A Raleigh-based design duo takes cues from an existing house to create a fresh and sophisticated home for a vibrant couple.
W hen a house has great bones, it makes interior design that much easier. And having innovative designers with an amazing vision doesn’t hurt either. This Raleigh home got a dramatic makeover by The Warehouse’s multifunctional design team of Liles Dunnigan and Zandy Gammons, who played up the home’s many strengths. Longtime residents of Raleigh, the homeowners relocated within their home city, and they knew what they wanted: to brighten up the dark and dated home, creating a look that was fresh and sophisticated. This required gutting the kitchen and master bath, as well as aesthetic updates throughout every other room and along the exterior. Perhaps most importantly, it required playing up the home’s natural light and filling the interior with a wash of lighter colors.
“Because we had worked with the homeowners previously, there was a high level of trust there,” Dunnigan explains. “The home was older and needed extensive updating. But it had great bones and great architectural details.” As the heart of the home, the kitchen is inherently more functional than it was before, with a longer island that faces the proper direction and offers comfortable seating. The original dark wood countertops and heavy light fixture were replaced by glazed white cabinetry and a distinctive metallic fixture overhead. The meticulously placed window captures sunlight, while the Walker Zanger tile backsplash behind the range and under the hood picks up the serene gray-blue wall color, as well as the custom color on the island. Vibrant artwork adds panache to the walls. Though the homeowners considered an all-white kitchen, the designers advised against it. “A lot of times people say they want an all-white kitchen, but it ends up looking stark and cold,” Dunnigan explains.
The adjacent breakfast nook is neither stark nor cold. The homeowners had the mirror in their possession already, and the designers had it lacquered in a soft blue that mimics the tranquility of the walls. The drapery fabric features koi fish, contributing to the Asian-inspired feel running throughout the house. A beautiful pagoda lantern from Visual Comfort completes the look. The nearby study serves as a haven for the family to escape and read. Many of the books in the collection are treasured pieces. And the designers added accessories including pieces with dark metallic shine that contrast the white cabinetry and enhance the overall look of the library. The balance of light and dark is also evident in the spacious living room, with exposed dark wood beams in the ceiling juxtaposed against a large Barbara Barry light fixture that brightens the room in more ways than one. To compensate for the fact that this room was originally even darker than most of the others, the designers repeated the same serene blue from the breakfast nook, covered the ottoman in a bright Robert Allen animal print, and installed beautiful geometric draperies from Dogwood Fabrics consisting of blue and cream hues. Finally, the Stanton wool rug adds additional light and softness. Another Stanton rug graces the steps off the foyer – an entryway that underscores the home’s overall charm. “It’s an ode to a leopard print,” Gammons says of the rug. “The art is from ArtSource, and we added an oversized antique mirrored fixture that we felt would really brighten up the space. The homeowners also had an antique chest and mirror that we repurposed.” Off the foyer, gold-finished oversized light fixtures from Visual Comfort wink down upon the mahogany dining table. “We added chairs from Woodbridge Furniture out of High Point, as we like to use North Carolina furniture companies when we can,” Dunnigan says. A multi-colored geometric Kravet print fabric with tangerines and blues graces the chair seats. The tangerine is repeated in the graceful floral draperies. “That color is found in little pops throughout the house,” Gammons explains. “The room’s rug is indoor-outdoor. [The homeowner] has grandchildren and pets and likes to entertain. So you can spill grease or red wine on it, and it will come out.” Through careful adaptation of the existing space, the designers were able to create an indulgent retreat in the master bedroom. Originally two rooms, the bedroom is now a one-room, spacious getaway with the most natural light in the entire house. An inviting combination of soft white and restful blues defines the luxurious bedding and accessories. The seating area within the master bedroom, complete with a fireplace, encourages restful afternoons spent in absolute contentment. The bedroom’s sitting room has a rival, however. The patio and outdoor living area extend the length of the back of the house. The homeowners spend many a day lounging in this vibrant space, enjoying the outdoor television, the fireplace, and most of all, the time they have with their children and grandchildren. “You can see all the colors from inside the house,” Gammons says, “and we wanted to bring the colors out and have them flow into the exterior space.” Not to be forgotten, Tucker, the dog, finds sanctuary in the mudroom, which features a vintage rug, distinctive Thibaut fabric on the windows, and a dog bed that has been painted to match both. Despite its aesthetic appeal, “That room has many uses,” Gammons explains. “It’s a laundry room, drop zone, work zone, and the dog’s favorite place.” Speaking of favorites, one of Gammons and Dunnigan’s favorite things is working together on home interiors like this one. “Most creative people enjoy having someone to bounce ideas off of,” Dunnigan says. “And for us, it’s a partnership and collaborative effort.”
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