Pop art and whimsy: homeowners want visitors to laugh, “but not too much.”

  • A devilish Liberace painting in the living room. Hillary Levin

  • Purses by Netherlands accessories designer RommydeBommy decorate a wall between the kitchen and hearth room.

  • The McGees' dining room features a number of hidden treasures, including banana shoes on the shelf at left. (Marianne saw Whoopi Goldberg wearing a pair and found some of her own online.) The Mona Lisa cabinet holds colorful dishes. At right is a Laura Lloyd sculpture. Hillary Levin

  • Fun, whimsical and colorful, whether it be furniture, paintings, sculpture, or other pieces of pop art, is the theme in the home of Ken and Marianne McGee. Hillary Levin

  • The guest bathroom sports primary colors, dogs in cars wallpaper, and Adam and Eve guest towels. Hillary Levin

  • Ken and Marianne McGee's master bedroom is full of whimsical pieces, from the king and queen prints by Matthew Lew to the Pee-wee Herman doll on a shelf above the bed. But the ramp at the foot of the bed is totally practical; it's so the dogs can climb up. Hillary Levin

  • Symmetry tempers the wackiness of their arrangements of paintings, sculpture, or other pieces of pop art. Hillary Levin

  • Fun, whimsical and colorful, whether it be furniture, paintings, sculpture, or other pieces of pop art, is the theme in the home of Ken and Marianne McGee in St. Charles. Hillary Levin

  • The McGees' dachsunds are a recurring theme in their decor. Married 35 years, the couple shares their home with three dachshunds: Elke, Maude and CoCo Chanel. Hillary Levin

  • Keith Haring-patterned shoes have a special place on top of the entertainment center in the living room. Hillary Levin

  • Marianne McGee saw these banana shoes on Whoopi Goldberg and decided she, too, had to have them. Hillary Levin

  • The McGees built their home, modified from a builder's plan, in a St. Charles subdivision. Hillary Levin

  • Fun, whimsical and colorful, whether it be furniture, paintings, sculpture, or other pieces of pop art, is the theme in the home of Ken and Marianne McGee in St. Charles. Hillary Levin

  • Here, a mermaid purse is displayed atop a turquoise plant as a focal point. Hillary Levin

  • Fun, whimsical and colorful, whether it be furniture, paintings, sculpture, or other pieces of pop art, is the theme in the home of Ken and Marianne McGee. Hillary Levin

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Published: 3/28/2019 5:13:00 PM

From the outside, Marianne and Ken McGee’s house looks just like all the others in their newer St. Charles, Missouri subdivision. Except the door: It’s painted a bright teal with a gold dachshund sculpture mounted on it. That’s a hint at what’s to come.

Bright aqua walls in the great room ahead signal the treasure trove inside. In the dining room to the left, there’s a 7-foot-tall Mona Lisa wearing sunglasses, painted in vibrant colors; the painting hides a secret china cabinet.

Sculptures abound, including, in the entryway, a 4-foot bronze goddess. To the right in the entry, a painting of J. Edgar Hoover in women’s lingerie, with a 3-D ruffle concealing his private parts.

Everywhere you look, bright, fun art.

The McGees’ art collection started with a piece in the living room: a flapper-looking blonde with one breast exposed. Sometimes when company comes over, “We put a Post-it note over it,” Marianne says.

That painting (along with the Mona Lisa in the dining room) is by St. Louis artist Theresa Disney. The McGees bought it in 1986 after finding Disney’s art on birdhouses for sale at Union Station.

Marianne fell in love with Disney’s style. “I thought, this person paints like I think. ... I mean, I like Monet, but I think if he put frogs on those lily pads it would be so much better.”

The McGees began a relationship with Disney and have bought a number of her works over the years. When their jobs forced them to transfer to Huntsville, Alabama, in 1997 they took most of their collection with them. But two of the biggest pieces — the Mona Lisa cabinet and Disney’s take on “From Here to Eternity,” an 8-foot-long painting — were delivered personally by the artist.

The couple returned to the St. Louis area when they retired in 2007, building a home in St. Charles because it provided easy access to their aging parents.

Collecting pop and whimsical art is Marianne’s hobby in retirement, Ken says. “Suddenly our house is a work of art.”

Indeed it is. It’s on every wall and in every nook and cranny. From the flying pig sculpture tucked away in their bedroom to the Keith Haring cutouts on the wall leading to the lower level, there’s art everywhere.

Some of the McGees’ favorite artists include Picasso, Warhol and Haring. But they also believe in supporting local artists, including Disney. Several pieces by Charles Houska, who has a studio in the Central West End, fit right in with the couple’s colorful home. The whimsical sculptures of Laura Lloyd, whose work is at the Foundry in St. Charles, fill shelves. And a sculpture of a dachshund by Wentzville artist Steve Jones climbs the walls of the living room.

Marianne even has a few of her own paintings around the house.

“I love art so much that I thought I’d try it, so I took a few classes,” she says. “Then I decided I’d stick to buying art.”

ABOUT THE HOMEOWNERS

Ken and Marianne McGee

Home St. Charles, Missouri.

Ages He’s 66; she’s 67.

Occupations: Both are retired from the Army Aviation Troop Command




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