Farmhouse fabulous

Home + Garden

July 1, 2024

Dining room in Carmel Estates neighborhood, designed by Erin Dougherty.

Empty nesters transform an updated farmhouse into an urban-inspired retreat with a modern flair.

by Catherine Ruth Kelly  |  photographs by Brie Williams  |  styling by Kendra Surface

Kris and Scott Evans weren’t planning to move, but when they toured their current home in the sprawling Carmel Estates neighborhood, they knew they had to have it.

“We lived in our previous home for 15 years and raised our two children there,” explains Kris Evans. “It was hard to let go, but we fell in love with the large windows and the spacious lot and liked the idea of one-level living.”

The Evans were drawn to the rural feel of the neighborhood and the home’s generous lot, nearly 1.5 acres. They learned that the home used to be a farmhouse before the surrounding land was developed for the neighborhood. The previous owners’ renovation gave the house a decidedly contemporary look, so the Evans endeavored to maintain that style while creating warm and welcoming interiors. They tapped Erin Dougherty, owner of local boutique and design studio Isabella, for the job.

Left: The couple wanted to keep this window-lined room light and airy to highlight the art and let the outside in. A painting by Rana Rochat from Hidell Brooks Gallery adds soothing tones. Middle: In the den, the bright colors of a Colleen Leach painting sourced from Shain Gallery are echoed in the room’s fabrics and accessories, including the cushions topping a pair of Worlds Away burlwood stools. Right: The Evans’ Jack Russell terrier sits beside a Highland House acrylic game table in a corner of the den. The chairs are by Four Hands.

“I’ve known Kris and Scott for about 15 years,” Dougherty says. “We were actually in the process of updating their previous home when they found this house and fell in love with it.”

Dougherty grew up in Charlotte and has owned Isabella for 20 years. A veteran designer, she worked closely with Kris Evans to conceive a plan that reflects her personality and to create a beautiful, comfortable space for living and entertaining.

“Their previous home was a bit more traditional, but Kris’ style has evolved,” Dougherty says. “And we wanted to complement the midcentury architecture with a cleaner, brighter, more modern aesthetic.”

The Evans were able to use some of their existing furniture, but with a larger space to fill and a completely different architectural style, they had to start from scratch in most of the rooms.

Left: An elegant cabinet by Gabby from Isabella displays art, artifacts and books from the Evans’ personal collection in the living room. Top Right: A pair of abstract paintings by Kevin Tolman set a stylish tone in the living room, where guests can gather on the Charles Stewart sofa and Highland House swivel chairs. Bottom right: A Restoration Hardware chandelier hangs above the round table in the dining room. Metallic wallpaper by York envelops the room. Green velvet fabric by Romo covers the front of the chairs, with a shibori-like print by MS Design Maven on the back.

Designed with entertaining in mind, the living room welcomes guests with a chic gathering space. The lagoon-colored Charles Stewart sofa and Highland House swivel chairs surround a custom channeled ottoman. Thibaut grasscloth wallcoverings create a warm backdrop for a pair of abstract paintings by Kevin Tolman. The paintings and the Evans’ collection of pottery by Virginia Scotchie, who was raised in Asheville, complement the modern sensibility of the room. 

“Buying new art was one of the most fun parts of decorating this house,” Evans says. “We purchased a lot of the art before selecting fabrics so that could guide our decisions.”

One of their new pieces, a large-scale painting by Dennis Campay, hangs above the dining-room sideboard. The Evans selected a patterned metallic wallpaper with a cloud-like design, creating an ethereal atmosphere in the light, airy space. The table and chairs were from their previous home, but the chairs were updated with fresh fabrics — olive green velvet on the front and a shibori-like print on the back — adding sleek, sophisticated pops of color.

A favorite room in the house is the glass room, with two walls of windows offering unobstructed views of the Evans’ verdant lot. A whimsical variety of pendant lights, remnants of the home’s previous owners, punctuate the ceiling with style. With the oversized windows and pitched ceiling, Dougherty opted to keep the walls a crisp white to allow the outside views and colorful art to take center stage. 

Left: In the powder room, the Evans added a new cabinet and quartz countertop. Floral Farrow & Ball wallpaper makes a bold statement. Accessories include an Arteriors mirror, Visual Comfort sconces and Modern Matter hardware. Right: A four-poster bed by Noir is the centerpiece of the couple’s daughter’s bedroom, with walls covered in Schumacher’s Birds & Butterflies wallpaper. The drapery fabric is Condesa by Serena Dugan, and the Designers Guild throw blanket is from Isabella.

“This light-filled room is the perfect spot for a morning coffee, reading, relaxing and also provides great views of the back and front yard,” explains Dougherty.

The Evans have enjoyed their new home and are pleased to have a comfortable, inviting space for their grown children and extended family when they come visit.

“The house has turned out so great,” Evans says. “Erin did a wonderful job creating a modern look that is still warm and inviting, and she made the process so easy for us.”  SP

Left: Natural light fills the sunroom, where a beaded Ro Sham Beaux chandelier hangs above a dining table by Dovetail and chairs by Four Hands. Middle: The primary bedroom offers a serene space with muted colors. Matouk bedding is from Isabella. The painting above the bed is by Scott Upton from Hidell Brooks. Right: A beaded light fixture from Made Goods hangs above the bathtub in the primary bathroom. The painting by Ellen Levine Dodd is from Anne Neilson Fine Art.

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