Designer Monica Duncan took the Floreses’ SouthPark home down to the studs, remaking it into the graceful, European-inspired manor home they had planned to build from scratch
It was a new experience for Mario and Margaret Flores. Over the last twenty-five years, the couple had built six custom homes in Charlotte for their growing family—four full-time homes in Charlotte, plus a vacation home at Wild Dunes outside of Charleston, South Carolina, and a vacation home in the North Carolina mountains. But when it came time to find land to build yet another custom home in 2011, ten years after purchasing their SouthPark home, they couldn’t quite find the right fit or project that would satisfy their needs. “We liked Longview and The Sanctuary,” Mario says of the neighborhoods they considered. “We loved those areas, but they’re just too far out. We were looking for another lot inside of [Highway] 51, but we couldn’t find anything we wanted.”
Instead of continuing their search to find land that would satisfy their itch to build, they did what they’d never done before: a renovation. “We figured that if we couldn’t find exactly what we wanted, we’d create it ourselves,” says Mario.
The couple enlisted the help of Monica Duncan of The Duncan House to help tackle the massive undertaking of renovating all 5,300 square feet of the family’s home. Duncan, who had decorated the home in 2001 when the Flores family first moved in, was unfazed by the enormity of the renovation, which entailed gutting the whole home to the studs, reworking the footprint, and installing a completely new interior in every room. “[Originally], they wanted to open up the living space by taking out a wall from the dining room that would open up to the great room. They had no idea what they were in for!” laughs Duncan. “After careful thought and consideration, we proposed an even more elaborate plan that we hoped would exceed their expectations. It started with the exterior and just evolved from there.”
With her keen eye for design, Duncan drew up renderings that would allow for a space that was more amenable to entertaining. “Any time we begin a new project, we create a design book that is complete with hand-drawn vanities, light fixtures, plumbing, stones, tiles, and then we embellish the designs with beautiful fabrics, furnishings, accessories, and artwork so that the client has a complete visual of what the project will look like at completion.”
Once the eleven-month-long structural renovation was complete, Duncan began installing the interior: a neutral color palette, which served as the backdrop for the European-inspired manor home. “The hand-hewn antique beams, corbels, and iron turnbuckles are amazing details in the two-story great room that bring warmth to the room,” says Duncan. “We also added wood ceilings and an enormous amount of cast stone columns and mantels with overmantels to bring wonderful texture. The mix of materials and textures, some refined and some rough, is a great way to bring an unfussy elegance.”
Looking back, the Floreses aren’t disappointed to have abandoned their original plan to build a home from the ground up. “We love the way it looks and feels,” says Mario. “It turned out to be everything we hoped it would be.”