Renovated Clifton shotgun home mixes eclectic items, handmade art with emphasis on comfort

Before Kay and Jon Wissing lived together in their two-bedroom shotgun in Clifton, the house belonged solely to Kay.

“I bought it myself (in 2014), before the dog and the husband (were around),” she told The Courier Journal with a laugh. “I just always wanted an old home with character. It needed some work, (but) that’s what I was looking for.”

Perfect palette

The greatroom in Jon and Kay Wissing's home. May 27, 2022
The greatroom in Jon and Kay Wissing's home. May 27, 2022

Kay took her time working on the home that was built in the 1800s, slowly converting it into a space that would fit her style and needs.

“I’m an artist,” she said. “I do woodworking and painting and (things) like that, so that came in handy.”


She adds that much of her inspiration comes from films and other aspects of her childhood. “I think (that while) growing up,” she explained, “I learned to do a lot of things like painting (and) woodworking (and) whatever else … because I wanted to decorate my home. So that all kind of played into figuring out how to do it myself.”

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Kay credits her love for a well-designed home to her mother, who introduced her to interior design. She says her dad also played a part in nurturing her creativity, and even helped her craft the home into the space it is today.

“(My dad) continues to be by my side (with) tools in hand whenever I get my next big idea,” she said. “Every time he makes me a new piece of furniture he signs and dates the bottom. I love knowing that those will live on in my future homes and for generations to come.”

Favorite features

The kitchen in Jon and Kay Wissing's home. May 27, 2022
The kitchen in Jon and Kay Wissing's home. May 27, 2022

From hand-painted walls to one-of-a-kind sculptures, there are unique aspects to be seen in every corner of the Wissing home. Jon really enjoys the kitchen, which was built primarily with pieces from IKEA.

“(It’s) a great size kitchen for a shotgun,” Kay said, adding that her dad built the island, which can slide apart and move around. “A lot of thought goes into (things like this) when there’s not a lot of storage. (There are also) a lot of added built-ins.”

While she also loves the kitchen, her favorite feature of their home is just outside. “I really love the view from our bed, weirdly enough,” she said. “I don’t have curtains, so you always wake up with the natural light, and it’s just a really cool shot, looking out the window.”

Lighting is key for Kay. She says good lighting does most of the work to create a perfect atmosphere. “It is a struggle to find bulbs dim and warm enough,” she explained, “or old light fixtures (that) will need a dimmer added.”

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Old fixtures and other pieces that can be restored or repurposed are among the things that Kay likes to incorporate into her design.

“That’s most exciting for me … when I get a deal and it looks really good,” she said. “That’s (how) I can afford to have nice things — to get them secondhand.”

Authentic artwork

The artroom in Jon and Kay Wissing's home. May 27, 2022
The artroom in Jon and Kay Wissing's home. May 27, 2022

Kay converted one of the home’s bedrooms into her art room and ceramics studio, but her creations and collections certainly aren’t contained within that one space. In the living room, her painting of their dog, Boo, hangs near an assortment of framed family photos; in the bedroom, she has repurposed a piece from their wedding to add a design element behind the headboard.

“We had (the wallpaper mural) as a backdrop (at our ceremony),” she explained. “We turned it into kind of an art piece. … Everything comes back for the house.”

Her eclectic mix of items and handmade art pieces fit together in a way that seems purposeful but not forced.

“My goal with my design and décor is to make everyone who visits feel immediately comfortable and at home,” she said.

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Jon agrees, saying their home reflects a carefully curated assortment of items that complement each other. “It’s kind of like being in a museum,” he said. “(Getting to see) her creativity is kind of like being inside of her head, which is really neat.”

Know a house that would make a great Home of the Week? Email writer Lennie Omalza at or Lifestyle Editor Kathryn Gregory at

nuts & bolts

Owners: Kay and Jon Wissing. Kay is an artist and real estate marketing manager. Jon is a marketing account director. Also in the home are their dog, Boo, and cat, Hank.

Home: This is a 2-bed, 1-bath, 1,527-square-foot, shotgun home in Clifton that was built in the 1800s.

Distinctive elements: Storage added throughout, including some custom retrofitted to blend in with the historic look of the home; mural wallpaper over bed from Anthropologie; picture rail added for easy hanging and moving of art includes mixture of thrifted pieces, family heirlooms, and newer budget items, mixed to create an eclectic, lived-in look.

Applause! Applause! Kay would like to thank Lauren Wempe, a great friend with impeccable taste and class who is always there to provide the best advice and help curate the best spaces; her mother, Kathy Rohlfing, who introduced Kay to interior design and passed on her love for a well-designed home; and her father, Charlie Rohlfing, who nurtured her every curiosity and taught her how to bring every wild and colorful dream to life.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Renovated Clifton shotgun home mixes eclectic items, handmade art