Moody's Manuals

Kennon-Green & Co. Fiduciary Financial Advisor, Wealth Management, Global Value Investing

I’ve read Architectural Digest since I was in middle school.  Having my own canvas upon which to paint is enjoyable and turning out to be my favorite part of this iteration of the six-month project.  Putting a room together is the same feeling as composing or writing a well-crafted essay.  

Moody's Manuals

The fireplace will be crowned with old Moody's investment manuals from the 1940's and 1950's.

The aesthetics for the home renovation are coming together, slowly but surely. The good news is a lot of the stuff I needed, we already had. With the two chairs delivered, the sofa, ottoman, and barstools on their way next month, and the help of a spreadsheet to map out the remaining items to be procured, the main sitting area of my home is being transformed into the warm, comfortable study that you would associate with an old library. I want it to be the type of place where family and friends come to visit during the cold autumn and winter days, sitting around on the tufted leather sofas in jeans and cashmere sweaters, with the scent of brewing coffee, crisp leaves, and burning firewood in the air. That is the way we live so the space needs to reflect it.

The key is going to be to make it feel comforting and inviting, not formal. There is a lot that can be taken for psychology and physiology for that, including the color of the light, the scents released into the air, and the use of softer materials (cashmere throw blankets, pillows). Though the color scheme is dark, the lighting is going to be adjusted like a museum or hotel resort so that that certain items are illuminated, making the walls appear lighter than they are. I’m really enjoying the entire process because it reminds me of outfitting my home in Fable II and Fable III. I’m even tempted to find a decent piece of Boulle furniture to throw in as an homage to the high-end accoutrements in the Fable video game series.

Wealth of Nations Easton Press

A few years ago, a woman I love very much gave me a leather bound, 22 karat gold accented copy of Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" for my birthday. I want to find entire sets of my favorite classic economic, political, business, philosophy, mythology, mystery, et cetera, genres and have them around not only because they look beautiful but because they are the sort of thing that give me a lot of utility.

Cleveland Short Line Bond Certificate

In my early twenties, I bought a set of cancelled stock and bond certificates from generations ago to display as art (hence all of the punched holes in the document, proving it no longer has any financial value). Normally, once a bond has been redeemed it is destroyed since it has no monetary worth but a few scripophily dealers manage to save specimens and sell them to collectors. This is an old, voided $1,000 bond issued by The Cleveland Short Line (the short line railroad in the Monopoly board game).

Treasure Chests

Storage will be hidden in leather trunks designed to look like treasure chests that sit throughout the room.

As for the kitchen and dining areas, the general aesthetic can be summed up by how a Ruffoni hammered pot feels.  Our family does a lot of cooking a la Julia Child.  We love good food, if you couldn’t tell by our foodie tour during the recent vacation.  The kitchen is going to be the type of place where you open the windows to the forest behind the house, grab a copper stock pot, begin making soup or a stew, and hang out talking as people are sitting at the bar.  During Christmas, it is where we continue the family tradition of making chocolates, candy, sugar cookies, and other treats.  

Ruffoni Hammered Stainless Steel Pot

That is as far as I’ve allowed myself to get because I want these areas finished before moving on so my focus isn’t diverted.  The big choice is going to be whether or not to turn one of my home offices into a music room with the grand piano, instruments, and recording equipment or into a study so people can escape for side conversations, watching movies, or reading a book during big gatherings.  I’ve been going back and forth; can’t make up my mind.

By transforming my home and offices into the domicile of a successful, established investor, entrepreneur, and writer, I can start my 30th year next year and close the chapter on my 20’s, the start-up days, and the informality that seems to be intrinsic to all college-aged men, which was where I was in life when most of the current structure was put in place.  I’m excited about it.  I love this phase of my life.  I like family dinners and brunches with friends, responsibilities, projects, and travel.  I like being a man; an independent, self-reliant, well-educated, successful grown-up.  It’s empowering.  I had a very good childhood but I’ve got to say, being an adult is so much better.  It is fun.