Fine Art

A Myers Park homeowner takes cues from her impressive art collection to transform her one-time traditional home.

The homeowner knew exactly what she wanted. After moving to Charlotte from New York to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren, the successful businesswoman purchased a home in Myers Park. Built in 2007, the traditional home was in need of an uplift. And while the homeowner doesn’t have a background in interior design, she does have an affinity for artwork, which drove many of the design decisions she made.

After living in the home for some time, learning its nuances and how she wanted to live in each space, she was ready to begin the renovation process. To start, she reached out to contractor Kurt Lovekamp. “Kurt has such a diverse background,” she says. “He has a great vision for things, too. I would tell him that I wanted a staircase here or a wall removed there, and he was able to see exactly what I wanted.” What she wanted was a more open, seamless layout where every inch of the home had a function and purpose. The home also needed to showcase her growing art collection. “I decided to expand my art collection so that I could use it as a vehicle to teach my grandchildren about art and artists,” she explains. “I want them to be able to walk through the home and learn something about art.”

After major tweaks to the layout with the addition of a back stairway, a kitchen renovation, and other structural changes, the homeowner was at the point where she needed to work on the interiors. Though she knew what she wanted the interiors to look like just as she knew what architectural uplifts she envisioned, she also knew she needed a professional’s input, not to mention help with sourcing furniture, fabrics, and more. To assist her, she enlisted the help of interior designer Mary Tobias Miller, who owns Abode Home in Dilworth, which is where, years earlier, the homeowner had first met the designer. “I’d purchased a chair from Mary years ago,” she says. “So she was one of the first people I thought of to help me with the interior design.”

From the start, Miller could see her client’s vision, one in which the interior design centered around her art collection. “The artwork has a very big personality,” Miller says, “so we decided that the interiors should acquiesce to her art collection as opposed to compete with it.” The living room was one such space where the furnishings, such as the Linea Murano glass chandelier, would play a supporting role to the artwork, which would be the centerpiece. “I love black-andwhite images of people and faces,” says the homeowner of the Terry O’Neill photograph that hangs above the sofa. “The homeowner knew she wanted a gray grasscloth in the living room, as well,” Miller says, “so we added a neutral option by Thibaut that really allows the artwork to pop.” Opposite, a dramatic piece by artist David Hockney is framed by Mr. Brown sconces “to enhance the artwork,” Miller says, “not detract from it.”

Similarly, in the dining room, artwork would play the lead role in the interiors with a stunning black-and-white photograph by artist Herb Ritts called Maasai Woman and Child, Africa. The peek-through to the hallway provides a pop of color through three works by artist Alex Katz called Brisk Day I, II and III. Upstairs in the reading room, the homeowner wanted a cozy place to curl up with a book, so Miller custom designed the sofa swathed in a luxe velvet by Romo to complement the artwork of artist Tom Wesselmann. The kitchen, however, is one space where the homeowner’s impressive art collection didn’t influence the design. “The space just really needed to be softened,” says Miller of the all-white kitchen, which the homeowner had previously renovated. Brass-accented counter stools covered in a Mongolian fur by Worlds Away “add a softness to offset the hard surfaces,” the designer says.

Originally, the home had three different dining areas, including the space adjacent to the kitchen. The homeowner wanted it transformed into a lounging area where she could relax and read, so Miller custom designed the banquette swathed in a Romo fabric so that it tucked right into the awkwardly shaped space. “My client wanted it to be comfortable enough to sit and read, but she also didn’t want to impair the view,” Miller says. Today, the homeowner looks at her home as a constant work in progress as she continues to add to her art collection. “The more that I add, the more the interiors will morph,” she says. The one constant, though, is drawing inspiration from her art collection. “The driving force in my home’s design will always be my artwork.”