Text: Alice Welsh Doyle
Photography: Michael Blevins

“When my client Elizabeth Myers was interviewing me for this project, she said ‘Do not ever bring a pastel into my home,’” relays Greensboro, North Carolina-based interior designer Kara Cox. “Now that we’ve worked together and become friends, we laugh about it, but she had very strong opinions about color from the start.” Cox was actually a bit surprised that she was selected since her portfolio at the time reflected very white and airy rooms with those dreaded pastels. But Myers was very intentional when she brought on Cox. “I picked Kara because she has a good eye for texture and layering,” explains Myers. “And although she was not traditionally known for lively colors, I really needed an editor because otherwise, if left to my own devices, my house would probably look like a clown blew up in there!”

Interior Designer Kara Cox Creates Chic Home in Winston-Salem

Interior Designer Kara Cox Creates Chic Home in Winston-Salem

Interior Designer Kara Cox Creates Chic Home in Winston-Salem

Interior Designer Kara Cox Creates Chic Home in Winston-Salem

The vibrant jewel tones in the Winston-Salem house reflect her client’s personality. “Elizabeth is definitely not a wallflower. She’s drawn to bold hues, loves to entertain, and is delightfully sarcastic at times, and she has a great sense of humor.” The design also reflects Myers’s love of whimsy and wonder here and there through the art and objects she has collected and curated over the years.

The color conversation started with the selection of the Schumacher wallcovering in the dining room from the Miles Redd collection. “Elizabeth wanted a traditional Southern style presentation but executed in a more unexpected palette, and this was a perfect choice. We pulled colors from this print and employed them throughout the house,” says Cox.

Other dining room choices speak to a blending of old and new. The gleaming mahogany table is an antique that Myers found in Charleston, while the new upholstered dining room chairs are generously proportioned with curvy feminine lines. “We enjoy lingering after dinner, and we want our friends and family to feel comfortable as well as charmed by the room,” says Myers. The window treatments also nod to tradition in their classic design but are at the same time unexpected. “It’s a surprise to see them in turquoise and green, and the shape of the pelmets adds that fanciful touch that Elizabeth loves,” notes Cox.

Her client also had definite views about the palette for the main bedroom; she wanted it to be very moody and cocooning. The designer covered the walls in dark blue grasscloth and painted the trim in a matching shade for a more unified look. Many of the pieces throughout the home are family antiques that have been revitalized with textural and more graphic fabrics. “The carved settee at the foot of our bed was actually commissioned by my grandmother when she was a new bride, but it looks totally updated. We really made it ours,” says Myers. In addition to navy, the room includes injections of rich emerald green, keeping it from feeling too dark.

The living room reads a bit quieter than the adjoining spaces with neutrals and accents of ruby red in a chair and sofa pillows, all set off by a luxurious custom rug. “We could not find an antique rug with the bolder hues we wanted, so we created this one together,” says Cox. “We had so much fun coming up with the pattern. We sat on the floor with tufts of color and put the design together,” adds Myers. The great room, a later addition to the 1937 original house, reflects a decidedly joyful palette with jolts of pink sapphire, lapis lazuli, turquoise, and aquamarine. “I’m a brunette with a more olive skin tone and pale colors look terrible on me, but they also just don’t make you happy!” says Myers.

The light fixtures throughout the home are particularly noteworthy, and there is a clear reason for that. Myers is the president of Salem Electric, a family-owned and operated business since 1945. “I’ve seen everything out there, beginning in childhood when I started going to market,” says Myers. “I didn’t want my home to have lighting that was like everyone else’s, so I tasked Kara to come up with one-of-a-kind or custom pieces.”

The rather groovy fixture in the foyer is a vintage find scored on Chairish, and Raleigh-based firm Louise Gaskill Company crafted the dining room chandelier. “We found this gorgeous vintage piece of Murano glass and had Louise come up with the design,” says Cox. “It’s modern and old—the best of both, which means a lot to us,” says Myers. “Everything is designed for the way my family lives and our personalities but put together in a very lovely way.”

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