Kristie Barnett: A home that brims with creativity
I first met Gary and Lynda Young in the fall of 2012. Lynda Young had
been following my design and color articles in The Tennessean for some
time and had shared them with her husband, Gary, as they began
considering some changes in their Brentwood home. She eventually
contacted me to help her choose new paint colors and update the interior
of their home.
During my first visit, I found that the Youngs' home was filled with
art. There were paintings collected from their favorite artists, as well
as Gary Young's own landscapes. I quickly learned that he was a prolific
landscape and still life painter. Although some of his paintings hung on
the walls, Young's studio and an upstairs storage room were stacked with
The walls of the home were covered in a paint that could best be
described as the color of peanut butter. Although this orangey-tan color
was very popular 10 years ago, it did absolutely nothing to complement
or enhance the art that hung upon it. I knew the best thing I could do
for the Youngs was to create a paint color palette for the home that
would be the perfect backdrop for the beautiful art, putting the focus
on the thing most important to them.
Over the next several months, I helped the Youngs choose new paint
colors, update lighting, purchase new rugs, group and hang their art,
arrange furniture, style bookcases and stage their accessories. Along
the way, I learned more about their story and their lives.
Decades ago, Gary Young built a career in medical capital equipment
sales and raised a son with his wife. Later, the couple became art
enthusiasts and collectors, and Young enjoyed building Windsor chairs as
a hobby in his spare time. Young made about 30 Windsor chairs by hand
over an 18-year period.
Then 9/11 happened. At the age of 50, Gary Young's perspective on life
changed overnight. He realized he was spending time on things that
didn't really bring value to life and desired a real change in his own.
He began studying Betty Edwards' "Drawing on the Right Side of the
Brain" and completed his first painting at age 51. He and Lynda traveled
to Italy in 2002. As they toured the art museums, Young remembers
turning to his wife and saying, "I can do this."
Soon after their return, Young began taking workshops from local and
national artists, including Roger Dale Brown, Jason Saunders, Scott
Christensen and C.W. Mundy, who has become a mentor and a friend. Young
now assists Mundy with workshops.
He began to study the fundamental science of art and incorporated that
into his everyday life. Now, his art drives everything else in his life
and is woven into everything he does. Young says that his art motivates
him in other areas of his life, including his sales career, and that it
often becomes a relationship-builder with others he encounters.
"I believe we are in a second Renaissance of art in America," Gary Young
says. "Some of the greatest artists in human history are alive today —
but that will only be realized by the masses in retrospect."
Gary Young is an inspiring example of pursuing a dream in the midst of
everyday existence, allowing it to complement and enhance one's life and
"The gift is the desire," he says. "The purpose is not in the painting;
it's to live a life of intense meaning."
To learn more about Gary Young and his art, visit
Kristie Barnett is The Decorologist. She is an expert in residential
color, staging and decoration and writes about all of those things and
more on her blog at