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

Posted on | March 13, 2015 | No Comments

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

Images Courtesy of New Old ©

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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