DESIGN: Customized Compromise

She wanted maximalist. He wanted modernist. Andrea and Brian Seymour had to reconcile their tastes in this south Charlotte renovation
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The Seymours installed modern, Shaker-style cabinetry to complement the high-end appliances. Photos by Heather Ison

Andrea and Brian Seymour, co-founders of Springdale Custom Builders, have built and renovated dozens of homes in south Charlotte. But they took on a unique challenge last year when Rob and Anne Ward hired them to renovate their 3,000-square-foot home in Providence Plantation. Anne, who owns Flour Power Kids Cooking Studio, wanted a Julia Child-inspired space with all her tools and gadgets on full display. Rob, who is British, envisioned a more modernist, European design.

“Their style was very different,” Andrea says. “He wanted clean lines and squared edges, so we simplified the cabinetry, which doesn’t mean it was simple to do—it’s just being really thoughtful about the details. She’s very maximalist, like, pegboards on the walls and extra everything. So they were very unaligned going into it. The challenge was getting the two of them to meet in the middle.”

The Wards had already consulted local architect Alison Hall, who referred them to Springdale, and they agreed on one thing, at least: It was time to modernize the choppy layout and retire the 1980s decor. With two growing teenagers, the Wards also wanted more space to entertain. Over seven months beginning in February 2022, they renovated and expanded the kitchen, overhauled the laundry room, and added a scullery and porch.

With a partial renovation, “you want to incorporate the design of the house as is so it doesn’t look like an addition,” Brian says. “You have to match the siding, trim details, and soffits, and carry the same flooring through the whole house.” But the bigger challenge would be merging their clients’ styles.

“A lot of times, we joke that the wife has the final say, but we don’t want whoever’s not the ‘main driver’ to feel forgotten along the way,” Andrea says. “Home is everything. If COVID taught us one thing, it’s that you have the right to feel like your best self when you’re there.”

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For the last two weeks of the renovation, which wrapped in October 2022, the Seymours sent the homeowners to an Airbnb so they could finish the floors—and stage the big reveal. “They were thrilled,” Andrea says. “We get texts from them still, saying, ‘We can’t believe this is our house.’”

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The scullery added about 200 square feet off the back of the kitchen. For the walls and shelving, Andrea used a custom charcoal paint with brown undertones. The 3-by-6-inch ceramic tile backsplash is a standard subway pattern with black grout, inspired by the Tube in London. The industrial pipe shelves allow Anne to display her containers and cookbooks. “She likes to see it all, and her cookbooks and appliances are part of her decor,” Andrea says, “so showing off all those vintage cookbooks was really important.”

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The quartz countertops match the kitchen, and the patterned, ceramic floor tiles were “a place where we could do something fun,” Andrea says, “but they needed to not clash because you can see it from everywhere.” She chose brushed brass knobs for the cabinets and a matte black faucet for the sink. “I love mixing finishes, but you have to be very intentional about it,” she says. “Just be careful doing selections because everybody has a different version of brushed gold. Every little piece matters. The little things make the biggest difference.”

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Categories: Home & Garden, Home Design + Decor