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.

Charlotte Home Furnishings And Accessories Store Creates A Unique Shopping Experience

February 19, 2015

There is an abundance of home stores across the state that reach out to address the home décor needs of savvy shoppers. And then there is Blacklion. Founded in Charlotte in 1996, by Nita and Bob Emory, this wonderfully unique store is North Carolina’s go to destination for shoppers interested in all things related to home décor. By offering an extensive selection of furnishings and accessories, Nita and Bob have set up Blacklion as a multi-merchant shopping center – where numerous design experts rent space in order to offer homeowners a fantastic selection of handpicked home goods.

Images Courtesy of Blacklion ©

Blacklion was the first store of its kind, and both the flagship location in south Charlotte as well as the Huntersville location remain near and dear to the community that embraced it almost 20 years ago. North Carolina Design sat down with Nita to find out what is so special about this store – both to Charlotte, and to the shoppers who visit.

“I think part of our appeal is that we offer the best of two worlds,” she begins. ”We have 68,000 square feet of space. However, our individual merchants have come in and built their own unique spaces and created their own separate environments. So, it’s one big store with one central checkout, but it still offers a huge variety of original and unique merchandise.”

Variety is indeed the cornerstone of Blacklion’s enduring appeal. “We have every category of furniture and décor,” says Nita. “Traditional, transitional, modern, mid-century modern – our selection runs the whole gamut, with everything from farmhouse styles to over-the-top dressy styles. We have furniture from major sellers like Hooker, Bradington Young, Robin Bruce and Broyhill, and we have one-of-a-kind repurposed and recycled handmade furniture.”

Whatever their style preference, shoppers can count on Blacklion for offerings that are fresh and current. “We stay on top of what’s popular,” affirms Nita. “We pay attention to the color of the year, and what’s new in furniture and décor. We also change out our displays to reflect seasons and holidays.”

Nita credits much of Blacklion’s success to the store’s merchants. “They are so talented,” she explains. “They have a special expertise for bringing in items that people really want to purchase – things that are different, exciting, and on-trend. Shoppers know they will see something new every time they come.”

Shoppers also know they will have the luxury of instant gratification. “You don’t have to order a piece and then wait for it – you see it, you buy it, you take it home,” says Nita. “In addition, our merchants focus on finding good buys, so we can keep items at a reasonable price point. Shoppers don’t have to deliberate – they know they are getting a great look for the money.”

Blacklion’s variety, quality and value make it a wonderful resource for those in the trade, as well. “Designers often come in and shop with their clients,” Nita explains. “They know they can accessorize easily here – there are no catalogs, there’s no waiting, and there are so many options to choose from.”

Blacklion doesn’t just benefit shoppers – it provides merchants with a great business opportunity. “They have their own space, and they do not have to be here to run it,” notes Nita. “They don’t have to worry about advertising or overhead. We provide all the help, we pay their sales taxes, and we even offer them a rental storage area for excess merchandise. This leaves them free to focus on developing their concept and their brand, and on buying the right things.”

Blacklion is more than just a home store – it’s a destination. “This is a place where you can come to have lunch with friends, or to entertain your out-of-town guests,” Nita asserts. “It’s also a concept original to Charlotte, and a unique part of the Charlotte landscape. It supports local entrepreneurs, and encourages people to buy local. In essence, it’s a one-stop-shop, where everybody wins.”

These Gardens & Outdoor Living Spaces of Asheville Landscape Designers Refresh The Mind And Restore The Spirit

February 13, 2015

Spending time in a lush, tranquil garden is such a perfect way to refresh the mind and restore the spirit. There really is no joy quite like wandering down a quaint garden path and watching the colorful flowers nod in the breeze – especially if that garden path leads through your very own backyard. The team at Gardens For Living, a leading Asheville area landscaping company, has been helping clients create their dream gardens for three generations. North Carolina Design sat down with founder John Phillips, his son Shane Phillips, and landscape designer Marobeth Ruegg to find out more about their design philosophy, and highlight a few notable projects.

Images Courtesy of Gardens For Living ©

“We have no aspiration to have the biggest landscaping company,” Shane begins. “Our goal is simply to install the very best gardens in North Carolina.” John agrees, saying “Quality is our absolute highest priority. We want to create something that endures. Not just a landscape, but a garden that is passed down to our clients’ children and their grandchildren. We have clients who have been with us for 25 years, and it is such a thrill to see their gardens grow and evolve.”

Gardens for Living also prides itself in infusing each project with artistry and a sense of place. “What we do is almost like architecture,” notes Marobeth. “We create outdoor rooms, with open spaces, closed spaces, and dark spaces. We want moving through each space to be an experience, and we want the garden to have an almost magical quality to it – a quality that makes people happier, just by spending time there.”

One project that exemplifies Gardens for Living’s design philosophy is a stunning two-acre mountaintop garden known as the Carroll property. “The client was a very busy man, with a very high-stress job that took him all over the world,” reflects John. “He wanted a garden that reminded him of England. He also wanted the opportunity to come to his mountain home and either stroll throughout the property on pleasant pathways, or sit in the garden and either read or enjoy the scenery.”

“He loved color,” adds Shane. “So we added as many colorful things along the pathways as we could – native wisteria, flowering shrubs and trees, and all sorts of flowering perennials, like bleeding hearts and giant allium.” The garden features several touches that make it truly distinctive, like the use of heavy timber and stone, which reflect architectural elements in the client’s home, and the exquisite pergola, which could fit seamlessly in with a 19th-century English garden.

Another Gardens for Living project, the Jones Fire Pit, won the recognition of the North Carolina Homebuilders Association when it was named 2014’s Best Outdoor Living Area. One of the factors that made this particular outdoor space so exceptional was the site itself.

“The only option for the fire pit site was the side of a very steep hill,” John explains. “We carved a little space into the slope to accommodate it. The site’s slope gave us some unique options for retaining walls. We decided to use large boulders – they create visual impact, but still blend effortlessly with the natural mountain landscape.” Meanwhile, the fire pit’s stone sunburst configuration serves as a stunning centerpiece that pulls the entire space together.

John sums up his team’s passion for creating outdoor spaces for his clients. “It’s not about arranging plants for them,” he says. “It’s about giving them back something the modern world is missing – a connection with the land, and the joy that that connection brings into a person’s life. That’s what has kept us going all these years.”

Winston-Salem Interior Designer Creates Quiet, Rustic Lake House Retreat

February 5, 2015

Sharing details about this beautiful lake house retreat today is guest blogger Winston-Salem interior designer June DeLugas, of June DeLugas Interiors. Not only do I like her work, I count her as a good friend. This project offers soothing tones that flow well from room to room. Much thanks again to June for detailing another project with North Carolina Design.

Images Courtesy of June DeLugas Interiors ©

Each year June DeLugas Interiors is asked to create a beautiful home and to oversee the entire building process, both for the Spring and Fall Parade of Homes. This twice a year event is a huge endeavor for the Winston-Salem Home Builders Association, promoting dozens of newly constructed houses by many premier local builders – which are then open for public viewing. While homeowners look to the occasion for inspiring ideas, most don’t realize that these homes are then judged by an impartial team of professionals. Builders and design teams with the highest scores are honored to have their efforts recognized, accepting a coveted gold, silver or platinum award.

The theme for our 2014 Fall Parade of Homes entry, shown here, was “A Quiet, Rustic Lake House Retreat.” Our focus was on capturing the simple, tailored style and youthful freshness of this beautiful home. We were very pleased with the finished result.

We consider the art of decorating houses to be much like composing music. We began the process with a prelude. As you enter the double front doors made of solid mahogany, the interior’s openness flows into the family room with vaulted ceilings. It is welcoming and inviting, and gives you a glimpse of what is yet to come.

The melody was our floor plan. We chose a fluid floor plan that incorporated a lot of windows, allowing us to take full advantage of the natural light and the picturesque view of the lake. Notes of color created interest within the house. Layers of fresh light grey colors made a beautiful statement throughout the sweeping rooms alongside rustic organic wood accents.

Our design inspiration came from the recycled heart pine floors that the builder, Don Hamrick, salvaged from an old home. The vision continued to evolve as all of the elements were chosen. The furnishings came from June DeLugas Interiors retail location in Clemmons which proudly supports American-made home furnishings.

The custom-made tables were crafted by a local artisan using salvaged wood from West Point Pepperell in Fort Mill, SC. Upholstery pieces including the sofa were made by Hickory Chair. Simple linen fabrics were custom tailored as window treatments to frame the windows. A soft, gray linen frames the lake view from the family room windows, while a white linen with a gray top trim is the perfect completion to the windows in the dining room. The impression came together in such a positive way that word traveled throughout the Triad and brought a host of interested visitors.

It is very rewarding to get the same “Wow!” response from potential homebuyers and sightseers as they toured the home. It’s the music that the ears of a designer never grow tired of hearing. I also find that it has me looking forward to an encore performance in the Spring.

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.”

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