It would be easy to become a homebody if your home looked like Isabel Ladd’s—her home is her sanctuary. Said Ladd, “My favorite place to be is my home. It is my happy place, my safe place. The place where I just love to be, all the time.” And though she’s often questioned about how she can keep such a beautiful house with children living there, she believes the two are not mutually exclusive.
“I wholeheartedly believe that you don't have to sacrifice style just because you've got kids. The two can coexist,” said Ladd. She encourages clients to decorate the rooms their families use most, be it a mud room, family room, or playroom. She added, “If the kids have a lovely space to call their own, then they're more likely to take pride in keeping it nice and organized and tidy and take care of their things, which then makes them respect things more.” Even her kitchen was designed with her kids in mind since she saw it as “a gathering space” and an “extension of the living room.”
“My favorite place to be is my home. It is my happy place, my safe place. The place where I just love to be, all the time.”
– Isabel Ladd
In her kitchen, Ladd made sure the kids had their own space for refrigeration. “The kids, they have their own refrigerator with, like, their … very sugary drinks and then my boyfriend and I, we have our own refrigerator drawer that has all of our cocktails.” In fact, her family has a mocktail hour several times a week. “I just envisioned this kitchen as a place for us to hang out. My boyfriend cooks a lot, but I talk a lot. So that's how we use this kitchen is him doing his cooking thing and me doing my, like, jabbering thing,” she laughed.
How Isabel Entertains
She may not be head chef in her own kitchen, but Isabel Ladd does consider herself to be a “professional harvester.” Said Ladd, “I know the best places in Lexington [Kentucky] to get the things that I love for entertaining. Who makes the best pimento cheese? Who makes the best barbecue? Who makes the best pastries? Who makes the best this or that. I harvest from all of these places. Then I arrange it beautifully for a presentation.”
And what are her go-to entertaining pieces? “Platters to me are so important. I love serving dishes that are over-the-top and really pretty. I love beautiful pitchers, beautiful glasses, and beautiful cakes,” she said. Originally from Brazil, one simple dish she loves to serve is Pao de Queijo or Brazilian cheese bread. "I buy them frozen and I put them in the oven or in the wall oven. it just heats up so fast and the kids can do it.” She may not whip up a feast for a crowd, but she knows how to make entertaining easier and beautiful. Ladd added, “This is one room where I can, like, make it easy and have my parties really be a feast for the eyes.”