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The Best of Design, Style and Inspiration

Your home. Reimagined. Renovations 路 Kitchens 路 Baths 路 Outdoor Living 路 Eco Friendly


Serving Charlotte and Lake Norman since 1997.

S O U T H PA R K • C H A R L O T T E Selection, Education, Value & Guidance – Redefined. 4521 Sha r o n Ro a d, Cha r l ott e NC 28211 | 70 4.532.9 0 41 o r 8 8 8.4 0 0.4 4 47 w w w.D ia m o n d s-D i r e c m Diamonds Direct Birmingham | Mountain Brook, AL | 205 – 201–7400 Diamonds Direct Crabtree | Raleigh, NC | 919 – 571 – 2881 Diamonds Direct The Domain | Austin, TX | 512 - 691 - 9950 Diamonds Direct Short Pump | Richmond, VA | 804 - 967 - 0500

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4 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

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Whether contemporary or traditional, formal or informal, the homes of N ew Old ar e k nown f or t hei r impeccable quality, genuine originality and serious architectural ambition earning us numerous awards in the Greater Charlotte NC & SC Area.

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Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 5

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Reaching 180,000 homes annually

Best of Guide 2014

VOL 13 NO 6 Publisher Mark Herrmann Managing Editor Anne Marie Ashley Editorial Director Tammy Wanchisn Writers Nancy Atkinson Anne Marie Ashley Sales Kathleen Hands


Art Direction Harriet McDowall PageCreations Photography Jim Schmid Photography

• Flexible work schedule • Unlimited income potential • Work from your home

Harry Taylor Photography Contributing Editors Trent Haston Beth Keim Rene Robaina Laura Vinroot Poole

Send resume to


Production Administrator Shelley Kemper Phone 704-332-1504




Fax 704-973-5685





Email: Website:

CLt August/S


dd 1

Jim Sc hmi

d Pho to

@urbanhomemags graph



1:14 Pm

All contents copyright 2013, Casey Communications Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent from publisher. Mention of any product or service does not constitute endorsement from Urban Home Magazine. The information contained in this publication is deemed reliable from third party sources, but not guaranteed. Casey Communications Inc. does not act as an agent for any of the advertisers in this publication. It is recommended that you choose a qualified remodeling, home furnishings or home improvement firm based on your own selection criteria. Casey Communications Inc., d.b.a. Urban Home Magazine, will not knowingly accept advertising for real estate which is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. All real estate advertising in Casey Communications Inc., d.b.a. Urban Home Magazine, is subject to the Fair Housing Act which states “We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.” Casey Communications Inc., d.b.a. Urban Home Magazine, does not act as an agent for any of the realtors or builders in this publication. It is recommended that you choose a qualified realtor to assist you in your new home purchase.

8 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

Distinctly American. Uniquely Crossville.

From the heart of our industrial past comes the foundation for your next inspired design. Capturing the untarnished spirit and concrete resilience of a cityscape reborn, the Reclamation porcelain tile collection is eternally versatile, elementally refined. Rediscover America. Reclaim the beauty of history. Made in the U.S.A., Green Squared Certified and containing at least 4% recycled content, Reclamation is a beautifully responsible selection for your next design project.

See the latest collections from Crossville at our showrooms located at:

Asheville - Airport Design Center 15 Design Avenue, Suite 206 Fletcher, NC 28732 828 209-0270

Charlotte 927 Pressley Rd Charlotte, NC 28217 704 927-8453

Grand Opening

Come tour the finest model home currently open in the Carolinas With the opening of our new Bordeaux model in The Club at Longview you have an opportunity to experience the elegance, craftsmanship and lasting value of an Arthur Rutenberg Home. Our model homes represent fine examples of our award–winning Plan Collection of home designs, each of which can be customized to fit your lifestyle. Bordeaux Model 704-814-0114 The Club at Longview 8722 Southshore Drive, Weddington, NC

We also build on customer owned property and in premier Charlotte and Ft. Mill communities.

Paragon Homes of Charlotte, Inc., an Independent Franchise

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2935 Griffith Street | Charlotte | southendtradingcompany |



Best of Guide 2013 14







contributing editors


Classic Style 30 Roots 42 Coastal Retreat 52 Design For Living 76 Green With Envy



room service: beth keim

24 “Honey, I found this great chair…”

28 Brenda Ische

wired: rene robaina 48 Planning A Home For the Future

wine & dine

style guide: laura vinroot poole

home trends


building a better home: trent haston

60 Comfort & Joy

38 Zebra

66 Merry & Bright: Well Stocked Bar



12 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013







W By Anne Marie Ashley Photography by Jim Schmid


When you walk into the house that’s perfect for you and your family, you just know. It feels like home. It speaks to you. It has a personality that matches yours and the layout only accentuates the way you already live your life. And so it was for the Whites when they bought their gorgeous Georgian home on Colville Road in Charlotte. “We’d looked at over 55 houses during the year-long home-buying process,” remembers Ashleigh White. “We made an offer within an hour of seeing this house. The layout was perfect and it required zero structural changes.” Ashleigh and her husband knew they wanted to start fresh with their new home, ditching the more traditional style they’d left at their home in Atlanta and embracing a more modern approach with a neutral palette in Charlotte. “I am drawn to a more contemporary look while my husband is very traditional,” explains Ashleigh. “Transitional style seemed like a perfect marriage of our tastes and we began searching for a designer that did that perfectly.” The couple met with Melissa Armstrong of Melissa Armstrong Interiors and realized that her unique design style was ideal for their home. “She didn’t fall into that broad category of transitional,” says Ashleigh, “and her type-A, super organized style made her easy to work with.” With no renovations needed on their home, Melissa and Ashleigh got straight to work on design. With two small children, the spaces in Ashleigh’s home had to be comfortable and functional, yet stylish and decorative at once. Every bit of wallpaper came down, all the surfaces were re-painted and the floors refinished for a rich, warm feeling. “I think first and foremost, a home must work functionally,” explains Melissa. “ I want clients to be able to feel like they can actually ‘live’ in their home and enjoy every space.” Melissa and Ashleigh worked together combining new pieces with refurbished pieces already owned by the Whites. Custom upholstered pieces intermingle with cherished family pieces that were re-covered to complement, and custom window treatments, rugs from Stark Carpet, and art from Hidell Brooks Gallery were brought in to round out the style. “When I first meet my clients,” says Melissa, “I ask them to tear out inspiration from design magazines and bring them to our meeting. The common threads I see help me pin down their style.” Melissa also says that sites like Pinterest have made this process even easier, with clients able to share their pin boards with the designer and collaborate on looks. “My advice is to create your pin boards, and make sure your house has an easy flow from room to room.”

14 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

The resulting design of this home is a study in transitional style with a clean, comfortable look that is perfect for this family of four.

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16 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

When asked what her favorite room in the house is, Ashleigh easily answers that it’s the living room. “I found a pair of Mid-Century sconces two years before we decorated the room,” she explains, “but I knew that I wanted them to be the focal point.” Melissa designed most of the room around the sconces and added an extra long sofa with no arms for ample seating. When you walk Functional as well as into the perfect home. . . beautiful, this room might be the center of the it has a personality that congruence of traditional and contemporary matches yours and the for the Whites. The contemporary vibe of layout only accentuates the sconces and design of the ottoman fabric the way you already complement the more traditional textures like live your life. linen and velvet. Classic books and candelabras are used in a contemporary way to decorate the mantle and the room comes together with accessories chosen by Melissa. “My favorite day is accessory day. I bring all of my favorite finds from local shops and try them out in the space – then I pare down from there,” says Melissa. “I like a clean, uncluttered look.” The resulting design of this home is a study in transitional style with a clean, comfortable look that is perfect for this family of four. “Melissa has a fresh style that I was really drawn to,” explains Ashleigh. “Really, every room in our home is my favorite.”v

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18 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

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Two convenient Kohler/Kallista Showrooms

Contributing Editor | Room Service

“Honey, I found this great chair…”


There is nothing more interesting than collected pieces, those with a story.

24 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

Images courtesy of Mekenzie France

When I was asked to help with Bryan and Holly Adams bungalow in Elizabeth, the first thing I noticed was an amazing collection of art and collected furniture. Bryan confessed his obsession with chairs in particular, and found he brought them home often. There is nothing more interesting than collected pieces, those with a story. Not only does it give your home real personality, it makes it unique and separate from the house next door. My goal on this project was to pull all these found objects together with a cohesive look and color palette while highlighting the special finds. From the front door to the back, this old bungalow had an open floor plan, which can be challenging but also great for a spacious feel. Their family room, in particular, caused them anxiety when it came to furniture placement. Filled with nooks, windows, doors and short walls, finding the best place for art display, TV-watching, casual dining and storage had everyone feeling overwhelmed. They had tried all sorts of configurations but nothing felt right. Thankfully, a new set of eyes often allows you to see something you hadn’t thought of previously. I quickly suggested a sectional to define the space and create separation from the dining area. Rugs centered in these “zones”

will also define them. We shifted the chairs (and even added a new one in the perfect shade of blue that Bryan and I discovered at Slate Interiors). They weren’t afraid of color, but I suggested a neutral for the walls so their art could be the focus. I loved placing their largest piece over the new window seat we created, not just with a seat but with a back as well, to give the appearance of another sofa. We covered the bench with the same fabric as the sofa for a streamlined look. I strung the painting upright in the window for color, and to downplay all the lines that shutters can often cause. Adding brighter pillows really made the neutral sofa pop and a Mid Century shaped floor lamp complemented the style of furniture we were using perfectly. v

Beth Keim is the owner of Lucy and Company, a full-service interior design firm located at 1009 East Boulevard. For more information visit or call 704-342-6655.

Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 25

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Lighting “I love the way chandeliers literally turn a room on!  Casting shadows with dancing bulbs or grandly standing alone, there is something majestic about a chandelier.  In my book, the bigger the better!”

Outdoors “Mother Nature never gets her colors wrong!  Whether it is a study in contrast or the subtle green transitions in trees, nature offers up a can’t-miss color palette.”

Photo Courtesy of Courtography.Com

Brenda Ische Amelie’s French Bakery

style•ma•ker |

Renaissance France “I love to imagine life in 18th Century France. From wardrobe to decor, everything was over the top.”

(stahyle·mey-ker): n. One who has an expertise in a certain area of style, design or living.

Art Galleries “I visit galleries in my travels whenever possible.   I love to translate serious art into something whimsical in my mind, then into something tangible upon return to my studio.” 

9 1960s Decorative Arts “A period when whimsy became a ‘serious’ decor element.”

Brenda Ische is part owner of Amelie’s French Bakery, an eclectic mainstay in Charlotte Habitat for Humanity Re Stores “I have traveled the world and can honestly say this is my favorite place to shop. With inventory that changes constantly, it is a veritable cornucopia of treasures.”  

New York City “One of my favorite destinations, and the most accessible. Walking the city with pen and pad is a must.  Window dressings, architecture, wardrobe choices, street art...Inspiration is everywhere!”

28 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

quickly becoming a landmark. She’s also a StyleMaker. The fixtures in Amelie’s are, after all, created entirely by Brenda using found objects. We asked about some of her favorite, inspiring things and true to form, this woman knows inspiration when she sees it.

My two- and threeyear-old nieces. “Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is an awakening of sorts.  They inspire me to see life without the filter that comes with age.”





1 2 1 9 T ho m as A v enue C harlotte , N C 2 8 2 0 5 w w w. cit y su p p ly charlotte . co m


r ots


By Anne Marie Ashley Photography by Jim Schmid

Sometimes, you just need to return to your roots.

After 23 years in a high-stress executive position and 17 years spent colonies, making mud pies, sewing, drawing house layouts, dreaming mostly away from her family, Lynda Strickland decided it was time of Hollywood homes from the 50s and 60s. I translate all of this into a to find her center and build a home that was a retreat. She went to style that is the Japanese aesthetic of George Nakashima meets the form architect Frank Harmon with three simple requirements for her home: and function of B&B Italia furniture meets Gerry Lynch’s abstract art.” Lynda directed the build team to reduce the It had to be dramatic, fused with nature interior spaces to the simplest form – exposed and in a modernist style with little to no “Design should ornamentation. Three years later, Lynda bolts, construction markings, no moldings - so that she could really see how the house was put finally felt that she was at home. reflect the purpose of the together. Rough, unfinished, laminated veneer “I built a modernist home because I lumber beams were positioned against sleek love the movement and light experience space and each element forms and rich fabric textures creating a space of modernist spaces and materials like should play nicely with wood, metal, glass and stone,” explains that was truly a “juxtaposition of materials,” as she puts it. Lynda. “Plus, it’s perfect for my family – it others, but should stand Built on a dramatic slope with a running provides a sanctuary from the busy world creek at the bottom, and in the middle of the and is, at once, one with nature.” Not to on its own as well.” woods, the house did present challenges, but be confused with contemporary design, modern architecture and décor fuses the none Harmon couldn’t handle. “The site was - Lynda Strickland a steep, north-facing escarpment, 80 feet above simple lines of nature with cool materials Crabtree Creek and shaded by a 150-year-old like wood, glass and stone to create lots of light, air and open spaces and, in Lynda’s case, lots of white walls. “My forest of beech and oak trees,” says Harmon. “The creek carved this escarpment for millions of years, which immediately suggested a site of style is minimalist with a focus on texture, color, light and materials.” Lynda designed the interiors herself, drawing on inspiration that great ecological sensitivity. We knew we had to build upon it carefully.” burgeoned within since she was a small girl. “I spent all my free time The layout and design took a full year to flesh out and the build was outdoors as a child,” remembers Lynda. “Following creeks, watching ant done in two years. 30 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 31

32 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

A hand-forged and fabricated steel staircase catches your eye in Lynda’s home with complementary steel walls, backsplashes and hood surrounds in the kitchen. “I think good design happens when you stay away from trends,” suggests Lynda. “Design should reflect the purpose of the space and each element should play nicely with others, but should stand on its own as well.” Practicing what she preached, the staircase has floating wooden steps suspended with steel and wood railings, creating a sort of balance in the center of the living space, while picture windows (27-feet high at the tallest point) flood the room with light. An avid art collector, Lynda also adorned her home with several beautiful and largescale art pieces, adding layer upon layer of interest to the overall décor. When asked what her advice to homeowners would be when building a modernist home, Lynda says you need to look honestly at how you live and what you actually need. “Think seriously about how you move and live in spaces. What are your needs for privacy, sound control, lighting, etc?” Lynda also suggests making sure all of the alreadyinstalled materials are in top shape; if the carpet is dirty or worn, clean it or replace it, if hardwoods need repair, then refinish them and if walls are scuffed and need touch-ups, put a fresh coat of paint on them. “No design, no matter how magnificent, will shine in a room where the walls, ceiling or floors aren’t in top condition.”v

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34 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

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Jim Alexander

We checked in with Chef Jim Alexander, the executive chef at Zebra Restaurant in SouthPark, to see how he manages to keep his menu fresh while remaining timeless. We even managed to snag his recipe for Truffled Foie Gras Mushroom Soup - perfect for the winter months - and couldn’t wait to share it with our readers.

How do you manage to keep your menu fresh and exciting – in a way that’s not overtly trendy? It’s like 50 first dates for me – every day is new. For instance, I just now found these Georgia “pecan truffles” that was date number one. We said, ‘let’s make a ragout of them, French style and serve them over soft polenta’ (GA style, spoon bread-ish). On to date number two! What are your favorite interpretations of French cuisine on the menu? Are we still French? French food is as much about the simplicity of the ingredients as it is about how the ingredients come together. That interaction and presentation of the meal are crucial. But my hands down favorite is Joe, our server and friend for over 22 years. He speaks French, does that count? What is it about your menu that consistently achieves awards from Zagats, AAA and Wine Enthusiast? That’s a by-product of our efforts, not the aim of our efforts. Consistency is the key to repeat guests – a cliché that still hold true. Everyone here understands the importance of our food and the dining experience. We are all “foodies” and we have an understanding that every dish is just as important as the one served before it. The awards and accolades are wonderful recognition of our efforts, but they are not nearly as important as the dining experience of the guest who is in our restaurant at the moment.

Zebra’s Truffled Foie Gras Mushroom Soup INGREDIENTS (SERVES 6) 3 cups Portobello mushrooms, course chopped 1/2 cup celery, medium dice 1 cup onion, medium dice 1 1/2 cup white wine 3 cups veal stock (chicken broth or stock may be substituted)

3 ounces roux or beurre manie 3-4 bay leaves, fresh thyme sprig 1 cup heavy cream 2 teaspoons white truffle oil truffles to taste (prices range from 200.00 lb. to over 3K lb. We add what we can!) 2 ounces foie gras kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Method 1. Combine mushrooms, celery and onion in heavy bottom pot, cook over medium high heat until vegetables give up their water “sweat” for about five minutes. 2. Add white wine and increase heat, reduce by 3/4. 3. Add veal stock, bay leaves and thyme, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes, skimming any foam that forms on top. 4. Whisk in beurre manie and continue whisking until smooth, cook additional 5 minutes. Add heavy cream. Remove bay leaves and thyme sprig. 5. Remove from heat, puree in blender on low speed, drop in truffle oil and foie gras. 6. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Zebra offers this soup “ le glaçage royale” that is topped and broiled with equal parts hollandaise and whipped cream.

You have a fantastic, lengthy wine list. Why such an emphasis? Food and wine go hand in hand...nothing new about that! It’s really a balance of practicality and indulgence. Wine is a component of the entire white tablecloth, fine dining experience. A small wine list just doesn’t fit the depth of our menu. We also pride ourselves on finding the absolute best value in each price range. What are your favorite new items on the menu? Dover Farm is killing me with super duper winter vegetables. We are still getting baby fennel bulbs, all kinds of kale, turnips and such. My favorite is the fish of the day, though – tim griner day boat stuff, and duck confit-rillettes – a classic French dish, perfect this time of year. Zebra is located in the heart of SouthPark at 4521 Sharon Road. They are open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, special events and private catering of all sizes. For more information, call 704-442-9525 or visit 38 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

designing entries... 704-987-0777 307-G W. Tremont Avenue

Custom Wood & Wrought Iron Entries Specializing in replacement of existing entries & one-of-a-kind designs

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Your dream is our reality.

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Visit our new South End showroom and design center conveniently located off I-77 and South Boulevard


42 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

Coastal Retreat By Nancy Atkinson Photography by Harry Taylor


On the Crystal Coast of North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks sits a new home that is truly one-of-a-kind. Built to withstand hurricane-force winds, the house is as strong as it is stylish.

Built by general contractors Andrew Roby and designed by Charlotte architects Meyer Greeson Paullin Benson (MGPB), this home is a showpiece by anyone’s estimation. It is also a Gold FORTIFIED Home™, meeting the highest level of achievement for disaster resistance as determined by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. Ryan Crosser, Vice President of Andrew Roby’s new coastal division, says the Atlantic Beach home is built to withstand 185 mile an hour winds and is only the second Gold FORTIFIED Home™ built in the state of North Carolina. “We have seen first-hand how hurricane-proof this house is,” says Ryan. “Hurricane Irene hit us midconstruction and there was not one water leak in the house.” The home has a hurricane foundation with pilings 16 feet into the ground. Its exterior walls on the first floor are solid concrete and the windows are all high impact hurricane proof glass. The front exterior staircase and the four outdoor shower stalls are all made of Brazilian walnut, chosen for durability as well as beauty. If going for the gold certification sounds expensive, it pays off in the long run. These homeowners stand to save between $4,000 and $6,000 on their annual insurance. Beyond its structural integrity, the home is a design masterpiece. The couple chose Andrew Roby, who built their custom home in Charlotte, to build this dream vacation home. Charlotte architects MGPB designed the home in less than twelve weeks. The owners gave the design team creative license, with a few requests. They wanted the home to fit in with others in the neighborhood, which were built in the 1950s. They also wanted their living room ceiling to resemble the hull bottom of an old ship. “We used reclaimed 18th century beams from a mill in Virginia,” says Ryan, who sourced the materials and Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 43

44 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 45

directed every detail of the home’s construction. “The beams are held together with mortise and tendon joints, which was a challenge.” Every piece of wood used in the home was custom and arrived prefinished from a cabinet factory. “Every cut we made to the wood had to be perfect,” he says. The home is truly one-of-a-kind, with every detail custom made. “There are 20,000 individually dipped cedar shakes on the home’s exterior,” says Ryan. “We hand-dipped them in an opaque stain and hung them to dry on clotheslines before repackaging for the sub-contractor to use.” Walls of ash with oak floors give the home its beach cottage look and feel. Mint Hill Cabinet Shop in Charlotte provided the beautiful distressed kitchen cabinets, made to resemble old shutters. The homeowner, once a designer herself, provided the vision for the home’s interior. She imported the wallpaper from England and had every sheet, chair, curtain or pillow custom made. No detail was too small. Even the individual slats of the interior blinds were custom painted to resemble driftwood. Her thoughtful design is carried through every detail of the home, including the cork walls and floors of the 300-bottle wine cellar and a door of knotty alder. The glass transoms over the shower doors are not only practical but they also add an elegant touch to the home’s architectural details. The fireplace surround, cut from one piece of solid stone, is honed soapstone, which is naturally occurring on the Crystal Coast. It complements the polished soapstone of the kitchen counters. “I was pleased to find so many skilled craftsmen in this area,” says Ryan, who explains that with the construction of this home, Andrew Roby opened its new coastal division and is now one of the largest contractors in the area. “This gold-certified home is the first of its kind here, but it won’t be the last,” he says. “We are happy to be a preferred FORTIFIED Home™ builder now. The homes we build here will be not only beautiful, they will withstand whatever Mother Nature throws their way.”v 46 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

“The homes we build here will be not only beautiful, they will withstand whatever Mother Nature throws their way.”

mad about


t h e Q u e e n C i t y ’s m o s t e c l e c t i c a n d d i s t i n c t f u r n i s h i n g s b o u t i q u e

2137 South Blvd, #100 | Charlotte, NC 28203 | | 704.335.1220

Contributing Editor | Wired

Planning A Home For The Future Rene Robaina

Technology advances rapidly. You don’t want your new or newly remodeled home to be outdated before you move in.

Today’s homes can truly have it all. Great architectural details. Luxury amenities. High tech features that integrate seamlessly into the home and are operable from your smart tablet, smart phone or personal computer. But technology advances rapidly. You don’t want your new or newly remodeled home to be outdated before you move in. That’s why it’s important to bring a technology expert into the planning process as early as possible to make sure your home is wired to support not only today’s, but also tomorrow’s technology advancements. These days, the integration of electronic systems can be a complicated process, involving many different products, a lot of wiring, various contractors and many decisions. If not designed properly, the outcome could be less than optimal. Meet with your electronics contractor up front to learn what’s possible. Discuss your expectations and determine how you’d like your house to perform while staying within your budget. Here are just some of the features you’ll want to include in your plan for layout, wiring and design: • Wiring to TVs with HDMI, network and control, especially when the TV will be mounted on a wall. However, keep in mind that HDMI wires should not exceed about 45 feet.

• Wired and wireless internet, ensuring good coverage throughout the home and providing Internet for smart devices and TVs. The average $50 router will not provide sufficient coverage in most homes. • Entertainment systems with speakers that are invisible or unobtrusive. • Home theatres or surround sound. Room layouts for optical acoustics, seating, speakers and video locations and more. • Controlling your home with smartphones while you are at home or away. • Controlling equipment with simple-touse remotes everyone can operate. • Safety and security, including burglar, fire protection and cameras to keep an eye on the home while you are away. • Future-proofing; wiring for future technology. • Equipment closets to centralize all electronics in one location and not have to see equipment throughout the home. • Cooling and power requirements for electronics. In the past, homeowners relied on the builder or architect to wire for telephones and TVs, though that is not the best policy today. Details in the electronics plan can impact the construction and design direction of your home. For example, if the electronics design calls for a large flat-panel TV mounted to the wall in the family room, are there additional structural supports needed? Where should the electrical be installed? Where should the cable box and DVD be located? What wiring should be used? For these reasons and more, it pays to have a technology design company involved in the planning process at the outset of your project. That’s the recommended route to building or renovating a home that will be smart for a long time to come.v Rene Robaina is president of Home Technology Solutions in Charlotte, where he, along with his team, has designed and implemented home technology and entertainment systems for hundreds of clients in North and South Carolina. Reach him at 704-708-5126 or

48 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 49

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T By Anne Marie Ashley Photography by Jim Schmid

There’s something to be said for surrounding yourself in what you love, what you see everyday, what makes you comfortable and what you admire. Not everyone can create spaces for themselves that truly connect their outside world with their inside world. Having known Carol Hamrick and her family for many years, however, designer Teri Thomas knew exactly what would make their house a home. “Carol is passionate about art,” explains Teri. “It truly drives the way her family lives. So I knew their home would have to reflect their collection.” The Hamricks walked into their all-brick home in Eastover to find very traditional French cottage décor and immediately set about making it their own, calling in Teri to bring it all together. In addition to revamping the entire interior design, the family of six needed a much larger kitchen to accommodate their lifestyle. Over the next two years, Teri worked closely with Carol and the team of remodelers and designers including Steve Kaleel of Kaleel Builders Inc. and landscape architect, Bruce Clodfelter. The results were stunning. The existing garage of the home was turned into an eat-in kitchen complete with a six-person counter. “Carol made it clear that the kitchen had to have COLOR, plenty of textures and access to the outdoor living space,” remembers Teri. “So we went with a pop of teal in the cabinets and combined stainless steel countertops with a marble

52 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 53

island and tile backsplashes, alongside wood, glass and nail head trim details.” The pretty blue-green wall of cabinets in the kitchen serves as a design focal point while also adding plenty of storage for the family and the expertly landscaped backyard is just footsteps away. The original kitchen was then turned into a butler’s pantry and reading area – an ideal transition from family room to kitchen. Throughout the home, Teri placed some of Carol’s favorite art pieces among the newly designed rooms. Each room has one or more pieces done by regional North Carolina artists and found mostly through Hodges Taylor Gallery and Art Consultancy. “I “One of my really love that my kids can be favorite secrets of somewhere in Charlotte and good design is having see a sculpture an element of surprise or painting from the same in each room. What you artists that hang so beautifully in see on the outside our home,” says Carol. “It really doesn’t have to match gives them a what’s on the inside.” reference point of the city they live in.” An — Teri Thomas avid traveler, Carol also collects books from all over and stacks them here and there for interest. “It’s fun to see a book on our coffee table that reminds me of the great trip we took last summer.” Teri rounded out the design with custom fabrics, furniture, wallpaper and rugs ordered through local showrooms from some of her favorite sources including Stark Carpet in Charlotte. “I really believe that less is more,” advises Teri. “I’d rather have three amazing pieces than a hundred average ones accessorizing a room.” “You can get by with a beige sofa and brown wood tables if you surround it with great art, local pottery and well chosen accessories. The product is still beautiful.” Every room in the home has a flowing palette of coordinating colors. Carol wanted to be sure it celebrated design, color and the arts and the combination of colors and textures results in each room having its own style while none of them being over the top. “One of my favorite secrets of good design is having an element of surprise in each room. What you see on the outside doesn’t have to match what’s on the inside,” explains Teri. When asked what her favorite room in the house is, Carol quickly answers that it’s all of them. “I love all the rooms we’ve created in this home, but I know how much I love family time and I really try to set aside moments for it in my kitchen and living room – so I guess those are really my true favorites.”v 54 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 55

56 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013















Cold weather makes me seriously weak in the knees, so I overcompensate by amp-


ing up my wardrobe with the softest and most luxurious pieces I can find. I love


navy, orange and army green as an alternative to black, and animal prints always get me in the mood to face the brisk chill of winter. Bring it on, Jack Frost! Laura Vinroot Poole

2 1



1. Feather and Leopard Dress, Giambattista Valli. 2. Baja Pullover, The Elder Statesman. Contact Capitol for color options. 3. Miro Clutch, Tonya Hawkes. 4. Silk Tie-Dye Scarf, Bajra. Contact Capitol for color options.

60 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

All images courtesy of retailers.

5. Fire Opal and Diamond Ring, Irene Neuwirth. 6. Rockstud Calf Hair Ballerina Flat in Leopard, Valentino. 7. Small Mink Boa, Marc Jacobs. 8. Wood Fire or Pomander Feu de Bois Candle, Diptyque. 9. Parka, Yves Solomon. 10. Sac De Jour Bag in Navy Blue, Yves Saint Laurent.







Laura Vinroot Poole is a style expert and the owner of boutiques Capitol and Poole Shop, located at 4010 Sharon Road in South Park. Visit them online at and follow on twitter at Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 61



New Custom Home $1M-$2M 2013


Best of the Lake Design Competition

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Winter White Cosmo Ingredients (1 drink) 3 oz. citron vodka 1 oz. white cranberry juice 1/2 oz cointreau 1 oz fresh lime juice



Garnish – mint and sugar-coated cranberries ( bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a simmer. Add sugar mixture to a bowl of cranberries, making sure the liquid is not too hot. Once cooled down, cover and refrigerate over night. Drain berries and pat dry so they are tacky but not wet. In a bowl add 2 tbsp of preferred sugar and 3-4 berries. Jiggle them around to coat in sugar, then transfer to a wire rack to dry. They are ready when the sugar has hardened! Directions: Fill a glass with ice. Combine ingredients and shake well. Use a wooden skewer to garnish the drink with the sugar coated cranberries and mint and enjoy!



1. Decanters. In order L to R: Ralph Lauren, Clayton Gray Home, Z Gallerie. 2. Bottle Stoppers. In order L to R: Crate & Barrel, South End Trading Co. 3. Orb Copper Cocktail Shaker, Crate & Barrel. 4. Chevron Serving Tray, Etsy. 5. Bar Cart, Crate & Barrel. 6. Gold Confetti Napkins, Anthropologie. 7. Emerald Ice Bucket, 1st Dibs. 8. Tumblers. In order L to R: Paper Skyscraper in Charlotte, West Elm, Jayson Home. 66 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

Experience a gallery where you are the artist. Where you can see, touch, and feel your home the

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Contributing Editor | Building a Better Home


trent haston Just like our own bodies, marriages and careers, perfection is impossible; find contentment in your home. Embrace the imperfections.

As a remodeler, I am constantly surrounded by change. It’s what I do. I take something old and make it new. I take something impractical and make it functional. I improve, change, add on, refurbish, fix and update what’s already there. I love doing that, but at the same time I find it to be a hamster wheel. Time flies, trends change and it seems we never get to the point of just loving our homes. There is always something else to improve, change, add on, refurbish, fix and update. This is, in a sense, my “time out” article. I am always writing and talking about the latest trends in remodeling and how you can improve your own home by doing this or that. But I rarely acknowledge that our homes will never be perfect and that we should all love our homes despite what undone

project is on the horizon. Relish the imperfections, for they give your home life and character. After Make sure your home has a story. I took a walk around my own home to really notice its flaws and to see what kind of story it told. I found that most imperfections were tied to a memory, and usually one that made me smile. For example, there’s a blue handprint on the wall of our stairwell. It’s been there for a while and I like the reminder that our children are young for just a short time. Then there’s the outdated tile floor in our kitchen. I have wanted to replace it, but it reminds me of long nights, laying tile with my dad when I became a first-time homeowner. On our interior garage door are deep gouges, courtesy of our dog, Bush. It made me mad at the time, but he’s 13 now, and I know those scratches in the door will always make me

Trent Haston and his father Ron in the kitchen of his first home before the renovation.

70 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

think of him fondly (believe it or not). And I can’t deny that we have outgrown our house. With three kids, we simply need more space, but the kids share a bedroom and I can only imagine the memories they are making in there. While I want to add on, I actually enjoy the closeness and coziness of our little abode. All these things I can happily live with. As for the loose towel bar in our bathroom – that’s just annoying, so I’ll put that on the top of the “Honey-Do” list. Just like our own bodies, marriages and careers, perfection is impossible; find contentment in your home. Embrace the imperfections. Discover what you love about your home and enjoy it. Savor the memories created there. Fluff the cushions, clean the cobwebs, and fall back in love with your home. v

Relish the imperfections, for they give your home life and character. Make sure your home has a story.

Trent Haston is CEO of Andrew Roby and has spent many years in project management, focusing on style and craftsmanship for custom home projects. For more information call 704-334-5477 or visit

Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 71

Complete Architectural Grade LED Lighting Package: Designed and Installed: $1,299.00

Affordable Price: Amazing Effect

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72 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013


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interior window fashions by


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Visit our showroom and design center located at 1315 Suite C Hwy 16 S, Stanley, NC 28164


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Taking Your Family Into Tomorrow

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with envy F e a tu r e G a r dens Whether you’re an old hat with a green thumb or a newbie eager to plant your first bulbs, the four gardens in this outdoor living feature will inspire you to take on planting with full force. By Anne Marie Ashley



m Rich Texture Solow Design Group 704-334-2986

When Rick Solow of Solow Design Group began landscaping his own home, he knew he wanted to practice restraint in his front yard, if only in an effort to stay true to what he and his wife loved in curbside aesthetic. “The challenge has always been to stay true to our ideal and resist the temptation to buy that hot little heucherella at the nursery,” he explains. They have succeeded with a beautiful white garden dappled with light provided by an aging oak and soothing white flowers in many shapes and sizes. Backdrops of deep green and blue-green foliage add pops of color. In contrast to the understated front garden, the

76 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

back garden boasts an array of cool colors, textures and forms happily confined in a horseshoe-shaped bed. The simple bed lines throughout the yard and repeating low stone walls keep the ever-evolving plant selection from appearing too busy. Upon closer inspection it’s easy to see that this is a plant collector’s garden, seeing “mostly groups of one”. The large deck and two terraces turn the yard into an intimate outdoor living room. The custom-designed fence and Asian-inspired gate reveals an entrance into the secret garden that connects the front and back yards.

Images courtesy of Rick Solow.


m ASIAN INSPIRED Heard Ratzlaff Construction 704-376-7105

Photography by Jim Schmid

Interior designer Ron Sperry and his partner Scott Bishop created a backyard oasis inspired by their love for Asian architecture. When Ron saw the plans for a Japanese Dojo (traditionally a wrestling pavilion) online, he felt it would be perfect in his backyard. Heard Ratzlaff Construction was called in and together, they created this toned down version of the structure that blends beautifully with the home and the Plaza Midwood neighborhood for a space of relaxation rivaling most Asian spas.

The surrounding gardens are extremely low maintenance; the total shade of the back yard called for lots of greenery and grasses that require little light, basic watering and occasional trimming and the use of mulch requires zero mowing. Ferns, hosta plants, hydrangea and grasses create plenty of texture, while boxwoods, Hollywood junipers and leafy acampus plants add wellbalanced aesthetic. The gutter-less, sloping pavilion roofline provides natural rainwater irrigation for all the garden plants.

Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 77

southern Grace

m Relaxation & Entertaining Bruce Clodfelter & Associates 704-333-1448

When the homeowners of this garden called Bruce Clodfelter & Associates, they wanted a lowmaintenance garden that could function as both a space for entertaining and for relaxation. They worked from front to back, installing a circle drive and motor court complete with oversized French planter boxes with Trident Maples flanking the four corners. Understated evergreens, including American boxwood, ottoluyken

laurel and mondo grass were added for balance. In the rear of the home, a terrace provides relaxed outdoor living with a pergola for shade, making the dining patio perfect for summer. A water feature just off the terrace provides ambient noise. Enduring southern favorites like lenten rose, plum yew, camellia, creeping fig and emerald green arborvitae were planted to round out the gorgeous space.

78 Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

Photography by Jim Schmid

color ways

m COLORFUL Morgan Landscape 704-588-2292

Photography by Jim Schmid

The directive given to Morgan Landscape from their client was “COLOR!” Using contrasting plantings and, of course, plenty of color, they set to work creating this front and rear estate garden fit for a king. With a mix of southern traditional on the front lawn and more exotic and unique plants in the back, the plan included hedging boxwoods and encore azaleas, knock-out roses and ornamental grasses with something blooming every season. Easy to maintain and in constant bloom means this garden is perfect year-round.

Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 79 704.609.4883

HydraFacial is now available at The Med Spa! This revolutionary new treatment combines non-laser resurfacing technology with hydrating and antioxident-rich serums that provide an immediate glow without any down time. Come in and try the cutting age procedure everyone is talking about, including ABC, NBC and CBS.

Services offered at The Med Spa Include: Laser Hair Removal Laser Skin Rejuvenation HydraFacial Facial/Body Waxing Facials Total Skin Care Tinting Dermal Infusion Peel Electric Toning Facial

The Med Spa’s Hydra Facial was recently featured on “Charlotte Today”

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Antique Mall in the South

Your vision. Our expertise. Unlimited possibilities.

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704.372.2696 Monday-Saturday 10-7 • Sunday 1-6 Best of Guide 2013 Urban Home Charlotte 81

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Home Decor & Accessories Where Every Trip is a Discovery!


Blowing Rock and Charlotte 2909 Selwyn Ave. | Charlotte, NC 28209 | 704-377-2152 Featuring Bramble Furniture, Steven Shell & Furniture Classics Urban Home Charlotte Best of Guide 2013

We craft the places where life converges.

And, when the time is right, we’re ready to bring style & value together in your home – the kitchen, bedroom, bath – wherever. Converging style & value since 195O. 7O4.334.5477

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