Work of Art

A look inside the Myers Park home of Foundation for the Carolinas President Michael Marsicano and his wife, Leslie.

Long before Leslie and Michael Marsicano moved into their new two-story townhome in Myers Park, the couple knew that the vision for the design of the home would be different. “My husband cares about how it looks and feels. Not so much about whether it’s practical,” says Leslie, an associate dean for academic administration at Davidson College. Having raised three grown boys in their previous residence, Leslie’s vision for their old home skewed more towards kid- and teenager-friendly. “Before we moved, we were limited,” she says. “But now we could finally pay more attention to aesthetics than we could before.”

As the Marsicanos’ interior designer, Leigh Falkner of Circa Interiors and Antiques was not only tasked with marrying the two design approaches—practical and beautiful—but also creating a design that allowed the couple’s impressive art collection to play center stage. As President and CEO of Foundation for the Carolinas, Michael’s career put him in a position to meet hundreds of artists over the years, many of whom the couple has collected art from. Many others have gifted the Marsicanos pieces from their personal collections. The result: a breathtaking array of two-dimensional paintings and drawings as well as glass and ceramic pieces. Falkner snapped photos of them so that she could literally lay them all out in front of her to help brainstorm design ideas.

That’s where her initial design scheme was born. “The artwork had such beautiful colors that it needed a sophisticated palette to complement it,” says Falkner, who opted for a clean, neutral hue, Shaded White by Farrow & Ball, to run throughout the open floor plan on the first floor. Falkner also organized the artwork so that each piece complemented the next—even if you were standing in the living room, the artwork in the adjacent kitchen would feel seamless and part of a cohesive design. This was all achieved through the use of colors in the pillows and draperies, which accented the orange and purple tones so prevalent in the artwork.

To allow some of the glass and ceramic artwork to shine prominently, Falkner suggested glass for the top cabinets in the kitchen. “We were most concerned with getting the lighting right in the cabinets to really allow the ceramics to stand out,” says Falkner. She also recommended a rough-hewn tile backsplash instead of a glass one, which would compete with the glass artwork on display. “We had been so set on that glass backsplash before Leigh came in,” says Leslie. “Thank goodness we listened to her because she was exactly right.”

In keeping with a neutral aesthetic, Falkner kept the furniture and accessories minimal but sophisticated. A chaise from the Catbird Collection was ideal for Leslie, who loves to relax while reading a book or watching TV. It sits adjacent to an elegant Chesterfield sofa—the exact piece Michael had in mind when imagining the home’s design. A pair of swivel chairs by Hickory Chair complement the two pieces, allowing for easy conversation.

The Marsicanos love that the design seamlessly pulls together both of their visions, but more than anything, they love that the home simply feels like them. “Leigh was able to help us develop a design that’s personal and uses things that are reminders of our family and life together,” says Leslie. “She was able to pull it all together in a stylish and beautiful home. I really feel like it’s us, only it’s us at our best.”

Photography by Chris Edwards