Asheville Interior Designer & Residential Designer Team Up On Modern Western NC Home With A Kaleidoscope Of Views
February 11, 2016
There are beautiful houses, and then there are exceptional, unforgettable houses. One such house is a modern three story wonder located in northern Asheville’s Ciel development – a house displaying spectacular and inventive design. Each floor of the home features its own outdoor deck space. Abundant windows offer incredible views of the mountains and downtown Asheville. The home was the winner of the 2015 Parade of Homes Innovative Award for its builder, Bellwether Design-Build. Today we hear from the home’s architectural visionary, Asheville residential Designer, Jason Weil of Retro+Fit Design and trendsetting Asheville interior designer Talli Roberts, of Allard & Roberts Interior Design.
Images Courtesy of Retro+Fit Design LLC ©
“I’ve worked with Jason on a number of projects,” Talli tells North Carolina Design. “We really enjoy working together. We’re both collaborative, so we work well in a group. We’re honest with each other, so we’re able to talk through challenges. And we have mutual respect for one another. We actually recommend each other for projects so we can work together.” Jason agrees. “I love working with Talli,” he affirms. “She’s very talented and very pleasant to work with. Looking at this house, she did an amazing job.”
It was Talli who introduced Jason to the project developer, David Zimmerman. “I had worked with David before,” she recounts. “This was our third new construction project in this community. David and I have a good relationship. I know what he likes and I understand his taste level and expectations. I felt Jason was a perfect fit for the project.”
“David has excellent taste, and high expectations,” says Jason. “But he also offers a lot of creative freedom. When he hired me, he essentially handed me a blank slate. He said, ‘There are only two things I want. It has to be cool, and I want to see it on the cover of Dwell magazine someday.’” Jason offered Talli the same free reign. “I know that Talli and I are on the same page aesthetically. I knew she would create an interior that would perfectly complement the home.”
North Carolina tends to lean toward a traditional style, but this home’s decidedly modern architecture fits in just fine in Asheville. “Ten years ago everyone here wanted Arts and Crafts,” observes Jason. “Today, I find that there is certainly more of a demand for modern design. People here are open to it. It makes sense – Asheville does have a tradition of mid-century modern architecture. Also, a lot of people are moving to Asheville from more urban areas and they want the more modern look they’re used to.”
The home’s stunning design was a product of Jason’s innovative vision. “This is definitely not your standard rectangular house,” he concedes. “I designed it from the outside in, using a very sculptural approach. I wanted it to have a massive, almost monolithic quality and to be very dynamic, with very dramatic angles. At the same time, I wanted the house to almost cascade gracefully down the hill.”
“I had the idea of using one massive block to anchor the house to the mountain, with three other blocks anchored off of the first block. The blocks make up the different floors of the house. They’re placed in such a way that the house has an almost kaleidoscopic effect. It appears to shift and change as you move around it, and it looks different from every angle. As you come up the hill, you actually get the impression that it’s floating in space.”
One of the home’s most striking features is its multi-colored, striped exterior. “I wish I could take credit for that, but it was a happy accident,” Jason laughs. “We actually wanted a gray exterior that would blend with the trees. I went up to the house one day to find that rain had created these great ‘tiger stripes.’ I don’t know how, but I’m glad. Now the exterior has the same dynamic quality as the house. It changes beautifully with the light and looks different from every angle.”
Talli’s interior design is a beautiful reflection and continuation of the home’s distinctive architecture and it ties in well with Jason’s sculptural concept. “I kept the interiors very consistent from room to room and used a neutral palette of muted, monochrome tone on tone colors. This preserves the modern style and ensures that nothing detracts from the spectacular views, which are some of the best things about the house.”
“We knew we were going to have to use everything in our designer’s bag of tricks to keep the monotone design from falling flat. We introduced a lot of very organic textural elements – I think my favorite is the living room coffee table, which is actually made from a root. The rugs, paintings and decorative pieces provide a much needed color and contrast. Four Corners Home and Mobilia helped provide the furniture, and Togar Rugs graciously loaned us the rugs. The paintings are originals by Genie Maples.”
Talli’s favorite spot in the house was the master bedroom. “The room is cantilevered, so it literally seems like it’s suspended in midair,” she explains. “The two window sides meet at the corner of the room, so you have these expansive views of both the mountains and downtown Asheville, which are just spectacular at night. We kept the monochromatic palette but made the room cozy by adding textural elements such as a comfy duvet and the Moroccan area rug. We also added a comfy seating area in the corner.”
Images Courtesy of Allard & Roberts Interior Design ©
The Ciel house was an unforgettable project for both Talli and Jason. “We all made a great team,” reflects Jason. Talli absolutely agrees. “Everyone was on the same page and everyone worked hard to make this vision of Jason’s a reality. I will always be proud to say that I was a part of this experience.”
Winston-Salem Interior Designer Delights With The Details As This Parade Of Homes Entry Wins Platinum
February 2, 2016
I love being able to present whole house projects to the readers of North Carolina Design. In her own words today, good friend, guest blogger and Winston-Salem interior designer June DeLugas takes us on a tour of this newly constructed house. I know you will enjoy reading about the creativity of June and her firm in this award-winning home.
In the world of interior design, the homes and spaces we design are our canvases and we are the artists. Our most recent Winston-Salem Fall Parade of Homes entry for June DeLugas Interiors provided a most delightful canvas – a custom built home which included unique architectural and organic elements.
Images Courtesy of June DeLugas Interiors ©
This artistic endeavor was built in the charming Buena Vista neighborhood by award-winning builder, Don Hamrick, owner of Custom Homes by Hamrick, Inc. Prior to construction, this journey and project began with a field trip to three older homes that were scheduled to be torn down. We wanted to identify architectural elements that could be salvaged and incorporated into the new home.
Beautiful, warm heart pine floors were collected and stored for this project. While the reclaimed floors set a nostalgic tone, the house also incorporates a more modern open floor plan well suited for today’s families and their lifestyles.
Organic elements such as Belvedere leathered granite paired nicely with the natural stone selected for the fireplace. This was purposely chosen to emulate similar stone in nearby homes. An irregular handmade subway tile backsplash in the kitchen worked wonderfully well with the leathered and natural stone. The Parade of Homes judges commented on the beauty of the granite and how well all these design elements came together.
With this perfect canvas in place, it was time to work on the selection of colors throughout the house. Rather than trying to match colors, we chose to layer a combination of blues, teals, and corals. These colors appear in various ways throughout the home, from throw pillows on the sofa to linen window treatments. The star of the show is a teal grass cloth in the dining room by Phillip Jeffries. It catches the eye the moment you walk through the foyer. A casually comfortable coral and cream striped cotton rug plays off the heart pine floors in the master bedroom.
Staying with Benjamin Moore paint colors throughout the house, we chose a warm Maritime White for the walls and White Dove for the trim and ceiling. For the laundry room and powder room, we chose White Ice, which is a cooler and lighter color with just a touch of teal. The bonus room is adorned with Palladian Blue, emphasizing historical colors. Last but not least, we chose Classic Gray for the basement walls.
Staging the home with many antique accessories brought in a bit of the feeling the old in with the new. Antique English cream ware accented the bookcase while Staffordshire Bouquet dishes by Johnson Brothers added charm to the glass kitchen cabinets. It had the warmth and casual benefits of traditional and transitional design.
We were once thrilled to receive the Platinum Award for the second time in this competition, having won our first Platinum Award in October of 2013. This award was first introduced four years ago to reward the most creative home with the highest score. Only one home is chosen each year for this prestigious honor. It is both gratifying and humbling to have been a part of this unique project.
January 29, 2016
Not so long ago, homes were more about beauty and showmanship and less about warm and comfortable spaces. Today, people have returned to the idea of a home as a very personal, welcoming place where families can retreat from the world. Charlotte interior designer Stacie Salisbury, owner of Metropolitan Design Concepts, is known for infusing a wonderful sense of comfort and livability into her chic and elegant designs. We talked to Stacie to find out how she achieves this difficult feat.
Images Courtesy of Metropolitan Design Concepts ©
Stacie tells North Carolina Design that she doesn’t create designs with comfort as her first priority. Rather, her careful attention to balance, scale and visual interest and her thoughtful consideration of her clients’ individual needs lead to spaces that are welcoming, beautiful, and comfortable in every sense of the word.
According to Stacie, function is a key element of a comfortable design. “You really have to have an idea of how people live, and how they will use the space,” she explains. “Some people are very sociable, and they like to have people over for gatherings. So there has to be additional seating and a more fluid gathering space. Some people have lots of kids, and they need fiber seal on their furniture in case somebody makes a pb&j and decides to wipe their hands on the couch.”
“Some people are homebodies, and they want to put their feet up on their furniture and cuddle up together on a single sofa while they watch a movie. Others care more about presentation. They keep their feet on floor, and have private rooms that are more comfortable and public rooms that are showier and more formal. Comfort isn’t all about plush cushions and cozy rugs – you have to accommodate your client’s lifestyle the best possible way to in order to make their home very, very livable for them.”
Style, too, can help dictate how comfortable a room is. “I personally think that a certain mix of traditional and transitional makes a space more livable,” Stacie tells us. “Transitional design is colder, but the warmth of traditional style gives it a heavier footprint. Even a traditional chair of the same size as a transitional chair can feel like it takes up more space. But if you balance that heaviness with lighter transitional pieces, you’ll still have that warmth, and the space will feel more casual and friendly and inviting.”
Stacie notes that balance is also an essential component of an inviting and comfortable space, as it soothes the eye and creates a sense of harmony. “You have to balance furniture of varying heights. All of the furniture can’t be skirted, and all of it can’t be legged. Everything should be composed in such a way that it takes your eye around the room and draws you into the space.”
Intriguing touches of visual interest also help catch the eye and invite people in for a closer look. “I always say there has to be at least one ‘wow’ in a room,” Stacie offers. “But if you have too many ‘wows,’ they start to compete with each other. So my limit is five. Conversely, you can get away with one ‘wrong’ thing in a room – something you love that doesn’t exactly match the style or color palette – but two wrong things will throw the design off.”
In the end, creating a comfortable space is an accumulation of a lot of little things. “You have to have somewhere to put a drink down and your feet up,” reflects Stacie. “You have to make sure there’s enough light – there’s nothing worse than being a dark room. You have to make sure there’s something eye-catching in a room that makes you want to take a second look, whether it’s something of architectural interest or a pop of color.
“Even pass-through rooms like hallways and foyers should offer a reason to pause and linger. There shouldn’t be any room in a home that isn’t purposeful and doesn’t draw you in. Because that’s what you want throughout your living space – something that intrigues you, invites you in and makes you want to stay awhile.”
Asheville Interior Designer Details How Window Treatments Are Essential To The Decor Of This Blue Ridge Mountain Home
January 20, 2016
Homeowners often think of window treatments as pretty accents that add a finishing touch to a living space. But, as Asheville interior designer Kathryn Long of Ambiance Interiors can attest to, they are actually a significant design element that requires thought, planning and preparation to get right. Kathryn is known for her beautiful and well appointed designs, as well as her impeccable attention to detail. She is passionate about finding the right window treatments for the right space, and North Carolina Design caught up with her to learn more about how she does it.
Images Courtesy of Ambiance Interiors ©
Kathryn became an expert at window treatments by necessity. “Usually seamstresses come to the worksite to assess the windows, but for years my seamstress never left the sewing room,” she says. “So I had to learn about fit, scale and proportion. I had to become very familiar with overlap, return and fullness. Over the years, I developed such an appreciation for well made window treatments and everything they add to a home.”
In fact, window treatments perform a long list of important functions in a living space. “They provide light control and privacy,” Kathryn notes. “They protect furniture and rugs. They add acoustics and help set a mood. They cover the intimidating ‘black holes’ that bare windows become at night. And they make a space warmer, both literally and emotionally.”
In spite of their benefits, Kathryn has found that homeowners don’t always embrace window treatments initially. “People fear they’ll lose their view and their light,” she explains. “But properly designed window treatments will frame the view and control the light, so that there’s ample illumination when needed, but no glare at the wrong time of day.
“This home is a prime example of that principle. The great room has a fairly western view, so at 5:00 you had to get out your sunglasses. We used custom motorized Roman shades in a semi sheer fabric. The shades block out the afternoon glare, but they don’t block the view completely. We used Roman shades in the same style in the dining room, as it also has a fantastic view.
“The sun was pouring in through the large windows in the breakfast room. My clients were reluctant to listen when I suggested window treatments, but in the end it really came down to a question of practicality. We used semi-sheer cellular honeycomb shades. They work well to control light, the stack up when they’re raised is really tiny, and they offer thermal protection. In the master bath the concern was privacy, so we used a more opaque shade on a wooden rod.”
Beyond function, Kathryn ensured that the window treatments fit in seamlessly with the home’s overall design. “This was a charming mountain home with fabulous architectural details,” she notes. ”The clients wanted it to be an inviting space, with nothing breakable or unapproachable. Somewhere you could put your feet up and feel truly comfortable.”
Kathryn created an elegant and richly detailed space that was also inviting and unpretentious. She used wood and natural stone to bring the outdoors in, antique furniture pieces to add traditional warmth, and rustic arts and crafts elements to provide a touch of simple mountain charm. For window treatments, Kathryn chose linen and cotton for a natural softness that would perfectly complement a mountain home.
“Window treatments are not designed in a vacuum,” Kathryn observes. “They have to relate to everything else in the space, and be so well designed that they’re part of the interior. When they’re done right, they should disappear into the background. And I think we achieved that here.”
Platt Architecture, PA, Brevard, NC
January 13, 2016
Designing a home is a truly challenging feat – it must be the right home for the lot, the neighborhood, and the client’s wants and needs. It takes great skill to balance all of these factors and still create something exceptional, and Raleigh residential designer Carter Skinner is the man for the job. He designed today’s featured home, a Long Island shingle home located in a new community development in Raleigh. With the collaboration of the client and a trusted interior designer, he not only created a fantastic house – he helped make it a home.
Images Courtesy of Carter Skinner Residential Design ©
“It has a very appealing location, with a park, lots of trees, lots of sidewalks, and exceptional quality homes,” noted Carter. “The development was first started with the idea that it would appeal to empty nesters, but it actually turned out to be very popular with young families.”
One such family belonged to Carter’s client and longtime friend – a single father with twin boys and one daughter. “We were very happy to work with him,” Carter recalls. “It was a true collaboration. His main priority was having a home that was very comfortable for himself and his children, but was also a bit whimsical and fun. He’s a wonderful cook – he has a degree from a culinary institute – and he loves to entertain frequently, so we took that into consideration as well.”
The home’s first floor offers an open, free-flowing space equally ideal for entertaining active children or a crowd of dinner guests. The second floor features four bedrooms; the twins shared one room, while the little girl had her own bedroom. The master bedroom features an adjacent study, while a spacious playroom on the third floor provided a perfect spot for the kids to enjoy.
While Carter very much enjoyed working on this project, it wasn’t without its challenges – chief of which was the home’s location on a corner lot. “It sat at the intersection of several streets in the middle of community, which meant it could be seen from several angles,” he explains. “We wanted to address the corner in an appealing 3-dimensional way. We started with a turret on the corner, with views going down several directions, then we added several two-story gables on each side, which really gave it presence.”
Another challenge with the home was its small yard. “This is a 4700 square foot house on a very, very tight lot,” Carter notes. “Because the yard was so small, we did as much as possible to bring the outdoors in. Natural light became very important – part of the reason for the open floor plan was to facilitate the flow of sunlight throughout the body of the house.”
When it came to creating the perfect look for the home’s interior, Carter turned to Raleigh interior designer Chapman Williams. “The client wanted a look that was classic, yet contemporary, and was friendly, warm, and a bit whimsical, but also very elegant,” he recounts. “It was a complex aesthetic, but I was very trusting of his skill and instincts, and knew he would do an incredible job with it.
“He created a warm family atmosphere that was also very stylish and unique. He used classical elements in a fresh way, so there’s this sense of timelessness, balanced with a contemporary feel. I especially love the way he used color and pattern to create interest. All the way around, this ended up being a beautiful house, and a great project. And it all came from really successful collaboration.”
Charlotte Designer Details Changes In The World Of Interior Design – From Style & Color To Resources & Clients
January 5, 2016
A new year is an exciting chance to leave the past behind in home decor and contemplate the new and the now. Today, that means getting up to speed on what has changed in the world of interior design. For this, we turned to a bona fide design veteran – Charlotte interior designer Anita Holland of Anita Holland Interiors. A person whose friendship I’ve value greatly for many years, I also have great respect for Anita’s timeless interiors, her wealth of experience and her adaptability. While she always stays true to classic design principles, she enjoys change – and she shared with North Carolina Design the most significant changes she has encountered in recent years.
Images Courtesy of Anita Holland Interiors ©
In interior design, change is a constant – a fact that Anita happily embraces. “Syles change, clients change,” she reflects. “And new advances in materials and techniques are made all the time. Beyond that, each individual project has its own momentum and its own challenges. No two are even close to being alike. And no two projects are at the same stage at the same time. So for me, everything about every day is different, which I love.”
Anita notes that her clients today differ in several ways from those she worked with a decade or two ago. “Design services used to be primarily for upper class, older people,” she explains. “Now more and more young people are using designers. I think that’s partly because they tend to already have established careers and solid incomes when they first settle into a home. Additionally, for today’s younger homeowners, creating a welcoming, homey living space isn’t a luxury or an afterthought – it’s a priority they want to invest in.”
According to Anita, homeowners are also much savvier than they used to be. “Between magazines, websites and social media, they have a lot of resources at hand,” she says. “They might look at 50 different white kitchens to see exactly what their options are. They have a better sense of what they want. They think a lot more about what they want. And, they don’t just want to copy a popular design. They really want their design to reflect them personally.”
It isn’t just homeowners who have changed; the general design aesthetic has changed as well. “Fifteen years ago transitional design didn’t come into play,” Anita recounts. “You were either very traditional, or you were contemporary. Today there is a mixture. People still like traditional elements. They don’t want to give up their antiques. But they do want a fresher, more updated look, which translates to cleaner, simpler lines.”
In today’s design, simple is better, less is more, and livability is a priority. “People are using less furniture,” notes Anita. “They are choosing a few special pieces, rather than filling up rooms with things they might not necessarily like, love, or need. Also, they don’t really want formal rooms with furniture they’re nervous to sit on. They really want to get the most out of each room, and live in their whole home.”
“Things are a bit more relaxed. People want a look that’s elegant and sophisticated, but has a more casual, updated feel. This means velvets that are less plush and less stiff, so they don’t scream formality. It means grasscloth walls, or wallpaper with pretty geometric patterns and metallics. And it means art pieces that are more graphic, unique and colorful.”
Color and pattern preferences have changed recently as well. “As a background color, gray is still very popular,” observes Anita. “I personally prefer beiges and rich creams, as I think they add more warmth. For accents, people are using more color, but fewer patterns – and the patterns they do use tend to be geometrics rather than florals. They are choosing to layer neutrals and colors throughout the room, rather than having one or two heavily patterned pieces overwhelm the space.”
Anita concedes that when it comes to design, some things don’t – and shouldn’t ever change. “The principles of good design stand the test of time no matter what’s popular, or what decade you’re in,” she asserts. “Those principles offer stability, and longevity. But the things that do change – the clients, the styles, the projects, the technology– they’re what make this business exciting and dynamic. They’re what keep me excited to get to work every day.”
December 16, 2015
It’s hard to believe with this weather that Christmas is just around the corner. A few years back, guest blogger and Winston-Salem interior designer June DeLugas of June DeLugas Interiors shared these thoughts with us on Christmas decorating. North Carolina Design thought it was worth re-posting June’s love for decorating at Christmas and her ideas on exercising your artful resourcefulness this time of year.
Images Courtesy of June Delugas Interiors ©
Those who know me as a designer would certainly agree that I believe in resourcefulness. I also ascribe to the design principle of “less is more.” I say that I do… except when it comes to decorating for Christmas. I love holiday décor. When it comes to my tree, there is no doubt that I believe that more is superior to less.
Each year when I pull out my ornament boxes, somehow they seem to have multiplied. I know they are all mine, but there is just a hint of disbelief that I could have so many. If you are like me, from year to year, you cant’ always remember what you have until you unload the boxes. Once the ornaments are carefully unwrapped, the excitement is overwhelming. As I begin, I like to garnish my tree starting from the inside and moving outward. That way, I can normally get my 1,000 ornaments on the tree, creating depth as well.
My ornament collection is extensive and varied – going back as far as those that I made by hand of calico fabrics when I was a l5-year old – as well the most recently acquired Hallmark collectible blue Santa Claus from this past Tuesday night’s ornament exchange. There are the fun and the delicate – like the one I call “If Pigs Could Fly,” that I simply could not live without, and the hand blown chicken ornament that is oh so cute. My tree stands 9 feet tall with angels on two sides as the topper, with streamers of ribbon flowing, but no bow. For me, decorating the tree is not a labor but rather a joy.
When it comes to decorating for Christmas, the dining room is where artful resourcefulness can come in handy. In one elegant home shown here, a beautiful centerpiece accentuates a glass top table, while the Christmas tree picks up the colors in the living room. An antique mantel courting an antique mirror is carefully decorated to work with the French theme of the room. The mantle is brightened by additional lights and accented by flocked garland.
Two of the tables I have set and decorated for the holidays in my own home, including the dining room, have accents of blue, hand-lettered napkins with family members’ initials, place cards, antique plates, and silverware from the family. Being resourceful with the things you have and the memories of your family’s past can become the future memories you hand down to your own children.
Images Courtesy of June DeLugas Interiors ©
There’s a saying, “Do what you love, and love what you do.” For me that is definitely true. It just happens that during the holidays, I have the pleasure of enjoying it that much more.
Greensboro Designer Details 2015 Fall Furniture Market – Traditional Styling With Softer Lines, Rich With Color
December 9, 2015
For design lovers, The Fall High Point Furniture Market is one of the year’s best highlights. Because The Market is not open to the public, those outside the industry typically have to wait to see what’s new as it trickles into stores. Fortunately, North Carolina Design has savvy insiders who visited The Market and can give us the scoop. This time, we sat down with Greensboro interior designer Jessica Dauray of Jessica Dauray Interiors. Jessica is known for her fresh, bold, eclectic designs, and we were happy to have her walk us through what’s new, what’s hot, and what to expect when it comes to design.
“I thought the furniture market was great this year,” Jessica affirms. “Color is back in a big way, which I love. And I really like the overall design direction. I was pleased to see such a nice mix of contemporary and traditional elements, and so many interesting accessories and art pieces. This makes it very easy to create a nice, eclectic, layered space, which is what I love to do.”
Jessica noted a definite shift in furniture style at this market. “Furniture profiles are moving away from super-clean lines, and becoming softer,” she tells us. “Traditional style is coming back into the mainstream. This makes me really happy, because it allows for a more visually complex space, and it suits my personal style.”
While furniture has shifted toward the traditional, art has taken a more modern turn. “The artwork I saw was very bold and very graphic. Lots of large, abstract pieces in strong colors, done with large, sweeping brushstrokes. There was a big focus on original, contemporary pieces – it was hard to find a traditional landscape anywhere.”
Lighting fixtures, too, are trending toward the contemporary. “I saw a lot of spiky starburst fixtures with exposed Edison bulbs,” Jessica recounts. “As far as lighting finishes, gold is really hot right now. Not so much a shiny gold, but a soft, luminescent gold.”
Soft gold was just of many interesting shades and hues to make a dramatic appearance at the Market. “Gray was very much still present,” Jessica concedes. “However, there were a lot of fresh pops of color mixed in, which is really great. A couple of years ago the market was a sea of gray. The industry has been pushing for color for a while, and I think this new color palette will be embraced quite nicely.”
According to Jessica, prevalent colors in this palette included orange, malachite, royal to navy blue and pink, in both spicy hot fuchsia and soft shades. “I particularly loved the combinations I saw of pink and gold,” reflects Jessica. “I think those colors are beautiful together, whether you’re dealing with a chalky pink or fuchsia.”
Some interesting materials also made an appearance this time around. One standout among them was Lucite. “I saw Lucite used in so many different ways – on furniture legs, handles, side tables, shadowboxes even benches,” recalls Jessica. “Lucite is great – it transitions really well between contemporary and traditional styles, and it’s a nice, interesting way to add layers to a space.”
The market also featured a dramatic international flair. “The Greek key element was very prevalent,” Jessica says. “It was used on furniture feet, on tables, and on textiles. The showrooms also had an influx of Indian hand-printed paisleys, as well as British Colonial handblock prints.”
While Jessica enjoyed perusing the latest colors and styles, she was particularly impressed with the abundance of semi-custom options she saw. “I liked that the industry is addressing a need for customization by supporting a very designer-friendly market,” she reflects. “They are embracing the smaller account. They’re realizing they can customize pieces without having to reinvent the wheel, which makes custom options much more accessible. It was really nice to walk around Market and see creativity and customization embraced on a universal level.”
Emmy Awards Nominee & Asheville Residential Designer Jason Weil Of Retro+Fit Design Creates Great Visual Interest
December 2, 2015
A designer’s background can serve to add a whole new perspective and dimension to their designs. Such has been the case for Asheville residential designer Jason Weil of Retro+Fit Design. Jason served as the creative mind behind today’s featured project – a strikingly beautiful “mountain modern” home with a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. North Carolina Design chatted with Jason about the home’s design, and about how his previous career as a set designer influences his work today.
Images Courtesy of Retro+Fit Design LLC ©
“I think it’s safe to say that I have a different background than most designers,” Jason tells us. This is definitely the case; for 18 years, Jason designed sets for major Hollywood film studios. During his career, he worked with legendary directors like Steven Spielberg, supervised million dollar sets for famous movies and TV shows, and even earned himself an Emmy Awards nomination. However, Jason became disillusioned and dissatisfied with the film industry, and sought out something new.
He fell in love with Asheville during a visit and eventually moved to the city, where he began a career as a residential designer. He loves his current low-key life, and has no regrets about leaving Hollywood behind. “Asheville is so beautiful,” he says. “It’s an amazing place to live and work. I really enjoy what I’m doing now – it’s very fulfilling to work personally with clients on their homes.”
Jason’s years in the film industry have been a definite asset to his current design work. “I am very adaptable,” he explains. “I had created all kinds of different sets, in all different styles, from all different eras. I can work with any style and any preference. Also, in film, the set isn’t just there to look pretty. It has to help set a mood and move a story forward. So I am very good at creating a design that has a strong narrative, a really personalized feel and a good sense of place.”
He is also excellent at adding a wonderful sense of drama and artistry to each home – a fact evidenced in this project. On the outside, this house has the edginess and sophistication of a fabulous contemporary art piece, while still retaining the warmth and character expected in a mountain home. On the inside, it is a clean, light-filled space with grand, sweeping ceilings – made inviting and cozy by rustic touches throughout.
“I think there is definitely a sense of drama in this home,” concedes Jason. “It’s really not a large home. But it is a tall home, and the soaring ceilings and abundance of windows make it feel large and spacious. I love the massing, and the roof lines. I think they really do give the house a great visual impact. Then there are the views – the home is designed for a 270 degree view of the ridge.”
Jason worked closely with the home’s builder, Brandon Bryant of Red Tree Builders – for good reason. “This was his personal home,” he notes. “He and his wife wanted something that was very contemporary, but appropriate for the mountains. They also wanted something that had a really different look.”
Clean lines and angles and the use of metal and cement give the home its contemporary appearance. Meanwhile, the use of natural, textured materials like wood timbers and stone serve to soften and add warmth to the design. They even add a charming personal touch. “The stairs were milled with lumber from the site, and the builder got the siding from his grandfather’s barn to use as an accent wall, so it’s reclaimed from his own heritage.” Jason explains.
The home’s exceptional design has earned it a great deal of acclaim. Retro+Fit won the 2014 PACE award for best home design, while Red Tree Builders won a North Carolina Home Builders Association’s STARS Award and a Silver Award at the 2015 Nationals. Jason is delighted with the home’s positive accolades. “It truly was an incredible project,” he says. “It really did turn out beautifully, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”
Charlotte Remodeler Re-Defines “Custom” – A Thoughtful, Personal & Boldly Creative Approach To Each Project
November 17, 2015
So few things in life are ever a perfect fit, so a custom build or renovation really can seem like the height of luxury. For Charlotte builder and remodeler Don Davis, owner of Davis Properties & Building Co., however, “custom” isn’t a word that automatically translates into big-budget specialty items. For Don, it’s about taking a thoughtful, personal and boldly creative approach to building – a philosophy which shines through whether he is building a Tiki Bar, a classically styled porch, or a transitional bathroom. North Carolina Design sat down with Don to hear his take on custom building, and how he achieves such a unique look for each space he creates.
Images Courtesy of Davis Properties & Building Co. ©
“I don’t like the term ‘custom,’” Don tells us. “I think it’s overused, and often misconstrued. It’s like Mercedes Benz branding – everyone associates it with luxury and assumes it’s out of reach, but that’s not necessarily true. Just like there are affordable ways to buy a Mercedes Benz, there are affordable ways to do custom.”
“From my perspective, custom doesn’t mean expensive. It means hands on, project oriented, personalized service. Rather than getting something off the shelf, you are getting something that’s catered to your specific home. With some creativity, some wise spending and some value engineering, you can get a lot of what you’re seeking on a moderate budget.”
Don asserts that listening carefully to clients is key to giving them the custom space they’re looking for. “If we’re doing a kitchen, we want to know, are you a budding chef? Are you modernizing for resale value? Knowing your wants and needs helps us analyze where to put spice rack rollouts, drop zones, cabinet pullouts and pan storage. We want to make the best possible use of the space, while giving you the best visual impact”
When it comes to cabinetry, Don is able to give his clients the ultimate in custom design. “We have our own shop, and we make our own cabinetry,” he affirms. “This gives us a lot of flexibility. Generally, if you find something out there you like, we’ll find a way to make it fit as though it was always there. There’s honestly no space we can’t accommodate. We are always thinking about how we can overcome an odd angle, a small room, or a vaulted ceiling.”
Don’s open mind and willingness to learn has proven a great asset in the custom field. “We’re not afraid to take on something new,” he notes. “Every time we take on a new challenge, we gain a little more knowledge and a little more wisdom. That knowledge and wisdom helps us find creative solutions for future projects.”
“When we were asked to do a storm room addition, we went out and learned everything we could about tornado proofing. When we did a residential dance studio, we consulted with a professional dance studio to find the best way to use the space. We’ve never pigeonholed ourselves into a single style or a type of structure. We stay open-minded so we can keep up with our client’s needs.”
Don’s main goal for any project is to serve his clients well. “Doing custom work does give me creative freedom, which I love,” he concedes. “But in the end, this is a service industry. Putting a smile on my client’s face puts a smile on my face. And that’s what motivates me.”
keep looking »