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Rare restoration: A tailormade Merry (Oaks) home 

A typical day in the life of creative power couple Chris Best and Sandi Fix may involve getting President Obama camera-ready, or teaching Michael Madsen how to hold a very large gun on the set of a little 2010 movie called The Killing Jar — and that's on a slow day.

Best, an accomplished art director, designer and prop master for the film and television industry, is also an avid collector and highly skilled carpenter. His booth at Slate Interiors on Central Avenue boasts a spectacular collection of art, vintage pieces and antique collectibles that are both rare and unique. Fix, a leading name in the world of film and TV, is a talented and sought-after makeup artist who's been refining her skills for 23 years now. The former Miss South Dakota also boasts a personal client roster that puts Oprah's holiday guest list to shame. They've both done a great deal of acting, dabbled in photography, and are visual artists.

In November 1999, the couple found a lovely three-bedroom ranch-style home for sale in the Merry Oaks neighborhood of Charlotte. They not only bought it, but also were married in an outdoor wedding ceremony in its spacious backyard.

The front room of the home is also known as the music room. The deep red of the walls is illuminated by the natural light streaming in through the windows. Minimal furniture accents the room. Fix's music stand sits daintily in one corner and is oftentimes accompanied by the guitar that Best bought for her birthday.

Moving through the home, one can't help but notice the openness of the space. The rich, colorful textures of the dining, kitchen and living areas are wildly reminiscent of a charming, tucked-away Tuscan villa. The dining room is painted a tranquil green, and it walls are decorated with an array of original artwork and postcard-like photographs of their extensive travels. A built-in display case plays home to Fix's extensive glassware collection, which is the first thing to catch your eye. The shelf, as Best explains, was once a window looking into the garage that he replaced with the shelving unit.

"The open plan didn't used to be so open," says Best. "We had to knock down a few walls to get what we wanted. We're big on functionality."

In the modernized kitchen, it's easy to be drawn to what lies behind a set of exquisitely crafted doors painted a green-blue color. Looking around at the complete lack of appliances displayed on the countertops, it's evident that they are the doors to a cleverly disguised appliance pantry. The cabinet doors themselves were items Best and Fix salvaged from an old schoolyard. The distressed finish is representative of a look similar to what they had seen all over Italy.

"My family's from a small town in Italy, so we really wanted to go with that old, hand [painted] style," Best says, gesturing his hands as if he were painting. "I basically wanted the doors to look like they had been in the Mediterranean sun for 100 years."

Off to the left in the kitchen, in its own little alcove, sits the stove. Complete with textured brown, faux leather ceilings, an adjustable spice rack, and a tiny wooden ceiling fan, this functional little space is just far enough away from the living area, but still in perfect view of the TV.

One of the most authentic facets of Best and Fix's kitchen is the amazing color palette running through it. The walls are painted a very pleasing, almost burnt orange color, and serve as an ideal backdrop for the calming accents of the refurbished cabinet doors. The kitchen ceiling, a darker shade of yellow, matches the temperate color scheme perfectly.

It's obvious that this couple isn't afraid of color.

It's the very small, unique details that sets this house apart from others. The granite countertops that Best says remind him of an aerial satellite view of the rainforest; the little brass pieces of an old window that now serves as decorative spacers on their cork backsplash; the amazing murphy bed in the guest room/home office that was built in three days — they are all elements that make Fix and Best more than just a couple of talented artists with a flair for choosing the right color scheme. They are true architects of their own design who have thoughtfully conceptualized, designed, and constructed their way into a stylized dream home.

If you're interested in having your home featured in our regular Creative Living column, please e-mail

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