Something old, something new, something borrowed, something ... orange?
The matrimonial maxim, albeit with a twist, comes to mind when touring Taylor Presson's two-story Dilworth home. "My husband and I got married five years ago, and he had a house full of bachelor furniture I was stuck with, so I wanted to make it work on a budget," says Presson. "And so I met this girl and she showed me about fabric, and I started re-covering just about everything."
Presson, fashion choreographer for the local publication Little Ones Magazine, has invested hours of bargain-hunting to make sure no trace remains of a swingin' bachelor pad past. A formerly purple, geometric print-covered '80s-style chaise lounge is now adorned in a soft neutral tone, with funky orange pillows accenting. "This is me totally in personality, by the way," says Presson, holding up a pillow. "Orange and loud and a little bit furry."
As an art minor at Queens University, Presson has always been enthusiastic about finding external ways that reflect her internal makeup. "I've always been a clothing-aholic, I love to play with clothes, have them reflect different moods. So when I had kids, and found myself at home more, I wanted to be surrounded by what I love, by what reflects me."
Although no longer a practicing artist, unique artwork hangs throughout her home, much of it a gift from the artist Hunter Mallory, who lived with Presson and her family while she was growing up in New York City. In exchange for living with them, Mallory gifted his paintings to the family. One painting, of a mother and daughter, was given to Presson by Mallory after she gave birth to her own daughter.
Family heirlooms have been carefully restored. As a child, she teethed on what are now her living room chairs, updated with modern fabric and the addition of nailheads. The living room also has a nook for her great-grandmother's mahogany corner table, which is more than 100 years old. Although an antique like that is practically priceless, Presson does pride herself on sticking to a budget when shopping for new pieces: With the exception of just a few items, nothing has cost her over $300.
Throughout the first floor, one's eyes are drawn upward toward grand, unique chandeliers. Presson searched forever for the perfect dining room chandelier and finally found it at Charlotte Lighting on East Boulevard. "A friend of mine owns the store, and I made payments on it for months," she says. "It works in the room because it balances the mid-century lamp and the transitional mirrored buffet. Otherwise, it would be way too traditional for me."
The chandelier in the kitchen, from Lucy and Company, is by one of her favorite makers, WorldsAway. "I fell in love with the layered silver leaf finish and the 'disco' shadows it casts on the breakfast nook in the late afternoon and evening. It's the perfect balance to the French country cream cabinets and farmhouse sink. I even replaced the cabinet knobs so that it would all work."
The hallway's small cascading crystal chandelier is actually original to the house, built in 1924. "It is so timeless and elegant, I do not have the heart to replace it," says Presson. "If that exact piece wasn't there, then I have dreams of another 'cage' style chandelier to cast shows on the at least 25 foot wall adjacent to it ... circles, definitely circles this time."
The delicately, detailed décor makes it hard to believe Presson wasn't always interested in interior design. "My apartment was stripped down. It was for showering, eating, all the basics. My thought was, why would you want to be home when you've got the whole world to see? But now, I'm cool with chillin' at home. Every room has started with an inspiration. That's my biggest piece of advice. Find something that you love, and build everything else around it." Presson now admits she's "obsessed with interiors" and has a new blog, Sweet Home Charlotte, where she shares some of her finds, travels and stories. You can check it out at www.sweethomecharlotte.wordpress.com.
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