Across the Way

One family's forever home was right across the street.

Located in the heart of Myers Park, Sherwood Avenue is one of the most desirable streets in Charlotte. Houses sit passed down through generations, often undergoing small to massive renovations to suit the next of kin. So it’s no wonder that when one of these homes was rumored to be going on the market, the offers were prematurely rolling in. That’s when the neighbors across the street, who happened to be the homeowners’ best friends, called dibs. They signed the paperwork and handed over the keys to their dear friends, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“This house already felt like a second home to our kids, so moving here was just a warm welcome home,” the homeowner says. Though the layout was perfect, the new residents quickly got to work on a ten-month redesign that aligned more closely with their tastes. They called on Caroline Brackett of Caroline Brackett Studio of Design to complete the redesign. Brackett had just finished their living room in the old house and was well versed in what her clients wanted. “I am very client driven,“ Brackett states.

“I don’t really have a signature design style, which really allows me to get submerged in my client’s tastes. In this case, however, the homeowner and I have similar aesthetics, so I just needed to push her boundaries a little with design.” “I really love things with a history,” the homeowner says. “I love heirloom pieces, and I appreciate only a calculated risk. I also understand that in the wrong setting, these things can look outdated. Caroline was really great about giving me room to be who I am, while also showing me how to step outside a little and place the things I love into a timeless setting.” This translated into a classic and mostly neutral design with unexpected pops of color and interesting corners found throughout the home.

From paint and fixtures to furnishings and draperies, every room in the house was transformed. Most of the furniture pieces and heirlooms made the trek across the street, but new colors and designs brought a modern and comfortable feel to a very traditional and dated home. “This home was built around 1924, which is why I fell in love with this part of Charlotte, to begin with,” the homeowner says. “My family and my upbringing impact my style the most. I grew up being in my grandmother’s old home with high ceilings and cherished pieces. My mother was an artist. I want to pay homage to that – to revel in my childhood memories in a modern setting with my own twist,” the homeowner continues, admitting that she is a slave to design that matches the architecture and era of the home.

To that end, Brackett worked with the homeowner to create a design that fit the architecture of the home and enhanced it. “We may have stuck with architecture-appropriate styles for most of the design,” Brackett explains; “but we used fun patterns, unexpected trims, and modern colors and fixtures to create an overall timeless appeal that paid respect to the beauty of the home.” The dining room is a master class in just this approach with a vintage French blue wainscoting and trim paired with classic grasscloth wall coverings and a modern abstract painting. The formal living room, which is surrounded with French doors that open into the backyard and pool area, was painted a rich chartreuse green, which is unexpected, but expertly paired with heirloom furnishings and light fabrics.

“We were both really unsure how the green would turn out,” the homeowner admits. “But it’s my favorite room in the home. I love how it’s so open to the backyard – it really provides the indoor/outdoor living my family loves. When we host events, we open all the doors. Doors instead of windows were an exquisite choice on the part of our friends and former homeowners, I think. They make all the difference.”

Brackett adds that the room serves as an example of what she loves about good design. “I think the best design creates tension in a room that makes it irresistible,” she says. “The juxtaposition of unexpected items creates that – in this case, the pop of color encasing this room of classic furnishings.”

Just beyond those doors lies a newly installed pool. “It’s a beautiful space, in an L shape that mimics the shape of the home, which makes it the perfect seamless extension of their daily living,” she says.

One of the few original aesthetic elements to remain in the home can be found in the foyer. The mirror-paneled wall is a glamorous mate for the black and white marble floors. Grey trim and white walls bring the pair center stage.

“There are all kinds of rules of thumb in design,” Brackett says. “But they’re all situational. You can storyboard all you want, but nothing can be truly known until you begin a project and get into the process.” As she says, every room has a mojo, and it’s the designer’s job to interpret it