VIBRANT POPS of color. An easy, flowing layout. Unexpected elements that make it simultaneously approachable and elevated. Designer Rima Nasser’s home is a seamless marriage of transitional bones and modern interior tastes.
But it didn’t start out that way. In fact, one might’ve called this a proverbial diamond in the rough. Nasser, owner and principal designer of TEW Design Studio, and her husband began their home search with a comprehensive list of must-haves for their growing family:welcoming guest spaces for out-of-town visitors; a family-friendly kitchen; ample natural light; adequate storage; accessibility to nature; and a luxurious primary bath.
Looking for a home in the height of the real estate flux in 2021 proved difficult, and they were quickly outbid on the first four houses they liked. Nasser began searching for homes with remodeling potential, but when they came across this Raleigh home, she remained cautious.
“It was bland and gray. The kitchen was not functional, and the primary bedroom lacked in many ways,” says Nasser. “But while the home posed some interesting design challenges—awkward layout, a small owner’s suite, and DIY projects throughout—the positive aspects proved its potential.” Sitting on two acres of private land in a great neighborhood, the house had good bones—ones that Nasser could work with.
“My vision included expanding the kitchen, redoing the fireplace surround, improving flow and functionality, and creating a retreat-like owner’s suite with freestanding tub,” says Nasser. “When I showed my husband some rough plans, he was sold.”
Nature is revealed as an inspirational force in the comprehensive design. The redesigned oak and quartzite mantle in the family room exudes a sleek, modern feel while also reflecting the same natural elements used in the kitchen’s countertops, hood, an open shelving. Nasser enlarged and reconfigured previous windows to embrace natural light and capitalize on backyard views. Walls of windows and glass doors in the family room and owner’s suite allow unencumbered light to flow into the space while providing easy access to the outdoors. The frosted glass surrounding the freestanding tub supplies ample light, privacy, and a bird’s-eye view to a Zen garden. In the kitchen, a large pass-through window provides access to the patio and outdoor kitchen for seamless entertaining.
Nasser stepped boldly into color in the home design, fromthe lush green kitchen to the Bordeaux-hued owner’s suite ceiling to the citron-colored floor-to-ceiling curtains in her toddler’s bedroom, then balanced it with shades of earthy mushroom, classic black and white, and oak accents.
To improve flow, an awkward first-floor guest space and office were reconfigured into an expansive owner’s suite along with custom built-ins in the family room, providing significant storage space for family coats, dog gear, and the family’s record collection. Because of her love of unexpected elements in design, Nasser’s home is filled with creative gems such as a custom three-hued color-block shower in the owner’s bathroom, a whimsical peeland- stick tangerine wall in the kids’ bathroom, brass monkey lamps in the guest bedroom and nursery, and a modern-meetstraditional primary bedroom design with a Parisienne flair.
Nasser and TEW Design Studio have received several awards for the home’s design, including the 2023 Chrysalis National Award for a residential interior. And if those accolades aren’t enough to remind Nasser of her hard work and good fortune with this home, her daily family routine in the home always will. “I love waking up and starting my day from a place of inspiration. From bland and boring to fun and colorful, we now live in our dream home because we molded it into our dream home.”