Jena Bula of Delphinium Design updates a Ballantyne home with a clean, classic look — and plenty of storage to boot.
by Cathy Martin • photographs by Tiffany Ringwald
When Megan Beaver and her family moved to Charlotte from New Jersey almost three years ago, they knew their Ballantyne Country Club home needed renovating. The kitchen and living room had all the trappings of “Old World” design prevalent in the late 1990s and early 2000s: loads of decorative molding, distressed finishes, all-beige everything.
“When we bought the house, we knew it was going to be a gut job,” Beaver says, but she and her husband wanted to settle in for a while before making any changes. They also needed to agree on a design style: While Megan prefers an ultra-modern look, her husband favors traditional furnishings.
After two years, the homeowners began interviewing interior designers. Their search ended when they met Jena Bula of Delphinium Design. “We felt she was open to our ideas, not just hers,” Beaver says.
Bula herself is a relative newcomer to Charlotte. A native of the suburbs of New York City, she moved to the Queen City five years ago, launching an interior-design business after an early career in fashion that included positions at Ralph Lauren in New York City and Washington, D.C.
“A big part of my work is supporting local businesses,” says Bula, noting that with all the rich talent in the area, she’s quickly been able to build a team of skilled craftsmen to help execute her designs.
For the Beavers’ home, Bula partnered with general contractor Ekren Construction. With the family’s two young children and a menagerie of pets — including three dogs, a cat, a hedgehog and a gecko — the space needed to be not only beautiful but also functional and durable.
Bula selected a timeless Shaker design for the kitchen cabinets, with heat-resistant dark quartzite countertops. A stainless backsplash behind the gas range makes for easy cleanup, which was a priority since the family does a lot of cooking.
Incorporating lots of storage was also on the wish list, so Bula suggested bringing the cabinets all the way up to the ceiling. She also added clever, out-of-sight features like a coffee station tucked behind roll-up doors and a paper-towel drawer near the kitchen sink. Beside the refrigerator, cabinet doors pop open to reveal mail slots, a charging station, a white board for jotting down grocery lists, and other handy features.
“You can’t see it, but there’s so much organization going on that makes it super functional — but it looks modern and tucked away,” Bula says. A runner from Charlotte Rug Gallery and a painting by local artist Emily Williams add texture and subtle color.
In the dining area, a custom black bar was designed to house the husband’s extensive bourbon collection. Rollout shelves keep bottles organized and accessible, with quartzite countertops matching those in the kitchen. An antique gold light fixture creates a focal point over the couple’s existing West Elm table and chairs.
In the living room, more classic Shaker cabinets provide a place to display books and treasured objects, and Bula replaced the granite hearth and fireplace surround with sleek, honed Carrera marble.
Semisheer roller shades filter direct sunlight in the living room and sunroom, where a vaulted paneled ceiling is painted in Sherwin Williams Elephant Ear, a taupe-like color that draws the eye up. With kids and pets constantly traipsing through the French doors leading to the backyard, Bula chose an indoor-outdoor rug in a herringbone design that, like the rest of the design, is both durable and beautiful. SP