Kim Eastburn on the porch of her dream home in Monkton.
Kim Eastburn on the porch of her dream home in Monkton. (Perna, Algerina, Baltimore Sun)

From the bucolic setting of her country home in Monkton to the gentle hum of the palm leaf paddles on the ceiling fans in her covered porch, Kim Eastburn's philosophy of decorating is apparent.

"The focus of my design practice ... is to elevate interior design beyond just the esoteric," she said. "I think there is a huge opportunity to expand the conversation of overall wellness by bringing mindfulness to where we live."

Eastburn, who blogs as The Interior Design Shrink ( and runs an interior design business, said she believes that by creating happiness on an external plane, internal calmness is sure to follow. In her work with clients, she describes seeing life-changing results — a home that goes from chaos to tranquillity, with the owner enjoying a new sense of serenity.

And in her own home, as in her business, she practices what she preaches.

"If you drove up here 10 years ago, you would not recognize the place," she said. "We bought an ugly house on a gorgeous piece of property."

Plopped down on 7 rolling acres, it was a rather nondescript brick-and-stucco rancher with a gravel driveway. She and her husband, Steve Eastburn, director of national sales for American Specialty Health based in San Diego, rented the house for two years before the owner agreed to sell it to the couple in 2001.

Kim Eastburn immediately went to work on the house, which she knew had great potential. While waiting for the builder they wanted to redesign the house, they focused on other tasks, constructing a barn, pool and pool house. When the builder became available, it was the house's turn for a makeover.

"We tore down the garage, replaced the windows, added a pitched roof [with] sprocket eves and built new chimneys," she said.

And onto the side of the original rancher, they added a family room with a coffered ceiling and a covered porch, a new kitchen and pantry, a side entrance hall to the pool area, a powder room and a slate porch with columns.

The small rancher was transformed into a 5,000-square-foot home, with Kim Eastburn's studio/office and a guest bedroom featured in the completely redesigned lower level.

A strong sense of balance is evident upon entering the Eastburns' home by way of the kitchen where Bertie and Bunny, Jack Russell terriers, greet the visitor. Here, the neutral-colored, tumbled travertine stone floor, off-white cabinets, quartz countertops and stainless-steel appliances are accented with wrought-iron accessories, such as a chandelier over an oak kitchen table, around which are six French provincial-style upholstered chairs.

A sweeping arch almost the width of the kitchen opens to the family room. The room has a soothing feel of balance and harmony, with natural materials that include cherry wood floors, a stone fireplace flanked by French doors leading to the sun porch, and solid cherry and mahogany pieces that complement upholstered transitional furniture. Paintings on the walls seem to be exactly where they were always meant to be.

"Everywhere I look, the artwork is done by someone I know or love," Kim Eastburn said.

Her treatment for the original part of the home is in keeping with the flavor she created in the new areas. The old galley-style kitchen is now a bar, painted light yellow with a mahogany counter and a hammered-brass sink. Purple transfer-ware bowls and plates provide a European feel, as do the glass knobs on the cabinet doors.

The original living and dining rooms are entered through a narrow gallery/library, and both are furnished with family heirlooms and antiques from consignment shops, including a solid mahogany sideboard, circa 1795.

"I love homes like this in Europe," she said, pointing to an oak staircase with iron railings leading to a small second-story room.

The walls of the living and dining rooms feature paintings, some in gilt frames. A gilded mirror and crystal chandelier are also parts of the furnishings in this area of the home, as well as a grandfather clock along the wall at the foot of the staircase.

The master bedroom has light green walls, floor-to-ceiling chintz curtains and a canopy bed dressed in a beige quilt. The room is reminiscent of an English country cottage, but that is not the intent.

"I'm not the kind of designer that has a theme in my mind," Eastburn said. "I think a home is a collection of things you love to be surrounded by."

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Making the dream

Dream realized: "This home has allowed us the opportunity to create the lifestyle we want to live," said interior designer Kim Eastburn. "It's been the place we raised our son, celebrated friendships, and has been the canvas for all of the creativity we needed to express."

Dream design: "Home is the place we start and end each day, and it is tied to every aspect of life outside of our front door. Yet we seem to overlook the correlation between the state of our homes and the state of our lives," Kim Eastburn said. "We have the ability to bring beauty, balance, calm, etc. into our lives by manifesting these things on the physical plane around us. The home is that opportunity."