By Catherine Hong

Published on June 17, 2016

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Photography by MATHEW WILLIAMS

Charlotte Lucas at home in Charlotte, North Carolina. The pastel palette — from sorbet pinks and peaches to pale greys and baby blues — helps the living area feel cool and airy, even in the hottest days of summer.

FLUTED SIDE TABLE by Mr. Brownmrbrownhome.com BOOM BOX by Lyle Owerko soco-gallery.com  PLANTER ARM CHAIR by Design Within Reach from $3206 dwr.com FABRIC ON CHAIRS by Duralee  FABRIC Surya in Sea Foam by Jim Thompsonjimthompsonfabrics.com

written by  CATHERINE HONG
photography by  MATTHEW WILLIAMS

Designer Charlotte Lucas merges modern style with a Southern sensibility.

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ASK ANY INTERIOR DESIGNER: It’s liberating to be your own client. “When it’s your house, you can take certain risks,” says Charlotte Lucas, 31, an emerging talent in the Southern design world known for her modern-meets-traditional mix. Lucas and her husband, Brooks, purchased their two-story mid-century house, designed by noted local architect A.G. Odell, about three years ago. In a neighborhood of classic Georgian brick homes, the structure is, as Lucas puts it, “the oddball of the block.” This meeting of modern and antebellum aptly describes her overall aesthetic. The North Carolina native has a taste for contemporary finishes (think plexiglass and acrylic) as well as an abiding attachment to traditional Southern style, like woven cane furniture, lush drapery, and antique china.

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Lucas credits the three years she spent working for well-known Charlotte-based interior designer Barrie Benson for shaping not only her updated Southern design sensibility but also her shopping philosophy. “I’ve learned that if I find something I really love, I should buy it now and worry about how I’m going to use it later,” she says. She points to the pair of vintage geometric kidney-shaped sofas in her living room. “Barrie and I saw them in Florida five years ago,” she recalls. “I was living in an apartment and didn’t have the space for them, but Barrie warned me that if I didn’t get them, I’d regret it.” Lucas stored one of the sofas in her mother’s attic for nearly three years. “Now, of course, I’m glad I got them.”

Lucas designed her dining area around another impulse purchase: a pair of hand-painted chinoiserie-style panel paintings she spotted at a local antiques shop. “I never thought I’d have a pink dining room,” she says, “but these blush-colored panels set the tone for the rest of the space.” Balancing the traditional paintings and antique Oushak rug with a mid-century glass-topped dining table and modern Italian chandelier, the dining room is gracious and spirited, formal and casual, all at once.

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In the dining area, the oversized 19th century handpainted chinoiserie panels and antique Oushak rug create a classic, old world vibe that’s balanced by the modern dining chairs and mid-century Italian glass-topped table.

VINTAGE ITALIAN DINING TABLE and CANTILEVERED LIGHT FIXTURE from Charlotte Lucas Interior Designcharlottelucasdesign.com

“I NEVER THOUGHT I’D HAVE A PINK DINING ROOM, BUT THE BLUSH-COLORED PANELS SET THE TONE FOR THE REST OF THE SPACE.”

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Two-and-a-half-year-old Liles perches on her upholstered bed, a custom creation designed by Lucas, which doubles nicely as a guest bed. Grasscloth covered walls and polka-dot printed wallpaper on the ceiling complete the sophisticated picture.

CUSTOM CHANNELED DAYBED AND PILLOWS from Charlotte Lucas Interior Design charlottelucas design.com  SCONCES by Visual Comfortvisualcomfortlightinglights.com  WALLPAPER (on ceiling) Dotty by Pete Fasano peterfasano.com WALLPAPER (Grasscloth) by Schumacherfschumacher.com  ART Abstract drip, oil on masonite by Cari Uraneck

HER 2-1/2-YEAR-OLD daughter, Liles, sleeps on a custom daybed (way more sophisticated than a typical toddler bed) beneath a ceiling covered in chic black-and-white polka-dot wallpaper. “I didn’t want to create nurseries that the kids would grow out of quickly,” explains Lucas. Similarly, the designer eschewed the ubiquitous glider for her 14-month-old son Townes’ room, choosing instead a handsome Hans Wegner Papa Bear chair purchased from a dealer in New Jersey.

Still, as any Southerner will tell you, you can’t have a home without family heirlooms, and Lucas has plenty. She and Brooks inherited linens, vases, and a marble-topped wooden chest from Lucas’s grandmother, as well as a set of mid-century Russell Woodard outdoor furniture from Brooks’s grandmother. “I couldn’t believe that nobody wanted it,” says Lucas of the wrought iron pieces. “For us, it was perfect.”

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MOUNTED ANIMAL HEADS by serena and lily MONOGRAMMED PILLOWS by Kayce Hughes kaycehughes.com

“I DIDN’T WANT TO CREATE NURSERIES THAT THE KIDS WOULD GROW OUT OF TOO QUICKLY.”

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Lucas painted her son’s room a dark navy blue and installed deep floating shelves to display toys and photographs. The cane bed was passed down from her grandparents.

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“I wanted to preserve the kitchen’s mid-century vibe,” says Lucas, who didn’t do much more to it than hang wallpaper and paint. “The chartreuse and gold geometric paper works in our 1950s house,” she says. “And I painted the kitchen island an unexpected slate blue, just to mix it up.”

GLOBE PENDENT by West Elm from $89 westelm.com   PAINT (on island) #713 by Ben Moorebenjaminmoore.com  WALLPAPER Maison Hexagon in Snow White & Olive by Arte arte-international.com

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Liles pours lemonade on the patio, which features vintage Russell Woodard chairs and a contemporary concrete table. The sunburst mirror helps the outdoor space “feel like a cozy room,” says Lucas.

“I LOVE THAT OUR PATIO FEELS LIKE A COZY ROOM. EVERY SUMMER AFTERNOON AND EVENING, THIS IS OUR ZONE.”