Down South

Home + Garden

March 1, 2021



A couple moves back to the Carolinas to retire and reconnect with family.

by Blake Miller | photographs by Cam Richards

Eli and Lynne McDavid always knew they wanted to go back home. After spending 30 years living and working in the Washington, D.C., area, the couple knew their time in the Northeast was coming to end. With that, they also knew they wanted to retire where they had roots. 

“I’m originally from South Carolina, and Eli has family in Winston-Salem,” Lynne says. “So for us, it was always about coming home to the Carolinas.” Charlotte was top on their list of places to retire and set down new roots. “We wanted a city that was smaller than D.C. but still gave us that urban vibe,” Lynne adds.

After touring several homes and neighborhoods, the McDavids became smitten with a semi-custom home plan from Classica Homes. Located in south Charlotte, the home checked all of the McDavids’ criteria, including an open, seamless floor plan and clean, transitional architectural details throughout. 

“Our last home had a very traditional look, which was fine for 20 years ago,” Lynne says. “But it was heavy and very formal. This time, we really wanted light, bright and airy. We wanted it to be a bit more modern than what we were coming from.”

An exhaustive search for an interior designer led them to Cheryl Luckett, owner of Dwell by Cheryl Interiors, whose work aligned perfectly with what the McDavids envisioned for their new home. 

“I always start by asking my clients not what they want their home to look like, but instead how they want their home to feel,” Luckett says. “For Eli and Lynne, it really was all about feeling open and fresh and airy. Their responses really drove the entire vibe of the design scheme.”

The McDavids looked to Luckett to design their main living spaces — the living room, kitchen, dining room and outdoor areas — before moving onto the master bedroom, upstairs den and more. 

“After talking with Eli and Lynne, it became apparent that a fresh color scheme of blues and greens lent themselves to the aesthetic they envisioned,” says Luckett, who loves to use textiles as a springboard for her designs. “I’m a color girl. That textile color usually plays itself out in this space with the upholstery and the rugs.” 

Draperies in a bold medallion print coupled with a houndstooth ottoman set the tone for the rest of the living room. The adjacent dining room exemplifies the whole home’s soothing color palette with a stunning blue-green York wallcovering. “I was a little skeptical of it at first,” laughs Eli. “But once it was in place, it looks great,” he says.

“The wallpaper was a no brainer in this space,” Luckett says. “It really defines the room and makes it feel a bit more special. It elevates the dining room from the other living spaces.”

Knowing the McDavids wanted to incorporate original artwork by African American artists throughout their home, Luckett also commissioned the painting above the mantle by Greenville, S.C., artist Allison Ford. 

“The piece set the tone for that entire living space,” says Luckett of the abstract painting of a coastal marsh. “It has a Southern light and fresh feel.” 

Luckett continued adding inspiring pieces by Black artists, such as the painting in the foyer by artist Tilly Willis. “When we found this piece, we thought it could be Gullah or Africa,” says the designer. “To me, it said coastal South Carolina, African roots. But it still had that fresh, light, airy feel. That painting sets the tone for what you’ll see throughout the home. A lot of people skip the entry or not give it a lot of thought. But it’s an opportunity to let people know what to expect when they enter the home.” 

Layered throughout the rest of the home are coastal accents such as a bowl that looks like driftwood and beads that mimic sea glass, each a nod to the McDavids’ Southern roots. “There are a lot of pieces, accessories, books and everyday objects that Cheryl added that just make things pretty when it’s all said and done,” Lynne says. “Every time I walk into our home, it’s just so beautiful. It feels like such a treat every time.”  SP

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