When Nikki Campo Schoper and her husband, Paul, relocated from Chicago to Charlotte in 2014, they built a home in Dilworth because they adored the eclectic mix of homes and the tree-lined streets. But they realized after only a few short years – and a third child on the way – that their house wasn’t going to work long term. Campo Schoper, a former management consultant and current stay-at-home mom, says, “Our attached garage sat behind our kitchen, and we couldn’t see the yard from inside the house. This meant our kids couldn’t play outside unattended.” The couple decided they needed something different. Their new wish list included a dedicated kid play space in the basement, a flat yard with minimal or no steps, a laundry room upstairs and down, and a larger yard to accommodate a pool for their water babies – now six-year-old Clay, four-year-old Ruby, and one-year-old Maeve Marian.
So they decided to take the plunge and move again – and build again – literally, just a few doors down the street. “Two houses in four years is a lot, and we didn’t make the decision lightly. In fact, we almost backed out a few months after we broke ground,” Campo Schoper admits. “Now we’re glad we stayed the course. It’s been one of the best decisions that we’ve made.”
The Schopers bought their new lot in 2016, hired RAM Construction once again as the architect and builder, and Blue Haven to design and install the pool. Then they turned to the dynamic mother-daughter duo, Lisa Britt and Hadley Quisenberry, of West Trade Interiors (formerly Lisa Britt Designs), to oversee the decor of the 6,000-square-foot home and 900-square-foot apartment above the garage. “The Schopers have become dear friends through years of our children attending preschool together,” Quisenberry says, who returned to Charlotte to partner with Britt after several years of working in the New York City fashion world. “Mom and I used to be hesitant about working with friends, but now we fully trust our process,” Quisenberry says. “There’s something so special about decorating a space for people you know on a very personal level.”
Every new project begins with sketches of the home layout to ensure all the key pieces fit and are in the right spot. Then Britt and Quisenberry typically build the decor plan from the floor up, starting with the rugs. West Trade Interiors offers a transitional aesthetic; Britt has a more traditional eye, while Quisenberry takes a more modern approach.
For this particular home – a white board and batten craftsman bungalow with touches of contemporary flair – the Schopers wanted the interiors to be almost entirely neutral. “Nikki loves all things white and black,” Quisenberry says. “To keep that palette while still achieving a warm and welcoming vibe, we layered varying tones of white, black, and greige, then incorporated rated lots of texture. She encouraged us to introduce color through original artwork, which provided the perfect pop in key spaces.”
The stunning master bathroom – awash in white and natural light – has a dreamy, almost ethereal ambiance, with an assist from fourteen-foot ceilings and a row of clerestory windows. An oversized shower and soaking tub provide the perfect spa oasis for these busy parents. The metal- and wood-beaded three-tiered fringe Etienne chandelier by Gabby Home takes center stage, adding a chic textural focal point high above all of the smooth surfaces. The airy palette extends to the kitchen – with white quartzite countertops, classic white cabinets and backsplash, and stained white oak floors, which Campo Schoper admits are less forgiving. “Painted wood toys get pushed across the floor and leave big colorful scuffs. But unless you’re on your knees playing Legos, you really have to look to find them,” she says. “I love the light and airy look, so I wouldn’t go back to dark!” And to combat the inevitable handprints and spills on white furniture, Campo Schoper requested durable fabrics and patterned rugs.
Quisenberry and Britt saved the drama for the dining room, where black walls in Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black add glamour above the white wainscoting. The crisp contrast is sophisticated without being stark. Since the duo designed the dining space in the Schopers’ previous home, their existing furniture moved with them, but almost everything else in the home was sourced new.
A sunny screened-in porch off the great room leads out to the custom pool, hot tub, a cabana/garage, outdoor bar, wood-burning fireplace, and seating area. A spacious guest suite added above the garage was not in the original plan but turned out to be a great investment and perfect for visiting grandparents and extended stays.
“I used to think I could decorate my own spaces because ‘I know what I like,’” Schoper laughs, who says her biggest decor mistake in her last home was overdoing it on the cool tones. “I thought I wanted no warm anything, anywhere, and so I had to learn by failing,” she says. “Now I see, after working with Hadley and Lisa, how much more there is to designing a space you love, filling a room appropriately without cluttering it, and pulling together lovely color palettes that won’t quickly go stale.” The Schopers have made their home a space where friends and family walk in and want to stay. Just look for the golden-yellow front door.