Asheville Interior Designer Creates The “Forever Home” For Clients In Western NC … And Again In California

January 30, 2015

Every home design is a labor of love, and each presents its own challenges. However, some design challenges have more twists and turns than others. Linda Constable of Ambiance Interiors in Asheville has 30 years of experience creating warm, welcoming interiors that perfectly capture the unique spirit of each client. Her talent and years of experience helped immensely when she was asked to design two separate “forever homes” – for the same clients – on different sides of the country.

Images Courtesy of Ambiance Interiors ©

The clients, a husband and wife, had settled in Asheville, in “the Hilltop House,” as Linda affectionately calls it. They called on her to design that home, and then, to her surprise, they let her know soon after completion that they were relocating to California. They wanted her to help them relocate her design to their new home as well. North Carolina Design talked to Linda to find out about her inspiration for the North Carolina home, and about how she managed this unique situation.

“The clients’ North Carolina home was a Tudor-style house that was built in the 1930’s,” Linda recounts. “They fell in love with everything about it. When they purchased that house and did that project, they had no plans to leave.”

The Hilltop House project was such a great experience for Linda that she jumped at the chance to work with the homeowners again. “They were so much fun,” I was tickled when they called for the California project,” she reflects. “I have to say, moving a family and all of their belongings from one side of the country to another was a really interesting challenge for me. It took three trips to get it all done, but the way it all came together was so satisfying.”

Linda sought to use as many of the original furnishings from the Asheville home as possible, while transforming the overall design feel so that everything worked well for the California location.“ We created a very welcoming look to the home – a little dressy, without being too formal. The homeowners have eclectic tastes, which kept the design from feeling stuffy. Both the husband and the wife have a great love for nature, so we went with a color palette that was earthy and primarily had natural tones. Many of the fabrics and patterns used have natural elements to them.”

Linda wasn’t just focused on creating the home’s look, but on its overall feel. “The age of the house really worked well with the mood we created,” she notes. “The spirit of the house felt original, as though it hadn’t been remodeled at all. It also felt very settled, as though they had lived there much longer than they had. “

Transferring an entire design from one home to another – especially across the country – may seem like a nearly impossible task. While it did require some precise and thorough planning, Linda maintains that it wasn’t as difficult as one might think. “If you plan a space thoughtfully, and create a well-proportioned, quality design, you can certainly make it work for a different home,” she explains.

While she used many of the furnishings and accessories from the Hilltop House, Linda still had something original in mind for the new home. “The idea was never to duplicate the Asheville home,” she says. “It was to shake things up, and create something new. It was interesting though, because from the moment I saw the new house, I couldn’t help but feel that the souls of these two homes were related somehow. Everything seems to have worked out the way it was meant to.”

Raleigh Residential Designer Reveals The Graceful Lines And Timeless Beauty Of Classic Architecture

January 27, 2015

Raleigh residential designer Carter Skinner spends his days pursuing his passion – creating homes that have the kind of timeless beauty he has appreciated all his life. As the owner of Carter Skinner Residential Design, his classicist soul, eye for detail and innate love of historic architecture lend untold distinction, character and artistry to every home he designs. North Carolina Design sat down with Carter to gain insight into his process, and learn about what drives him as a professional.

Images Courtesy of Carter Skinner Residential Design ©

Carter may just have architecture in his veins. “Architecture was my father’s true love, and he had a passion for building,” he notes. “I grew up in Forest Hills in Durham, which was developed in the 1920’s and 30’s, and has these incredible Colonial Revival English-style homes. I fell in love with houses myself at a young age, particularly homes of that vintage.
“I am driven to create homes that are inheritable — graceful, gracious, timeless structures that have a soul. I think a home’s soul comes from the integrity in its craftsmanship, and its details.”

Carter lives and breathes architecture, but his biggest source of inspiration comes from his clients. His primary goal is meeting their needs, which requires an effective method of communication. “I tailor my interactions with clients according to how they communicate,” he explains. “Some people communicate verbally, and some communicate visually. Sometimes clients very much know what they want, and sometimes I have to pull information from them.”

“My approach is very stream-of-consciousness,” Carter offers. “I talk to my clients – not just about how they live, but about how they flow through their homes. We talk about what works and what doesn’t, how they interrelate with the other people they live with, and how they transition from indoor to outdoor spaces.”

With the clients’ needs in mind, Carter applies his well-honed principles of design to create exceptionally beautiful and functional spaces. “There is a lot to consider,” he concedes. “You have to maintain a circular flow pattern, with no dead-end rooms. You have to be aware of how furniture fits, and know how to float it. You have to think about the items in the room, and how they interrelate proportionally. And you have to incorporate elements of style, like rhythm, scale, appropriateness of detail, and movement.”

While Carter clearly possesses incredible passion and talent, he humbly credits much of his success to great mentorship. “I was fortunate to be partnered with two amazing individuals — Arthur McKimmon and Jo Ewing, both prominent Raleigh designers who helped me hone my craft. It’s almost a legacy I’ve been fortunate enough to build from.”

Carter also cites his many years in the business as a factor in his success. “Much of what I am able to do – discerning clients’ needs, determining rhythm, scale and proportion, directing the eye around the space – simply comes down to the know-how that comes from years of experience.”

Carter’s years of experience are informed by an absolute love and affinity for architecture. “To me it’s almost like breathing,” he confides. “I have an almost biological need to create in this fashion. It’s a huge part of who I am. It may be something I inherited from my father, I don’t know. I do know that I consider my houses like my children. They are part of a large family – one that I am very proud of.”

Pssst – Check Out The 2015 Top Trends In Kitchen Design!

January 23, 2015

It’s a new year, full of new design possibilities. This is a great time to look forward to what 2015 has to offer for one of our very favorite spaces – the kitchen. To get the full scoop on what we can expect to see in the heart of the home this year, North Carolina Design turned to Mary Liebhold, owner and founder of The Kitchen Specialist in Durham. Mary has over 30 years of experience designing beautiful, livable kitchens. Having attended the most recent Milan Furniture Fair – the largest furniture fair of its kind – Mary definitely has her finger on the pulse of what’s new, both here and across the pond.

Images Courtesy of The Kitchen Specialist ©

“The Milan show was so exciting,” Mary tells us. “There were two huge buildings dedicated just to kitchens. It took two days to walk through the displays.”

Mary notes that there were some refreshing and intriguing elements to this year’s Milan fair. “The color palettes I saw were soft and cool,” she recounts. “There were pops of bright color, like hot mustard yellow and chartreuse, paired with whites and grays. The wood tones were either very light or very dark – I saw very few medium tone wood colors.

“In the two days I was there, I saw maybe three pieces of granite. However, I did see glass, stainless steel, porcelain, lots of quartz, and wood. The wood countertops tended to be either ultra-thin or very thick, and had a living edge rather than a straight, smooth edge. I also saw a prevalence of laminate. There’s no stigma attached to laminate in Europe. It’s used widely; the countertops are high quality, and they come in interesting patterns and textures.”

Mary expects some of the European trends to eventually show up Stateside. “We tend to follow Europe’s lead, usually within a year or two,” she notes. “That said, Europeans design tends to be much more contemporary and minimalist than American design. I think it’s harder to be minimalist here in the United States, because we have much larger spaces, and we own a lot more things.”

Today’s North Carolina kitchens may not be as sleek and Spartan as their European counterparts, but they do have cleaner lines and fewer frills than they used to. “Life is pretty hectic, and kitchens are already busy and crowded places,” Mary reflects. “Heavily patterned tile and heavily figured wood grain can just be too much. It’s about a simpler, cleaner look with more natural elements.

“As in Europe, we have seen a trend away from granite among our clients,” she says. “Homeowners are increasingly choosing sleeker materials like quartz, stainless steel, or even glass for their countertops. Those that do choose granite are choosing leathered or honed varieties that have a softer, more muted patina. Homeowners are also forgoing tile and grout backsplashes for solid glass, which can be painted for added color.”

Mary notes that the eclectic, mix-and-match look that has been popular in other spaces has finally made it to the kitchen. “It’s not unusual to have multiple colors and materials in the kitchen space,” she explains. “Cabinets might have a leather or porcelain panel or a metal edge, or they might be painted in different colors.”

2015 kitchens aren’t just about form; they will have to step up their function to meet homeowners’ ever more complex and specific needs. “Homeowners are more aware that they have choices, and they want to exercise those choices,” Mary offers. “They are educated, and savvy, and eager to be a part of the process. That makes this an exciting time to be a designer.”

The Latest Trends In Stone Countertops That Lead To Dream Kitchens And Elegantly Detailed Bathrooms

January 21, 2015

The right countertops can be a kitchen’s crowning glory, and there’s nothing quite like stone for dressing up the heart of the home. The colors, veining, texture, and movement of stone can add wonderful detail, artistry and character to a kitchen’s décor, and provide a beautiful complement to the flooring and cabinetry.

Pete Lane of Ivey Lane, Inc. in Greensboro is an expert in stone. His discerning eye and thorough knowledge of products has helped countless clients create their dream kitchen. North Carolina Design recently talked to Pete, getting his take on the different types of stone, and what people are looking for in today’s countertops.

Images Courtesy of Ivey Lane, Inc. ©

Pete notes that preferences have changed considerably in terms of appearance. “Over the last couple of years we have seen more cool tones than warm,” he notes. “We have especially seen a lot of whites and light grays. The finishes have also changed; beyond the glossy, shiny surfaces, homeowners have become interested in honed and textured tops. Leathered, river-washed and brushed tops have all become popular.”

Images Courtesy of Ivey Lane, Inc. ©

Engineered stone, also known as quartz, has also risen sharply in popularity. “There has been a huge increase in demand,” Pete affirms. “Engineered stone is made up of 93 to 97 percent quartz chips, which are bound together with pigment and resin. It’s really durable and scratch resistant, and it’s available in colors you can’t get in natural stone, like blues, greens, and pure white. Quartz does have a more contemporary look, although they are manufacturing new varieties that mimic granite and marble.”

Once dismissed as impractical, marble has made a comeback in kitchen countertops. “There are some disadvantages to marble,” Pete concedes. “It’s a softer stone than granite, and it can stain and scratch. It also reacts to acids, so spilling something acidic on it — like wine or juice — can cause damage. That being said, nothing else really comes close to the look of marble. It’s just a beautiful, classic and luxurious stone to work with. If you don’t have a high-traffic, high-use kitchen, it can work.”

When it comes to stone, Pete’s personal favorite is quartzite. “It’s very, very beautiful, with color variations and graining that you can’t get anywhere else,” he notes. “It really is nature’s artwork. It’s also ultra-durable, like a very hard granite, and it’s resistant to acid, scratching and heat.”

Pete concedes that some people have reservations about stone countertops. “They’re afraid that they will stain or scratch easily, and require a lot of maintenance,” he notes. But, he says, this isn’t necessarily the case.

“First of all, some products wear better than others. You have to choose the right product and finish for your lifestyle and the amount of traffic in your kitchen. Second, you can and should seal marble and granite countertops to prevent stains. There are sealers on the market today that guarantee against staining for 15 years.

“You should always use the proper cleaning supplies for your product. And even with highly durable products, you should use appropriate caution and care. For example, you should avoid putting hot items on engineered stone, as the resin can scald. In the end, with the right knowledge and just a bit of care stone countertops can look beautiful for years to come.”

Triad Remodeler Serves Up Beauty In The Master Bath While Addressing Current And Future Needs

January 15, 2015

Once purely functional, today’s master bathrooms serve as a place of beauty, respite and relaxation. They can also offer something those of previous generations never did – aging in place designs that help make it possible and pleasurable to stay in one’s home long-term. Ned Eldridge, owner of Ned Eldridge Residential Renovation in High Point, has been remodeling homes for decades, and he has seen the shift in demand and priorities in master bathrooms first hand. North Carolina Design spoke with Ned and his operations manager, James Critz, to hear more about these changes, and to learn how they balance elements of universal design with the quality, beauty and client satisfaction that the company is known for.

Images Courtesy of Ned Eldridge Residential Renovation ©

Incorporating universal design, it turns out, is partly a matter of real estate. “Inventory of new construction is a lot lower than it was a few years ago,” notes James. “The majority of our clients are looking to stay in their current homes, as opposed to buying new. They need long-term solutions that will allow them to have full access to their space as their needs change. And with today’s universal design advances, they can live in their home forever.”

Master baths have come a long way in the last couple of decades. “I would say that about 70 percent of our clients have homes that have been untouched since the 80′s early 90′s,” says James. “The differences between master bathrooms then and now have to do with access and style. Back then, everyone wanted to have a tub, and builders would often compromise the design to add one.

“Today, as long as you have an operable tub somewhere else, it’s not so important to have a tub in the master bath, so there is a much better flow and a much more efficient use of space.” Ned notes that homeowners today tend to prefer large showers over tubs. “Large showers are luxurious, and they look toward longevity, as they leave clearance for a walker and in-home care,” he explains.

There are numerous ways that Ned and James work to make a master bath ideal for those with current or future mobility issues. “Curbless, level-entry showers provide wheelchair access, and shower seats allow for comfortable bathing,” explains Ned. “Wide door widths, and appropriate flow patterns and spacing allow those with disabilities to transition easily to different areas of the bathroom. And elevators or chair lifts ensure that master baths on the second floor will always be easily accessible.”

Aesthetics are often a concern when it comes to universal design. “A lot of people imagine that it will look cold and industrial,” James concedes. “But we can create a design that will still appeal to multiple people. There are decorative handicap grip bars with a lot of aesthetic appeal. Plus, there are product options that blend right in and work well for people of any ability, like hand-held shower heads, or toilets that sit an inch higher than standard toilets.”

Ned has been in the remodeling business for 38 years, and he is excited about the changes he has seen. “In the past, the master bath in particular was purely utilitarian. Homeowners didn’t use nice products, because nobody saw them. It’s so nice to go into a mundane bathroom, gut it, and walk out leaving a beautiful, luxurious space with amenities that make life a whole lot more pleasurable.”

“There was a lack of design in the past,” James adds. “Some of that was due to the products that were available at the time. We’re not limited at all anymore. We can really do just about anything in order to help our clients achieve their dreams for their space. It’s very exciting, and very rewarding.”

When It Comes To Kitchens And Baths, This Charlotte Remodeler Adds His Distinctive Touch To The Vision Of His Clients

January 12, 2015

When designing and remodeling kitchens and baths, it is essential to create spaces that are inviting, functional and definitely beautiful. Fortunately, Charlotte remodeler Eddie DeRhodes of DeRhodes Construction has the right combination of talent, vision and skill to transform any kitchen or bath into a truly spectacular space, imparting his unique flair along the way. Critics also agree – as a design-build contractor, Eddie’s bathrooms and kitchens have earned him numerous awards, including multiple national and regional Contractor Of The Year Awards (CotY), and a 2013 Remodeling Design Award. We asked Eddie to share a little bit of his process with North Carolina Design, and to tell us what trends he sees developing in homeowner preferences.

Images Courtesy of DeRhodes Construction ©

Eddie is proficient at melding his client’s vision with his own creative process to achieve results that are both beautiful and truly innovative. His unique background allows him to bring an uncommon, fresh perspective and a distinctive touch to each project. “Because of my architectural education, I can see things three-dimensionally,” he explains. “I can also use drawings and sketches to help clients understand the process and see what the finished space will look like.”

Eddie enjoys the design aspect of projects, and will certainly weigh in with advice if the need arises. However, he gives much of the credit for his successful projects to the designers he works with. “I can wear a couple of different hats, if necessary,” he affirms. “But in many cases, I essentially implement the designer’s plan. I complement their skill with quality craftsmanship, and put the effort into getting the details right. I am very fortunate to have good clients who are willing to trust in their designer.”

When it comes to kitchens, Eddie asserts that while form is important, it must always follow function. “You may not immediately see the function of a kitchen because of the beauty of the design,” he explains. “But it has to be there. There has to be a balance. I don’t care how pretty a kitchen is. If things aren’t in the right place – if it doesn’t function – it’s not a success.”

Today’s homeowners want to get the best possible use out of each space in their homes, and they aren’t necessarily looking to reinvent the wheel or go over the top with their kitchen and bath remodels. “I find that clients really just want to add function to their kitchens and bathrooms and bring details like finishes, countertops appliances and fixtures up to date,” Eddie reflects. “They are making thoughtful choices — they want to make sure that what they’re buying looks and feels and works the way they expect it to.

“Rather than expanding their space, many of the homeowners I work with want to reconfigure, reorient and re-plan within their home’s existing footprint,” he continues. “They may give up a bedroom, take down walls, or remove a Jacuzzi to create a spacious master bath. Or they might give up a pantry to create more counter space in their kitchen.”

One of Eddie’s favorite aspects of his job is the relationship he builds with his clients. “The success of a project isn’t in the photos – it’s in the satisfaction of the clients,” he affirms. “After all, they are our marketing people. I take a great deal of care to understand and meet their needs, and I take a lot of pride in the quality of work that we offer them.”

Raleigh Remodeler Raises The Roof On 1930′s Bungalow

January 8, 2015

Aaron Fitzgerald hasn’t created his dream home yet – but he’s getting closer. Aaron is the founder and owner of Aaron Fitz Construction, an award-winning, full-service construction and remodeling company in Raleigh. He has been steadily working his way up to building his family’s dream home, one renovation at a time. Today we’re featuring the latest renovation on his quest, a cozy 1935 bungalow in Raleigh that he beautifully transformed into a spacious, two-story family home. North Carolina Design asked Aaron to share details about the transformation, and to tell us what it’s like to have himself for a client.

Images Courtesy of Aaron Fitz Construction ©

Aaron started off by searching for a home in the area where he and his family eventually wanted to settle. “We were living in Holly Springs, and we decided to make the move into Raleigh,” he recounts. “We knew from the beginning that we were going to choose something we could remodel. We searched for 6 to 8 months just to find the right project.”

Aaron was specifically looking to find a home where he could add a second story. “It’s easier to build straight up than to build out wider or out back, so I knew we would be tearing the roof off of something,” he notes. “But none of the houses we initially looked at had access to a second floor. We finally found one that seemed right – a 1935 bungalow with a staircase that led up to a storage area.

“The original house was 1237 square feet. We doubled the square footage by adding a second floor. It was an almost total gut job; we took down everything but the load-bearing walls, and re-plumbed and rewired everything. Everything is new.”

Aaron found it refreshingly easy to be his own client. “The project actually went pretty smoothly,” he concedes. “I knew exactly what I wanted, and how I wanted it done. Also, when you thoroughly gut a house, those sudden unexpected issues that can come in renovations don’t even matter. There’s nothing left to surprise you.”

Because the house wasn’t designed for Aaron and his family specifically, each decision was made with resale in mind. “Originally, the home had two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, a dining room and a tiny kitchen,” he notes. “We reconfigured everything to get the best function out of the existing footprint.”

On the right side of the downstairs area, Aaron and his team used the existing bedroom spaces to create a master bedroom, a master bath and a powder room. On the left side, he removed a wall between the dining room and the kitchen to create a very spacious and functional eat-in kitchen. Upstairs, he created three bedrooms, a bathroom, a laundry room and a family area, which can be used as a playroom, an office, or a bedroom.

While Aaron completely reworked the home’s living space, he kept its original style and charm. “We like renovating older homes, and keeping them true to the era in which they were built,” he affirms. “I personally like the Craftsman/bungalow style of this home. It gives it a lot of character.”

Aaron’s mind is already turning to his next personal project. “We’re going to keep going until we get to the dream house,” he says. “I figure at this point, we have about two more houses to go.”

Publishers note: Fans of the HGTV series “Love It Or List It” can catch Aaron on several episodes of the popular show this season. As homeowners decide whether to stay where they live or move into another house, Aaron will often be the contractor renovating their existing home.

Charlotte Remodeler Proves That It’s The Details That Transform A House Into A Home

January 5, 2015

When it comes to transforming a space, details matter. Details are what make a house a home, and add personality, comfort and beauty. For Don Davis, owner of Davis Properties & Building Co. in Charlotte, there’s no more welcome challenge than building a beautiful, one-of-a-kind space. Don is a general contractor with an eye for design, and he specializes in creating custom remodels that are perfectly suited to his clients. From the kitchen to the bath to outdoor living spaces, North Carolina Design asked Don about how he gets the details right in these coveted spaces of the home.

Images Courtesy of Davis Properties & Building Co. ©

Don believes the first step is listening carefully to his clients’ needs. “One of the most important things in this business is being a good listener,” he affirms. “You have to really try to get a good feel for what’s most important to clients, and for what they really want. Listening helps you get the creative juices flowing and come up with one-of-a-kind ways to individualize and personalize a space.”

Don’s priority is always creating a unique and visually compelling space. “We want to help people achieve a “wow factor” in every room that we touch, so that every room is different and nothing feels stale,” Don explains. “We also want to put our own stamp on each project. You can spot a builder’s work just by the details, and we do hope that people can recognize our projects by our finish work.”

Don is able to add original detail thanks in part to his in-house cabinet shop. “We craft our own cabinetry, built-ins and trim work,” he notes. “Crafting these things in-house allows us to control the quality, put our design stamp on them, and offer nice, unique custom features for a lower cost. It also gives us the creative freedom to think outside the box when it comes to personalizing spaces.”

Details can really make a difference in a kitchen, as they add a homey feeling to a utilitarian space. “We often add ‘furniture’ details like table legs and cornice work to our islands to make them stand out,” says Don. “Our cabinets are made in one solid piece, as opposed to several pieces put together, which allows for more joint details and a more custom feel. We often take cabinets all the way up to the ceiling – it adds greater visual impact and makes the room feel taller and larger.”

It’s not just aesthetic details, but usability and convenience that help people feel at home in their kitchens. “We add rollouts in base cabinets so that homeowners don’t have to bend over and reach in,” Don notes. “We use dead space to create a ‘drop zone’ – a 4-inch shallow space that gives homeowners a convenient place to toss their keys and cell phones and charge their electronic devices. People appreciate these little touches.”

When it comes to outdoor spaces, personalization is all about comfort. “It’s about how well you can create a backyard oasis,” Don concedes. “Whether you’re adding an outdoor kitchen, creating an entertainment space or providing a sense of privacy, you really want it to have that intimate, cozy feeling – a little piece of outdoor paradise.”

Don enjoys the fact that each project is one-of-a-kind. “Every job has its own unique challenges. Finding a way to address them keeps you fresh, engaged and thinking.”

North Carolina Design Holiday Recipes ~
Kale And Brussel Sprouts Salad, J’Nell Bryson Landscape Architect

December 22, 2014

As we draw closer to the date when we’ll be eating that main holiday meal, here is a wonderful and healthy dish that I think sounds like a great addition to the table. J’Nell Bryson, of J’Nell Bryson Landscape Architect in Charlotte shares with North Carolina Design this recipe for kale and brussel sprouts salad. Not only is it healthy and easy to prepare, it is a visual delight. How pretty!

Kale And Brussel Sprouts Salad
J’Nell Bryson, J’Nell Bryson Landscape Architect

Remove kale leaves from the rib. Wash if necessary, drain to dry, put them on a board and fine
chop. Add those to a bowl with thin sliced, cleaned brussels sprouts so that you have equal parts of kale and brussels sprouts.

Make a vinaigrette by squeezing about half a lemon in a bowl and add a half tablespoon of dijon
mustard. With a whisk, incorporate a fine drizzle of olive oil until it all becomes a smooth
emulsion. Add the olive oil until the tartness is softened. Add a little kosher salt to taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the greens to taste. Keep any leftover vinaigrette in the frig.

Over the greens add just about anything you like but in a restaurant recently, we had fine
chopped dried cranberries, marcona almonds (Whole Foods in the cheese section), and goat
cheese. Stir and serve.

The greens will stand up to the rest of the ingredients and won’t get soggy. It’s delicious and

2014 Festive And Beautiful Holiday Tablescapes

December 22, 2014

It’s that time of year, when our day-to-day decor is set aside and our homes are transformed into beautiful reflections of the Christmas spirit. One of the best spots to decorate for the season is the dining table. This is, after all, the gathering place for friends and family, and we want it to be warm, inviting and beautiful. To find out what’s popular in holiday tablescapes this year, North Carolina Design once again turned to Debbie Huffman, owner of Dolce Dimora in Greensboro. Debbie lives and breathes fine linens, and knows exactly how to set the perfect Christmas table.

Images Courtesy of Dolce Dimora ©

Debbie tells us that the newest holiday table trends are all about the past. “Homeowners are simplifying their lives and going back to their roots,” she explains. “They want an artful, vintage look that pays homage to bygone eras, but still looks fresh and new.” To achieve this look, they are forgoing purchasing all-new table décor, and repurposing vintage items in a way that adds both a sense of character and a touch of novelty to their holiday table.

For more formal tables, this means finding clever ways to incorporate vintage silver. “People are using silver punch bowls as vases, old broaches as napkin rings, and vintage silver trays as a base for centerpieces.” Debbie explains. “A silver punch bowl filled with red roses adds a stunning classic look to a Christmas table.”

For the more casual holiday table, repurposing means bringing the outdoors in. “It’s all about nature,” Debbie notes. “People are bringing in leaves, pinecones, bark, and wood, and using them with candles. They’re stacking birch or pine wood on tables for added height, and using vintage lanterns for lighting. And they’re using less of the dressier linens, in favor of natural fabrics like burlap and flax linen.”

Vintage Santas, snowmen, and other decorative items are adding a little whimsy to tables this year, and dinnerware and stemware has taken on a more eclectic look. “People are mixing and matching plates to add some flair,” Debbie recounts. “They’re also using mix-and-match colored stemware with cut glass for a bit of vintage-inspired shine.”

The idea of a natural, homespun tablescape extends to flower arrangements as well. “Of course, people are using roses, cyclamens and amaryllis. But they are also using what they have ready available in the garden. Holly, berries, rosemary, evergreens and paperwhites can all make beautiful centerpieces.”

Not everything vintage is repurposed; companies are making reproductions inspired by vintage decor, which add great details that help to complete the look. “Juliska has a number of beautiful reproduction items, like placemats that have the look of old lace, and gold and silver die cut napkins with lace trim,” notes Debbie.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with a traditional table. “Gold, silver, and platinum, mixed with traditional red and green, is still and always will be popular,” Debbie affirms. “New ideas may come and go, but you’re always going to have those – they’re classics”

North Carolina Design wishes all our readers the warmest and happiest of holidays!

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