Room We Love: A Fresh Take on Traditional Style


ELAINE AND JIM MARTIN moved to the Charlotte area in December 2015 to be closer to their grandchildren. They had been sharing a few homes—Elaine was living in Connecticut and working in New York City, while Jim was living outside of Atlanta—and hoped to downsize a bit. Jim’s love of golf helped the Martins decide on purchasing a cottage in Longview Country Club. Both Jim, recently retired from Dan River as president of the apparel fabrics division, and Elaine, who has 25 years of experience recruiting fashion executives, have an eye for style. Local designer Traci Zeller helped create a room suitable to entertain everyone, from grandkids to colleagues, drawing on the homeowners’ own style. 

Since she was a young girl, Elaine has collected vintage French posters. Zeller wanted to showcase the artwork in a tasteful yet modest way. The designer says she never plans a room around art, yet lets it be a big presence in the room. “The art is important in [Elaine’s] life, and this is art that really speaks to her. You want to let the art shine,” she says. “I didn’t want to create a room that competed with the art; I just wanted it to complement the art.”

Given the couple’s backgrounds in textiles and fashion, Zeller says, “They both have really great taste and an appreciation for fabric and furniture.” With that in mind, the room reflects a healthy combination of textures. The chairs underneath the French prints are cut velvet, the oversized ottoman is leather, and the couch is linen. Velvet-striped and floral throw pillows add a luxe, pretty touch—and helped inspire the room’s color palette.

Elaine loved the warmth of a neutral palette, but the initial hue in the room was too dark for her (Longview provides limited colors for owners to choose from during construction). This new, lighter shade complements other rooms visible from the space, matching the creamcolored kitchen cabinets and subtly working in harmony with the original color still in the home’s entryway. Zeller brought in a bit of blue with the pillows to add a pinch of color without compromising the room’s traditional style

This article appears in the September 2016 issue of Charlotte Magazine

Did you like what you read here? Subscribe to Charlotte Magazine »

Categories: In Print, The Buzz