It might be an unusual assignment to give a photographer while conducting an interview, but I had to do it. While chatting with Sandy Bowers, owner of the women's boutique Monkee's of Lake Norman, in her six-bedroom home in Davidson, I asked my photographer to count all the places to sit in the house.
His final answer was more than 60.
Her response? "We love to have parties. Casual parties, formal parties, whichever."
She definitely has the space for it. Bowers and her husband, their two dogs and two cats have lived in their 4,800 square-foot home for three years, but the décor is still a work in progress in some rooms. ("I have to wait until I'm inspired," she says. "I don't like to decorate just to decorate and say it's done.") The weekend prior to our visit, painters had just finished splashing a rich coat of pink onto the walls of an upstairs room.
She wasn't so sure about the color. "I had a heart attack initially," she says, "but it really came out great. I'm not a huge pink fan, but I was inspired by a magazine that showcased pink rooms. I thought it was really fun."
Fun? Yes. But even more so, it was fabulous.
Bowers calls the style of her home's décor transitional, but more on the modern side of the spectrum. In the same way she approaches her own wardrobe, she started with the foundational basics, neutral colors, before adding in some excitement, whether in billows or small pops of vibrancy.
A large, looming yellow painting made of fabric welcomes you into the foyer, playing off the yellow in the accent pillows on two chairs. In the dining room, red walls help to balance the rigidity of the traditional table and classic chandelier — not to mention the eight chairs of varying patterned upholstery ("I like to mix formal things with informal," Bowers says). The red, which she calls "dramatic and fun," floats into other rooms, slipping into the master bedroom and livening up the kitchen's appliances.
In the great room, Hermes plates adorn the wall near the ceiling, offering more subtleties of red, but the color that washes over you is the grayish blue on the walls and, at a lower percentage, on the ceiling.
"It's almost like a sea foam blue," she says. "I like the coast, and whenever we retire, we probably want to go down to Charleston. I think that helps to inspire my choices, especially the color palette. That's why I like yellow, too. It's sunny."
That sunshine brightens her office space, too, which, like the rest of the house, boasts an overall neutral tone with pops of color, like the Lilly Pulitzer-esque patterns on throw pillows and the armchair. "I figure as much time as I have to be in my office, it has to be a happy office," she says. Aside from the expansive acrylic table that disappears into the floor, side tables offer another place for the books and magazines that inspire her decorating eye, without adding clutter.
One of her favorites is a book featuring the photography of Slim Aarons, which she shows me as she sits on her leopard-print ottoman — bonus points for it being stylish and functional — back in the great room. "His photography is amazing. He was famous for taking pictures of high society way back when." She points to a photo of a family riding on water in what appears to be a boat made to look like a convertible. "I mean, who knows who these people are, but they're probably vacationing somewhere very nice. It looks like so much fun."
Maybe the family in the photo was vacationing at their fancy home in the Hamptons. With its tons of natural lighting, a great room reminiscent of a warm, partly cloudy day near the ocean, and plenty of seating for swanky parties, even landlocked, Bowers' Davidson house is nearly as good as having beachfront property.
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