A Small Southern Home Is Quietly Renovated Over 13 Years — House Call

Name: T.D. and Lisa Luten and two dogs, Jack and Montana
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Size: 1,900 square feet
Years lived in: 13 years, owned

After we got married, we moved to Manhattan to pursue our careers. A couple years later, we were homesick. We bought our home over 13 years ago and have been quietly renovating it.

Our house is a federal style home with lots of windows. We started by making sure the bones were good—hardwood floors throughout, flat ceilings, smooth walls, new windows, and a custom, locally crafted door.

We wanted the home to be chic, but also incorporate furniture that’s been in our family for generations. Our dining room furniture was handed down from Lisa’s parents. Our living room bookshelves and buffet were handed down from T.D.’s grandmother.

Black matte walls are a common theme throughout the house. We started with one room and fell in love with the calming, neutral affect. Now we have three rooms with black accent walls and one painted entirely in black.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Updated South on a budget.

What is your favorite room and why? The bedroom is the favorite room in the house. We wanted to create a space that reminded us of our travels and of the peaceful feeling you have when you stay in a nice hotel.

The bed is covered in a fabric that’s handmade in Mexico and manufactured by a designer based in Mexico City. The furniture is manufactured in North Carolina and is over 100 years old.

The matte black wall takes up the majority of the room. With the abundance of light the room gets, the black wall centers the room and absorbs the extra light.

Our house was designed with our dogs’ comfort in mind. They have their own corner, complete with two large down-filled beds. Most of the furniture is designed for them to sleep on. The rugs are Flor tiles so that if they have an accident, they don’t get in trouble. We even lined the stairs with a jute runner so they wouldn’t slip and fall.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Work on the little details. I find that while other people may not notice them, they give me immense joy. We spent a long time scraping the popcorn off the ceiling, sanding it until it was perfectly flat, and finding the perfect ceiling paint to reflect the light coming from the windows. I could lie in bed and stare at the ceiling all day.

Look for classic items you can get for for little money. Our dining room chairs are from IKEA. Our kitchen table is from the Pottery Barn Outlet. Our butcher block countertops are IKEA. Our rugs are Flor tiles (bought during their annual sale!)

Thanks, Lisa!

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