Kenn is the lead designer for the new Ethan Allen Design Center, and he also brings his experience to Weddings and Event Design. Originally from Booneville, Miss., he is a small-town man with worldwide experience.
After graduating high school he was accepted into the prestigious Otis/Parsons design school in Los Angeles. While there he owned a decorative painting company called Paint the Town. His talents were sought after by stars such as Pamela Anderson, Julianne Moore and Glenn Close.
When he was 18 an agent discovered him at a local mall, the start of a 20-year modeling career that included stays in New York, Paris, France, Los Angeles and Boston. Boston was where he eventually settled. While living in Boston, he was owner of The Media (Art) Gallery and was also director of the famed Judi Rotenberg Gallery.
His home on Jefferson Street reflects his affinity for fine art. His personal collection is a showcase of artists from around the world. In 2005-2006, he also hosted a show on the Travel Channel called "Travel Spies." Gray says, "This was one of the high points of my career."
How is it that he now calls Paducah home? While visiting his parents, who currently live in Tennessee, he drove to Paducah where one of his friends was performing at the Carson Four Rivers Center.
Gray's kitchen is light and airy and is the place where he and his wife spend much of their time.
"It was completely random. I walked down Market Street, met the mayor and was impressed by the way the city was embracing the art community."
He remembers telling himself at the time, "This is a place I could be." Maybe it was his small town roots pulling him here as well, but in 2007 he decided to sell everything and said goodbye to Boston to settle in Paducah. "It was the best thing I’ve ever done," says Gray emphatically.
Built in 1899, the home is one of the oldest in Paducah, and needed quite a bit of attention. Previous owners had converted it into two apartment units and as Gray remembers the home was closed off and dark. The transformation, with his intensive work and special touch, is stunning.
In June 2009, he remodeled the entire home in five hectic weeks before his wedding to his wife, Kendra. As he recalls, "if you were to look at the home from a Google Earth image you would not have been able to see it because it was completely overgrown." He cleaned up the front yard and added stone walls. The back yard has a pool surrounded by slate tile, a cabana complete with comfortable furniture and koi pond, which he designed and built himself.
The home has monochromatic areas, and Gray uses colors of green and orange to highlight areas. He calls his style juxtaposition between traditional and contemporary. His love for lighting fixtures is evident. Every room has a unique chandelier, and Gray adds, "Their (fixtures’) shape is very traditional, but the colors make them contemporary." For example, the dining room fixture is traditional in its design but the red glass adds to the contemporary flare.
The kitchen was gutted and transformed into a light, airy space complete with a comfortable sitting area. It is here where he says they spend almost all their time. The master bedroom and bath occupies the entire upstairs. Again, the use of two large light fixtures adds a dramatic touch to the vaulted ceiling. The bed incorporates a touch of Eastern nature as suggested by the vertical placement of a quilt on the bed. Gray says it reminds him of a Japanese obi sash. There is also an adorable nook here for what Kenn says is his greatest creation, their new little boy Fynnto n.
"I have always done whatever comes into my head," he adds, and he does it wholeheartedly. He is happy in this community and wants to continually be a part of giving back to it. He says, "I finally have the family I always wanted and am fully grounded."