Designer for Hire

Home is where the balance is

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We take a peek inside the home of interior and landscape designer Kathryn Prideaux, whose house balances family life and a modern/mid-century aesthetic. Plus, tips on how to get the look. Story and photos by Rachel Miller


The carrara marble table was a steal at $275

They adorn the pages of décor magazines, those beautiful houses with sleek sophisticated lines and nary a hint of clutter, the young children or even the family that supposedly lives in them.

Dwell and the like might be the fantasy décor porn for the parents of small children whose reality is tripping over school backpacks and LEGOs, but is the simple beauty from these magazine pages realistic for most of us with children? Or maintainable?

Before admitting defeat and sacrificing the Noguchi coffee table to the rampages of toddlers or teens, consider the home of interior and landscape designer Kathryn Prideaux, husband Ryan and daughters Minda and Eva. It is not the austere, almost stark beauty of a magazine home; rather, Kathryn and Ryan have created something simple, beautiful and functional. This home is a reflection of the owners’ bustling life: bean bags for kids to lounge on, deep sofas for snuggling, sleek cabinets for storage that grace, rather than dominate, a room, and subtle earth tones in the paint and accessories bringing it all together.


An Eames surfboard table and IKEA storage in the living room

Kathryn, owner of Prideaux Design in Tucson, has a love for those looks in magazine pages. But she has found balance. She highlights the family’s passions in a mixture of new, vintage and found materials, from the quilts sewn by youngest daughter Minda to a Japanese doll from Kathryn’s childhood.

About the home: The 2200 square foot home in northwest Tucson was built in 2014. Kathryn and her family are the second owners, moving in in the Fall of 2014.

squeeze, splash, pop of color to living room

A pop of color in the living room

Describe your style: Says Kathryn: “I would say my style is a blend of mid-century modern, modern and rustic modern. I am definitely minimal in my aesthetic, but I like a home to be warm and inviting. Several of my friends have described our home as ‘comfy’. I think that is a compliment, especially when I decorate in such a modern way. I love clean lines and simple décor, but I don’t think a home should be sterile or institutional. A home should highlight the things you love, the places you have been, and the memories that mean something to you.”

Your fave thing about your home: “My favorite part of the house is the location! After living so far north west of town we are so happy to be in such a convenient location [near Oracle and Magee]. We can even walk to stores and restaurants. I love the lighting in this home. I really appreciated what the previous owners put into it. We were so lucky to find a home with amazing fixtures by Tech Lighting and lots of wonderful 4” can lights on dimmers, accent lights and sconces. People just don’t pay enough attention to lighting in a home. It is so important. The previous owners also upgraded all the switches to [motion sensor and dimmer switches from] Legrand and I am a complete convert. So spoiled by these  switches. Who knew what an awesome luxury a beautiful switch plate could be?”

Biggest splurge: “A nine-foot sofa by Restoration Hardware. I love the size of it. It has deep and comfy cushions with down overfill. This is where my two daughters and I curl up to watch movies. It is completely slip-covered and washable, so it is family-friendly.”

Can you make out what the painting says?

Best bargain: “That is hard to choose. I love a good bargain! I would say our marble dining room table is the best bargain though. I found it at Homestyle Galleries consignment shop for $275 and it’s carrara marble. It has a bit of an 80’s form and style, but I am just fine with that. I think the 80’s are finding their way back in home decor. Oh boy!”

My DIY moment: “We installed all of the wall units in the main living room – the wall hanging buffet and TV media cabinets. They are all from the IKEA Besta system. I LOVE their new door color, Creme, which is a very warm grey color.

Favorite resources: “Estate sales are the best. I have found so many beautiful and unique pieces at amazing estate sales, like the large art piece in our entryway. Jerry Schuster, of AZ Modern in Tucson [where Kathryn bought her Eames surfboard table] is an excellent resource. I also love to go up to Phoenix and hit the MCM shops like Modern Manor (end tables in living room). I do a lot of online shopping. Etsy is incredible for handmade pieces (the wood and cable shelving system in entry, the walnut floating shelves on the TV wall). I shop Craigslist and eBay too (tulip side tables, brass urchin poms on TV wall). I just got back from [home show] Las Vegas Market and found so many great trade resources for furniture and accessories.”

Tucson treasures: “I absolutely loved the market at Mercado San Agustin over the holidays. There were so many great local vendors and artists. I also love the Metal Arts Village where I had my studio for so many years. There are some really talented artists there. Tucson is a very exciting place to be these days. There are so many designers and artists and architects that are doing incredible work.”

*Take-away lesson: Our take away from Kathryn’s home is to rethink your storage spaces. Practical but beautiful storage options can be subtle rather than dominating a room, while storing all that stuff that many of us tend to accumulate. We particularly loved the use of the IKEA Besta system in the living room. We also loved the lighting choices in this home and the hint of 80’s retro in the lighting fixtures. Some reminded us of the entryway light fixture in Paula and Clif Taylor’s home. Smoky lamps are apparently on their way back!

* Find Prideaux Design at


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Are you digging these digs? Get the look locally

  • You can peruse Jerry Schuster’s AZ Modern Tucson site for pieces like Kathryn’s Eames surfboard coffee table.
  • Tucson has a whole host of talented artists. Catherine Eyde, one of Eva’s favorites, has prints and originals available across town.
  • Kathryn and her daughters like to thrift shop for mid-century modern accessories and ornaments. Take your children with you to Tucson’s thrift stores to choose items you all will love.

And try these lookalikes we found (contains Amazon Affiliates):


From left to right: Ikea Besta system, cabinets start at $50 at Ikea; Alina Pendant lights $453.60 from Tech Lighting at Amazon ; Legrand light switches $49.98 on AmazonBelgian Track Arm Sofa from $1995 from Restoration Hardware