When I first visited artist Allison Lackner's home with my three-year-old daughter for a playdate, I couldn't stop looking at her walls and shelves lined with beautiful artwork and asking her questions about all of her furniture and decor. Allison has lived in her Gingerbread bungalow, which was one of the first houses built in the Tulsa midtown neighborhood, for a decade. She currently shares the home with her husband Ian, daughter Claudette, dogs Phoebe and Domino, and cats Madison and Archibald. Over the years, Allison and Ian have filled their home with multiple layers of vintage furniture, handmade pieces and interesting objects. Their home is fascinating to walk through because of its artistic charm, but it is equally as comfortable to curl up on the sofa for a viewing of "Beauty and the Beast." We hope you enjoy the tour and Q&A with Allison!
What do you love most about your space? We love that most of the original charm has been preserved throughout the house, such as the original unpainted molding and the leaded glass windows. My favorite original feature is the butler’s pantry. Upon walking into the house for the first time, we felt like it was home. This is the first thing anyone says when they enter our house, “it feels so warm and comfortable.”
What is your favorite home project you've completed? It’s a tie between our recently renovated modern bathroom and the meticulously hand cut and pasted ceiling pattern in the breakfast nook/Claud’s playroom. The idea for the ceiling project started with a series of art installation projects I created in grad school. I was using antique patterned scrap paper to wallpaper doll houses, and thought why not do the same on a larger scale.
Your home is filled with your beautiful artwork. Can you pick a favorite piece and tell us a bit about it? That would be my Dismembered Ballerina, you may not have even noticed her. She’s sitting in the china cabinet. She’s part of a larger piece but she’s the only figurative sculpture that I’ve ever done and it’s a very personal piece about my struggles with my own anxiety. I also really love the monoprint of my grandparents above the desk in my living room. It’s based on a photograph that my mom always had on display.
What is your favorite piece of artwork in your home that isn't yours–why? This would have to be the ceramic dress hanging in my dining room, made by my friend Kate Dameron. She was my studio mate in grad school, we used to spend hours together searching for vintage items to use in our art.
We love how you integrate your daughter's toys and art supplies throughout your home. Any tips for blending kid stuff in with your decor? I try search for functional attractive pieces that blend into the “grown up” spaces in the house. I want every room to be just as functional for her as it is for us. Furniture that can be multifunctional, or that doubles as storage is a great way to hide “kid stuff” in plain sight.
Where do you get inspiration for decorating your home? Atomic Ranch was definitely a big influence early on, even though we don’t have a mid century home. Our eclectic personalities contrast and compliment throughout each space. I was taught by a very dear friend to “fill the page,” which influenced my kitschy aesthetic. Ian has a desire for more minimal spaces, so we try to strike a balance between form and function. A lot of elements in the house are purely form though.
My father has been a constant influence in design in my life. As a cabinet designer, he exposed me to all styles of design growing up.
Every part of your home is thoughtfully filled. What do you consider to be your decorating style? I've always been fascinated by the “cabinet of curiosities” type of museums that were prevalent around the turn of the 20th century. My dining room is a good example of this.
Why do you think it's important to have vintage pieces in your home? I draw artistic inspiration from it. It connects us to our past in a way. Vintage pieces illicit questions, curiosity, intrigue into the stories of lives past, of people and places and things forgotten. It’s a sort of remembrance of those things, of the legacies they contain. Ian and I have always loved old things since childhood and were often told we were born in the wrong era. And if nothing else, design was just better then, craftsmen actually cared about making beautiful functional things and consumers were willing to appreciate them.
Why do you think it's important, worthwhile to have a beautiful home? Beaty is subjective. What’s important is that a home feels warm, safe and full of life. Those are the precursors to beauty.
Favorite places to find furniture and home decor in Tulsa? Retro Den of course. Mod 50's has always been a go to. Tulsa Flea at the fairgrounds is a great place to find odds and ends. Spending a weekend antique store hopping is an ideal weekend, which we seldom enjoy these days, but would highly recommend to anyone just getting into home decor. Ian and I both long for the days of thrift stores in the 90s, when nobody wanted “old junk” and you could pick up super cool pieces for next to nothing. But we live in a post Mad Men world, and well, let’s just say things are different now.
Favorite Retro Den piece? Our Broyhill Brasilia china cabinet. This was our first big purchase as husband and wife.
Tell us about your job as an art teacher here in Tulsa. I teach several programs at Gilcrease Museum ranging in age from roughly 1-100. My background is in fine arts, and I especially love sharing this with children. My favorite program that I teach is called Mini Masters, where I get to teach them about pieces of art in the museum’s collection, and introduce them to many artistic materials and techniques that they otherwise might not have access to in their schools.
What do you love about Tulsa right now? The food! Ian and I love to cook and spend most of our free time doing so. It’s great to see a culinary scene where both entrepreneurs and patrons are willing to take risks and try new things. We love that Tulsa is becoming more like Tulsa and less like Suburban Anywhere, USA. It’s beginning to feel like Tulsa has an identity again.