Inspiration in the Studio

Simplified :: Our team's best picks in lighting

Lighting selections are an essential piece of the design puzzle in every project. The lighting in a space affects the overall color palette, the mood of the room, and it can be a focal point for making a statement!

Natural light is always preferrable but isn’t necessarily a given in every home or room. You can overcome lighting challenges just by knowing what type of fixture to select for your space. Most rooms rely on a combination of ambient, accent and task lighting for optimal design aesthetic.

Designer tip: for bedside table lamps the shades should not align directly with the headboard height. So take your measurements and plan accordingly!

This week we are simplifying ambient and task lighting: better known as table lamps and floor lamps! These help light dark corners, reading nooks and provide ample light for nightime reading. They can also serve as an added design element with color, pattern or a artistic base!

Designer tip: for greater flexibility in bedroom seating areas combine a floor lamp and small table to reduce your lighting footprint.

Most bedrooms benefit from ambient lighting. A central overhead fixture is often accentuated by bedside lamps and reading nook floor lamps to set a more restful mood.

Shop our designer’s top selections for table and floor lamps and light it up!


Photography: Dustin Peck and Michael Blevins

Simplified Sunday :: Making the Bed

As the weather gets cooler and we begin to welcome the fall season, now is the time to transition your bedroom and add a few layers for warmth. Here are our Southern Studio tips for making your fall bed, as well as some favorite items you’ll find in many of our designs!

Build on the basics. Add texture and layers that allow you to adjust with the temperature. Combine crisp white linens, a soft blanket, and a quilt or duvet for the greatest flexibility.

Bring on the throws and decorative pillows for color and warmth. This is your chance to add a dramatic flair without buying all new. Remember, texture is your friend!

Add candles and seasonal bedside accessories. Fall scents don’t belong only in the kitchen. Warmth radiates throughout the whole home. Add a bud vase with seasonal blooms for that extra layer of beauty!

Check out the Favorite Finds from our Southern Studio team …. we call it Southern Studio Simplified!



Project Reveal Part I :: Charlotte Charm

It’s time to reveal Part I of our Charlotte Charm project!  Take a look as we unveil more spaces in this warm, cheerful home we designed with New Old Custom Homes. Collaboration with talented architects, builders, trades, and clients is what makes our job rewarding!

This mudroom is the perfect landing pad as you walk in the door.  Custom cabinetry design by the talented New Old boasts lots of storage space to minimize clutter, and charcoal tile flooring will hide dirt that may get tracked inside.

This office space is formal without feeling too stiff.  Large windows let in lots of light, and the standout driftwood chandelier is a main focal point.

Another bathroom, another statement wallpaper!  This feather pattern is a charismatic addition to this guest bathroom.

A clean, modern master bedroom is an excellent place to rest and recharge. Sometimes less really is more!

Last but certainly not least – the master bathroom!  Luxurious brushed gold hardware, plumbing, mirrors, and sconce are a glamorous accent to the white shiplap walls.

And that perfect freestanding tub to soak away the stress of a long day.

Although this home is simple and fresh, it’s character still shines through in all the details.  This is what we do best – creating a haven for special families.

Project Reveal Part 2: Timeless Beauty!

It’s time to share Part 2 of our Timeless Beauty Project.  Sometimes, we find our favorites spaces outside the main living areas.  These are the spaces that work hard and make daily living better.

The laundry room was an important feature of this home.  Our client presented a beautiful inspiration photo and requested that we create a bright and happy place with function a top priority.

One of the most private spaces in a home is the master suite. The soft colors in this bedroom strike just the perfect note for a calm retreat, while the beautiful windows let the sunshine in.  What a beautiful way to wake up!

We designed the study to be multi-functional as a library and music room.  A family portrait anchors the space along with the gorgeous piano!

And at the end of the day, this porch really has it all – everything you need for a game night with a crowd, or a cozy evening on your own, gazing out on the hot tub and the beautiful view.

We just know that this outdoor grill and dining area will get a tremendous amount of use!  The liner chandelier anchors the space and brings casual dining to an entirely new level.

Who ever said that traditional design has to be boring?  We have no doubt that our Timeless Beauty project will be enjoyed for many years to come!

Contractor:  Rufty Homes

Photography:  Dustin Peck

CAD Comes to Life in a Bunk Room, Bathroom, and Living Room!

So often in our projects, we need to communicate the design vision through conceptual drawings. It’s always a thrill to see these CAD elevations come to life and we thought it would be fun to share. From a coastal project’s bunk room and bathroom vanities to a family room fireplace, we enjoyed reimagining these spaces and customizing for each client.

A Coastal Bunk Room

In this showstopper Bald Head Island retreat, a playful bunk room with plenty of seating to enjoy the exquisite oceanfront views was a must.

We initially drew up the plan to include recessed niches to give the walls additional character, under the bed storage, and a shared ladder for the top bunks. With two full size and two twin beds, we wanted the room to still feel fresh and airy, reminiscent of its coastal outside surroundings. Whether for late night reading or playing games, lighting was also added for each bunk – giving each bunk its own private feel. The soft blue color on the ceiling also keeps the serenity of the rest of the home alive and consistent within this fun sleeping and playing space.

We hope you enjoy the “before and after” of this project as much as we do…we’re dreaming of those ocean views!

Photo: Dustin Peck Photography

Seaside Vanity Projects

In these two coastal bathrooms, space planning was essential.

In the first drawing and photo of the guest bathroom, a towel and quartz shelf were added to maximize storage space in tight quarters. For a more direct light source, we incorporated a library light fixture and placed above the mirror – taking advantage of the ceiling height.

In the second set of images, we decided to enhance the use of a tile our client loved and pull it down to cover the floor. To showcase and not take away from the beautiful tile, we matched the cabinetry and mirror frame, while adding sconces to anchor and streamline the space.

Photo: Dustin Peck Photography

Photo: Dustin Peck Photography

An Elegant Fireplace

In this Cary, NC residence, the fireplace is the icing on the cake of an open, airy family room.

We designed the fireplace to coordinate with the room’s soothing, neutral color palette. Painted in a fresh white to contrast slightly with the creamy white walls, the fireplace has a presence that is carefully kept soft to blend with the room’s furnishings. Incorporating more creamy hues with brighter whites was a challenge, however layering these neutrals created an eye-catching pairing. Crystal and brass sconces adorn the columns, further highlighting the elegant architectural details of the fireplace.

From CAD drawing to real life, we imagined this fireplace to pair seamlessly with the construction selections of the kitchen cabinetry and countertops, as the kitchen is in direct view. The clients envisioned a relaxing space with a “peaceful sanctuary” aesthetic, yet they also wanted one that felt refined. With the fireplace design, we wanted to do just that – create a setting where family felt at ease, as well as create an element that could stand alone as the room’s sophisticated centerpiece.

Photo: Taylor Lovette of Blue Barn Photography