Historic Housing With a Twist

The Bradfords love historic architecture and interesting, playful designs, which becomes evident as you tour their 1930s Nichols Hills home.

Photos by Emily Hart

Published in 405HOME Spring 2022

When Keri Bradford spies an unusual home on Instagram, she shares it immediately—not with her girlfriends or interior designer, but with her husband. At the same time, when Reagan Bradford finds an intriguing property on the County Assessor’s website, Keri is first to know.

Texts ping between them on any given day:

“I love this idea!”

“Did you see this one yet?”

“What about this color?”

“Oooooo – look at these windows!”

The Bradfords love historic architecture and interesting, playful designs, which becomes evident as you tour their 1930s Nichols Hills home. The place is full of personality and surprises, like the kitchen banquette fashioned in matching, not-so-subtle upholstery and wallpaper.

“This [design] kind of lets you know we’re quirky, we’re fun,” Keri Bradford said. “You walk into the house, and there’s striped wallpaper, very classic. And our dining room is right there, and it’s very old school. Then you turn into the kitchen, and it’s green, but still very simple. Then, you see that breakfast nook and it’s like, ‘Whoa.’”

Photo by Emily Hart

This latest home is the Bradfords’ fourth to renovate. Previous homes were located in historic neighborhoods—Linwood Place and Mesta Park—because Keri Bradford said she and her husband are drawn to old homes with creaky floors.

“We’ve talked about tearing something down and building something new, but we always come back to how rewarding it is to take something that has history and bring it back to life,” Reagan Bradford said. “Our first time doing this was with a home built in 1910. Knowing that there is 100 years of history behind you, you think, ‘Well, there’s going to be another 100 years, so let’s try to do something that has longevity.’”

With that in mind, the Bradfords ensure any structural changes align with the architectural integrity of the house. More changeable design elements—fixtures, wallpapers, paint colors—are selected for their interesting or unexpected qualities.

“Now that we’ve done a few houses, we know that if you don’t like the color in a few years, then you just repaint it. It’s not that big of a deal; it’s not the end of the world,” Keri Bradford said.

The Bradfords worked closely with the Ketch Design Centre team, especially interior designer Claire Miller. Armed with a folder of well-velveted ideas, Keri Bradford brought a lot to the table. She would often text photos of fabrics and wallpapers to her husband while she and Miller collaborated to bring those ideas to life.

“Her style is so special,” Miller said about Keri Bradford. “She’s feminine, very sweet, but then so fearless and bold at the same time. So you see the dining room that has the chintzy floral from Schumacher that’s so pretty, but then you go back to the Cole and Son [Miami pattern] in the kitchen, and there’s your punch factor. It all flows so well together, too.”

Colorful punches can be spotted in every room. One example is the wallpapered ceiling in the playroom: The walls were painted white to reflect the airy, sunny feel of the bay windows, so the wallpapered ceiling brings in the pattern and colors. Another wallop is the small bathroom in the back of the home—a color explosion with awe-inspiring details.

“Most people would think, ‘Let’s keep it really simple because it’s tiny,’ but I was like, ‘Oh, it’s tiny. Let’s just fill it with stuff!’” Keri Bradford explained.

Reagan and Keri Bradford aren’t the only ones with an eye for design. Their daughters—Hattie Mae (12) and Frances (9)—join in the fun, too. “My favorite rooms are the girls’ rooms, because they had input there,” Reagan Bradford said. “Neither one of them pushed for something you’d expect a tween to ask for. They’d look at an Architectural Digest we have sitting on the coffee table and say, ‘Look at this, Mom.’ It brings me a lot of joy watching them participate in it too.”

The Bradfords are constantly comparing notes, sorting through inspirational images and melding ideas, even when they don’t have an active project going. Though they get the itch to move and start fresh every few years, for now, they seem content in their latest home.

“We’ve finished the pool house, but we decided we want to jazz it up a little more,” Reagan Bradford said. Keri Bradford has a few ideas.

Let the texting commence.