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.”

2015 High Point Junior League Showhouse: NC & National Designers Tell The Story of 100 Year Old Home

March 18, 2015

For interior designers, telling the story of a house that is over 100 years old is definitely an exciting challenge and a labor of love. In the spotlight this spring in High Point is one such home – the 2015 High Point Junior League Showhouse – having its story told by some of the most talented design firms from across North Carolina as well as the nation.

Timing is everything, and in this case, the High Point Furniture Market will serve as the ideal backdrop for the Showhouse – both open on April 18th. With a national sponsor like Traditional Home Magazine, the house is certain to receive lots of attention. I am hungry for details, and so North Carolina Design caught up with High Point interior designer Christi Barbour, of Barbour Spangle Design, to find out what she has planned for her space in the home – the bar.

“Built in 1912 by Randall B. Terry, the house is a Tudor Revival and really is quite impressive,” noted Christi. “The bar is located between the kitchen and dining room and I felt this was an important junction. While the house is filled with stunning architecture, this space was lacking in personality. As a designer, I wanted to bridge the gap and infuse it with the character seen in so much of the home.”

Rendering Courtesy of Barbour Spangle Design ©

Showhouses challenge the creativity of designers because unlike other projects, there is not a “real” client that the project is being designed for. “In the absence of a client to offer their vision, I thought about Mr. Terry, who built the home” explained Christi. “This was an impressive man who was a notable member of the High Point community. He built the home at a time when opulence and elegance of the time would be seen throughout the home. From there, my vision took shape.”

The leaded glass doors of the upper cabinets in the bar definitely spoke to the opulence of that period. Those glass doors remain while everything else in the space has been torn out. The leaded glass pattern inspired Christi’s design for the raised panels of the lower cabinets. The color scheme speaks directly to the glamor of that era – with black and gold making a strong dramatic statement.

“It’s such a tight area and so I chose to eliminate visual barriers by using black lacquer as it connects and enlarges the all the elements of the room. For a touch of glamor, I’ve added gold to the ceiling and incorporated it into the plumbing and hardware. For the floor I selected a timeless carrara marble basketweave, in black and white. The goal of this tiny space is to remind people how easy it is to add a little glamor to their own lives.”

Christi affirmed that spaces like this in showhouses never come together without the help of numerous supporting people and resources. She wanted to acknowledge those resources:

Floor Tile: Mosaic Tile Company
Countertops: Wilsonart
Wallpaper: Phillip Jeffries
Paint: Pratt & Lambert
Lighting: Circa Lighting
Original Artwork and Mirror: Modern History
Plumbing: Kohler
Accessories: Regina Andrew
Undercounter Refrigeration: ULine
Counter Fabrication and Installation: The Stone Resource
Painting and Wallpaper Installation: Dwane Swain Paint & Wallpaper
Cabinet Doors: Archdale Millworks
Cabinet Hardware: Rejuvanation
Brass Brackets: House of Antique Hardware
Tile Installation: Flooring Creations
Electrical: Legrand

For more information on how to acquire tickets for the 2015 High Point Junior League Showhouse, Click Here . The house will be open from April 18 – 26 and from May 1 – 3.

2015 High Point Junior League Showhouse Opens April 18
A Must See During The Spring 2015 High Point Market

March 16, 2015

Spring in High Point, NC usually means one exciting thing – High Point Furniture Market. The High Point interior design community is also currently abuzz with much more – the Junior League of High Point and Traditional Home Magazine will be presenting us with the 2015 High Point Junior League Showhouse . (Open April 18 – April 26, May 1 – May 3.) Talented interior designers from across North Carolina, as well as noted national interior design firms will pull out all the stops in the Randall B. Terry estate – an impressive home that has a long history with the city of High Point.

I recently caught up with Greensboro interior designer Kara Cox, of Kara Cox Interiors, who shared a few details about the home with me – as well as the space she is designing inside this historic home. Previously, Kara created a show stopping “Daughter’s Bedroom” in the Junior League of Greensboro 2013 Showhouse, infusing the room with a glamorous, Old Hollywood feel. Certainly she will delight us again this year in the “Dressing Room” of the High Point home.

Like the previous Showhouse, this one also comes with wonderful history. The 2015 Junior League High Point Showhouse is a Tudor Revival home that was built in 1912 for Nancy and Randall Terry. From furniture to textiles to newspaper publishing, to local politics, Mr. Terry was a very active member of the High Point community. The home reflects the optimistic economy of the time and a man of his stature in life.

Image Courtesy of Kara Cox Interiors ©

Large spaces in a showhouse are often quite exciting, but the challenge of smaller ones can definitely speak to the depth of a designer’s creativity. Having mastered a gracious bedroom two years ago, Kara chose an 8’ by 9’ dressing room in the High Point home. Glamorous could easily describe a home built on the cusp of the Roaring Twenties. Kara sees glamor as part of what she will achieve as she juxtaposes various textures and patterns. “I want to make a dramatic impact in this room,” she notes. “I believe that the layering of textures and patterns in this room will work in concert to create that glamorous feel.”

Grey and blue were noted as trending colors at the 2014 Fall High Point Market. Kara is therefore spot-on in her decision to design the space in a charcoal gray palette, with bold accents of blue. She envisions her client as a fashion forward, well-traveled woman with a love for art whose material selections add to the sophistication of the room. The art will add another layer to the space, giving it greater depth.

The Grey Mica wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries was chosen from collections by the manufacturer that have a natural and organic feel to them. The Schumacher chinoiserie fabric for the drapery panel will be an ideal selection – working well with the period of the home but also contributing to Kara’s goal of establishing a luxurious space for her client. The graphic fabric of the skirt for the grey vanity, along with the sisal rug topped by a cowhide and the lacquered chair in a moody indigo blue will add to the successful laying of textures and fabrics.

It is one thing to describe how it will look. We will have to patiently wait to see the final result. Kara will be checking in with North Carolina Design, providing glimpses of the room before the final reveal. Nothing will beat seeing the house in person. For more information on how to acquire tickets for the 2015 High Point Junior League Showhouse, Click Here .

Charlotte Builder Demonstrates That Classic Detail And Understated Elegance In Custom Homes Are Always In Style

March 13, 2015

Watching a dream home come together piece by piece is always both an exciting and a daunting process. Fortunately for her clients, Charlotte custom home builder, Mary Ludemann, owner of New Old, thrives on excitement and is always up for a challenge. In leading this boutique design-build firm, Mary walks clients through the custom home building process from start to finish, helping them with everything from layout decisions through finish selections. While she stays true to traditional principles, her dynamic, forward-thinking style adds great intrigue and interest to each of her designs. North Carolina Design chatted with Mary to find out more about her process, and how she manages to create homes that are fresh and lively, yet gracious and elegant.

Images Courtesy of New Old ©

As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Mary is something of a surprise in and of herself. “Female builders are few and far between,” she concedes. “I have had to work extra hard to prove myself. It helped that I grew up in this business. My father was a builder, and we were always in the process of building or renovating something, so I was able to show that I knew the business, and could walk the walk and talk the talk.”

Mary never expected to become a builder herself. “I was actually in marketing and advertising,” she recounts. “But then, when my husband and I built our personal home in 2002, I loved what we did and found that I had a real passion for building. It never feels like work. I can’t get enough, even all these years later.”

Mary’s specialty is finding creative and new ways to solve problems. “Our clients might have gone to six builders, who all told them that what they want is impractical, isn’t going to work, or is ‘just not how things are done,’” Mary notes. “We think outside the box, and we find a way to make it happen. And then we often end up setting a new trend.”

Mary’s dynamic and innovative approach extends into her style, as well. “Overall, I lean toward a classical and traditional style – with a twist,” she explains. “I like to add an unexpected, contrasting touch here and there – something whimsical or rustic in a traditional home, for example. Something that makes you look twice, not because it seems out of place, but because no one has thought to do things that way before.”

While she may have a bold streak, Mary opts for subtlety over sweeping statements. “I like to create designs that have an understated elegance,” she says. “I use multiple layers of details that all work well together. That way, you find a little something surprising and new to appreciate no matter how many times you come into the space, without it screaming ‘hey, look at me!”

Mary’s positive, can-do energy helps to put her clients at ease. “Building a house can feel like this huge, overwhelming, intangible thing,” she says. “Where do we begin? How do we pick everything? We try to take all of that stress out of it, and dial up the fun factor. We sit down together with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, and we go through idea books and Pinterest pages, and chat about their family and their lifestyle. Then we lay out a comprehensive, cohesive plan. After that, it’s just a matter of building to that plan.”

For Mary, one of the best parts of the job is helping clients achieve results they never imagined they could. “We do push people out of their comfort zone just a bit,” she concedes. “We encourage them to take a leap of faith with us, and try something they’re unsure about, or didn’t think was possible. Then when they see it all come together perfectly, they’re so happy. It’s their home – the best version of their vision. And that’s so exciting to be a part of.”

Raleigh Custom Builder Combines Exceptional Skill And An Analytical Background In Crafting Beautiful Homes

March 10, 2015

A luxury custom home is always a marvel of artistry, as well as a testament to the hard work, exceptional skill and attention to detail of the builder. Jon Rufty, founder and CEO of Rufty Homes in Raleigh, has been building and remodeling such homes for over 25 years. He has made a name for himself as one of Raleigh’s most highly sought after and well respected builders, due in large part to a distinctive combination of a deeply analytical mind and a genuinely caring nature. North Carolina Design chatted with Jon to find out more about his background, his priorities, and what drives his dedication to exceptional work.

Images Courtesy of Rufty Homes ©

“I actually have a background in computer systems integration,” he confides. “When I worked in that field, my job was to listen to all of the clients’ needs, connect one piece with another, and design a system that worked. I have found that, while building is a different industry, the ability to listen, analyze and create solutions still applies, and still serves me well.”

Jon’s analytical, information-driven perspective is part of what makes his business such a success. “It’s really about educating and informing homeowners,” he maintains. “Our clients like to be involved. They want input – they want to understand everything so they can make decisions and be a part of the process.”

Jon feels that one of the most critical aspects of client involvement is the creation of a budget. “Our industry has a bad reputation for surprising homeowners with hidden costs,” he concedes. “Homeowners want to be heard. They want to be comfortable about where their money is going.”

“To be honest, the desires of homeowners and their budgets never match up. So we listen carefully to what they want, we educate them about costs, and we work with them to arrive at the best price. An education-based quote ensures that there are no surprises. If the price goes up, it’s because the homeowner wanted it to go up.”

Earning the trust of clients is central to Jon’s business philosophy. “We aren’t just serving customers – we’re creating relationships,” he affirms. “We’re available to our clients on their terms, on their time, and we do whatever it takes to make them a part of the process. When it comes to luxury custom homes, we’re not talking about three meetings – we’re talking about 50 to 80 meetings and hundreds of hours invested.”

Jon can manage this level of personal attention because his company is heavily staffed with builders who share his work ethic, his vision, and his priorities. “We all have a common thread – a personal commitment to our job and to the client,” he notes. “We all work very well as a team. Most of our people have been here for a number of years – we have very, very low turnover. We only hire people who have a real heart for others, and who genuinely care about one another, and about our clients as individuals.”

“We don’t see it as ‘the client’s home,’ but as ‘Mary Jo’s home.’ We really get to know the people – their kids, their hobbies, their lifestyles – and that helps us build a better house. Clients feel really safe with us. They know we are after their best interest, and that they can count on a lifetime of support – we work with people today that we worked with 20 years ago. It really is about so much more than building a beautiful house – it’s about building a legacy of quality and trust for our clients.”

From Patio Furniture To Gas Logs – The Hearth And Patio Provides Styles That Sizzle For Every Season

March 5, 2015

Winter is still reluctant to loosen its grip, and we are still seeing days where it’s best to stay wrapped up in front of a glowing fire. Still, our thoughts are beginning to turn to warmer weather, with wistful daydreams of sitting outside in the sunshine. Either way, The Hearth and Patio in Charlotte has us covered. This unique store offers a wide selection of both fireplace products and patio furniture. Family-owned and operated, The Hearth and Patio has been a local go-to place for 30 years, and currently features two Charlotte locations. To find out the secret of the company’s long term success and to get the skinny on what’s “hot” for summer or winter, North Carolina Design talked to Cindy Marze – a long time employee and the daughter-in-law of the store owner.

Images Courtesy of The Hearth and Patio ©

In meeting customers’ winter needs, The Hearth and Patio features a range of indoor and outdoor fireplaces and fireplace components, including gas logs, glass doors, burners and inserts. They also offer top quality gas and wood and pellet stoves. For those impatiently looking forward to warm summer breezes, the store presents a wide selection of patio furniture, which comes in everything from teak to wrought iron to recycled materials – in contemporary and traditional styles.

The Hearth and Patio also offers customers hands-on support. “We help people choose the right products,” Cindy affirms. “We want to know what type of fireplace masonry they have, and whether they want something more decorative or more functional. For example, vented logs have the beautiful decorative look of a real fire, while vent-free logs are designed to produce heat, and can be used with the damper closed.”

The Hearth and Patio’s hands-on support continues well after the original purchase. “Fireplaces can be very technical and complex, and things don’t go flawlessly 100 percent of the time,” Cindy notes. “We staff two plumbers, and we have our own service team to assist with any problems that arise. We also help customers go through the warranty process so that they can get the best use out of their product.”

The Hearth and Patio’s unique offerings and commitment to customer care have earned them a loyal customer base. “If we sell a product to someone during the fireplace season, there is a good chance we will see them when they need outdoor furniture,” says Cindy. “We have really good repeat business, and we see the same people a lot – even families across generations. If Mama shops here, and now daughter’s buying a house and needs something, she’ll come here.”

The longevity and family-oriented nature of The Hearth and Patio have made it an integral part of the Charlotte community, and the company is committed to giving back. “We do community work,” Cindy explains. “We provided wood for the show Extreme Makeover, and we help veterans by donating patio furniture.”

For the staff and owners at The Hearth and Patio, it’s all about connecting with people. “The one-on-one contact that we have with customers is so important,” Cindy explains. “People really love their homes, and it’s rewarding to help them find the right products. When they leave, you haven’t just made a sale, you’ve made a friend. You’ve created a relationship. And that’s what keeps people coming back.”

Lakeside Living: Charlotte Residential Designer Creates Tranquil Surroundings & A View Of The Water From Most Every Room

March 3, 2015

A lakeside vacation home is the stuff dreams are made of – beautiful views, tranquil surroundings, and the opportunity to get away from it all whenever the mood strikes. But what if you choose to make your vacation home your permanent abode? That’s the situation Charlotte residential designer Jenny Pippin of Pippin Home Designs faced with a recent tear down and rebuild of a lakeside vacation home. With 30 years of experience in residential design, Jenny specializes in homes with a view, as well as those with unique challenges. This renovation was right up her alley, and not surprisingly, the final results were spectacular. North Carolina Design chatted with Jenny to hear more about the finer details of the project.

Images Courtesy of Pippin Home Designs ©

The homeowners were a couple from Greensboro with one grown child and one child finishing high school. They had bought their lakeside house as a weekend and summer home, with the intention of moving into it permanently once they retired. To get a head start on their plans, they chose to sell their Greensboro home, move to the lake house, and endure the extended work commute for a while.

Jenny’s task was to make this vacation home a comfortable and functional permanent living space for the homeowners. She was able to maintain the feel of a relaxing lakeside getaway, while still creating a layout that would work seamlessly for her clients.

“The first floor is the main living level,” Jenny notes. “It was designed with just the two of them in mind, with a dining room, a great room, a kitchen, and master bedroom and bath – everything they need, all on a single floor. The great room, kitchen and dining room flow gracefully into one another, which provides an open, airy feel, and ensures that the homeowners will be able to use the space even if they have future mobility issues.”

The open space also allows the couple to comfortably entertain friends and family. “There is plenty of room for large gatherings, without it ever feeling crowded.” says Jenny. “Plus, you have these wonderful cathedral ceilings, making it feel even more spacious.” The home also features a lower level, with bedrooms for the kids, a kitchenette and a relaxing rec room, as well as a small upper level, which has exercise equipment and a ping pong table.

The homeowners gave Jenny a great deal of free rein with this project. However, one of the few things they did insist upon turned out to be a tall order. “They wanted as many rooms as possible to have a view of the pool and the lake,” Jenny recalls. “I like a challenge, and this was a real challenge. I had to come up with a creative way to angle the house to make it work.”

The homeowners were skeptical of her plan, but it worked out beautifully in the end, much to their delight. “Most of the rooms have a lake and/or pool view, including both bedrooms on the lower level,” she explains. “There’s even a screened-in porch off the dining room, where they can enjoy the lake view in the fresh air.”

One of the best views in the house can be found in a surprising place – the master bathroom. “It’s already a wonderful bathroom – spa-like, with an elegant chandelier and a pebble floor shower,” Jenny affirms. “But then, you can look across the tub from the shower and catch a perfect view of the lake. It really makes the space that much more relaxing and that much more special.”

Jenny was thrilled with how the whole project came together. “The homeowners asked for a “wow” house that would make the long commute worthwhile,” she recalls. “I think we definitely gave them what they asked for – something that makes them excited to come home each evening, and excited for what the future holds.”

Charlotte Landscape Designer Creates A Thing Of Beauty In the Back Yard Of A Newly Constructed Home

February 24, 2015

Today, Charlotte landscape designer Carole Joyner, of Joyner-Benfield Distinctive Land & Waterscapes shares with North Carolina Design details on the transformation to the landscape of a newly constructed home. Making this backyard a thing of beauty required problem solving, creativity and client collaboration. Nice job Carole!

Images Courtesy of Joyner-Benfield Disctinctive Land & Waterscapes ©

A newly constructed home on a newly developed cul-de-sac can be a landscape challenge, but we were fortunate to have wonderful clients who worked with us to understand and solve each problem! First things first… Drainage. The site had drainage issues cause by the adjoining properties, which were naturally higher and were draining down onto our clients’ property.

Before

Our clients were anxious to solve this issue. Bruce and Matt designed a new drainage system to deter and disperse the water from adjoining properties to the back of the lot. This also got the water away from the home’s foundation and from sitting at the front. They were able to achieve this with 6” solid wall pipe, catch basins, pop-ups, and a series of dry creek beds to the back perimeter natural area. With correct engineering, proper bed and plant placement and re-graded/sod backyard, this was accomplished.

After

Now, the fun… The back perimeter was cleared of many years of vines and small tree seedlings. We then established the landscape backdrop of Murray Cypress, Robin’s Holly, October Glory Maples, and River Birch Trees.

The ‘fluff” or ornamental shrubs are Camellias, Loripedlum, George Tabor Azaleas, Gardenias and a Weeping Japanese Maple as the signature tree.

The drainage system, with a series of 3 rock creek beds runs thru the plantings. This is the vista garden.

For screening, we planted Chindos to the right and left on the perimeters, simply as “greenscape.”

The back foundation has a Specimen Japanese Maple on center of the client’s bedroom to façade with understory plantings of Pieris Japonica, Fatsia Japonica and Sum and Substance Hostas.

At the back veranda steps, we planted a Specimen Japanese Weeping and Blue Hostas.

The right side foundation was tricky due to the drainage system and the desire to screen the clients’ bedroom, bathroom and laundry rooms. With the cooperation of the neighbors, a Lustreleaf Latiflora was planted to provide screening for each home.

Before

After

To façade/screen our clients home, we placed a very large tree-shape Ligustrum on center of windows, Tea Olives and Sasanquas on the remaining, with a Speciman Japanese Maple planted between the windows to soften the foundation – allowing for a lovely vista from inside the home.

Before

After

Our clients took my landscape design and substituted some of the plant selections for favorite plants that they had at their previous home. Their interest was welcomed. Not only did we have fun choosing plant material – the client involvement made the final outcome even more personal.

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