“Located ‘inside-the-beltline’ in an established area of Raleigh, NC, this fashion-forward home was designed for a fun-loving, young professional client in her mid 30’s,” designer MA Allen tells us. “A love of tequila, tacos, coffee table books, art and designer shoes, to name a few, inspire some of her many collections.” It helped that the client and MA shared similar taste from the get go. “She was fearless when I approached her with vintage finds, wild fabrics and bold color. To have a trusting client is a true luxury.” Needless to say, the designer had a lot of inspiration to play off of.
The original layout of the home was perfect for the client with a master bedroom and two secondary bedrooms, one of which would become a dream closet. There was also a lovely screened in porch, a must since the client loves to entertain. “The previous owners had decorated the home in a very traditional style with light colors, but the client was able to see past the traditional decor and hired me to help navigate a total transformation to create a more fashion-forward, edgier feel,” MA explains. “The transformation included a cosmetic kitchen remodel, full gut master bathroom remodel, closet cabinet design with a central island, and of course, decorating.”
In the living room, they removed heavy drapery and wooden curtain rods, used a blue velvet sectional sofa to divide the long rectangular space and grounded the seating area with a large, low slung vintage burl cocktail table that MA bought while antiquing in Palm Beach. A TV mounted above the exposed brick fireplace was the best solution in the small space. “In the dining room,” MA shares, “I found this amazing vintage table and sourced brass dining chairs for an everyday dining space. It can be l dressed up for parties but isn’t too precious to serve everyday needs.” Here, a modern light fixture helped add drama.
The kitchen saw great change, as MA re-painted all the white cabinets, walls, and trim in a dramatic navy blue lacquer (Benjamin Moore Hale Navy). The existing backsplash and countertops, sink and faucet, and cabinet hardware were all removed, and a gorgeous blue marble turned out to be the perfect material for the newly navy kitchen. “The antiqued mirror subway tiles were an easy choice for the backsplash, providing some serious edge while also reflecting natural light from the one window in the space. Brass fixtures and hardware were selected to give a fresh feel from the previous ho-hum satin nickel. We added sleek barstools at the small island and a pair of chairs and bar cart to create a lounge space off the kitchen. It serves as a perfect spot for tasting all of her many tequilas!”
The screened porch was inspired by the vibe of the ‘living room’ at The W Hotel in Vieques Puerto Rico. MA used chairs in unexpected colors, Otomi print pillows, an outdoor rug, and a hanging swing chair to bring a certain playfulness to the space and bring the indoors out.
For the master bedroom, colorful bedding is layered while bold artwork adorns the walls. “The bathroom was fully gutted and remodeled to create a clean, functional space for a client with maximalist tendencies,” MA recalls. As for that second bedroom turned closet? It was customized for the client’s love of designer handbags, shoes, and clothing to be displayed in a boutique-style fashion.
Though the closet is a true masterpiece, it’s not actually MA’s favorite space in the house. “In the end, I think the living room became my favorite,” she says with a smile. “We added the Laura Deems painting in the end of the project and for me it just solidified everything! I love that dash of bold red that feels unexpected but inviting at the same time! And I almost couldn’t part with the vintage burl cocktail table that I had purchased for inventory while shopping along the Dixie Highway. It’s just too good and having a ton of books the client had amassed made accessorizing it easy work.” The designer concludes, “I love the stacks of books and how they tell her story.”