Text: Lydia Somerville
Styling: Eleanor Roper
Photography: Jeff herr
Designer Heather Smith and architect Ken Pursley team up to give a traditional Charlotte house a present-day mind-set and an abundance of space.
As a member of one of the South’s great decorating dynasties, Heather Smith is responsible for beautifying houses throughout the region, most frequently in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Her mother-in-law, Cindy Smith, founded Circa Interiors in 1988 with friend Jane Schwab, and the business has since grown to include not only Heather but also Cindy’s daughter Whitney, who established the Birmingham location.
For the extensive renovation and decoration of Natalie and David Homesley’s 1950s Georgian in the Eastover neighborhood of Charlotte, Smith teamed up with architect Ken Pursley, a frequent collaborator on major redos. “The additions doubled the size of the existing square footage,” Pursley says. “The living room, dining room, sunroom, and three bedrooms were part of the original home. We added the kitchen, family room, breakfast room, office, mudroom, sub- terranean lounge, and master suite.”
The master suite introduced important new features to the rear of the house. “The bedroom and bath are above the covered porch and are designed to be like a sleeping porch with a continuous band of windows overlooking the rear yard,” says Pursley. “We wanted a very open plan for the shower that lets you see outside but offers enough privacy. The single slab of glass allows this design with a minimal enclosure that can be entered from both ends.”
Throughout the house, textures play off one another, and Smith says she finds those contrasts the most fulfilling part of her work. “Instead of decorating by filling rooms with meaningless things, I find it more interesting to use the juxtaposition of objects to design a space that reflects the personality of the homeowner,” she says. The round dining room table layered nonchalantly with textiles is one example. Another is the use of wood paneling inset with mirrors between the boards in the powder room.
In the dramatic family room, painted in the perfect shade of putty, beams bring the ceiling down for a reassuring sense of enclosure. The kitchen serves as a backdrop for the space, with concealed storage providing a seamless visual impact from the seating area. Wood bar stools share counter space with an upholstered bar-height chair sized for two that is a Circa trademark. “The kitchen design is a melding of rustic and modern elements, such as concrete, antique oak, marble, plaster, and stainless steel,” says Pursley.
Just beyond the family room, a breakfast room exudes casual glamour with a custom banquette that spans the space. “A banquette is essentially a sofa used for dining,” says Smith, “For this one, we tweaked its dimension so that it is a bit firmer and sits a bit higher to make a statement without sacrificing comfort.”
Carefully chosen artwork serves as the finishing touch to the interiors, energizing the rooms and bringing the Homesleys’ taste into focus. The result is a uniquely personal house designed for family living and entertaining and delivered by professionals who know how to translate their clients’ desires into beautiful spaces.