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september/october 2011


Designs | Lifestyles | Fashions | Improvements

Decorating Outside of the Box

Our Interview with

Thom Filicia

Jim Schmid Photography

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september/october 2011

Designs | Lifestyles | Fashions | Improvements



Sept./Oct. 2011



VOL 11 NO 5 Publisher Mark Herrmann Editorial Director Tammy Wanchisn Writers Nancy Atkinson Mark Ward Ginger Sprinkle Laura Glass Dana Todd




Sales Kathleen Hands Art Direction Harriet McDowall PageCreations Photography Jim Schmid Photography Contributing Editors Trent Haston Beth Keim Catherine Horgan Production Administrator Shelley Kemper Marketing Intern Erica Watts Sabrina Huesin Direct Mail Quad Graphics Phone 704-332-1504 Fax 704-973-5685 Email: Website: All contents copyright 2011, 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.



14 Showcase Home Thinking Outside the Box

32 Decorating Trends 10 Easy Style Updates

58 New Products for Your Kitchen and Bath

54 Technology Trends The Well-Connected Home 72 Decorating Trends The Latest in Wallpaper and Fabrics 76 A Conversation With Thom Filicia

features lifestyles

24 Refreshingly Understated

kitchens & baths

48 Tiles Inspired by Journeys Afar


62 A Pool That Reflects Personal Style

Casey Communications Inc., d.b.a. Charlotte 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. Charlotte 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. Charlotte 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.


Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011


40 New Products for Your Home

70 New Products for High Fashion and Style

contributing editors

28 Room Service: Beth Keim Boys Will Be Boys

Building a Better Home: Trent Haston

Renovating for a Restful Master Retreat


81 Style Notes: Catherine Horgan Five Fabulous Fall Updates

This is where you pause in your pursuit of happiness.

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Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

If finding this modern architectural gem in a Charlotte neighborhood right off Providence Road surprises you, it might interest you to know that North Carolina has the third most modernist houses in the nation (bested only by Los Angeles and Chicago).

hankfully, dedicated visionaries like homeowners Chris and Lee Gregson are preserving livable sculptures like this one. With the help of two local architects they took this midcentury modern home from 1,800 to 4,500 square feet, improving the space while maintaining the principles of its original organic architecture. Urban Home magazine talked with the couple about their journey.

UH: You had two architects on the house. Did they share the same vision? Chris: Architect Dee Blackburn came on after Fred. She blended his ideas seamlessly with her own. Dee designed the 20-foot board-cast concrete wall that runs from the library up to the second floor. The second-story master suite is a loft that runs the length of the house. The cube-shaped windows upstairs give you the feeling of being in a tree house; every window frames a part of nature.

UH: How did you find yourselves in this unique post-modern home? Chris: We bought the home originally because we needed a yard for our St. Bernard. The renovation has been 10 years in the making, with three different phases. Lee and I now have a different dog and two children, ages 8 and 10.

UH: Ten years is a long time to renovate a home. Was that challenging? Chris: At first we had trouble sourcing the contemporary furnishings we liked. We would drive back from Atlanta with toilets in the car. But the design industry in Charlotte has evolved in the past 10 years. Now when we source something we can go find it here in town.

UH: What did it look like when you found it? Chris: It was a simple ranch home, built around 1953. No one had lived in it for a year. The woman who owned it before us had lived in New Orleans, so there was a lot of wrought iron on the house and fountains in the yard – we counted 10!

UH: Were there construction nightmares? Chris: The cement wall was our biggest challenge. It took three tries to get it right. It was a mix of luck and exasperation that it worked on the third attempt. The wall is beautiful when the light changes. It can look cold in the morning but as the day goes on you can see the striations in it and the organic material, the wood.

UH: You must have liked what you saw. Chris: Yes. Lee and I both have an appreciation for mid-century modern homes. The house was carpeted throughout when we found it but we were lucky that when we lifted up a corner, we found hardwoods. Lee was pregnant when we moved in and began our first phase, which was do-it-yourself. UH: When did your vision begin to take shape? Chris: When we brought our daughter home from the hospital we really started thinking about what we wanted to do with the house. We redid the bathrooms and knocked out a dining room wall. Then we hired architect Fred Gregory. It was Fred’s decision to leave the roofline and explode it out into a series of cubes, with windows that give the house a Mediterranean or Asian feel. The house looks like a Japanese lantern when it’s lit up at night. Unfortunately Fred lost his battle with cancer in 2005 before work was completed on the house.

UH: There are a lot of contemporary homes in the neighborhood, but your home is a standout. Are the neighbors jealous? Chris: The neighbors were a little unsettled at first. They thought we were building a gas station. But as it started coming together people became intrigued. Our neighborhood is different – a lot of architects and interior decorators live here and they appreciate this style. UH: The interior is warm and livable. Surprising for such a modern home. Chris: Lee did 100 percent of the interior herself, so the warmth comes from her. I also think it helps that we have lived in the home for so long now and we know how it works.

september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte



Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte



Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

UH: The interior is spectacular. It’s hard to believe you are not an interior designer. Lee: I don’t have a background in interior design, but I do believe the interior of your home should reflect who you are as a person. I will search for a year or two to find something I love for the house, because finding that perfect thing is the best part for me – it’s what I look forward to the most. UH: The light fixtures are stunning focal points. Lee: We picked the cocoon light in the library light before we did the addition and built around it. I found it at Design With Reach (DWR). It’s designed by Marcel Wanders and made in Italy by Flos. Spray-on resin stretches over the chandelier arms and bulbs. The chandelier in the dining room is called Cellula and is also from DWR. Different shapes and sizes of Swavorski crystals hang on a wire draped over a metal bar. The coffee table, designed by Eva Zeisel, is another DWR find. The curved, feminine lines complement the cocoon light and soften the architecture in the library.

september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte



Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

UH: The architecture is linear, but nothing about your home feels cold or minimalist. Lee: The window design is an art element in itself. At first I was unsure about adding too many elements to the room because I didn’t want to take away from that. I collected things I liked throughout the entire renovation. I found the wing back chairs and some of the other items in the library at the flea market. I think that adds to the personal and eclectic feel. UH: The floor plan is open and yet there are also personal spaces. Lee: This home has large communal spaces, yet separate private spaces as well. The house is warm and lived in and having kids has helped with that. The kids run around in this house all day long. UH: Having such great art in the house must inspire you every day. Lee: We have collected separate pieces over the years, mostly from North Carolina artists. The mixed media collages are by local artist Charlotte Foust. UH: What was your secret to pulling this great design together? Lee: Years of ripping out pages in magazines like Elle DÊcor and Metropolitan Home. UH: Congratulations on creating a beautiful home. Now people will be pulling pictures of your design out of this magazine.v Interested in learning more about North Carolina’s modernist houses? Check out Triangle Modernist Houses at www., a nonprofit documenting, preserving and promoting residential modernist architecture and Historic Charlotte at september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte


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Refreshingly by Nancy Atkinson


Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

Color palettes come and go, but the timeless sophistication of a neutral, monochromatic color scheme is never out of fashion. As Coco Chanel said, “Elegance is refusal.” Whether for its calming effects or a desire to return to elegant restraint, today’s top designers are using sophisticated shades of gray, taupe and other neutrals in their room designs. Tim Cohen, co-manager of Stark Carpets Design Center and Luxury Outlet in Charlotte says designers in the Stark showroom are choosing rugs with patterns of two or three harmonious colors to lay the foundation for understated elegance in a room. “The monochromatic palette is in vogue now,” he says. “Our designers are choosing hand-knotted rugs of wool and silk woven in highly stylized patterns. These beautiful rugs definitely make a statement, but it’s quieter. It’s an understatement.” Drew Olson co-manages Charlotte’s Stark Facility with Tim. He says the trend they’re seeing is consistent with the 2011 and 2012 color forecasts. “Monochromatic color schemes are calming,” says Drew. “They make rooms feel larger and quieter, helping homeowners find more silence and space in their lives.” Warm grays are emerging as the new neutrals. With natural fibers providing the perfect complement to this calming minimalism, Stark has introduced many new sisal lines to help designers achieve this look. Other favorite Stark Carpet designs include an elegant (or playful depending on its use) antelope pattern, sophisticated contemporary geometrics, or the vintage look of a faded quilt. At the same time designers sing the praises of a monochromatic space, they want us to know that color, as always, has its place. “We love color,” says Drew. “Some of the most brilliant splashes of color in our showroom are from LELIEVRE, the exclusive line of designer fabrics from a Paris-based company. They provide the perfect punch of color in any room.” Stark has also introduced a collection of vibrantly colored area rugs by New York designer Charlotte Moss, who found her inspiration on a trip to Istanbul while sourcing antique ikat textiles. From soothing neutrals to energetic brights, designers find what they’re looking for at Charlotte’s Stark showroom. If they don’t find it, Stark will make it for them. “We make bespoke carpets every day,” says Tim, dispelling the myth that they only carry very expensive carpet. “Our selection is diverse, covering every level of style and price range. Our inventory is unlimited and we bring a designer’s vision to life – whether the carpet of their dreams exists or we make it for them.” v Visit Stark Carpet Design Center and Outlet at 11415 Granite Street, Suite A in Charlotte. Call 704-588-8842 or visit them online at www.starkcarpet. com to learn more.

september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte


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Boys Will Be Boys Are you ready for school to start? I am. The summer has been a long and hot one and I am looking forward to a little fall cool air. Getting the kids situated helps me focus on other big things, like getting ready for the fall and winter holidays, parties and visiting company. A wellorganized room for the kids is a great way to start a productive Beth Keim school year! When I meet with new clients about their boys’ rooms, my ďŹ rst question is generally to know the functions of the room and how to maximize the space. I want to build a room that grows, will easily transition, is timeless, as well as visually clean, organized and unique. Boys love bunks, so my advice with bunks is to purchase quality brands. They should be well-made, sturdy, stylish and can be broken down to a twin when you want another look or layout. I usually avoid the twin over full bunk because of


Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

the bulky look. They tend to fill the room with “all bed.” Bunks can be floated in a large room, which allow for easy bed-making! Bunks can house a trundle with mattress or trundle with drawers which offer even more storage. Think about your aesthetic and your overall vibe. Clean and modern was the direction I went recently using this lacquer and honey bunk. Mixing in the egg chair completed the modern look, yet adding the plaid which typically is not a “mod” look gave the room a nice mix of texture and style. We also added a large distressed mirror behind a very modern lamp. The juxtaposition worked well. For teenage boys, upholstered beds are always beautiful if the right shape and fabric are used. I generally keep the fabric soft and darker in color. If a lighter color is chosen, use a vinyl. Vinyls come in so many textures and colors these days, you are hard pressed to find one that could not pass for real leather. They are a fraction of the cost of leather. Look for “stamped” vinyl that is quirky and interesting. Keep the shape more angular and try a nail-head detail. If space is an issue, try floating side tables and swing arm lighting. As far as themed rooms, my general advice is to not overdo it. This boys room shown in the photographs, while “woodsy,” it was also simple, clean and simplistic. The colors and textures expressed the look. A leather chair, Aztec-inspired fabric, paint choices and that hit of birch tree custom artwork was all it needed to get the natural look. Clean, organized and functional creates a calm and productive (as well as fun!) year. So, get the new pencils, new uniforms and book bag and load them on the bus! We have the holidays to prepare for soon! v Beth Keim is the owner of Lucy and Company, a full-service interior design firm located at 1009 East Boulevard. They can be reached at 704-342-6655 or at

Photography: Shannon Avason Photography and Beth Keim

september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte


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decorating n Trends

Instant Stylemakers:


Easy Updates by Nancy Atkinson

Whether it’s the first hint of a crisp fall breeze that inspires you or the September issue of Vogue, when the seasons change we’re all ready to give our wardrobes and our habitats a boost. Decorators call it a “refresh” or a “fluff,” when clients call them back after the big-budget work is done to tweak what they have and make it look and feel new again. The changes don’t have to be expensive. They could be as simple as wallpapering a ceiling or painting a wall. Whether done with your decorator or on your own, a refresh is just enough to make you fall in love with the room again. A few common elements define a successful refresh, involving color, light, furnishings, fabric and paint. We’ve compiled some industry secrets for successful room updates and asked our Charlotte designers for their advice. Thibaut


Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

1 Edit

It’s the same whether you’re reorganizing your closet or refreshing your rooms, you should start by creating a clean slate. Focusing on one room at a time, go through the items in your rooms and ask yourself two questions: Do I need it? Do I love it? If you don’t answer yes to either question, out it goes. Exchange those items for something in a richer, warmer texture better suited for the fall and winter months ahead. Consider adding more lamps to increase the amount of light in the rooms as the days get shorter. “It is always easier to envision a room complete when there is a clean slate,” says Eric Ennis, designer at The Furniture Connector in Charlotte. “Having a cluttered space creates a cluttered vision and will make it hard for you to achieve your design goals.”

Lucy and Company

Lucy and Company

2 G et personal

Think about what has changed in your life since you last decorated. Are there new passions or hobbies that interest you? New colors that inspire you? Your home should be a reflection of your life, so take this opportunity to celebrate the new things you love. If you collect crepe-paper party hats from the 30s and 40s, or vintage cowboy hats, hang them on the wall. Adding new photos, artwork, colors or motifs will make your rooms richer and more interesting through your unique personality and style. “Having pieces in your home that are a part of who you are will give your home a more intimate and personalized feel,” says Ennis. “This can be as simple as taking your grandmother’s old marble lamp and giving it a new shade.”

3 T w eak the classics

Little details can make the biggest change. One of the quickest, simplest ways to transform the look of your rooms is by changing the hardware on your existing furniture. Add a modern, squared-off handle on a traditional chest of drawers. Or switch to clean Lucite pulls on a Victorian dresser to take your furniture from stuffy to stylish. If the old mahogany furniture you inherited from your grandmother is starting to feel frumpy, give it a quick update by having it professionally stripped and bleached. Or paint it with glossy enamel paint in a bright, bold color that stands out from the room and makes a statement. Beth Keim, artist, designer and owner of Lucy and Company, has a passion for transforming furniture with paint. “I love the look of an unpredictable color, something in the same tone but slightly off,” she says. “Painting an old piece a random color in the room gives it a modern twist and new life. A high gloss lacquer adds that bit of shine that calls your attention to interesting curves and lines. Consider that gaudy flea-market find in a fun pop of color with a new fabric and you’ve instantly added a conversation piece that is one-of-a-kind.”

House Beautiful Blue - Photo by Eric Piasecki

Manuel Canovas

Hickory Chair

4 R epurpose the furniture

Sometimes an update can be as simple as moving your furniture into another room or using it for a different purpose in its current location. In the bedroom, use your chest of drawers as a bedside table to create a convenient surface for lamps and stacks of books. Move a sofa and chairs into the kitchen. Or place a dining room sideboard in a hallway, where it is out of context and seems youngerlooking. When furniture stays static for too long it can become stale. Look at your pieces with fresh eyes to open the door for unexpected possibilities. “I recently took a vintage loveseat, had it recovered in more than one fabric and pulled it into a bay window surrounding an oval dining table,” says Keim. “It instantly added visual interest to that somewhat plain bay window and table. Try that same idea at the foot of your bed or place an odd, yet eye-catching chair in the foyer.”

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Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

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5 Make organi z ation beautiful

We accumulate tons of stuff each year. We can’t get rid of it all, but we can find ways to organize our things more beautifully. The items that organize your life don’t have to be ordinary. From using big, woven baskets to hold magazines or toys in a family room or playroom, glass trays for your jewelry, or a kitchen rail above a stove to keep cooking utensils handy, look for ways to make the functional more beautiful. “Storage containers can be just about anything,” says Keim. “I have used new label-free gallon paint cans and attached them to a bathroom wall with rolled up towels. Another idea is to collect all your picture frames, paint them in the same high gloss color and re-group your photos on one wall rather than having numerous table top dust collectors. The key is to enlarge your photos to show the detail. All the unused photos can now be in the coffee table book you are more likely to pick up and look at.”

6 C reate a ne w focal point

It might be the biggest piece in the room, the most expensive, an inherited family heirloom, or something that you truly love. Whatever it is, it’s staying. You might as well make this signature piece the focus of your room. Sometimes you can totally change the room by giving a different piece the spotlight and letting that dictate what happens next. “It is vital that every room has some sort of focal point,” states Ennis. “For those of us who do not have the traditional fireplace as the focal point, all hope is not lost. Focal points can be created by using graphic wallpaper on one main wall in your space or hanging a very large painting on a center wall.”

7 G o big on the s m all stuff

Since you’re not actually redecorating, you can splurge on smaller items that add luxury to a room, like fantastic pillows, a rug with wow factor or an unexpected accessory. Consider having custom-made reversible pillows with a spring and summer fabric on one side and something with a rich texture, say velvet, on the other, for the cooler months. Sandy Fulginiti, a designer and one of the “Material Girls” at Front Door Fabrics in Charlotte, says the impact of fresh pillows is endless. “Pillows can quickly transform a room for any gathering or simply for a seasonal update,” says Fulginiti. She recommends adding a vintage brooch, oversized monogram or a velvet ribbon to your pillows. “Your pillows don’t have to match. Vary the size and shapes to increase interest,” she says. “And don’t be afraid to go bold with unexpected color, pattern and texture combinations. Just have fun and reflect your personality – the sky is the limit!” For even greater impact, consider bringing a staircase to life with something wonderful and unexpected. Zebra stripes are one of nature’s best patterns. Try a zebra, leopard or other eye-catching carpet running up the stair in the entryway to add contrast and drama in a neutral setting. Mirrors are another glamorous way to update your rooms and expand your space, catching the light and acting like interior windows. Starburst mirrors have been increasing in popularity in recent years and are a modern way to add style and elegance to any room.


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“Back your bookcases with mirrors or add an antique mirror with a beveled edge to your tabletop,” says Keim. “I have added mirrors to door fronts, with glass knobs. Any raised panel door can have an inset mirror inserted for an entirely new look. And don’t forget to add random mirrors to your photo wall grouping in various sizes and styles.”

8 P ut y our o w n t w ist on tradition

Contrasts make a room more exciting. Throw an antique Persian rug into a contemporary room, or a modern graphic rug in a traditional setting to lay an interesting foundation for any room. Eric Ennis says a play on tradition is one of his favorite designer tricks of the trade. “This can be achieved with very little effort,” he says. “One of my best tips is to play on color. Take the classic white bookcase for example. When you paint it in a modern color such as a blue/gray, it has a much more modern feel, even if you keep the contents very traditional.”

9 F ra m e y our fa m il y tree

Looking for a different way to display your family photos? You can reinvent your family photos by popping them out of their existing frames and re-framing them in unifying frames of all one color. Consider converting the photos to black and white and enlarging them, then putting them all in red frames or your favorite color to create a family gallery on one wall.

10 P aint w ith abandon

Sometimes a shot of color is all you need to give a room new life. Try painting one room (make it one you don’t go into every day like your dining room) in a strong clear, color in high-gloss enamel. You can also paint the back of a bookshelf, keeping in mind that it’s dark back there, a strong color with some punch will look better. Lining the back of a bookcase or shelves with wallpaper is another detail change that can make a big difference. You can also wallpaper the ceiling, just be careful to avoid a pattern that’s directional, like toile. Try a graphic pattern with a small repeat. “Keep in mind your trim and door color in rooms with a strong color,” says Keim. “Consistent trim color throughout the house does not have to be the rule. If you’re wallpapering in a busy pattern in the dining room, for instance, it’s a good idea to pick a trim and ceiling color that blends with the wallpaper or highly contrasts it.”v

Getting the details right One gallon of paint covers approximately 400 square feet of wall. Place light switches 36 inches above the floor and 1½ to 2 inches to the side of the door trim. A kitchen island should be taller than the countertops (38 inches high) to be comfortable for prep. The bottom of a dining-room chandelier should hang 36” above the table. Hang curtains as high as possible to give the room height. Let them break 1½ inches on the floor.

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bistany design E xceptional C abinet r y & D esign

601 South Cedar Street, Suite 205-C, Charlotte, NC | 704-375-8322 By appointment.


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1. The unique design of this beautiful glass-top dining table is sure to impress your dinner guests with its classic design and unexpected modern flair. From the Thom Filicia Home Collection. Available through High Cotton Home. 704-335-1220.



2. These oriental “over-dyed” rugs, bridge the gap between traditional, transitional and contemporary furnishings. 100 percent wool. Available in a wide range of colors. Stark Carpet. 704-588-8842. 3. The Currey and Company possibility table lamp is a moderately shaped vibrant luminaire appropriate for embellishing any room. The transitional desk or table lamp is made of mercury glass with black accents and the shade is micro star shantung. Bedside Manor. 704-442-4006.


4. Highland Court features the best in washed chenilles, tapestries, damasks, silks, and casements. Pictured is the Brownstone pattern in the Philip Gorrivan II Collection. Available through Distinctive Fabrics and Furniture. 704-895-6275.


5. In French, Pierre means rock; a solid choice for the name of this sconce and hanging light fixture. The robust hand-worked wrought iron metalwork, frosted white glassware and leaf design finish make these a gorgeous addition to any room.


6. The many images, memories and hours spent in homes of friends throughout France are the inspiration for the Maison Collection. Made with quality craftsmanship, handcarving, hand-rubbed finishes, veneer and solid wood construction. Shown here is the Romille Commode. Features two drawers and is made from mahogany. French Heritage. 704-529-1288.


7. Inspired by an Old World compass, the Rafferty console table is the essence of rustic and sophisticated style, with its planked top a nd stone-like finish. Finished on all sides. Available through The Furniture Connector. 704-523-3163.


8. With its compact, tulip-shaped design, the BeoLab 11 subwoofer combines performance with elegant design to complement any décor. With a selection of beautiful colors and finishes, it not only integrates into just about any interior, but will look great doing so. southend. Bang and Olufsen. 704-372-7375.

design find 40


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Building a Better Home

Renovating for a Restful Master Retreat As more Charlotte homeowners decide to stay put rather than trade up to their dream home, renovation projects have been on the rise. Kitchens and master suites are usually at the top of the list because those two spaces are where people spend the majority of their time. However, getting the most out your master suite takes more planning than you might imagine. The first potential pitfall is poor space Trent Haston planning. Most people commonly assume they need a huge bedroom, but having a floor plan that’s much larger than needed to accommodate your furniture makes the room feel cavernous, not cozy. Adding details like crown molding and allotting more square footage to the closet and bathroom will give you much more for the money.


Urban Home Charlotte september/October 2011

Proper lighting throughout the suite is important, but perhaps it is most critical in the bathroom. Dimmers can help give you a spa atmosphere when you want to relax or brighten up the room when you’re giving it a deep cleaning. Using lots of stone and glass will contribute to a luxurious feel, but most homeowners insist the best feature they choose is a heated floor. It’s one of the items that is tempting to cut out of the budget, but unlike other options it cannot be added once the project is complete. The most ideal layouts connect the bathroom to the closet. Since many couples operate on separate schedules, this space plan allows for one partner to get ready without disturbing the other’s sleep. To make the two spaces cohesive, Andrew Roby often refers homeowners to a custom cabinet maker who is able to construct coordinating cupboards for the closet and the bathroom. Like the bathroom, the closet is in use every day. Heavier quality materials will ensure it will last, and using an expert designer is important. Elements should include drawers, a countertop to fold and lay-

Proper space arrangement, using quality materials, and planning your costs will go a long way into making your master suite a dream retreat.

out clothes, and a pull-out ironing board. Many of my clients enjoy having a separate makeup table outside of the bathroom that also serves as a place to store jewelry. Installing a softer floor material such as bamboo is easier on the toes than a hard tile and makes a nice compromise if a homeowner would rather not carpet the floor. Planning your costs depends on your priorities. But there are ways to get beautiful style without breaking the budget. There are so many options today that have made the variance between economical and more expensive tile harder to distinguish. Homeowners can also save on countertop selections. Most would be surprised to know that stone is priced based on availability at the time. So you can get the same quality with a slightly different look and save thousands of dollars.

On the contrary, you get what you pay for concerning light and plumbing fixtures. Homeowners can be cheated when they try to save 20 percent by buying the product from a big box store or off the Internet. Though the exterior may look the same, they aren’t made with the same quality and often parts can be missing. Proper space arrangement, using quality materials, and planning your costs will go a long way into making your master suite a dream retreat.v As vice president for Andrew Roby, Trent Haston helps oversee a variety of custom residential construction projects. To learn more about how Andrew Roby can turn your home into a personalized comfortable space, call them at 704-334-5477, or visit them on the web at to see more ideas and examples of their work.

september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte


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Kitchens & Baths

Tiles Inspired by Journeys Afar by Ginger Sprinkle


Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

One endearing feature of tiles is the diversity and character they showcase, which naturally means they remain one of the best and most creative investments when remodeling any home area. A recommendation for an impressive choice for today’s projects – whether it’s face-lifting, dressing up a new home or a period renovation? The unique Odyssey collection from one of the UK’s leading ceramic-tile manufacturers – Original Style – has transfixed the market. The discerning eye of Jennifer Creasser Bridges, Tile Collection director of sales and marketing, is aptly impressed with what she sees. “It’s no secret that patterns in an interior design can produce a broad variety of physical, emotional and psychological responses in those who view them -- from cheerfulness and a desire to get things done to agitation or lethargy,” Jennifer says. “These tiles are practical anywhere around the home. Ideal applications include courtyards, foyers, hallways and stair risers.” Reminiscent of your own sojourns worldwide, the tiles and matching borders will help you perhaps recall a faraway market in which you found lovely souvenirs to bring home to keep your travels fresh in your mind. While their inspiration may come from the past, such as a humble rug found in a Moroccan bazaar to majestic palaces or from rustic Turkish pottery to the lost Incan civilization, the tiles are modern and fresh. When you bring Odyssey into your home for a global adventure, you can think of it as venturing “around the world in 20 designs.” There’s no mass production here; each of these hand-finished tiles is a small, unique work of art. “With patterns adding richness and depth to a design, they give life and energy to areas of design usually left blank, namely white space,” says Jennifer. Also, these designs can be used as supporting backdrops for text and images as long as they don’t overwhelm the element they’re placed on top of or the element they aim to support. With combinations that are infinite, the most important factor when selecting from this unique line is to devise a look that always catches your eye and appeals to your sense of adventure. The professionals at Tile Collection will help make sure the look works for what you are envisioning for tile creations right in your own home. v Contact Tile Collection at 704-541-8453, check out, or visit their showroom at 11200 Carolina Place Parkway in Pineville open Mondays-Fridays 9-6, Thursdays 9-8, Saturdays 10-5 and Sundays 12-5.

september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte


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Technology n Trends


well-connected home by Nancy Atkinson

To say custom home electronics have advanced in the past decade is an understatement. What started with home theatre rooms, lighting and music systems has expanded to include security, light and shade control, telecommunications, climate control, home networking, whole-house audio and video, and surveillance and electronic entry access – all fully integrated. There’s no question that creating a smart home adds value to your bottom line and improves your quality of life. But making decisions about product options, design and installation can be bewildering. Relying on big box retailers to guide you through the process can be frustrating, particularly if you want to customize your home automation and need the help of in-home service after the sale. We consulted the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the Custom Home Theatre Installation Contractors Association (CEDIA) and local home technology experts Dawayne Bowers of Automation Home Entertainment and Matt Ocenas with Bang & Olufsen South End for their advice on creating the well-connected home of tomorrow.

There’s no question that creating a Smart Home adds value to your bottom line and improves your quality of life.

What should homeowners consider when building or renovating? The experts say you should wire for everything now. Your structured wiring system becomes the electronic foundation for many advanced services, including telephone, broadband Internet, cable or satellite TV, computer networking, audio and video, security and home management. Most importantly, structured wiring systems have enough capacity to support current and future digital technologies. “Be sure the company you choose to wire your home will stay current with new technologies on the horizon,” says Dawayne. “The wiring plan they create should ensure that every room in your house from the front porch to the attic and basement is wired for your current and future technology needs.” What are the options for home electronics integration? As you add electronic components into the mix, it is important to make sure they can be integrated and operated under one easy-to-use control system, such as an application for your smartphone. Work with a trusted professional to design a plan that will guide you when making purchases. What do we need to look for when purchasing home electronics equipment? Many stores purchase large orders of equipment and sell it at discounted rates. Don’t buy yesterday’s products. Shop with a dealer who provides only the newest equipment and technologies and rely on a home automation consultant you trust. “With the proper wiring foundation you can install any home automation or premium audio/video system throughout the home,” explains Matt. “But you don’t have to add everything all at once. Install only the items you want and need now and add new equipment as your needs change.”


Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

© Cedia 2011 used with permission.

Wiring the entire home will also allow you to hide all the sources (satellite receivers, Blu-ray players, Apple TV, video game consoles) in another room such as a closet, allowing the area where the TV is located to remain uncluttered by excess wiring and equipment.

is important to you, whether that is lighting control or a multi-room audio system,” Matt says. “But also think about quality and long-term dependability. Purchasing products from manufacturers that have a reputation for quality will ensure your system is productive for years to come.”

Can I integrate the lighting in my home with my other electronics? Yes. Lighting sets the mood for home theatre entertaining or a quiet evening at home. You can control your home lighting from the same remote you use for all the other automation in your home, including your music and audio system.

How should I choose an electronics professional? Your home electronics system is a big investment. Easy-to-use systems, reliable installation and in-home service are a must. Be sure the company you’re considering has CEDIA-certified professional designers and installers on staff. “Your home technologies team should provide you with extensive options, complete installation and reliable in-home service for your systems,” says Dawayne. “Most of all, they should make the experience simple and enjoyable for you, and be someone you trust to introduce you to new technologies on the horizon.”v

What kind of control device is recommended? There are easy to use all-in-one remote controls available for any system. You can even have one custom programmed so it makes perfect sense to you. “Ask your home integrator about using either a handheld remote with a built-in LCD screen or an application that can be downloaded onto your smartphone or tablet, such as an iPad. Either should allow you to control home audio, video, lights, shades, thermostats and other devices seamlessly,” advises Matt. How much should homeowners invest? A smart home installation is a good value. While the average expense of a typical wiring system installation is 2 percent of a home’s market value, the potential return is significantly higher, often reaching up to 125 percent of the installation cost according to industry reports. “When deciding what you will build into your smart home, you need to identify what

Bang and Olufsen september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte


The Be06 represents a merger of form and function. It is a remote control that works as an extension of your hand, with touch-screen control of your TV, films, music and more. Fully programmable, the same Beo6 can be as simple as you want and as flexible as you need. Bang and Olufsen.

At the 2011 Consumer Electronic Show, the “best of show” in the home theater category went to Samsung for their HT-D7100 home theater. It manages to fit an entire home system into a single cubic design. It can be broken into different components as needed, if you prefer a different configuration. Samsung Electronics.



This one wireless network device unites music from all the computers in your home, from music services such as Pandora and from thousands of Internet radio stations. Plugs into your audio receiver and uses your laptop, iPad, iPhone or Android as a remote control. Companion speakers can play different or the same music in multiple rooms all from the same music library. Sonos.



When it comes to cool speakers, these are the Eames lounger of the audio world. Praised for their stunning design, the SoundSticks II speakers and subwoofer system became a milestone in audio history when it became part of the permanent collection at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. Harman Kardon Electronics.

Drawing on inspiration from radios in the past, the Tivoli Model One AM/ FM table radio has been described as “the best sounding table radio ever made,” (MSNBC) offering “the kind of room-filling sound that many other radios claim to deliver but often don’t.” (Forbes). When you want to listen to iPod library, the radio has an input jack for external music devices. Tivoli.


Automation Home Bang & Olufsen South




Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling • Home Additions • Interior Renovations

Four generations of building award winning Excellence | 704-365-8133 | www. 56

Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

AT LAST... A DOCK THAT MATCHES THE DEVICE Dock your iPod, iPhone or iPad in BeoSound 8. Or connect an MP3 player, PC or Mac and rediscover your music collection all over again only this time it will sound like you are sitting in the front row! Start the experience by calling our showroom at 704 372 7375 or visit MSRP $999.00 iPod, iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Wall mount also available for BeoSound 8.

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Kitchen & Bath

1. Sleek, modern, culinary elegance...the Cayenne collection offers professional elegance with three models. Options include high arching faucets sized for kitchen and bar sinks. Cayenne kitchen faucets feature 180-degree spout swivel with an innovative joy stick control. HD Kitchen and Bath. Charlotte: 704-845-5970. Huntersville: 704-892-6466.


2. The designs for the Odyssey collection of tiles and matching borders have been inspired by places and styles from around the globe and throughout the ages. From a humble rug found in a Moroccan bazaar to majestic palaces, and from rustic Turkish pottery to the lost civilization of the Incas. Tile Collection. 704-541-8453.


3. The Arlington wall sconce is imbued with a simplistic elegance that is timeless and classic. A three-point detail holds a European mouth-blown glass shade. The sconce features a frosted glass shade with a brushed nickel finish. Metro. 704-375-4563. 4. Looking to tailgate in style? The Petit Gourmet grill features an integrated adjustable telescoping base. This compact, high-performance grill’s small format can be put almost anywhere for ultimate convenience. Available through Macy’s. 704-365-1000.

4 5

5. Reveal Designs has embarked on a relationship with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to produce unique lines of door hardware, cabinet hardware and hardware accessories through its School of Architecture. 6. With its beautiful, compact design, the kMix coffee maker delivers a flawless performance. The ThermoGen™ system produces the perfect temperature for brewing superior tasting coffee, and the OptiTemp™ hot plate maintains the ideal temperature to avoid scorching...providing you with the ultimate coffee experience.


7. When the moon passes between the sun and Earth, the Earth is doused with an ethereal glow. The same can be said for the effect produced by Troy Lighting’s eclipse, which utilizes delicate opal glassware to filter light into its surrounding environment. 8. Created from the finest soft long-staple cotton, the luxurious collection boasts an array of chic designs and colorful combinations that appeal to both classic and contemporary interiors. Born from a shared love of exceptional design and elegant craftsmanship, Lulu DK Matouk promises to delight. Bedside Manor. 704-442-4006.

design find 58

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A pool that reflects

personal style by Ginger Sprinkle

Just as each of us has a unique style, so should your pool. The days of standard, kidney-shaped in-grounds are gone. Now it’s all about having your pool match your style and uses for an outside living area while aiming to match the look of your home’s exterior. One thing Bryan O’Neal, owner and president of Falling Water Custom Pools, Inc., excels at – and takes pride in – is his ability to do just that. He takes your considerations, specifications and topography into account to design and tailor a pool to fit your lifestyle and home. Chris and Renee Hobart’s Highgrove home is a perfect example. There were three backyard issues: street noise from Ardrey Kell Road, 62

Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

ground sloping, which meant the neighbor’s run-off water made its way to the Hobarts’ designated pool area, and safety features with a young child present. The solutions? To drown out the noise, O’Neal added a gorgeous copper-scupper, wing-walled waterfalls with a spa in the middle; a single waterfall would have been insufficient. To alleviate drainage issues, the design assured this became a nonconcern by incorporating the upper living area, while many designers presented the Hobarts with unrealistic plans for a flat-backyard construction. For safety, Bryan made sure you can see every inch of the pool

If you’re planning a pool project for the 2012 swimming season, now is the time to start.

from the upper patio, plus there is only one way down to the pool — a single stairway. He also included a tanning ledge to hold two lounge chairs in an area where a child might have been tempted to hang onto the pool wall. “Bryan has a phenomenal ability to listen to clients and design their dreams,” Chris says. “He did a great job communicating and keeping us informed compared to a neighbor who had a pool designed elsewhere and barely saw the designer, just the crew. Bryan was onsite 99 percent of the time, making sure his master design came out perfectly.  Heck, we missed him and his team when they left the house.”

If you’re planning a pool project for the 2012 swimming season, now is the time to start. The design process doesn’t happen overnight; with this type of investment, it’s essential to thoroughly think about your lifestyle and how you are planning to use your yard’s pool area. The bottom line: it’s key to allow adequate time for your ultimate pool’s evolution, so the end of the year is the perfect time to get in the pool construction queue.v For more information on Lancaster-based Falling Water Pools, call 704-506-7806 or visit

september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte



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e d i t o r c o n t r i b u t i n g

style notes

Five Fabulous Fall Updates Fall — hands down my favorite season! There is just something about the fabrics and textures that makes my heart go aflutter. While it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with the latest must haves, it doesn’t take much to get your closet ‘fall ready.’ In fact, if you only focused on five simple concepts, you’d find getting dressed every day a simpler process.

Catherine Horgan

Layers The ever important layering pieces make seasonal transitions a breeze. And the long-sleeve tee has fast become my go-to staple. While there are many great cuts and styles, fabric is the most critical factor. Nothing is more frustrating than layering a dress over a long-sleeve tee only to find it clings with every movement. Enter: the fitted sheer jersey tee. Tried and true, this tee provides a super thin layer that has enough slip for any material to layer over. Bonus: jersey keeps you warm in the cooler months and cool in the warmer months. Transitional Dresses Turned Tunics Simply stated, dresses make getting dressed easy. One piece! However, longevity in your wardrobe trumps the ‘one piece’ philosophy. When you find a dress in a fabric, weight and color that transcends seasons, you can do so much with it. Add leggings, jeans, trousers, or even a longer skirt underneath (proportions are important here), and you’ve completely changed the look of the dress. Fun + Functional Tights Tights turn a predictable outfit into a show stopper. You could wear the same black sheath dress to the office week after week, but the day you show up sporting polka dot or argyle legs, people will stop you every 5 minutes to ask where you got your outfit. Pattern, texture, color — opportunities for some seriously stylish outfits! Splashes of Color During the fall and winter months, we see a lot of dark neutrals. So, nothing makes me happier than embracing vibrant colors (red and cornflower blue being my favorites this fall). If you’re not ready to wear vibrant upon vibrant color, start mixing color with your neutrals. The easiest way to bring color into your wardrobe is through accessories, such as shoes, scarves and handbags. Vintage and Vintage-Inspired Accessories The newest additions to your wardrobe should look old. As in welltraveled accessories. Unique and special pieces become part of who you are — a great form of self expression. And an easy one to manage! v As a personal stylist in Charlotte, Catherine Horgan works with clients to create signature looks and a fulfilling wardrobe. Learn how to tap into your personal style at or call 704-408-0055 to schedule a style session.


Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

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Charlotte, North Carolina 28205 Charlotte, North Carolina 28269 704-332-4139 704-909-2420 4332 Monroe Rd., Charlotte, NC 28205 • 704-332-4139 | 7325 Smith Corners Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28269 • 704-909-2420 Limit one per customer Expires 10-31-11

s ty l e essentials

Red is a hot color for fall, so why not have the pants to go with it? Besides, jeans are more fun in bright colors! And this style and cut flatters most figures. Available through Nordstrom. 704-442-6000.

Are your hands always cold no matter the temperature? Add arm warmers to your wardrobe and you will become an instant fan of one of my favorite fall accessories—the Donna Karan Ribbed Cashmere blend arm warmers. Casual chic! Available through Neiman Marcus. 704-442-7900.

by Catherine Horgan

Photo by Robert Christopher

Great fit, great color, great fun! This cropped green/blue Dolman sweater by Kensie Girl pairs brilliantly with pants, a skirt or dress. It’s lightweight and easy to layer a tank or long-sleeve top underneath it. Besides, the colors are a cinch to mix and match with. Available through KK Bloom. 704 919-1142.

Looking for a stylish, yet comfortable, shoe that goes the extra mile ... as in, almost seasonless? Then, this shoe is for you. This two-tone beauty transitions beautifully into fall and can be worn with or without tights. www. Available through Neiman Marcus. 704-442-7900.

CHANEL’s Graphite nail polish is one dramatic metallic with an unexpected undertone of sea foam green. Certain to become your new favorite, this is shade reflects light in the most stunning ways. Available through Neiman Marcus. 704-442-7900.


Summer may have taken a toll on your skin, but the Eve Lom Cleanser, Rescue Mask and TLC Cream will bring out your true radiance this fall. Available through Jeffre Scott Apothecary. 704-339-0010.

Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

The Zoey handbag is part of Kooba’s fall collection featuring a ‘Roo’ pouch. This stylish bag is roomy enough to fit all of your typical items, plus a shopping bag or two of goodies! The front pouch makes for easy access of your essentials — cell phone, lipstick and keys. Available through Nordstrom. 704-442-6000.

As a personal stylist in Charlotte, Catherine Horgan works with clients to create signature looks and a fulfilling wardrobe. Learn how to tap into your personal style at or call 704-408-0055 to schedule a style session.

fall’s most wanted...


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Specialty Shops on the Park (next to Bricktops)


Charlotte, NC





Decorating n Trends

By Sabrina Husain

The use of wallpaper in decorating can be traced back to around 200 BC when the ancient Chinese glued rice paper to their walls. Even now, wallpaper adds sophistication and elegance to any room with minimal effort. Urban Home researched current trends and discovered that texture, understated metallics and natureinspired prints are the latest craze. These updated classics will rejuvenate your room while adding a modern twist. Duralee

Cole & Son has provided wallpapers for many historic houses, including Buckingham Palace and the White House. Their Woods wallpaper creates a contemporary, nature-inspired look that is perfect for fall. The birch tree print is simplistic yet fun.

Bring a touch of nature to your home with Larsen’s Feeling wallpaper. The exquisite hand-woven wallpaper is innovative in both texture and design.

The Kikko Trellis showcases a new technique made with tiny pearlised beads forming the trellis. This non-woven, spongeable wallpaper creates a modern, geometric look with a subtle shine.

The exotic and sophisticated Zebra Grass wall covering employs innovative weaving technology to create a vertical grasscloth. Inspired by the look and feel of zebra wood, this uniquely modern texture is offered in 12 stunning combinations of shiny metallics and neutrals.

The Cross Weave textured wall covering comes in gold and silver. It features a gold foil in the background with a paper weave in the foreground.

Established in 1886, Thibaut is the nation’s oldest continuously operating wallpaper firm and is known for its fresh, inspiring color palette with classic style. Thibaut’s Mums wallpaper combines elements of nature and shimmery metallics to create simple elegance.


Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011


Fall is a season of change. Luckily for you, Urban Home can help update the entire look of your room with a few simple additions. You may have some tried and true pieces that are mainstays in your home. To refresh the look, recover your furniture or add a few throw pillows with the latest prints. We consulted top designers in the Charlotte area and national resources to discover that large prints are the trend for 2011. Also in vogue, oversize florals, geometric shapes, brocades and stripes will help create a fun and chic atmosphere in your home.

Manuel Canovas

The beautiful brocade pattern on the Ivory Bellini fabric offers a fresh take on a timeless classic. Woven in India from 100 percent silk, it is available in a wide palette of sophisticated neutrals and metallic colors.

Floral prints are always in style. This collection draws its inspiration from the timeless blue and green colors of seaglass. Made of 100 percent cotton sateen.

The French fabric house Manuel Canovas is internationally renowned for the quality of its textiles and vivid colors. Trend setting color combinations are explored with florals with the Penelope. This bold, large-scale print is linen.

Thom Filicia, a nationally-known interior designer, creates personalized interiors, which feature richly layered textures and colors for a lived-in yet highly sophisticated look. You don’t have to be a mathematician to appreciate how the geometric Euclid print, named after the father of geometry, adds an orderly yet modern feel to your home. Made of 100 percent polyester.

The bold stripe of the Killarney fabric is made of cotton and linen. It is enhanced with embroidered ovals as detailing.

Go geometric with designer Jane Churchill’s Delphos fabric. This contemporary print will add a modern twist to any room.


Distinctive Fabrics and Furniture............................................... Front Door Fabrics . ....................................................................... 704-844-6330......................................................... The Furniture Connector.............................................................. Lucy and Company......................................................................... Stark Carpet.................................................................................... 704-588-8842................................................................

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YES! We Build Custom Furniture. U nmatched in Q ualit y and V alue .

Manufactured by our Craftsmen in North Carolina • Headboards • Club Chairs

• Sofas and Sectionals • Ottomans

Photo courtesy of Duralee

• Dining Chairs

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Decorative Fabrics and Trim • Custom Upholstery and Reupholstery • Custom Window Treatments and Bedding • In-Home Consultations 18820 Statesville Rd. | Cornelius, North Carolina | 704-895-6275 |

A Conversation with

Thom Filicia Photography by Eric Piasecki

by Nancy Atkinson

Thom Filicia may be best known for his Emmyaward winning role as the interior design guru on the television show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or for his own show Dress My Nest. But the accomplished designer has also authored two books on style and has had his own successful interior design firm in SoHo since 1998. In 2006 he made the list of House Beautiful’s Top 100 designers and the same year was chosen one of House & Garden’s Top 50 Tastemakers. Today he works with high profile clients including Jennifer Lopez and Tina Fey. In our area recently to work on his new collection for Vanguard Furniture before the October market in High Point, we sat down with Thom to learn more about his furniture, his inspiration, design secrets and of course, Tina Fey’s apartment.

Urban Home sat down with Thom to learn more about his furniture, his inspiration, design secrets and of course, Tina Fey’s apartment.


Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

UH: This is your fifth year at the High Point Market for Vanguard Furniture. What can you tell us about your new collection? Thom: It’s called New American because the pieces are classically inspired with a fresh take, so they feel more appropriate for the way we live today. Rather than reproducing classic pieces that were relevant years and years ago, the furniture connects with the way we live today but is also rooted in tradition. We’re doing 27 new pieces, and adding new categories: Thom Felicia American Sophisticate, American Waterfront, and American Altitude. American Altitude will be furniture with a mountain home in mind, but in a Thom Felicia way. The Sophisticate will be a little bit sleeker, a little bit urban. The silhouettes of the pieces are designed so that in eight years you can change the fabric and they’ll be very relevant. They will age well. UH: Do you have personal favorites in the new collection? Thom: The eagle console is one of my favorites – that’s an iconic or signature piece for me. The Cazenovia bed is a beautiful piece with an upholstered headboard. I also love the Saratoga sofa and the James Street wing chair.

UH: Furniture is only one aspect of Thom Filicia Home. You’re also designing fabrics, rugs, artwork, bedding, have I left anything out? Thom: We’re finalizing our lighting vendor now. We seek design partners that make sense for what we’re trying to build in terms of price point, quality and design. My entire line of fabrics from Kravet is only available to the design industry, but 30% of the fabrics are also sold at Calico Corners. My artwork is available from Soicher Marin, bedding from Eastern Accents, and a line of commercial carpets from Shaw. UH: The Charlotte market has in the past been very traditional but is becoming more modern. What is the secret to incorporating

modern pieces into traditional settings? Thom: What was traditional 30 to 40 years ago is very different than what’s traditional today. So while you might say Charlotte is becoming more modern, I would actually argue that traditional is just becoming cleaner. It’s not that people are changing; what’s traditional is changing. If you think about fashion and what a traditional gal wore 30 years ago, she would look at a girl today that’s very classic and think she was racy. What is traditional today is much cleaner. What is modern today I think tends to be a bit warmer. What was modern 30 or 40 years ago was very severe. UH: What can you tell us about modern classicism and how you design? Thom: I see design as a total balancing act. If you have a very traditional home, a very classic home, I always encourage people to try and incorporate things that are a little bit cleaner and crisper in their environment to balance it out. And if you’re living in a glass box I think it’s really important that you incorporate a lot of natural elements even if you do it in a modern way so you actually get the warmth and the texture and the non-machine aspect of the modernity. I think today people are more and more attracted to balance in design. Years ago men used to sleep in rooms that were floral and very girly. Today couples tend to live in environments that reflect both of

september/october 2011 Urban Home Charlotte


their tastes. When you’re in an environment that feels well balanced, it just feels comfortable. You notice it. UH: What design mistake do most of us make in our homes? Thom: Most people design homes that are not for their real lives. Very often I think homes look more like a catalogue than it does your personality. And it can be very attractive but it doesn’t really have any soul. You should be able to walk into someone’s home and really understand the people who live there. Very often homes were built at a time when people lived differently. And very few people customize, build from scratch or modify their home to really reflect their personality. If you cook and entertain a lot and you have a big living room but a tiny dining room there’s no reason you couldn’t turn your living room into a dining room that seats 20 people. I think sometimes people find themselves trapped in a small room in the back of the house because they haven’t really listened to what they need; they’re just following the blueprint of the house or what they think they’re supposed to do. UH: What is your favorite trick for giving rooms an instant life? Thom: Most spaces today lack architectural detail so I like bringing in furniture, artwork or wall texture that gives a space an architectural point of view. In a lot of my furniture you’ll see details you would normally see in a stair railing or other architecture. The Strathmore console, which is probably my favorite piece I’ve ever designed, is taken from Georgian architecture, which is a repeat of circles in a frieze. It’s taking those architectural details and being inspired by them because they don’t exist anymore. So you’re seeing it in a way you haven’t seen it before, in a modern context, which feels fresh and cool. And the space is very happy to have it because it needs it. UH: When’s the last time you had an idea for a room and you thought ‘This is crazy’ but then it worked? Thom: In every project and everything I do I try to think about what would be a little bit crazy, then dial it back to fit the time schedule and


Urban Home Charlotte september/october 2011

budget. I think that’s how you find really interesting creative solutions that people are wowed by – going beyond what you’re probably going to do creatively and then bringing it back. UH: What design trends are exciting you now? Thom: We are incorporating design from all over the world – things that are very, very high end with things that are more basic or more even tribal. You can mix early American with African and Indian. So many different things are available to us right now that I think it’s exciting for designers but can be daunting for some people to have so many options. For me, to be able to synthesize all this down into what that makes sense to me and turn it into a product people can be excited about is pretty awesome. UH: Last but not least, what’s the most fabulous design element of the apartment you designed for Tina Fey? Thom: Their apartment is beautiful. They love it and I’m really proud of it, but it’s also very much in her point of view. She can be glamorous but she’s a down to earth person. My favorite thing I did for that project was paint her gallery floor, where you come in off the vestibule, a beautiful blue gray chevron so as soon as you walk in that’s what you see. It’s very dramatic, very interesting and cool.v

Want more Thom Filicia? He’ll be making numerous appearances on several of HGTV’s most popular design shows this season and has a starring role in a holiday special. Thom also has a new book in the works with Clarkson Potter titled Hammered – Thom’s Guide for Renovation, Decoration and Entertaining with Style about the renovation of his new country home in Finger Lakes, New York. Look for it in bookstores next summer. To see his collection through Vanguard Furniture, visit High Cotton Home at 2137 South Boulevard or call 704-335-1220. To see more of Thom’s lines and to hear the entire interview, visit our web site,

high cotton high atyle. Charlotte’s newest designer furniture store NOW OPEN. 2137 South Blvd. Suite 100 | 704.335-1220 | Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. 1-5

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Urban Home Sept/Oct 2011 Issue  

Urban Home Magazine and Urban Home are a refreshing combination of new and interesting regional product and service information...

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