When interior designer Alexis Pawling begins working with a client, her first objective is to understand that individual’s aesthetic. Together, Alexis and the client will reach for examples of what the client likes, and, of course, they find examples of what does not work. The exchange is a flurry of Pinterest and Instagram links, until things start to come into focus for Pawling. “I basically voluntarily fall down a rabbit hole, gathering all sorts of ideas to create an overall aesthetic,” she explains.
In a recent new home build, understanding the client’s aesthetic was easy for Pawling, given that she was the client. She and her family of two daughters, three dogs, and a husband lived on a Myers Park property for ten years. The Pawling clan shared a 1951 ranch home. Then, they tore down the house and completed a new build on the same property in 2020.
“I had ten years to dream up exactly what I wanted our home to look like. And I knew exactly how I wanted it to function,” explains Pawling.
The Journey to Home
The ranch home already had character aplenty, but it lacked natural light and space. Low ceilings, characteristic of older homes, made the house feel cramped and dark. Plus, as the family grew, adding more dogs and daughters to the brood, the square footage couldn’t keep up with the family’s needs.
Pawling’s ultimate goals for her new space were functionality that promoted comfort and livability, an aesthetic that evoked elegance as well as youthful style, and a structure that allowed for an airy brightness. It was also important to Pawling that her home blend in with the rest of her street. “It needed to be stylistically appropriate as well as size appropriate for our lot and the neighborhood,” says Pawling.
The result from architect Karen Barton and builders Mills Eloge is a 4,000 square foot beauty. It includes five bedrooms, four baths, a living room, a den, an office, a media room, and a playroom. Ten-foot ceilings and oversized custom windows throughout the house help achieve the bright and airy bones that were so important to Alexis Pawling. Additionally, the windows provide visual access to the green spaces that border the home, including the wooded lot of Freedom Park’s Nature Museum. This introduces a level of serenity that might have seemed impossible so close to Uptown.
An Airy Arrival
Alexis Pawling applied a transitional/modern design to the interior, dappled with vintage pieces, a dash of color, and sprinkle of whimsy. “I suppose a common theme throughout my home when looking at furniture style, paint colors, and fabrics is that I kept the majority clean, fresh, transitional, and somewhat neutral, then used strong pops of color throughout to give a modern and artistic flare,” explains Pawling.
The new build offered an opportunity for Pawling to pull out all the stops and really let loose with some of her more experimental design ideas – wallpapered ceilings, bold lacquer splashes, statement light fixtures, and beyond.
She worked with an impressively long list of vendors. That list included local lighting professionals Lantern & Scroll (exterior gas lanterns), local glass professionals Accent Glass (entryway mirror and bar backsplash), and local furniture builder Josh Utsey (dining room table).
The end result is a perfect balance of modern, elegant, and colorful. Pawling’s restraint in terms of whimsy and color is evident. It allows for a very complementary pairing of styles and palettes, making the ten years that she spent dreaming and scheming about this home incredibly evident.
- Custom built-ins: Tyler Ernsberger
- Hardware: Modern Matter, Bird Hardware
- Tile: Palmetto Tile
- All quartz & marble: Grant Winrich
- Plumbing: Ferguson:
- Appliances: Queen City Appliance
- All cabinetry: Hardwood Creations
- Closet & Storage Concepts: Koren Ayers
- Lighting: Circa, Hudson Valley, Arteriors
- Wallpaper: Voutsa, Holland & Sherry, Phillip Jeffries, Schumacher
- Furniture: Abode (local), Made Goods, Bungalow 8, Four Hands, Alder & Tweed
- Drapery fabric: Schumacher, Pindler, Samuel & Sons trim & tape
- Paint: Benjamin Moore and Farrow & Ball are my favorite paint brands. I painted the majority of my home Decorator’s White and used strong pops of paint in specific areas.