Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Bold Home for Her Travels

By Megan M. Seckman

Take a step into Diane Kelton’s patio home and you take a step into her sense of adventure. You will not see the president of Baptist East Milestone Wellness Center fretting over clutter or shades of taupe with a designer. You will never hear her describe her style as “minimalist” or even “coordinated.”

No, living beautifully to Diane is something a bit more vibrant, a bit more daring, a bit more characteristic of life itself — bold and busy. Living beautifully, in Diane’s domain, doesn’t really have a label or a particular style — it is constantly evolving and reflective of the people that come in and out of her life. It is a mosaic of gifts, a curation of travel, a museum of memories.

Diane purchased this mask while traveling in Venice, Italy. Photos by Melissa Donald 
Diane is an enthusiastic traveler and enjoys collecting mementos from her adventures abroad. Two expansive curio cabinets display a slice of her international experiences: hand-crafted dolls from Portugal, figurines of Flamenco dancers from Salamanca, Spain,a folklore story from Nicaragua, a camel from Kazakhstan, and statues from India and Nepal, to name a few. Her entire space is a menagerie of wanderlust and intercontinental exploration.

Every room in Diane's home has a splash of color and an array of artwork. Here, she stands in her kitchen. 
Pictures adorn her walls from as near as the Napa Valley to as far as Iraq. The palette of her space is as varied as her travels — bold reds with black and white stripes in the living area, spring green faux paint in the kitchen, a three-tiered floral chandelier above her dining room table, and a black toilet in the guest bathroom.

“I just like color,” Diane says of her style. “I buy these things on trips [like a recent piece portraying the Day of the Dead from San Miguel], and people wonder how I know it will fit in. I can just see things come together. I’m not afraid to take a risk, and everything here has meaning to me, so in my eyes, it just works.”

Diane has traveled to 45 countries and, since moving into her patio home in Prospect, has hosted dinner for 20 international groups from the World Council of Affairs. In 2011, she hosted Thanksgiving for a group from the Middle-East. Each gift her guests bring her is displayed with pride — without fuss over curating a tailored look. Every surface is filled with a memory — Moroccan candlesticks or a Shabbat wine set from Israel — each telling a story of an adventure or a culture she’s welcomed into her home.

Diane purchased the hand painted ostrich egg while in South Africa. She used this fabric, which is from Morocco, to make pillows.  
This January, Diane is headed to Argentina; in May, she’s going to China. Of all her travels, Diane’s experiences in the Third World have had the most impact. She’s been on a mission trip with WaterStep to Haiti and traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam after reading the book The Killing Fields. There, she helped to raise money for local villages.
This July Diane celebrates her 60th birthday, and she’s not sure where she’s heading just yet. It’s a milestone, 60, and she has so many more places to see on her bucket list. No matter where she heads, it will be an adventure to remember, with a memento to remind her of life lived beautifully.

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