Modern Sensibility

Designer Charlotte Lucas boldly mixes old and new to transform her mid-century modern home in Eastover.

Charlotte Lucas knew exactly what she wanted. “We’d been looking for over a year and I knew I wanted something not necessarily modern but not your standard floorplan,” says the designer, who had passed over many two-story Georgian homes, common throughout Myers Park and Eastover where the Lucases’ were house hunting. But after looking at ranches from the 1950s and ’60s, Lucas and her husband, Brooks, had almost given up on finding a home that fit her modern sensibilities and tastes with her love of infusing new life into old things. “When we first saw the house I didn’t like the exterior so we honestly didn’t give it much thought,” she says of the mid-century modern house. But as soon as Lucas walked inside the circa-1950s home, designed by noted local architect A.G. Odell (best known for designing the Charlotte Coliseum), she could immediately see the potential. “It was completely rundown but it had such great bones.”

To others, the home would’ve been a complete overhaul and renovation. But for Lucas, the qualities that drew her to the home in the first place were exactly the design details and idiosyncrasies that she wanted to keep. “There were all of these qualities and characteristics of the home that we loved and wanted to preserve,” she says of things such as the interior stonework that matches the home’s façade or the original stone flooring in the kitchen. While the kitchen needed the most updating—new stovetop and sink—Lucas revamped the cozy space simply by repainting the dark cabinetry all white and the island an eye-catching slate blue, as well as sanding down and re-staining the wood countertop. A self-described wallpaper addict—“I think I may have finally run out of walls to wallpaper in the house!” she laughs—Lucas transformed the one-time dark space into a bright, relaxed one by wallpapering the room in a graphic chartreuse and gold geometric print by Arte. Artwork that she’s collected over the years found a home in the kitchen, though when the Lucases purchased them they never knew where they would hang them.

Which is exactly how Lucas likes to work. “I never went into this with a laid out plan or theme,” she says. “I just collect things over time that I absolutely love and then find a way to work them into our home.” Such was the case with the vintage 19th-century, handpainted, chinoiserie-style panels that hang in the dining room. “They were one of those things that I found and could not stop thinking about,” says Lucas of the estate sale find in Charleston. “I had to have them even though I had no idea where I’d put them.” Turns out, a blank wall in the Lucases’ dining room was the ideal home as the panels elongated the 10-foot ceilings and added height to the room.

Like the dining room, the living room features more of Lucas’ collected pieces. A pair of vintage Warren Platner chairs bought at auction and two kidney-shaped sofas were saved in storage for years before the Lucases bought their home. But it’s not just about Lucas’ favorite things. The boom box photograph by artist Lyle Owerko from SoCo Gallery was a gift for Brooks last Father’s Day and is one of his favorites. “It just makes the space a little more playful and colorful,” says Lucas.

Though the design is close to complete, Lucas is always scouring and collecting things she’s become smitten with for her home. “My home is constantly evolving,” she says. “If I come across something I can’t stop thinking about, I buy it and find a place to put it. My house is filled with pieces I found and love from family members that I love. They’re things I want to see every day and I want them to be a part of my house.”

Photography by Dustin Peck