Modern Refresh in Myers Park Showcases Family Heirlooms
THE MOMENT Rosa Plaza Dest signed on to a design project in Myers Park, she knew it would test her skills. The homeowners wanted Dest, owner of Rosa Dest Interiors, to refresh the interior of their traditional brick home, while incorporating a vast collection of family heirlooms.
“Figuring out the right balance of old and new, and making it all work together, was the biggest challenge,” Dest explains.
She started the project with a detailed inventory of every piece of furniture and art in the home, making recommendations for what to incorporate into the main floor living areas and how to update worn or dated pieces. The piano, antique hutches and a desk, lamps, and a collection of clocks stayed; a sofa, several side tables, and chairs were sold, donated, or relegated to other rooms. With a plan in place, Dest began putting the rooms together.
Blue grasscloth wallpaper from Thibaut on the foyer walls helps balance the dark wood tones of the furniture and accessories, including a pair of grandfather clocks and a mahogany, marble-topped console. An oriental rug and piece of abstract art infuse additional color into the space, while two brass light fixtures—one original, one new, and both visible through the large glass inserts in the front door—illuminate the room.
In the living room, Dest drew design inspiration from another oriental rug. Its pops of blue and coral inspired the color scheme for the room, which includes a new chenille sofa and a pair of stools covered with Kravet fabric and accessorized with nail head trim. Two armchairs and a tufted ottoman—pieces the homeowners wanted to reuse in the room—were updated with new fabrics; Dest chose neutral herringbone twill for the chairs and blue velvet for the ottoman.
“They love color, and I took advantage of that to add some modern elements and punch up the drama,” she says.
Elsewhere in the room, an antique chest of drawers and desk flank the French doors, which are dressed in coral-and-cream embroidered linen fabric from Cowtan & Tout; a piano is topped with family photos.
The artwork in the living room combines several treasured originals with new pieces—including paintings from Charlotte artist Ann Harkness and Jennifer Smith Rogers of Charleston—that add color to the room. The accessories range from blue-and-white vases on the fireplace mantel and a geometric metal fireplace screen to coral accents.
A pair of French doors leads from the living room to the sunroom, where a fresh coat of white paint on the brick walls and celadon on the ceiling brighten the small room. “It was all about finding the right scale of furniture,” Dest explains.
She reupholstered a love seat and two side chairs in graphic celadon and white fabrics from Manuel Canovas, and chose Jane Churchill fabric with pops of green and pink for the Roman shades on the windows. A collection of antique clocks, a vintage steamer trunk, and a coffee table made from an old iron gate from Charleston are both functional and decorative. “This is such a happy room,” Dest says. “It makes you feel good the minute you walk through the doors.”
The dining room also showcases a seamless blend of old and new: wainscoting rescued from a historic home installed on the lower half of the walls, and new floral grasscloth from Brunschwig & Fils in shades of sage green, coral, and cream above. Eight antique mahogany chairs (reupholstered in Schumacher fabric) surround an oversized dining room table; an ornate iron chandelier hangs above.
To add modern flair to the buffet—an heirloom piece—Dest accessorized with a gold mirror and a pair of gold-and-white Venetian glass lamps topped with crisp white lampshades. “It adds an element of contemporary design and freshness to their antiques,” she explains.
A colorful painting—chosen to add a touch of whimsy to a very traditional space—is the sole piece of artwork in the room.
Dest’s approach to the dining room reflects her attitude toward the entire project. “They had a lot of furniture and artwork that was really beautiful and meaningful to them, (so) the design wasn’t about bringing in a lot of new things,” she says. “It was about using good design to make their existing pieces feel updated and fresh.”
The homeowners were so pleased with the results, they hired the designer to update the rooms upstairs. Her first step: Creating a detailed inventory of the family heirlooms.