John and Jaime's Contemporary Woodland Escape

John and Jaime's Contemporary Woodland Escape

Katie Gard
Nov 16, 2011

Name: John and Jaime, Gypsy (dog), Neo (cat), and a newly found kitten we started calling Wednesday
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 3

When residents of America's most bustling metropolises think of North Carolina, images of rustic cabins, bare feet, and banjo music likely play through their minds. And, as I drove down the winding country roads towards Jaime and John's home, I was thinking they might be right. So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon their stunning updated 1980's contemporary deliciously juxtaposed with the rough-edged natural elements of their heavily wooded lot in Orange County, NC. You know how it feels when you bite into a brown, wrinkled fig expecting it to be bitter and vile, but instead it's surprisingly refreshing and exactly what you wanted? Well, crossing the threshold of John and Jaime's airy retreat is kind of like that.

With its crisp, white interior brick walls and a façade fronted by glass sliders, their home feels like a soothing spa. A calming neutral base color palate of cool whites and purple-grays is punctuated with bright bursts of accent colors by way of art, furniture, and, if you're lucky like me, food! Retro throwbacks mixed with industrial inspiration creates a vibe all their own—a small hint of steampunk with a dash of disco and a twist of zen. And, while it may sound more like a cocktail than a decorating style, they're definitely making it work.

With a personal belief that "old and used beats new and green any day of the week," Jaime and John renovate and decorate with the knowledge that when it comes to going green, reusing is often more sustainable than buying a new environmentally-friendly product. By refreshing the original interior doors and cabinets with paint, repurposing metal conduit as curtain rods and deck rails, gardening and raising their own chickens, and maintaining a general practice of renewing and reusing, this thrift-savvy couple attempts to minimize their impact on nature and succeeds in complementing, rather than competing with, the beauty that surrounds them.

Re-Nest Survey:

Our style: Chameleon-like; We try to complement the architectural style of the house, but we tend to be attracted to contemporary and minimalist.

Inspiration: Bauhaus, Dwell, Atomic Ranch, Mother Earth News, Beekman Boys, Apartment Therapy, Father and Son Antiques (Raleigh, NC).

Favorite Element: The light in the living room.

Biggest Challenge: Trying to make furniture selected for 1600sq ft traditional cape fit a 1000 sq ft contemporary.

What Friends Say: "This is not what I pictured your house to look like."

Biggest Embarrassment: The couch upholstery ...Approximately two weeks after it was delivered the, then newly adopted dog chewed the arm down to the wood frame and has now decided that it makes the perfect dog bed to drool on.

Proudest DIY: Bookshelves surrounding the fireplace in the living room.

Biggest Indulgence: The maple hardwood floors.

Best Advice: From my mother, who always told me, "It doesn't matter if it cost $5.00, $50.00 or $5000.00...Take care of it!"

Dream Sources: Knoll, Sotheby's, West Elm, any and all antique and vintage stores

Green Elements/Initiatives: Low voc paint, water saving bath fixtures, source reduction (used vintage furniture), backyard free ranging chickens, organic gardening and landscaping, rain barrels, composting, sustainable hardwood floors with Bona Traffic water sealant, renewing kitchen base cabinets, and reusing deck planks for shelving.


Guest Bedroom Closet Pulls: Knobs and Pulls

Kitchen Shelves: Container Store
Kitchen Counters: Solid Surface, "Glacier White"
Dining Table: Restore Warehouse
Dining Chairs: IKEA
Living Room Couch: Thomasville Furniture
Living Room "Barcelona" Chairs: Father and Son Antiques (Raleigh, NC)
Living Room Coffee Table: CB2
Guest Bedroom Orange Chair: Father and Son Antiques (Raleigh, NC)
Guest Bedroom Milo Baughman Credenza: Father and Son Antiques (Raleigh, NC)
Bathroom Vanity: Lowe's
Bathroom Shelves: Re-purposed warped deck planks

Apple Picking Ladder (Living Room): Sanford Antique Mall
Living Room Pillows: Furbish Studio (Raleigh, NC)
Shower Curtain: Target
Bathroom Faucet: Lowe's
Bathroom Medicine Cabinet: IKEA

Capiz Chandelier over dining table: West Elm

Rugs and Carpets:
Living Room Rug Dots: Flor
Bath Rug: Restoration Hardware

Window Treatments:
Living/Dining Room Sheers: IKEA

Master Bedroom Bed: IKEA
Master Bedroom Organic Cotton Duvet: West Elm
Guest Bedroom Day Bed Frame: Sleepy's
Guest Bedroom Organic Cotton Bedding: Target

Fireplace Mosaic: Pier 1

Living/Dining Room: "Waning Moon" by Martha Stewart color matched using Regal Select by Benjamin Moore
Master Bedroom: Benjamin Moore "Silver Fox" matte finish
Bathroom: "Ancient Stone" color matched in Benjamin Moore's Regal Select eggshell paint

(Thanks, John and Jamie!)

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(Images: Katie Gard)

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