WRITTEN BY Bek Mitchell-Kidd
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Christina Hussey
A phenomenal use of space, this 3,300-square-foot home encompasses four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and is flooded with natural light. Located in Charlotte’s Eastover neighborhood and renovated in 2015, the vibe is modern cottage.
Bustling with life, the house is home to interior designer Hillary Rondero, her husband Pat, daughter Piper, sons Tripp and Wolfie, dogs Rocky and Margot…and 19-year old cat Luna.
Inspired by European motorsports, the front yard meets somewhere in the middle of systematic and hip. The street view reveals a viburnum hedge perimeter, which defines the property and creates a structured arrival.
Lush layers of green surround pebbled courtyards. Hillary comments, “I’m not a huge fan of grass and certainly not in small yards where you can make such an impact with greenery, shrubs and pots. I love the textural elements.”
Greeting guests on their approach to the house is a locally built custom-made steel ping pong table.
Tactical landscaping techniques delineate multiple rooms while maximizing the smaller lot size. Though Hillary describes herself as “selectively social,” saying her teenage daughter is the one who entertains the most, Pat and Hill often enjoy cocktails on one of the front terraces. With Charlotte’s climate and the simplicity of the evergreen landscape, the garden rooms can be enjoyed year-round.
The transition from the back of the home to the backyard is seamless. Elevating the terrace initiates a natural flow to the long, narrow pool. The pool is heated and saltwater, and was built during the renovation. Its unique sizing makes the backyard feel substantial.
“Coffee in a chaise by the pool is my happy place…the smells, the sound of the water, the sun…,” says Hillary. The pool area also includes a heavenly 500-square-foot guest loft with a full bath.
A small boxwood hedge with four columnar hornbeams anchoring the corners prescribes elegance and a boundary for the al fresco backyard dining room. By intentionally creating spaces and multiple seating areas with the hardscape and greenery accents, the feeling of an ample yet private enclosure is shaped.
While it’s a sea of green outdoors, inside the color palette is a mix of black, white and neutrals. Hillary says, “There’s a lot of texture, wood materials and gilded decor. I live for juxtaposition.”
The intertwining of materials and layers of white, including Statuary marble countertops in the kitchen, balances the natural light and the lighting design selections.
Hillary says, “I chose repeating, large-scale, impactful, sculptural (lighting) pieces along the back wall of the house. The narrow space is transformed with these pendants’ bold presence. The open weave maintains a lightness, not to overpower the space. The lighting is truly ambient and not used for illumination.”
Just as with any home—or perhaps especially when the resident is an interior designer—dreams are still being realized. “I’m still working on one of my future favorite spaces in the design, the upstairs terrace! It’s going to be a like a city apartment terrace with trees and plants galore. The seating will focus around the full masonry fireplace,” explains Hillary.
Taking her own advice during the renovation of the home and gardens, Hillary reminds Peachy readers to be consistent within your space.
“I believe in giving the same level of design to all spaces and not treating any room like a secondary space. For instance, don’t just upgrade the plumbing fixtures in the powder room—choose a classic fixture that you can incorporate in each bathroom. And take risks! It’s almost always my favorite thing, whatever was the biggest risk!”