Three Sisters Make Home Renovation a Family Affair

A home renovation becomes a family reunion when interior designer Laura Covington and architect Elizabeth Wells take on their sister as a client.

In the living room, a Lucite coffee table and sleek armless chairs are juxtaposed by 18th-century French commodes and Os du Mouton stools. The mix of furniture styles keeps the antiques feeling fresh.

Text: Margaret Zainey Roux
Photos: Dustin Peck

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Blair Hogan has a very keen eye. So, when the wife and mother of three set her sights on a dated house in need of major rehab, those who know her best knew better than to question her vision. “The house had a 1970s vibe, but not in that cute, quirky way,” says Hogan’s younger sister and interior designer Laura Covington. “Think green carpet, dark stained walls, and a patchwork of different finishes and materials. To add insult to injury, the layout was poorly configured, but the land and location sold itself to Blair and her husband, Joe. At nearly one acre in Raleigh’s coveted Drewry Hills neighborhood, it was a rare find for their family, who love living and entertaining outdoors.”

Family Affair

Symmetrically placed objects in subtle colors allow a variety of complex patterns to work together in harmony.

Family Affair

Sapphire suzani-print drapes could have dominated the dining room, but Covington balanced them with layers of white, including the leather seats of the painted balloon-back chairs, the contemporary chandelier, and the antique French painted commode.

Family Affair

The kitchen was designed to house two large islands. The spacious room also hosts two farmhouse sinks and two dishwashers, making cleanup a snap.

Family Affair

Bistro chairs, a white branch chandelier, and a leaf-motif Roman shade give the breakfast nook a garden feel.

Family Affair


Accessible through French doors in the kitchen, the patio sets the scene for alfresco dining and provides a beautiful focal point from the sunroom and family room. ‘Annabelle’ and ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas on the table are freshly harvested from the garden.

Family Affair

A custom double vanity runs the expanse of an exterior wall in the master bathroom.

Family Affair

Feminine florals and lacquered finishes look sweet and sophisticated in daughter Liv’s bedroom.

After an extensive renovation spearheaded by Elizabeth Wells, Hogan and Covington’s oldest sister, the 4,600-square-foot structure was ready for its decorative do-over. Soft white walls swath interior spaces and offer a neutral counterpoint for eye-popping patterns in varying shades of blue from cerulean to cobalt. The hue also serves as a crisp, clean backdrop for an eclectic collection of art and antiques, including several pieces gifted by Hogan’s mother and acquired on buying trips with Covington.

“With High Point Market in our proverbial backyard, our buying trips were frequent and fruitful, and always included stops at the antiques malls and flea markets in the tiny towns along the way,” says Covington. “We would leave home with a very long list and return home with a very full car. I’ve even been known to drive back with a lamp in my lap just to squeeze it all in.”

The sisters also traveled to New York, Palm Beach, and Les Puces de Saint-Ouen in Paris, one of the world’s largest and most renowned flea markets. Each excursion yielded suitcases filled with cherished antiques and hearts filled with treasured memories. According to Covington, it is the centuries-old souvenirs juxtaposed with the twenty-first century appointments that keep the interiors looking light-hearted and fresh. In the living room, for example, a Lucite coffee table is paired with eighteenth-century commodes, while in the foyer an abstract portrait hangs above an antique Biedermeier chair. Beyond aesthetics, contemporary furniture with high-quality frames and performance-grade fabrics contribute to the functionality of the home and make it approachable and suitable for the not-so-tidy toddlers, teens, and four-legged friends who call it home.

“With my typical clients, I don’t get to look through that ‘unfiltered lens’ to see how the home functions beyond the installation phase,” says Covington. “That type of raw perspective can only come from working with a family member or close friend. Getting to experience firsthand how style and lifestyle intertwine in this home has been fun and rewarding for me not only as Blair’s designer, but as her sister, too.”