Charlotte architect Cristin Donley recently moved back to Charlotte after spending eight years on the West Coast. She bought a fixer upper in south Charlotte and turned it into a contemporary chic abode.
And good news, if you fall in love with this home, she’s renting it out for $2,995 unfurnished or $5,000 furnished (more on that later).
Who: Cristin Donley, an architect who’s currently doing commercial projects. Her 15-year-old son, Braden, lives in Charleston and is training to be a professional skateboarder.
Her story: In her current professional life, Cristin mostly works on commercial projects, but she’s always loved all things home and design — from TV shows (Fixer Upper was on when I walked in) and magazines to her past work for a high-end furniture design company in LA.
She moved back to Charlotte to be closer to family, and she was sick of paying $5,000 a month for a two bedroom. When looking for a house here she had two priorities: uniqueness and privacy. With “cracker-box” houses all over the city, Cristin told me it was really important to find something with unique bones that she could customize to fit her personal style. She found a a great three bed in south Charlotte off Providence Road.
Square feet: 2,600 square feet
Rooms: 3 beds, 2 bath. There are no formal spaces, but she’s got a guest room, master bedroom, an office, living room, dining room, kitchen, a workout/bonus room and a loft. It’s perfect for a single woman who loves hosting.
Style: Mid-century modern, feminine, functional, personal.
Layout: The single-story house (with a loft) isn’t totally open-concept, but each room flows really well into the next. Cristin entertains and cooks meals for friends often and said despite what all of her industry friends suggested, she refused an open concept because she didn’t want to be able to see the dishes in the kitchen while eating at the dinner table.
Shops and inspiration
California cool: Cristin said her usual style is a little more eclectic but “this house calls for very little ornamentation, so it needs to be very simple and clean. … I’ve always had a Scandinavian bend to my style anyways, and that’s pretty much all you see in LA.”
Her house has some pops of color but her aesthetic is more about textures, natural light and clean lines.
Fun and functional: For major furniture pieces, like a sofa, Cristin prefers neutrals so artworks and accessories can shine as more flamboyant focal points.
“I would never buy a couch that’s a roaring color because it’s so easy to swap out rugs and pillows and get a whole new look,” she said. “And my mom is a professional artist, so I grew up in monochromatic home because she wanted the artwork to pop. I grew up that way.”
Feminine colors: Cristin opted for a colorful rug and artwork and created her color pallet from those pieces.
“This house is very feminine which, as a divorced woman, I really like,” she told me. “I like having my own space and for it to be feminine — not having to worry about what the man of the house thinks. … I have a lavender bedroom, raspberry chairs in the living room.”
Artful interiors: Cristin has tons of artwork displayed throughout her home, but her most treasured pieces were created by her son when he was younger. She said hanging meaningful artwork makes any house she’s in feel like her home — it’s the one constant no matter what style the house calls for.
An entertainers dream: Cristin loves to entertain, so it was important for her to have a kitchen she feels proud to cook in. The kitchen is gorgeous and just as unique as the rest of the house with the waterfall countertops, mirror backsplash and sleek cabinetry. She also said she’s “a sucker for appliances,” so that’s where a good chunk of her renovation budget went — and she has no regrets about it.
Two-day shipping fanatic: “To be honest, I buy just about everything online. There’s some Amazon pieces, Wayfair pieces,” she said. “It’s a good thing to be able to get anything you want delivered to your doorstep in two days.” She also works up 12-hour days (or more) so there’s no shame in loving convenience.
Furniture finds: Cristin’s favorite local shop is Slate in Plaza Midwood, and she really likes unique finds she picks up while traveling. She also said she has good luck at Home Goods.
Photos courtesy of Cristin Donley.
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