There are many things on our wish lists for our

homes that we can find our­selves day­dream­ing about.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Natural Elegance -

The just-chippy-enough vin­tage-in­spired fur­ni­ture. A well-stocked art col­lec­tion. An open con­cept that lends it­self to gath­er­ings with friends. And then there’s that won­der­ful mo­ment when you re­al­ize that you’ve achieved ev­ery­thing on that wish list.

Ally Whalen, owner and prin­ci­pal de­signer at Ally Whalen De­sign, played the fairy god­mother in this very sce­nario, de­sign­ing a home for home­own­ers who dared to dream. The Char­lotte, North Carolina, home was orig­i­nally built in 1983 and re­quired plenty of ren­o­va­tion.

Ally de­tails the process, say­ing, “We com­pletely gut­ted and re­ar­ranged the kitchen and opened it up to main liv­ing room. We added new French doors to the back of the home, added a cov­ered porch, restained the hard­wood floors, added a ‘his’ closet in the mas­ter bed­room, painted through­out and brought in all new furnishings for pretty much ev­ery room in the home.”


The home­own­ers came to Ally with a wish list. “An open con­cept was a must-have so the home would be more con­ducive to en­ter­tain­ing,” she says. “The clients also wanted a cleaner aes­thetic and color pal­ette that was calm­ing—no loud col­ors or busy pat­terns. They wanted the col­ors to come from nat­u­ral el­e­ments, like plants, and the view out­doors.”

They got just that, with a home swathed in airi­ness, light, bright spa­ces and neu­tral, sooth­ing col­ors in a med­ley of re­laxed hues—grays, creams and warm-wood browns.

Ally clas­si­fies the abode as a “Euro­pean cot­tage farm­house,” com­mu­ni­cat­ing a sim­plis­tic

and un­clut­tered ap­pear­ance that still “has a sense that it is a well-lived-in, com­fort­able home.”

With a store­front called Sim­plic­ity In­te­ri­ors in Cor­nelius, North Carolina, Ally wove in many fur­ni­ture pieces from her own line through­out the home. “Al­most all the fur­ni­ture is from my Sim­plic­ity Fur­ni­ture line, which spe­cial­izes in tai­lored, slip­cov­ered so­fas and chairs ... all made here in North Carolina.”


That lo­cal feel and sense of place was a top pri­or­ity for the home­own­ers. It was im­por­tant to them to uti­lize their back­yard and em­brace the views around them. “They have 4.5 acres of land, and it’s quite a beau­ti­ful and unique spot to have in Char­lotte, so bring­ing the out­doors in was a must in the ren­o­va­tion,” says Ally. “Open­ing up the kitchen to the liv­ing room and adding French doors to the new porch was a way to achieve this.”

Al­though the home cer­tainly has a sto­ried, by­gone mood, there are vir­tu­ally no vin­tage pieces in the home. And for a prac­ti­cal rea­son: “The fur­ni­ture and dé­cor in the home be­fore the ren­o­va­tion was a lot of hand-medowns, and the home­own­ers were ready for all new—but they still wanted the vin­tage feel for some of the

pieces.”This look was achieved through a va­ri­ety of de­sign fea­tures, in­clud­ing Ma­son jars and jugs placed through­out, weath­ered wood furnishings, worn-in fab­rics, botan­i­cal prints and to­bacco bas­kets.


The home­owner, an artist, in­spired Ally to think even more out­side the box and boost cre­ativ­ity in the spa­ces. Ally says: “Work­ing with some­one like that ac­tu­ally pushed my cre­ativ­ity to help them both achieve the ex­act aes­thetic and de­sign they were look­ing for.”

There are art pieces in the home that were cre­ated by the home­owner, show­cased in lo­ca­tions like the fire­place man­tle. “[This one] is by far one of my fa­vorite pieces in the house. That’s why I chose to high­light it in the room by mak­ing it the fo­cal point,” says Ally. An­other piece close to the home­owner’s heart is a dreamy por­trait of a girl swim­ming, cre­ated by an artist friend and hung in the li­brary.

Ally deeply en­joyed craft­ing the vis­ual ap­peal of this home, re­fer­ring to the project as a “la­bor of love.” She ex­plains, “It’s so close to the aes­thetic I have in my own home. My fa­vorite fea­ture is the kitchen. What we were able to achieve by open­ing up the wall be­tween the kitchen and the liv­ing space re­ally brought my vi­sion to life. It’s a clean, clas­sic kitchen that will stand the test of time. I love it all.”

|ABOVE| BOOK NOOK. “We call this the li­brary,” Ally says. Stocked with books to pro­vide a con­tem­pla­tive place for read­ing, the gray couch hails from her Sim­plic­ity Fur­ni­ture line, mesh­ing per­fectly with the grays of the nearby art­work. The cur­tains...

BREEZY KITCHEN. Punc­tu­ated by sub­way tile and other farm­house el­e­ments, this kitchen spot­lights cab­i­netry painted in Ben­jamin Moore’s “Chan­tilly Lace,” light fix­tures from Bal­lard De­signs and a Wolf range and Sub-Zero fridge in stain­less steel.

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