When it comes to impressive couples, Dr. Rahul Rajkumar & Usha-Kiran Ghia are at the top of the list. He’s BlueCross BlueShield’s Chief Medical Officer and has dedicated his career to transforming health care to make it better, safer and more efficient. She’s the Chief Strategy Officer at the Global Teaching Project (GTP) focused on increasing access to specialty secondary level curriculum with high-quality classroom instruction in rural and underserved areas and a multi-talented entrepreneur & lawyer who has over 10 years of experience practicing international law and international human rights law working with underserved populations around the world to fight for equality.  

The pair hails from NYC, but spent many years in Washington D.C. When work called on their family of five to relocate to North Carolina, they reached out to designer Becky Shea. “Their goal was relatively simple: create a design to make relocating their family of 5 from DC to Durham feel as if they hadn’t left a larger urban center,” she explains. “With that being the overarching goal, must-haves were centered around industrial and raw materials like concrete and steel paired with plenty of white oak for contrast.” Read on to learn more. 

Hi Becky! We’d love to know more about this gorgeous home. Where is it located?
Nestled in the hills of Hope Valley smack between Chapel Hill & Durham, NC, this home was commissioned by two incredible clients who were looking for urban cool vibes in the country. We knew they wanted something distinct in a sea of traditional homes, so we rolled up our sleeves and brought that BS/D Sass & Pepper™ to the drawing board as we reworked the entire original architectural plan with new roof lines, windows, and siding all the way down to redoing the floor plan. Staying true to our holistic design process, we considered every single little element in our design to ensure cohesiveness & thoughtfulness throughout the home. Boasting 7 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, a library, study, gym, kids’ playroom, screened in patio with an outdoor kitchen, concrete fireplaces, motorized screens and so much more while spanning over 7.5k sq ft., this home needed layers upon layers to make sure it felt cozy and we absolutely love how it turned out in the end.

They were hoping for a more urban aesthetic. How did you translate that in such a large space?
I stayed consistent with a few core materials that translated in different ways throughout the space: Concrete, Steel, White Oak, Walnut, Linen and Cashmere. It was really important to develop a material palette that could bounce into each room but have the flexibility to feel individualistic. I believe that using materials in their purest form is where you can truly define a space as a feeling vs. a style. It’s all about function and how those materials wear overtime. In other words, we build spaces that are durable, thoughtful in how they flow and function for the family’s lifestyle

In a few words, how do you describe the style?
Modern with organic sensibilities. Clean, simple lines throughout the home were our north star. We coupled that with very urban materials like steel and concrete and layered in organic materials like wood, stone, and linen to create balance. My goal was finding harmony between how an urban dwelling and rural homestead are considered. You want the best of both worlds when you’re moving from a city to the country.

How long did the project take, and what did the family say when they saw the finished space?
From start to finish it was 12 months, which is by far the quickest we’ve ever planned, designed, built, and furnished a home. Typically builds take anywhere from 14-24 months, not including the architectural phase. This timeline included the floor plans and permitting! Insane right? The client was over the moon, they could not believe that this was their home. They felt that each room was like a little treasure box – between the details in soft goods to the details in the millwork. It really came together beautifully and the process, albeit fast, was very smooth.

See more + snag Becky’s design insight in the slideshow.