Nature-Inspired Design Blurs the Lines Between Outside and In.
When you live in the Carolinas’ moderate, four-season climate, it’s only natural to cultivate a love for nature, enjoying the reprieve from stressful everyday life by heading outdoors to entertain, play, or simply relax with a little gardening. When Liles Dunnigan and Zandy Gammons, co-owners of The Warehouse, were approached by one of their long-term clients to create a design that embodied all the best of the outdoors and bring it in, they jumped at the chance to explore the possibilities. “As empty nesters, they were looking to establish a new home for the two of them, where they could easily entertain family and friends. She’s an avid gardener, so creating a comprehensive design that celebrated the couple’s shared love of nature was paramount. The new construction home was a veritable blank canvas, and we explored this vision, creating a design plan that would fulfill their desires in a functional and elegant way.” Dunnigan explains.
Situated in Raleigh’s exclusive Bellewood Forest community in the heart of the Beltline, which was developed by Williams Realty and Building, the home’s spacious lot, complete with manicured lawn and landscaping, as well as a stand of stately pines, proved to be just the starting point. The home’s traditional white painted brick and black shutters are warmed with copper accents and gutters, iron railings, and distinctive arches and porch columns. The outdoor back patio features gray tiled floors, an outdoor fireplace, and plenty of comfortable resin wicker seating where guests can relax and enjoy the yard. Unobscured sight lines from the front door to the rear patio create continuity, blurring the lines between outside and in.“The exterior of the home sets the aesthetic forthe design and perfectly embodies the homeowners’ personality—classic with a fresh twist.” Gammons says. That is the basis for the aesthetic carried indoors, which is apparent from a few steps into the foyer. As an entrance and also a connecting point between several areas in the home, the design is polished and simplistic with no area rug to impose on the understated drama of the unique herringbone-patterned hardwoods. The limited furniture in the space includes a side table from the homeowner’s European travels as well as a lowprofile bench and accent pillows in garden-fresh hues. The organically inspired palette spans the entire home and features neutral wall colors punctuated with navy, aqua, green, yellow, and coral. Striking artwork, much of which was sourced locally through ArtSource and a few other select vendors, mimic not only the colors but also the inherent spontaneity of nature itself, adding interest as well as conversation points for visitors. The textiles used throughout the design offer layers of texture and color in flora-and-fauna prints and bold geometric patterns.The keeping room’s floral table skirt, an anchor point in the comprehensive design, is reminiscent of a blooming flower garden while its floor-to-ceiling curtain panels, along with those in the kitchen and breakfast area and dining room, make a statement in green with varying details, from bold garden prints to more subtle botanicals. Floral accent pillows with pops of bright yellow and a cornsilk blue-and-white duvet in the master bedroom infuse the otherwise neutral space with a splash of color. Geometric designs on the master bedroom curtains and the adjacent sitting room’s embroidered roman shades add a harder edge to the softer nature-inspired prints. The bold blue and green geometric print of the family room’s valances kicks up the drama for more traditional furniture. And though the design celebrates the fresh, crisp vigor of nature, it’s the little details that truly accentuate the home’s elegance. The rich, dark stain on the arched doors, the crystal accents on the dining room chandelier, the Lucite handles in the butler’s pantry, the crystal knobs in the powder room, and the mirrored sconces in the master bath all add subtle hints of glamour throughout the home. The gold finishes of mirrors, frames, accessories, and hardware impart a luxurious warmth in every room and is reflected in the light fixtures’ high-impact contemporary styles.
For Dunnigan and Gammons, one of the greatest ways to make an impact is by keeping visitors on their toes. “Leave a lasting impression by using small spaces to do the unexpected. Put up a bold wallpaper or slick on a bright hue. Maybe employ an unusual piece of furniture. Implementing assertive statement pieces in sly ways will create drama and add an element of fun to the design.” Dunnigan advises. One needs to look no further than the home’s powder room for such pop where the traditional dark wood and Carrara marble vanity sits against a bold green and white leafy vine Thibaut wallpaper, which draws the eye vertically to the green grasscloth-covered ceiling. The grasscloth also extends into the adjacent hallway. Likewise, a deep navy wall finish, accented with a gray, symmetrical feather pattern, energizes the butler pantry’s small space and subtle gray palette. “At the end of the day, the goal was clear: create a simple yet elegant design that catered to the clients’ love of the great outdoors,” Gammons says. “Through colors, textures, and prints inspired by nature’s paintbrush, we were able to forge that connection, bringing the outside in.”
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