The New Bold South
Written by Anne Marie Ashley
There is a certain charm to older homes that can only be truly appreciated by someone with an eye for seeing character in wood paneling, narrow doorways and pronounced rooms. And further, for seeing the potential these character-laden elements can bring to a well designed home, making it equally stylish and relaxed.
Charlotte is dripping with these homes and for those that can see the possibilities, it’s a paradise. The homeowners of this feature home have a soft spot for early 1900s architecture and when they discovered this home in one of the most historic parts of Charlotte, they knew they’d make it their own. The resulting home was bold – and completely comfortable.
We spoke about this project with interior designer Lindsey Coral Harper and the renovation team to find out how it all came together. Andrew Roby General Contractor and Sam Greeson of Meyer Greeson Paullin Benson Architecture were called in to oversee and execute the renovations.
“Most of the changes were stylistic,” explains Greeson, “to meet the new owner’s desire for a younger, more modern look.” That’s where New York-based interior designer Lindsey Coral Harper came in. “It just needed a little bit of freshening up,” says Harper. “We took out every bit of carpet and repainted every square inch!”
The kitchen was the largest of the renovations, making the originally tiny space much larger and marrying it nicely with the recent family room addition. An artist was flown in from New York to hand paint the interesting kitchen floor.
“The banquette was added at the pass thru to the family room, where the sink had previously been located,” explains Greeson. “We discussed opening the wall up, but it would have disturbed the flow and arrangement of both spaces. With the final solution, you feel that the kitchen is huge, but we actually didn’t add any square footage.”
The whole project, renovation and interior design included, took just four months to complete. “The process was faster than it normally would have been thanks to the homeowner knowing exactly what she wanted and Andrew Roby’s well organized schedule,” says Greeson.
“Communication is everything when it comes to construction schedule and overall quality,” says Chris Maynard of Andrew Roby. “Projects don’t go this well or turn out this beautifully if you don’t have the team of home owners, designer, architect and contractor all working for the same goal – which is outstanding quality and a wonderful experience.”
Harper knew what her client was looking for from the get-go. “I knew my client was moving from a one-bedroom apartment in New York City to a four-bedroom house in Charlotte,” says Harper. “ I had a sense of her overall taste, so shopping for her and finding things she liked was the easy part. It helps when your client has great taste!”
Harper called on the help of local custom window treatment and sewing experts Elaine Mitchell and Pam Dawes of Interior Couture of the Carolinas. “Lindsey’s eye for design is unparalleled,” says Pam. “The fabrics she chooses, the textures and layering of design, really creates some unique elements in a home.” Elaine adds, “her designs are simple, but with the bold fabrics and rich textures, the result is extraordinary.”
Harper says incorporating this client’s personality into the home was easy. “I am creating a ‘home’ and space for them, it’s not about me. I know they are a very friendly, young, stylish couple that loves to have friends and family over. So that is what I tried to translate.”
Harper suggests a fresh coat of paint in any room to liven it up and change the look or mood. Pam and Elaine suggest freshening up a room with window treatments, adding that great window treatments can truly make or break the look of a home. “In this case,” says Harper, “we stripped away everything and painted and/or papered every room. We changed everything about it and basically started from scratch.”
There are several ways to use bold design in any home, but according to Harper, it will always change depending on the client. “In this home, each room has at least one bold element. In the entry it’s the wallpaper; the dining room – the glass chandelier; in the kitchen it’s the bold use of color and pattern; the living room has those beautiful curtains and all the powder rooms have really great wallpapers.”
“I think there are a lot of bold elements throughout this house,” says Harper, “but they all blend together to make one cohesive story.”
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