House Tour: Heather's Tobacco Warehouse Dream Loft

House Tour: Heather's Tobacco Warehouse Dream Loft

Rachael Grad
Jun 25, 2009

Name: interior designer Heather Garrett
Location: downtown Durham, North Carolina
Size: 1250 square feet
Type: a converted Liggett & Meyers tobacco warehouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Lived in: owned for 2 years


We profiled Heather's store, Heather Garrett Designs, and now you get to see her downtown Durham, North Carolina home. With two kids, ages 6 and 8, Heather keeps her home comfortable but stylish. The loft, once a tobacco warehouse, has 22' high ceilings and amazing natural light. To furnish her home, Heather combines Chinese antiques, thrift store finds, and furniture from Oly, Ikea, and Julian Chichester....


Apartment Therapy Survey

Style: I'm always remixing pieces from my store, one-of-a-kind collectibles, thrift store finds, and the most unusual lighting I can afford.

Inspiration: My third floor windows provide an amazing leafy backdrop with amazing natural light. It makes me want to fill the space with other materials and ideas I'd find outside. The shell chandeliers were a big part of that.

Favorite Element: The way the place looks at night. Dimming the lights, turning on some music and pouring a glass of wine after the kids are in bed... oh, rapture!

What Friends Say: People love the 22' high ceilings, and many friends have ended up with kitchen envy.

Biggest Embarrassment: Just after moving in, I had a dinner party during summer just before sunset. My apartment faces west, and the light through those 12' third floor windows was blinding and nearly baked us alive. I hadn't yet installed my current roller shades. By the time the sun had set, we were sweating profusely and seeing double. These weren't close friends, so I just pretended everything was fine, but I'd wanted it to be perfect and it was a disaster!

Biggest Challenge: Making a loft apartment work for my 6 and 8 year-old kids. The focus always has to stay on comfort and ease, with the knowledge that nothing upholstered is likely to last very long!

Proudest DIY: Solving my storage problem. I packed one of my tiny bedroom walls with Ikea modular closet pieces, left the doors off, and concealed it all with gauzy white linen panels (also from Ikea) on a ceiling height rod with rings. It's dreamy!

Biggest Indulgence: Expensive, big, yummy down pillows. They make the shabbiest sofa or saddest headboard like a million bucks. With zippered overs, I know I can at least remove the worst stains, bu the beauty of vintage or crushed velvet is that there is a huge "camouflage" factor built in.

Best Advice: Edit ruthlessly, and cut down on the contrast. I was given that advice years ago, after having failed on an early project with too many details, too many colors, and too many themes. It's been treasured advice for me, and I use it as a guide when I'm stuck.

Dream Source/Item: I'd be happy with a closet full of Anthropologie clothes and a house full of Oly furniture.


Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Pure White throughout and Venetial Marble in my bedroom. Custom polished plaster in the bathroom.
Furniture and accessories: Chinese antiques, thrift store finds, Oly, Ikea, Julian Chichester
Appliances: Hand Grohe and Frigidaire in the kitchen, bath fixtures from Hans Grohe and Durolfe
Window Treatments: Hunter Douglas solar shades
Art: paintings by Brad Huntzinger, sketches by Heather


Thanks, Heather!

(Images: Briana Brough Photography)

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