Calming Influence

Designer Cynthia Urbanik gives a traditional home in south Charlotte a soothing, textural design

Cynthia Urbanik’s clients have come a long way. After living in Panama for years, Sam and Rula Shoman and their two young children moved without furniture or home decor into a newly constructed home in Ballantyne. But the two-story home was a bit too traditional for the couple’s tastes. “We’d come from a home that had clean, modern lines, but it was dark,” says Rula. “This time we wanted something light and happy for our kids.”

After meeting with the couple, Urbanik ( used Rula’s vibrant personality as the inspiration for the transitional-meets-classic-comfort aesthetic of the home. “She’s very worldly, modern but also eclectic and comfortable at the same time,” says Urbanik. “[The design is] serious, but it also has this whimsical nature to it. It all embodies her personality.”

In the master bedroom, Urbanik toned down the color palette to achieve the room’s calming, almost ethereal feel.

Urbanik selected each piece carefully to help mesh the home’s traditional design with Rula’s desire for a more modern feel, focusing on texture. “Because it’s new construction and a more traditional area [of town], we had to keep that traditional piece in,” explains Urbanik. “That’s why it’s heavily textured, which was intentional.”

Though the Shomans’ previous home had a neutral color palette, Urbanik wanted to inject some color into their new home. “[This design has] a lot more color than they typically would have had, but still in a really soft way,” Urbanik says. Soft lavenders and pale pinks and grays serve as the foundation, with hints of turquoise and gold accents throughout.

In the master bedroom, Urbanik scaled back the color to achieve a calming, almost ethereal feel. “We went more textural; used a lot of tonal qualities to make it more of a soothing space,” she says of the lavender, cream, and gray bedding, draperies, and rugs. An oversized armoire from Hickory Furniture in a soft cream shade serves as a focal point. Above the bed, two stunning pieces of artwork from Natural Curiosities feature hundreds of hand-gilded feathers that echo the armoire’s gold hardware and provide a sense of motion.

Rula and her family put the round Layla Grace kitchen table and Restoration Hardware chairs to use every day. The pink chandelier is by Currey & Co. 

“There’s something so peaceful about it,” says Urbanik. “Everything in the room is tonal, but that’s the one piece that has a real shine or twinkle to it.” In lieu of one oversized chandelier above the bed, Urbanik chose dual light fixtures, cream wooden-beaded chandeliers from Serena & Lily, which hang above each nightstand.

Similarly, the office and lounge areas are textured and neutral. The lounge’s walls are swathed in a grasscloth by Designtex; the ceiling is covered in a patterned wallpaper by Karen Sachs for Seabrook. In the office, sleek white bookshelves with gold detailing are by Zinc Door.

The same tonal quality Urbanik established in the master bedroom is apparent in the living room, paired with doses of color that the designer says were inspired by Rula. Neutral walls in a soft blue, a sofa and adjacent chairs in a textured linen, and a seagrass rug lend a cohesive feel. Urbanik layered a bold, pink patterned rug on the seagrass rug, while custom draperies by Stroheim in shades of turquoise, blue, and green and a tapestry-like painting from Natural Curiosities bring in brighter color. To keep it kid-friendly, Urbanik added two sheep-fur ottomans that are not only a functional element but also give a touch of playfulness to the space.

In the kitchen, the decor is even more lighthearted. A round Layla Grace kitchen table is surrounded by Restoration Hardware chairs and sits atop a round seagrass rug. A pink Currey & Co. chandelier provides a true touch of whimsy to the family-friendly space. “The kitchen is very white, and we wanted to bring in as much color as we could,” explains Urbanik.

Both Urbanik and her clients are pleased with the finished design: The home has been transformed into a space that feels not only comfortable and lived-in but also colorful and full of character that was otherwise missing. “There’s a sort of happiness to the way it feels,” says Urbanik. “It’s soothing but happy in a very subtle way.”

“Cindy and I immediately clicked,” says Rula. “I absolutely love the end result. There isn’t a day that I walk into my home and don’t feel happy and refreshed. I love it.”


In the master bedroom, artwork from Natural Curiosities features hundreds of hand-gilded feathers.  


The white bookshelves are by Zinc Door, and the chandelier is by Darnell & Co. 


The pink chandelier over the kitchen table is by Currey & Co. 


Designer Cynthia Urbanik drew inspiration from homeowner Rula Shoman’s calm-yet-vibrant personality for the interior design of the Shoman family’s traditional-style home in south Charlotte. On the stairway landing, a Tilda chandelier by Arteriors hangs above a chest from Anthropologie.


In the office, the desk is by Century Furniture, the scalloped rug is by Surya, the print is by Natural Curiosities, and the draperies are by Schumacher.


The ceiling fixture is by Circa Lighting. 


In the master bedroom, Urbanik toned down the color palette to achieve the room’s calming, almost ethereal feel. 


The shagreen desk is by Max & Company.



Urbanik found the bird pillow for the formal living room on; the furry pillows are from West Elm. 


In the master bedroom, artwork from Natural Curiosities features hundreds of hand-gilded feathers. 



To keep the living room kid-friendly, Urbanik added two sheep-fur ottomans, which are not only functional but also add a touch of playfulness. The draperies are custom by Stroheim.


The loveseat is by Design Upholstery; the table and rug are from Anthropologie. 


The ceiling light in the lounge is from Circa Lighting, and the scalloped table is by Arteriors.


Categories: Spaces