home and family with you.

I’m not the perfect example of “Mother Earth living” (I doubt anyone feels their home is perfect). But here at Mother Earth Living, we’re not really about perfection—we’re about living better, closer to the earth, closer to the seasons, and closer to one another. In that spirit, I hope you enjoy this tour of my home—and I hope you’ll share photos of your own home with the Mother Earth Living community.



A Lucky Catch

My husband, James, and I were lucky to find our home. On the prairie just outside the city limits of Lawrence, Kansas, our house is one of five on an 18-acre property. The homes are clustered together, and we and our neighbors share the adjoining 14 acres of woods and trails where we walk our dogs every night, hunt for morel mushrooms in spring, build fires in fall and sled in winter. Out of respect for the neighbors in our small community, the former homeowners didn’t want to list the house through conventional means, and instead put the word out through friends. Lucky for us, our boss is a friend of the former owner’s sister (they went to grad school together 20 years before), and he tipped us off. At the time we were living in a condo on the other side of town and I wasn’t convinced I wanted to buy any property. But the owner mentioned a built-in sunroom, concrete floors, a wood-burning stove...we decided to go check it out.

As soon as we walked in, my ambivalence evaporated (along with any semblance of a poker face I might have had). The house was on the small side (a plus to me) and included many interesting features: a wood-fired pizza and bread oven, a sunroom with a built-in planter, in-floor radiant heat, and a floating mezzanine-style bedroom. I’d been an editor at Natural Home magazine for years, so I’d seen many of these features in the homes we included in the magazine, but none in a house for sale.






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