Artist Lauren Reddick’s south Charlotte home is a quirky mix of color, pattern and texture, filled with vintage finds and original works of art.
by Cathy Martin • photographs by Laura Sumrak
There’s a funny story behind nearly everything in artist Lauren Reddick’s house, from the marble-top fudge table that’s now a kitchen island to the vintage Italian chandelier she acquired in exchange for a handmade doll.
From the outside, the two-story white-brick home on a corner lot in Beverly Woods East offers few clues to the whimsical yet comfortable interior that’s chock full of one-of-a-kind objects. But inside, bold patterns, vintage treasures and original works of art are on glorious display.
The Reddicks — Lauren, her husband Rob, and their three kids, age 16, 15 and 12 —moved to Charlotte from the Washington, D.C., area almost 16 years ago. Growing up, they both moved around a lot — Rick was a military kid; Lauren’s father was a college football coach.
“I lived in seven homes before I was 18,” Lauren Reddick says, while Rick had never lived anywhere longer than three years. “It definitely makes you a very well-rounded person — you have to just be able to go make friends, and I think it also makes you a little bit more sensitive to those that are left out, because you’re aware of it,” she says. “We both just wanted to pick a home base.”
If you follow many Charlotte interior-design accounts on Instagram, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Reddick’s abstract paintings — many of them figurative works, mostly women — gracing a hallway, bedroom or bookshelf. The prolific painter sells her work through Art House Charlotte, a local consultancy owned by Judith Zehmke. “I’ve always loved women and faces,” Reddick says, citing Israeli artist Itzhak Tarkay as an early inspiration. “But women were not popular until recently.”
At home, Reddick’s works mix and mingle with found or thrifted artifacts, architectural pieces and uniquities.
“I always joke that I’m a Craigslist junkie — I love flea markets. I love Craigslist. I love side-of-the-road,” says Reddick, who studied interior design at Virginia Tech before changing her major to marketing and communications. One of her first post-college jobs was creating window displays for retailer Anthropologie.
In the kitchen, Reddick snagged the classic porcelain sink for $50 on the online classifieds site just before the modern farmhouse trend exploded. Once she got it home, she realized her existing cabinets would collapse under its weight. She looked around the house and found a sturdy antique buffet, cut off the top and created a one-of-a-kind base for the heavy sink. The fudge table-turned-kitchen island was originally from a candy shop in Florida and had made its way to Gastonia, where the owner casually stashed his shotgun on the bottom shelf before Reddick hauled it away.
“None of this was planned, but it all ended up working out pretty well,” Reddick says with a laugh.
Despite Reddick’s self-professed Craigslist addiction, not everything in her home was discovered online. A large mirror in the dining room was found at an antiques market in Romania. In the kitchen, the chrome chandelier — minus a few of its original crystals — was discovered by a friend at a yard sale on Queens Road West. The fixture is a collector’s item by Italian lighting designer Gaetano Sciolari, whose modernist take on classical design was fashionable in the 1960s and ’70s. Reddick’s friend bought it for $50, then decided she couldn’t use it. At the time, Reddick made and sold monogrammed dolls, popular as baby-shower gifts. When Reddick’s friend offered to give her the light fixture for free, the artist said, “At least let me give you a doll.” The fixture is now a stunning focal point over the kitchen island.
In the living room, Christian LaCroix wallpaper from Designers Guild combines a traditional pattern with bold, bright colors, reflecting Reddick’s penchant for blending the conventional with the unexpected. One eye-popping piece is an oversized pink vinyl bench from Blacklion, which had acquired items from the estate of a family who owned a trendy Miami salon. Reddick paid $200 for the 10-foot bench, then sent her sofa off to be extended and reupholstered. The bench that no one else wanted now pairs perfectly with the made-to-fit sofa.
Perhaps the most striking space in the home is the mudroom, a former tool shed that’s now a dramatic back entryway with 12-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling storage. Reddick combined a large credenza, a child’s vanity (sawed in half) and a dresser that once belonged to her mother-in-law, then painted everything in a glossy black to create a custom storage unit. Searching online for architectural salvage pieces, she discovered a carpentry-shop owner who was selling his business — she bought four columns, a header and newel post for $300. A 10-foot pier mirror from the 1800s stands at the bottom of the staircase — the ornate, Victorian-era mirrors were traditionally placed between windows in parlors and foyers. Reddick drove to Wilmington with a trailer and a makeshift A-frame to buy it. “You could just see it just swaying,” the whole drive home, she says, grinning. “I couldn’t believe it did not break.” An Osborne & Little wallpaper with a bold butterfly design — Reddick found five rolls for sale on eBay — completes the design.
Upstairs in the owners’ suite, the Reddicks converted a former attic space to a spacious and serene bathroom with marble tile flooring and a large soaking tub. When a homeowner in Barclay Downs listed a pair of marble sinks for sale for $50 each, Reddick bought them — and a piano she’d had her eye on for over a year — to create the custom vanity.
After 16 years, Reddick sadly admits she’s nearly run out of projects. Meanwhile, her thriving art business is keeping her busier than ever. Working out of her home studio, she’s recently begun a new series of paintings featuring Queen Charlotte that is sure to be a hit among local art enthusiasts. And though her home finally feels complete, Reddick’s face still lights up when describing the zany vendors she’s met along the way and the faithful friends who have helped her secure unique finds, like an oversized neon chandelier in the sitting room.
Asked where she found the enormous, gilded mirror sitting beside the stairway in the foyer, she laughs, and repeats a familiar phrase. “Oh, now that’s a funny story,” she tells me. And I’m certain that it is. SP