Hidden Gem

A family of three designs their dream home on 4.5 acres in the heart of Ballantyne.

When Tiffany and Mark Coppen moved to Charlotte from Atlanta 13 years ago, the couple knew they wanted exactly what their former city could not offer them: lots of land. So when they came across a circa-1983 home situated on nearly 4.5 acres of land, just a stone’s throw from the Morrison YMCA in Ballantyne, the couple was smitten. “Moving from Atlanta where we had no land at all, it was like we struck it rich,” says Mark.

That they did. Though it is situated in what’s quickly become a hub in south Charlotte, the house is so tucked away behind trees that it’s nearly hidden and feels more like a horse farm in the country than a home smack in the middle of Ballantyne. Because the property was so unique to the area and afforded the Coppens the privacy and land they craved, they chose to overlook some of the outdated finishes and choppy layout of its structure for the time being. “We knew that one day we’d address those issues,” says Mark.

Fast forward more than a decade, and the Coppens were finally ready to update their dream home and design a plan that was better suited to their everyday needs. First on the must-haves list: a more open layout that’s conducive to everyday living, but also entertaining. “We wanted it to be cleaner than it was,” says Mark. “The house was older, so the layout was a lot less seamless. We wanted not only to update the look of the home but the flow, too.”

The couple enlisted the help of designer Ally Whalen of Simplicity Interiors, who oversaw everything from the renovation to the interior aesthetics. “Being able to open up the back wall with three large French doors in the family room to flood the room with light made a huge difference in the space,” says Whalen. “Also, adding the architectural beams to add interest was a great way to add some height to the room without making it feel closed off.” The removal of these walls afforded the home a clear view of a stunning grassy, sloping hill that is the focal point of the back of the home.

The kitchen drastically changed as well, moving from a dark, cramped space with little room to entertain to a bright, open room with much lighter finishes and updated appliances for Mark, who loves to cook. “We wanted the kitchen to be the center of the house,” he explains. “We wanted it to be functional yet classic at the same time.” Clean, white finishes and a quartz counter complement the bright, open layout, which affords ample seating for entertaining and day-to-day living for the family of three.

Looking back, the Coppens often wonder why they didn’t complete the renovation of the home sooner, considering how much they’ve fallen in love with the finished product. “It was such an incredible transformation from what we had to what we have now, it’s like we’re living in an entirely different home,” says Mark. “It’s our ideal of exactly what we wanted it to be.”


Photography by Dustin Peck