Traci Zeller, an interior designer based in Charlotte, believes that “beauty is created when you make the ordinary, orderly.” With this in mind, she and her staff help eager clients create their dream homes – filled with high style and just the right dose of Southern charm. Today, Traci welcomes us into her own home. The space has quite a history, as it’s actually the setting that ignited her passion for design. And like any good Southern abode, it’s bursting with personality and pattern – we’ve got our eye on that guest bedroom, which was inspired by an ever-fabulous Laura Ashley wallpaper. Dreamy!
How did you get started in interior design? When did you discover your passion, and how did you bring your career to life?
My husband and I purchased a custom home at a very early stage of construction. Only the footings for the foundation had been poured, which meant I was able to change anything except the outline of the house. We made a minor tweak to the floor plan that the architect had created, but I changed almost all of the exterior and interior finishes. I like to joke that it was a perfect time to build because our wedding was a few short months away, meaning I heard “whatever you want, honey” far more than I might have otherwise. I had always been very attuned to aesthetics — as a college freshman, I installed swing arm lamps and a closet system in my dorm room — but building a custom home opened my eyes to far more than I had otherwise explored. Well, after our home was completed, our friends and friends-of-friends began asking for my design help. I’m a rule follower by nature, and that meant I needed to both learn more and establish a real business. Almost before I knew it, I ended up with Traci Zeller Designs, and never in my wildest imagination, did I think TZD would turn into what it is today. Now, I have years of education and experience, but I’ve always described my design career as “the cart pulling the horse” … which I suppose is a good thing!
Amazing! So, you’re based in Charlotte. Does that affect your aesthetic at all?
I’ve never thought about it like this before, but there’s something very Charlotte about my aesthetic. Charlotte is a progressive Southern city, and I’m a progressive Southern designer. I love traditional design reinterpreted for modern life, and likewise, I create crisp, classic and chic interiors.
A progressive Southern designer – we like that! Any other words to live by?
I firmly believe both “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and “buy quality, and you only cry once.”
So, let’s talk about the buying part. There are so many stand out pieces in your house — furniture, wallpaper, linens, and accessories. What are your favorite go-to sources for such great finds?
There are so many incredible design favorites that I hesitate to name only a few! Charlotte is only an hour and a half from High Point — the furniture capital of the world — and I definitely benefit from that proximity. My favorite vintage dealer is Matters of Style Marketplace, and my best one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and accessories almost always come from her shop.
We also love the use of Laura Ashley in the space!
There’s no way to replicate the dimension that Laura Ashley wallpaper brings to a room! When wallpaper is the star, and here it most definitely is, I prefer to keep the rest of the design elements simple like the Laura Ashley fabric on the chair. I tempered the bold, multi-colored pattern of the wallpaper with crisp, white matelassé bedding from Leontine Linens, a natural linen upholstered bed and sand silk taffeta drapery. The geometric rug — Sahara from Loloi Rugs — is bold in pattern but neutral in color. I also combined several other patterns in the room, but it all works because I gave the eye a place to rest.
Start the slideshow for a closer look, and to get more of Traci’s insights to the design.