Traditional Home Junior League Of High Point 2015 Designer Showhouse Opens

April 23, 2015

For interior design professionals and design savvy homeowners, it’s no secret that April in North Carolina means High Point Furniture Market. But wait! This year, there is an incredible bonus. The Junior League of High Point and Traditional Home Magazine present the incredible Junior League of High Point 2015 Designer Showhouse highlighting the talents of many of our state’s most notable design firms, along with several talented national interior designers.

I only had to be asked once to attend the Media Preview and I made my plans to be there this past Friday. I know for anyone who seeks design inspiration that this showhouse will live up to your expectations. I wanted to share today a glimpse of what I saw. My only regret is that I am not a professional photographer, which would mean that I was able to truly do justice to what I saw. North Carolina Design is pleased to offer up some of the highlights of the house which is open daily from now until April 26th and from May 1 – May 3.

The Tudor Revival house was built in 1912 by Randall B. Terry, a notable member of the High Point community. The warmth and welcoming atmosphere of the house was firmly established in the foyer, designed in beautiful shades of blue by Traci Zeller, of Traci Zeller Designs (Charlotte). The foyer opened up into a generously sized living room that also had its roots in blue. Jack Fhillips, of Jack Fhillips Design (West Palm Beach, FL) and Sally Altizer, of Design Connection (High Point) chose to paint the original woodwork of the house white and the walls a Wedgewood blue. The furnishings and accessories, in blue and white, have a wonderful classic appeal.

The library, by Michelle Workman Interiors (Chattanooga, TN) is as formal as it is beautiful. It is a room that seems to encourage entertaining with back to back loveseats positioned in the center of the room – one in a shimmering grey fabric while the other in a beautiful floral. The multi-rectangular shaped chandelier certainly adds to the interest of the room. Moving from the living room toward the center of the house is the dining room, designed by Madcap Cottage (High Point). The wallcovering which John Locke and Jason Oliver Nixon had created specifically for the room is beautifully in keeping with the period of the house. Fabrics from Robert Allen work well together in creating a warm feel to the space.

Small spaces are always a formidable design challenge. When it came to the bar, Christi Barbour, of Barbour Spangle Design (High Point), really excelled when it came to making the most of even inches. Everything in the bar was carefully orchestrated so that it works well from a both design and functionality perspective. Christi created a glamorous look that is in keeping with the time the home was built, with the artwork and accessories contributing to that. The leaded glass upper cabinet doors are original to the space, with their style directing the design of the lower cabinets.

The breakfast room, kitchen and mudroom were designed by Lisa Mende of Lisa Mende Design (Charlotte). I only wish I could show a “before” picture to let you see the incredible transformation that took place in this area of the home. It is now a space that will be a destination during parties and encourages long conversations among good friends.

Upstairs, the master bedroom was beautifully designed in black and white by Libby Langdon, of Libby Interiors, Inc. (New York, NY). Black walls with white trim wonderfully served as the backdrop for the space. The black neither darkened nor overpowered the room, but was rather the perfect complement to the white. Seeing the room during the daytime, I got the feeling that it would have a totally different feel at night – perhaps soothing – definitely a place to shake off the burdens of the day.

Another bedroom I very much enjoyed was the “daughter’s bedroom” designed by Cathy Austin, of Catherine M. Austin Interior Design (Charlotte). In this bright and beautiful space, Cathy envisioned the daughter to be a well traveled individual whose taste in fine art was reflected throughout the room. The room has a crisp and well edited feel to it. The upholstered headboard, window treatments, love seat and bed linens work in concert to create a fresh and vibrant design.

Perhaps this well traveled daughter was also an artist herself. That is what Leslie Moore, of L. Moore Designs (High Point) envisioned in the next bedroom, which she transformed into an “artist’s retreat.” With an abundance of light, this space could make the perfect atelier for the client Leslie had in mind. By accenting the room with artwork from local artists, Leslie was able to create the look and environment she desired. Beautifully selected furnishings from Highland House and the artwork have been perfectly set off by the grass cloth wallcovering.

Nestled between the daughter’s bedroom and the artist’s retreat is the “lady’s dressing room” by Kara Cox, of Kara Cox Interiors (Greensboro). It is interesting how showhouse designers (like the designers for these three rooms) can separately envision a similar showhouse client, and how this can positively affect the flow from room to room. Kara also saw her client as being a well traveled woman with a love of the arts. Overcoming the challenge posed by five doorways and two windows in her space, Kara creatively layered the area in beautiful textures and patterns. Accents and artwork give the room a very collected look. This is the dressing area for a worldly, free spirited woman.

There is far more to the house and I encourage anyone within a few hours driving distance to make the trip. Seeing this much talent on display in one place is no ordinary event.

Charlotte Interior Designer Creates Beautiful Gracious Southern Home On Historic Charleston, SC Battery

April 16, 2015

For a designer, every project is an exciting challenge and a labor of love. However, along come the projects every now and then that are the stuff that a designer’s dreams are made of. Charlotte interior designer Amy Vermillion of Amy Vermillion Interiors was delighted to be tasked with such a dream project – a loving and thoughtful whole-home renovation on a gem of a house, in one of the nation’s most gracious and historic neighborhoods.

Images Courtesy of Amy Vermillion Interiors ©

The “Grand Old Lady,” as Amy affectionately calls the home, was built in 1857, on Charleston, South Carolina’s famous Battery. It had seen an earthquake, a flood, and even a Civil War, which began just a few hundred feet from its doorstep. It had suffered some abuses, and was showing its age, but with Amy’s talent, creativity, determination and exacting attention to detail, this grand dame now has the new life she deserves.

Amy was happy to tell North Carolina Design all about the project, and we were happy to listen. “It was a designer’s dream house,” she says. “It had such an incredible history, which you could sense, and see and touch. It had a good energy and a really cool vibe. It had those iconic Charleston verandas, and a beautiful courtyard with the most charming garden. Then of course there was the location. It was amazing to hang out in Charleston, and to walk along The Battery.”

Of course, even a dream project comes with its fair set of challenges. “There were all sorts of problems,” Amy concedes. “Nothing in the house lined up. The walls were crooked, the floor was crooked — there was a whole funhouse effect going on. The kitchen was small, non-functional, and terrible, and it had ugly black mold crawling up the walls. The house also had a super-creepy elevator, which was originally a super-creepy stairway that led to the servant’s quarters on the third floor.”

Amy notes that the master bathroom was her biggest challenge. “It was a nightmare,” she affirms. “We’re talking budget hotel terrible. It had been remodeled – badly –several times, and it had no consistent aesthetic. It also had antique lighting that was half gas and half electric. When electric lighting was new, people didn’t trust it to work all the time, so they used half-gas fixtures to ensure that they would have lighting one way or another.”

With the help of an accommodating and expertly skilled contractor, Amy was able to take on each new challenge and create a truly spectacular space that honored the home and its history, yet gave it fresh appeal. “We made all the walls and the floors level,” she recounts. “We updated the master bath, and gave it a custom floating vanity and a garden tub, which sat under a new window. The antique lighting still has gas knobs for fun, and the new sconces for the mirrors mimic half-gas fixtures.”

Amy also transformed the servant’s quarters into a cozy guest suite, created a functional and beautiful kitchen, and developed a custom color palette to highlight her client’s incredible art collection. And the super-creepy elevator? “We made it into a super-fabulous wine refrigerator.”

The home’s history, beauty and charm weren’t the only aspects that made this a dream project for Amy. “I have always loved working with this client,” she says. “I have done homes for him both before and since, and I appreciate his loyalty and faith in me so much. He completely trusts my ability to execute his vision, and gives me free rein. That allows me to create, and really do my very best and most exciting work.”

“Designing is all about achieving the client’s goals and creating a space that they love,” she continues. “But when a client really trusts their designer – when they can be free to experiment with colors and fabrics and textures and new ideas – great things happen. Ordinary projects become amazing collaborations, with incredible results. I think this project is a great example of that.”

Greensboro Remodeler Offers Homeowners These Savvy Remodeling Tips – “The 5 L’s Of Home Renovations”

April 14, 2015

While life is ever-changing, our homes are a constant in them. A comforting thought – unless your home no longer fits your lifestyle, your family, or your needs. As Greensboro remodeler Kevin Jones, owner of Kevin Jones Design-Build knows, renovating is an excellent way to breathe new life into your home, and to have it grow and adapt with you. Years of highly successful custom renovations have given Kevin great insight into the remodeling process, and he was kind enough to share his wisdom with North Carolina Design – in the form of his “ 5 L’s of Home Renovations.”

Images Courtesy of Kevin Jones Design-Build ©

Love Your Existing Home
You chose your home for a reason. Why not choose to stay? “Maybe you love your home, your neighborhood, and your neighbors, but you don’t like your kitchen, or you need more living space,” says Kevin. “With the right contractor you can update your home. With those updates, you can personalize it and make it better than any new home could be. In terms of remodeling, you can really do anything. You’re only limited by your imagination and your budget.”

Look Around
Before you take off running, it’s important to get a very good idea of what you want to do with your home. “There are a lot of resources out there,” notes Kevin. “There are remodeled home tours in every city and town, and they have real advantages. It’s great to see a remodel in person. You can meet the remodeler, and even perform a mini-interview. You can also get great ideas for your own house. Sometimes homeowners don’t realize the extent of what can be done.”

Photos are effective, tried-and-true tools for homeowners. “In the past we would tell people to head to the Barnes and Noble home design section, buy a few magazines and tear out pages,” muses Kevin. “Now with smartphones and tablets, you have all this power at your fingertips. There are millions of renovation photos out there. You can mix and match different elements and store everything in an idea book.”

Lock into a budget
Nothing sours a renovation more than a budget that spins out of control. “Things add up fast,” Kevin concedes. “When you present costs to the homeowners, no one ever says ‘hey that’s not as much as I thought!’ We are up front about what is spent on each line item, and what the cost covers. If there isn’t enough in the budget, we have to prioritize. Any changes (and there are always changes) need to be documented in writing. No cost should ever be a surprise to homeowners.”

Listen to your contractor
“Homeowners do sometimes think they know best,” admits Kevin. “It’s an educational process for them. As a contractor, the more budget and timeline expectations you set at the beginning, the more realistic homeowners will be, and the less they will feel the need to micromanage.

“As a homeowner, you have to have faith that the professional you hired knows what they’re doing and that it will all come together in the end. Design issues, technical issues and questions are going to come up. If you didn’t feel you could trust your contractor implicitly to keep your wants and needs at the forefront, you shouldn’t have hired them.”

Leave well enough alone
Kevin notes that it’s very important to determine whether a specific renovation idea is truly worth it before proceeding. “We can do anything, but there is a cost associated with everything,” he cautions. “You don’t want to do something that costs a lot of money and then get no big bang for your buck. We’re not there to get the biggest dollar contract – we’re there to provide solutions that are in our client’s best interest. We’re in it from the idea stage to finished plans to finished project. For the long haul.”

Kevin also explains that just because you are remodeling a room, doesn’t necessarily mean that everything from ceiling to floor must go. “There could be something that will add to the character of the renovated space or really does not need to be demo’d. This happens all the time. Leaving well enough alone here marries the old with the new and also saves the client money.”

Asheville Interior Designer Creates Clean And Beautiful Design In A Craftsman-Style Home Nestled In The Black Mountain Woods

April 9, 2015

Every home design has its unique challenges, along with its own unique beauty. In our featured home today, Asheville interior designer Talli Roberts, ASID, president of Allard & Roberts Interior Design, was tasked with creating a simple, clean and beautiful design, amid a wealth of complex challenges. The home was a cozy Craftsman-style new build nestled in the Black Mountain woods. The homeowners were a couple looking to create a retirement oasis that would meet some very specific demands. Talli pulled the project off seamlessly, providing the clients with a truly gorgeous, timeless and functional living space. North Carolina Design spoke with her to find out more about how she helped bring this home to life.

Images Courtesy of Allard & Roberts Interior Design ©

“The home was custom designed by architect John Petri,” notes Talli. “Living Stone Construction was the builder, and we coordinated with them through the entire project, from conception to completion. All of the cabinetry and built-ins were made by Mike Roberts, a custom cabinet maker in Black Mountain.”

“I loved the design of this home, especially the layout and the architectural details,” says Talli. “I appreciated what the homeowners were looking to create – a compact, yet livable space that was private and cozy and didn’t require too much maintenance. I loved the neutral color palette the homeowner chose – the blue-gray background is fresh, yet soothing, and gives the home a sense of timelessness. The home is nestled in the woods, so you have these stunning mountain views that change with the seasons.”

One of Talli’s biggest challenges in the home turned out to be the kitchen. “The homeowners love to entertain, and the wife cooks frequently,” Talli explains. “They needed a design that was functional, uncluttered, and easy to maintain. They are Jewish, and they keep Kosher, so we had to ensure that all the kitchen surfaces met Kosher requirements. They also wanted plenty of storage, which we were able to work into the compact space using built-ins, an appliance garage and floor-to-ceiling shelving.”

The clients also had very specific wants and needs for the master bedroom and bathroom. “They were looking to create a very clean, uncluttered aesthetic,” notes Talli. “In the bathroom, we gave them cabinet towers and a vanity pullout for storage, and quartz countertops for clean look. In the bedroom, we gave them built-ins that could take the place of dressers to simplify the space. To keep the look soft, we added a custom linen upholstered bed, custom linen Roman shades, and silk sconces for lighting.”

For Talli, one of the best parts of the project was being part of a great team “I love creative collaboration,” she reflects. “You have the architect, the designer, the builder, the landscape designer, the painter, the carpenter — so many hands, all understanding the client’s vision and all working together to make it happen. It’s a great experience.”

Another great experience for Talli? Building relationships with clients. “You work so closely together – you really get to know them, and they get to know you,” says Talli. “I was pregnant during this whole project, and the homeowners couldn’t have been kinder or more thoughtful. The wife even knitted the baby a handmade sweater. Things like that that are part of what make this such a wonderful job.”

For This Raleigh Interior Designer, Creating Design Flow & Continuity Begins Before A Single Wall On The Home Goes Up

April 7, 2015

Designing a newly-built home from scratch is a task that would daunt even the most stalwart of homeowners. For Eddie Rider, owner of Eddie Rider Designs in Raleigh, it’s all in a day’s work. Eddie puts entire homes together – from floor finishes to window treatments to drawer pulls – before a single wall even goes up. Still, he is always able to create a wonderful sense of flow and continuity, which adds beauty and harmony to every project. North Carolina Design talked to Eddie about his process, and how he manages to make such a tall task seem so effortless.

Images Courtesy of Eddie Rider Designs ©

Eddie begins with a blank slate, and works methodically to create a plan. “We have an initial meeting before construction, where we start looking at finishes that will be in the home – walls, floors, trim, fireplace, cabinets, lighting – even shutters. We move from the interior finishes to the exterior ,” he explains. “I create a spreadsheet, and as we make decisions, we add photos, color samples and swatches for every item. Then we spread it out on a big conference table, and look at it as a whole to make sure that it all works.”

Eddie notes that the kitchen is one of the most essential parts of a complete design. “Kitchens have the most materials and the most moving parts,” he explains. “You have the cabinets, the glass in the cabinets, the appliances, the backsplash, flooring, the lighting fixtures – a lot goes into that space, so it’s important to take it all into consideration when designing the whole home.”

Furniture is also a point of significant consideration. “The furniture the homeowners will be bringing into the space will typically set a color palette for the home,” says Eddie. “For example, if you have pastel fabrics you’ll want to stay with cooler colors overall. You also want to bring the wood tones of the furniture into the design in some way.”

When it comes to color, Eddie notes that keeping the undertone consistent is more important than the colors themselves. “You don’t have to be trained to know when colors work together,” he notes. “It’s intuitive. When you walk into a room and it doesn’t feel right, the undertones are usually off. If you are putting gray on the walls and it has a blue undertone, you want all of your colors to have the same blue undertone. It’s a super way to get a very consistent feeling throughout.”

Wall color is one large-scale design component that can simply, yet dramatically impact the flow of a space. Flooring is another. “I like using hardwoods,” Eddie affirms. “I recommend bringing hardwood flooring from the common space into the kitchen, and anywhere that you can budget to incorporate it. It’s a very, very easy way to preserve continuity throughout the home.”

When integrating a whole-home design, the smallest components can matter just as much as the largest. “The details are crucial,” Eddie stresses. “Moulding, trim work, decorative accents – they all have to be consistent. And your plumbing finishes should complement your cabinet pulls, light fixtures, and door handles.” Eddie also intentionally creates details that bring the whole space together. “I might use the same material for a great room bookcase and the kitchen cabinets, or create a fireplace surround out of the kitchen countertop material,” he explains.

Designing an entire home is always complex, but Eddie’s advice is simple and reassuring. “Go with what you love,” he says. “Just find a way to make sure it’s all pulled together. Getting it right is about intuition and feeling as much as anything else. If you can walk into a space and say ‘wow, this feels good,’ the design is a win.”

For This Raleigh Remodeler, The Small Details Become The Difference Between A Good Kitchen And A Great Kitchen

March 31, 2015

The best kitchens are filled with intriguing details that reflect the personalities and lifestyles of their inhabitants. Eddie Casanave, owner and founder of Distinctive Remodeling, LLC in Raleigh, is adept at creating wonderfully detailed kitchen spaces that are elegant, spirited, and superbly functional. Today’s featured kitchen is no exception. We appreciate Eddie sharing the details of it with North Carolina Design.

Images Courtesy of Distinctive Remodeling, LLC ©

The homeowners were a couple who had recently become empty nesters. Finding themselves at a new stage in life, with the whole house to themselves, they decided to finally go ahead with their long-awaited renovation plans. We talked to Eddie about how the project came together, and how its well-appointed details really made it shine.

The kitchen was the driving factor in this renovation. “The main issue in the house was the stairwell,” he explains. “It came down at an angle into the kitchen, and it was blocking off the living room. We had a choice – move the stairwell and change the entire upstairs, or change the kitchen. We opted to bump out the kitchen.”

“Expanding the kitchen allowed the homeowners to maintain sightlines to the living room, and to enjoy unimpeded views from more areas in the house. The added space made a huge visual impact. It also made the kitchen more functional for gatherings, which was very important to the homeowners. They enjoy entertaining, and the wife in particular loves to cook. Now guests can hang out in the kitchen, but not be in her way while she’s preparing food.”

Eddie notes that taking the lifestyle of his clients into account is essential to a successful kitchen renovation. “You have to think about who will be using the kitchen,” he emphasizes. “Will it be multiple cooks? One elderly cook? Someone who bakes, and needs lots of extra space? Adapting the space to the homeowners’ needs is a must.”

One distinctive way in which Eddie tailors his kitchen for his clients is in the cabinetry. “We create our own cabinetry in-house,” he notes. “It’s a lengthy process. You have to determine what the client wants, and then build the cabinets to their exact specifications. The extra time pays off, though. The homeowners get something they love – something that’s custom made for them, based on their very specific needs.”

True to form, Eddie filled this particular kitchen with custom cabinetry that was designed to delight in both form and function. “It’s all about the small details,” he notes. “At the end of island, we provided a built-in place for the wife to store her cookbooks. We also added rollouts, an appliance garage, a column to hide outlets, a place for bakeware, and microwave tray dividers. We went in an original direction with the cabinets themselves – they are almost all made up of stacks of drawers.”

Eddie doesn’t just talk about the exceptional function of his kitchens – he puts his money where his mouth is. “Once a project is finished, we offer our clients the chance to celebrate,” he shares. “I provide my one-of-a-kind ‘Kitchen Casanova’ service, where I cook a meal for the homeowners and their friends and family. It’s win-win — I love to cook, and it’s always great to cook in a kitchen that works well. My clients get to throw a great party and show off their new space.”

Eddie takes particular pride in this kitchen. “It’s one of the nicest that we’ve done,” he says. “The homeowners love it. I’m looking forward to my favorite part of the process – cooking them a wonderful dinner!”

Award-Winning Million Dollar Renovation Warmly Welcomes 1960′s Charlotte Home Into The 21st Century

March 30, 2015

Whole house renovations are no small feat. They come with dust, disruption, and a host of challenges to overcome. But when expertly done, the dramatic and beautiful results make everything worthwhile. This was definitely the case with such a project undertaken by Charlotte remodeler Shea Custom. Shea Custom is a division of Shea Homes, which is one of the country’s oldest constructions companies, proudly building since 1881. North Carolina Design talked to Gil Shea, a partner at Shea Custom, and Charlie O’Melveny, the Operations Manager, to find out more about their part in this exceptionally successful renovation.

Images Courtesy of Shea Custom ©

Gil and Charlie’s vision, expertise, and tenacity turned a problematic home into an award-winning show-stopper. The project won a 2012 CotY (Contractor of the Year) award, as well as a Charlotte 2013 Excellence in Remodeling GOLD Award.

Originally built in the late 1960′s, the two-story Mansard-style home had many attributes the homeowners loved – with good bones, an ideal country club location, a first-floor master bedroom, and beautiful old oak trees in the yard. It lacked, however, the space the family needed, plus it had a dark, dated interior, with problematic and cosmetic issues throughout that sorely needed to be addressed.

The homeowners met with an architect to draw up plans for a whole house renovation, which would create a bright, airy open concept living space and add significant square footage. They then hired Shea Custom to take on the project. Almost right away, Gil and Charlie were faced with challenges.

The first, and main challenge, was integrating the old in with the new. “The home had to stay in keeping with the original architecture, and the surrounding community,” explains Charlie. “The homeowners also really wanted to maintain the beauty afforded by the original trees, which was an issue for the renovation because they were very close to the house.”

The next major challenge was the roof. “The homeowners were very concerned with value, and building upward is a more value-driven decision than building out,” Charlie explains. “We wanted to add square footage by stacking a third floor on to the existing second story. The original roof, however, was built in a mansard style, so it was practically integrated with the walls. This meant we basically had to remove the whole second floor in order to build the third floor.”

As the renovation went on, even more challenges cropped up. “The hardwood floors were not level,” notes Charlie. “That was a difficult problem to fix — we had to rework the subflooring in just the right spots to get them to transition smoothly.” Gil adds “The custom trusses in the great room were a huge challenge to install. And then, there was the fact that the home’s exterior had three different types of brick. We had to figure out a way to make the whole façade cohesive.”

In the end, the home gained nearly 1,400 square feet of space, with minimal changes to the footprint. It now boasts a spacious open floor plan; a cozy, sunlit great room; a modernized kitchen with upgraded appliances; an updated master bathroom; a new bonus room; and a third floor that features an extra bedroom, a bathroom, and a game room.

The renovation fits so flawlessly in with the home’s existing architecture, and is so smoothly and impeccably executed, that you would never suspect Gil and Charlie faced challenges at all. But that’s not what gives them the most satisfaction. “We took a dream of our client’s and we made it real, and we delivered something we could be proud of. That’s a great feeling.“ Charlie agrees, adding “Just the look on the homeowners’ faces – seeing their satisfaction and joy – that’s what really makes this job rewarding.”

Raleigh Interior Designers Share The Finer Details Of Designing With Color – Adding Life, Dimension & Warmth To A Space

March 26, 2015

Color brings so much to a space. It delights the eye, adds life and dimension, and sets a perfect mood. Brittany Ruch and Lauren McKay of Design Lines, Ltd. are experts in color, deftly using it to create an aesthetic that tells their clients’ stories and makes their homes personal, warm and beautiful. As one of Raleigh’s most prestigious interior design firms, Design Lines has been serving clients and winning awards for over 35 years, and Brittany and Lauren are now an integral part of the design team. North Carolina Design chatted with them to get their take on the fascinating and complex art of using color as a principle of design.

Images Courtesy of Design Lines, Ltd. ©

“We begin a design project with color in mind, whether it’s a color palette inspired by a piece of artwork, or the homeowner’s favorite colors,” notes Brittany. “The way we use color depends on the overall space and the feel we’re going for. Color can impact a space differently depending on how and where it’s used.”

“Color looks very different in accessories than on walls, for example,” Lauren offers. “You can use black and white in a kitchen in a historic home and have it look really classic and timeless. Then you can use it in a bedroom in a different way, and create a much more modern feel.”

Different colors can also dramatically alter the mood and feel of a space. “Red and yellow are more energetic, while blue is more mellow,” notes Lauren. “If you are looking to create a calming space, you want to go with low-contrast colors. If you are looking to liven things up, you want to be bold and add contrast.” Brittany adds, “If a homeowner wants to add pops of color, we suggest that they choose a more neutral wall color that’s going to be a great backdrop for something bolder.”

Brittany and Lauren will happily work with any colors their clients desire, but they do have their own personal favorites. “I love green,” says Lauren. “It’s such a fresh natural color, and it can be used in a bold way.” For her part, Brittany is a huge fan of coral. “It’s such a fun, lively color,” she explains. “I have a coral pocketbook, and a coral velvet sofa, believe it or not.”

While Lauren and Brittany have their minds made up about color, not everyone is so certain. “Homeowners don’t always know what colors they love,” Lauren notes. “If they’re unsure, we suggest that they take a look in their closet. People tend to buy clothes in colors they like without really thinking about it, so their wardrobe can be a real source of inspiration.”

When it comes to choosing colors, Lauren and Brittany have certainly encountered their share of hesitant homeowners. “People often like color, but are afraid to commit,” Lauren reflects. “They are worried they’ll have to live with a bad decision for a long time.” Brittany concurs, adding “We don’t like to push them out of their comfort zone, but we do try and bring color in through things that feel non-committal — maybe a lamp, a pillow, or a table tray.”

Then there are those homeowners who embrace color’s power to change their home’s aesthetic. “One of our clients was going through cancer treatment,” Lauren recounts. “Her home was very neutral, with lots of earth tones. She wanted something uplifting to come home to each day, so we gave her a purple sofa and accented the space with lime greens, and aqua blues.”

In the end, color is a deeply personal choice. “People associate different colors with different feelings and experiences,” Brittany reflects. “It’s about surrounding yourself with the colors that make you happy, and make home a wonderful place to be.”

Raleigh Interior Designer Balances A Fresh, Crisp Style With Warmth And Beauty

March 24, 2015

Good design is all about balance and perspective, and so is being a good designer. Rebecca Driggs, owner of Driggs Designs, and mom to three young boys, knows a little something about creating balance and harmony in her designs – and in life. Rebecca is known for her fresh, crisp style, in which she wonderfully pairs warmth with simplicity, and beauty with function. North Carolina Design talked to Rebecca about her process, her passion for design, and how having a family informs her design aesthetic.

Images Courtesy of Driggs Designs ©

“I love what I do, and there is nothing more satisfying than making a career out of doing something you truly enjoy,” she asserts. “Being a designer also offers the best of two worlds – I can be completely dedicated to my clients, but still have enough flexibility to make time for family.”

Rebecca’s family-oriented perspective has made her a natural fit for homeowners with children. “I understand families well, and my aesthetic tends to complement their needs,” she reflects. “They need a clean, uncluttered space with lots of storage. They need fabrics that are going to last. And they need a space that’s updated, but not too fussy – somewhere they’re not afraid to sit down, where nothing is so precious or so breakable that they’re afraid to touch it.”

“In my initial conversation with a prospective client I always ask whether they have seen my work, and whether it fits their aesthetic,” she notes. “They should be able to say ‘I love your designs. I could live in one of your designs!’”

Rebecca has an MBA, and her business background allows her to deftly balance beautiful designs with pragmatic and budget-conscious design solutions. “I approach every project from a creative aspect, of course, but I am also very conscious of things like market value and resale, and I am really committed to the budget,” she explains. “I like everything to be clear and cut-and-dried. I’m not going to try to sell anyone more expensive items to improve my bottom line.”

“Most people don’t know what their budget is because they don’t know what a room really costs,” she continues. “Based on their wants, their needs and images of rooms they like, I give homeowners a range of overall costs, and then they can decide what works. We can work at the low end or the high end of the range. It’s all up to them.”

Rebecca truly enjoys every aspect of her job. “I feel like I am being rewarded for something I would be happy to do even if I didn’t get paid,” she admits. “If I didn’t do this for a living, I’m sure I would be redoing my own house over and over again. While that would be fun, it’s much more satisfying to create spaces for my clients that make them feel happy and proud to come home to each day.”

Raleigh Custom Home Builder Creates A Legacy Of Customer Satisfaction Through Hard Work And Quality Craftsmanship

March 19, 2015

Crafting exquisitely detailed and beautiful spaces is achieved by a commitment to the simplest and most timeless of values: hard work, quality craftsmanship, and a dedication to client satisfaction. For more than 25 years Raleigh custom home builder Bill Lawrence, of Lawrence Construction, Inc., has followed these principles as he constructs high-end custom homes that are tailor-made for each client. He is well-known for the superb quality of his workmanship. North Carolina Design asked Bill to take a moment to share with us what drives him, and how he creates successful, sought-after homes for the most discerning of clients.

Images Courtesy of Lawrence Construction, Inc. ©

Bill’s love for building and his solid, down-to-earth values were instilled in him early on. “My desire to become a builder came from my grandfather,” he recounts. “He was a farmer and a master carpenter. He made a bed for me when I was six years old – he went right in the woods, cut down a tree, and crafted it with hand tools. It was pretty amazing to me, and from a young age I have always seen the ability to create something from raw material as a good, honest skill to have.”

Today, Bill uses his own impressive skills to give his clients a beautiful living space that speaks to who they truly are. “I have always found it very fulfilling to make other people’s visions into a reality,” he affirms. “If I can come up with a suggestion that will make things run more efficiently, then I will. But if someone has an idea and can convey it to me, I should be able to create it for them.”

Bill’s dedication to meeting his clients’ unique requests has served him well in the high-end custom market. “Homeowners in this price point are not looking for a lot of guidance,” he explains. “This is not their first house – it may not even be their fifth, or sixth, or 10th house. They know what they’re doing, and they know what they want. My job is to listen very well to what they want, and figure out how to make it happen. I am offering them my time, my expertise and my experience. I am a hired gun.”

Bill relies on a team of savvy experts to help achieve the unique vision of each client. “I work with an excellent group of subcontractors, some of whom have been with me for 15 years. And, no matter how intricate, or detailed, or tailored a design component might be, I can find the right expert to create it.”

Maintaining consistent high standards is key to Bill’s success. “You are only as good as your last house,” he emphasizes. “Reputations are hard to build and easy to destroy. I insist on the best quality materials and craftsmanship, right down to the last detail. I don’t even want to work with anyone who doesn’t understand the value of quality.”

Bill also insists on a look that will last. “If you’re going to invest the time and money on your home, it should be on something that’s classical and won’t date the house. I couldn’t care less about trends – I want to create something that will stand the test of time.”

Bill finds tremendous enjoyment in creating personalized spaces for homeowners that they really love. “It’s very satisfying to know that you have helped someone realize a vision, and build something that’s really special and different.”

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