LINVILLE LIVING: PART III

Design by: Debbie Mathews

It has been almost two years since I wrote Linville Living Part II and much has happened during that time. Since being asked by so many about the progress on my mountain cottage, I am pleased to report that it is now complete and very much embodies the vision I created in early 2020. However, that progress did not come easy and was full of roadblocks and hurdles like so many others faced during the crazy time of COVID.

Our initial renovation was nearing completion in early May of 2021 after almost nine months of work.  Several Spring weekend trips allowed us to unpack most of our belongings and settle in. While we were still waiting on a number of back ordered items as well as a new refrigerator we were thrilled with the results and planning for the season ahead.  Our next trip to Linville was to celebrate the Memorial Weekend holiday and much to my husband’s surprise  he quickly discovered upon arrival that our refrigerator hose had burst. Water was everywhere and our Living Room (which is sunken) was acting as a reservoir / swimming pool! Water had likely been running in our kitchen for close to two weeks which necessitated us bringing in a disaster relief company to help us cope with the aftermath. Sadly, our beautiful cottage had suffered greatly and needed to have the drywall, cabinetry, and hardwood floors removed in all rooms with the exception of the bedrooms. We were devastated and could not believe our misfortune – we essentially needed to renovate the entire home for a second time!

This is our living room once the hardwood floors and baseboards were removed.

After the pity party ended and my tears had dried, it was time to get back to the business of counting our blessings and jump into action. We first had to move all of our furniture into a storage unit in Boone, North Carolina, as well as create a makeshift kitchen so that we could prepare meals during the winter months when many restaurants are closed.  As far as blessings, there were many including  our insurance company  agreeing to cover the entire cost of putting our home back together. This second renovation included all new kitchen cabinetry which we didn’t have before and I was finally going to get a real range hood instead of the faux cabinets that were above the range when we moved in. We now have all new hardwood floors that actually match as opposed to differing oak species that blended but were not perfect. The bottom line is that we lost almost an entire year of enjoying our mountain cottage but we have ended up with a much better end product to enjoy for the long haul and special memories of our makeshift kitchen. 

Our kitchen before the flood
Our final kitchen

I always tell my clients not to rush the design process because great things take time, and this certainly proved true in my own life as well. The additional year of renovations gave me more time to focus on the design details that might have otherwise been overlooked. In life, like a home renovation project, if you look hard enough there is almost always a silver lining!

While there have definitely been highs and lows with our cottage renovation project, I am now able to enjoy the fruits of those labors and trevails. I love enjoying cocktails on the screened porch, experimenting with the gardens in the backyard, hiking in the woods with friends, and most of all listening to the sounds of nature.  

I look forward to sharing with you my personal cottage designs and inspiration next and hope you will continue to follow along as we explore Linville Living!

Think Green

Design by: Debbie Mathews

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few months, you’ve probably noticed that green is having a huge moment right now. Whether flipping through the pages of home decor and fashion magazines, scrolling through social media platforms, or perusing Pinterest, you will undoubtedly notice that green is everywhere!

I have always considered green to be a neutral color as it is so versatile and pairs well with most any other color. There are so many amazing shades to choose from – from subtle gray greens and sage greens to more saturated hues like forest and emerald green.  Countless paint manufacturers have declared some shade of green their “color of the year” and the fashion world is predicting kelly green to dominate the runways in 2022. So what’s all the fuss about – why green, why now?

Most attribute greens’ current popularity to our need for connecting with nature and the outdoors.  With widespread uncertainty in the world and many of us spending hours on end in front of a computer screen, this innate desire to create home retreats that provide a calming sanctuary reminiscent of nature makes sense. So how can you incorporate this color into your home decor? Here are a few suggestions that we are currently implementing with several of our design clients:

1. Paint – Consider going bold and luxurious by painting an entire room a rich emerald or forest green.  Paint not only the walls but the casework and trim this same color. Here are a few of our favorite hues right now:  Sherwin Williams Svelte Sage, Sherwin Williams Herbal Wash, and PPG Olive Green.  Not ready for an entire green room, consider painting your front door, vanity cabinet or kitchen island and then pair it with brass hardware for more impact.

2. UpholsteryPurchase or recover a sofa or chair in a beautiful green velvet or mohair.  This will add instant depth and richness to your decor and be a cozy spot to curl up on.  A green foundation allows you to then layer in a multitude of other colors with pillows or throws.

3. Accessories – Not so sure about making a large investment in the color green, perhaps start small with adding several houseplants and green accessories.  A green porcelain lamp, hand painted vintage malachite pieces, or cabbage ware might be just the ticket.  There are so many options to choose from!

Several years ago I noticed that almost all of our design projects revolved around the color blue, but am now sensing that “green is the new blue”!  And while I love blue, it has been so much fun to experiment with new palettes, patterns and schemes.  So here’s to a green Spring, beautiful new beginnings, and a tribute to nature!

   “Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its’ loveliness arises”

                                                                      Pedro Calderon de la Barca

An Antique Revival

An Antique Revival

                                                                          Design by: Veere Grenney

            

As most of you know, I have a weakness for antiques and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.  While it warms my heart to hear that antiques are making a comeback in 2022 I was not aware that they were ever out of vogue.  I guess that comes back to the old adage “birds of a feather flock together” and most of “my people” have an appreciation for pieces that have a history and story to tell.

While perusing the internet to see what design trends are predicted for the coming year, I came across a number of articles that speak to this “antique revival”. There were a number of reasons cited for this phenomenon and I have done my best to summarize  them below:

 

1. Supply Chain Issues

2. Affordabliity 

3. History

4. The Grandmillenial Influence

 Supply Chain Issues – due to COVID induced supply chain issues and furniture backorders shopping vintage and antique has increased in popularity.  It allows for immediate gratification while having fun exploring antique stores, estate sales, and auctions.

Affordability – most people don’t realize that purchasing antiques can be a long term sound financial investment.  Antiques are typically constructed out of finer materials, they are bench made, and usually less expensive than new furniture which is mass produced.  You are getting a higher quality product for less money that is likely one-of-a-kind.  A win – win all around!

Interior Design by: Caroline GidiereMary Evelyn McKee

History – with the uncertainty and turbulence experienced over the last few years many people are yearning for ties to the past.  They are embracing family heirlooms like never before and love the stories that accompany such pieces. The patina and imperfections can immediately put people at ease and add a layer of interest. A bit of nostalgia can bring warmth and comfort like nothing else and repurposing 

The Grandmillenial Influence – as it turns out, millennials are playing a huge role in this antique revival.  With their desire to express themselves uniquely and rebel against cookie cutter interiors so aptly displayed on instagram, this generation is all about maximalism and timelessness.  Craving a return to pretty and traditionally inspired interiors,  millennials are  incorporating chintz, patterned lamp shades, skirted tables, and YES, antiques!  

 

No matter the reasons for this renewed interest in antiques and traditional interiors, I am thrilled to be a part of it.  We are seeing an increase in antique sales as well as a younger demographic shopping with us.  One of our younger design clients commented after presenting her with a Living Room scheme, “Debbie, would my grandmother and mother approve of this?”  While the past few years have been challenging, I am hopeful that they are leading us back to our roots and a simpler time.

 

 

Designing a Second Home

Designing a Second Home

If you have been considering purchasing a second home you are not alone.  The demand for second homes in drive-to destinations is surging.  With the YOLO (you only live once) mindset on the rise and the ability for many to work remotely increased, second home purchases are at an all time high.  With my own second home purchase, as well as those of many of my clients, I thought it might be timely to discuss how our team approaches designing second homes differently than primary residences.  Here I have outlined four key considerations:

1. Have Fun & Take More Risks 

2. Incorporate Luxury & Comfort

3. Embrace the Views & Seek Inspiration from your Surroundings

4. Purchase Multi- Purpose Furnishings

“ Have Fun & Take More Risks” – A second home can be one of the best places to showcase your personality.  Many of my clients want these homes to feel a bit more whimsical and casual.  This might be the ideal place to experiment with those colors and patterns that you’ve been afraid to try at home. Because vacations are for disconnecting and affording a change of scenery, make this home feel different than your primary residence.

Incorporate Luxury and Comfort”- Install the best that you can afford!  Your vacation getaway should cater to all the senses and especially to comfort.  Purchase high quality mattresses and upholstered pieces so that you and your guests feel like you are staying in a luxury resort.  Plush towels and the softest sheets and blankets add to this luxurious experience and can be achieved without breaking the bank by watching out for sales and discounts. This home should be your safe haven! If the space is not as nice or nicer than your primary residence, why go?

 

 

My go- to linen line would hands down be Matouk Luxury Linens. Matouk is known for being luxurious, durable & affordable. Their duvet covers & quilts are machine washable, making it great for turning linens after hosting guests. 

“Embrace the Views and Seek Inspiration from your Surroundings”–  Let the location influence your design without dictating it!  Incorporating pieces from local artisans as well as materials from nature can help to make this home feel different from your primary residence.  However, I often caution clients to not go overboard with seashells, pinecones, antlers, etc.  as this can give your home a cluttered “Disneyland” feel and detract from the overall sophistication and design.

 

“Purchase Multi-Purpose Furnishings“- Because second homes are often smaller than primary residences, it is important to source furnishings that serve dual purposes. Consider storage ottomans that can also serve as a place to sit or writing desks that serve as a bedside table as well as a place to work.  Maximizing every square inch of your home with these functional furnishings can really pay off with added enjoyment and utilization.

With a number of these design projects on our current roster, I have enjoyed the opportunity of spending time in nearby lake homes, beach homes and mountain homes.  This has not only afforded me a break from my regular work routine but has allowed me to get to know these clients better. I believe this “second home buying” trend will not decline anytime soon so will look forward to many more of these fun projects. 

            Living Room Photo Credits: Hector Manuel Sanchez, Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller, Design: Maison Studios

make your vacation home timeless, collected & beautiful.

Linville Living: Part II

Linville Living: Part II

It is hard to believe we are already six weeks into our Linville mountain house renovation project! Through this ever-evolving, long-distance design process of many Facetime meetings with our contractor, calls, and photos sent back and forth – I am certainly learning a lot! I always find myself yearning for that next visit to witness the transformation taking place. In discussing our ongoing project with friends and family, I have been reminded of several “Renovation Mantras”. These have been collected over the years and can be valuable advice whether you are redecorating, building, or remodeling: 

  1. “Don’t Rush the Process, Good Things Take Time”
  2. “Be Flexible”
  3. “Expect the Unexpected”

“Don’t Rush the Process, Good Things Take Time” – While we all want things done yesterday, experience has taught me that it takes time to let the space organically evolve to achieve the best possible results. I know we all have deadlines (like wanting your home to be perfect for the holidays!) but we will live with the decisions we make regarding design for years to come. It is so incredibly important to take the time to explore your options and think through a number of solutions and possibilities. One of my design goals for our renovation project was to create a feeling of openness and spaciousness, as this was not our home’s initial reality. Our first plan to help achieve this was to demolish the closets on just one side of the entry hallway and add a new window. After several months of discussion, we decided to completely demolish the closets on both sides of the hallway to further open this space up to the living room.  There were several compromises along the way, but we are now thrilled with the results, and feel that the wait and process will ultimately be well worth it.

“Be Flexible” – Though this is perhaps the most difficult point for me personally, it is critical to be flexible during a design project. This flexibility comes into play with many aspects of the typical design project, but especially so in 2020. We have all had to stretch our flexibility this year – whether we are told our favorite tile selection is on backorder, lumber prices have skyrocketed, or the weather is simply not cooperative – we have to just roll with these changes and challenges! Of course we can have expectations, but it’s also important to realize that things happen and you can’t control everything. Given the state of affairs in the world right now, it is important (and realistic) to factor in longer lead times, higher prices, and less availability. 

“Expect the Unexpected” – I have never been involved in a renovation project that didn’t experience a hiccup, and my project is no different. The very first week on the job, our contractor discovered the Master Bathroom shower pan was leaking and the shower tile needed to be removed. Of the two showers in the home, this was the one we didn’t originally plan to demo. This revelation caused us to look at ways we might take advantage of the unexpected and improve the space. Ultimately we were able to enlarge the Master Bathroom giving us a more functional and visually appealing bathroom retreat. We must focus on the silver linings!

Now with demo complete, several walls removed, ceilings vaulted in two additional rooms, and two windows added – our mountain house is already feeling a bit bigger and brighter. I have an exciting vision in place, and we have begun to select tile, plumbing fixtures, furniture, and lighting (always my favorite!). As exciting as our first phase has been, I can’t wait to begin to put things back together… stay tuned as the next chapter unfolds!

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