The Forever Home

Tragedy can change lives; surprisingly, sometimes for the better. Don and Gail Moore’s lives changed in 2005 when hurricane Katrina destroyed their home in New Orleans—where they had lived for 30 years...

Tragedy can change lives; surprisingly, sometimes for the better. Don and Gail Moore’s lives changed in 2005 when hurricane Katrina destroyed their home in New Orleans—where they had lived for 30 years. It was time for a different course, and in 2013 they bought a new home in Chapel Hill. Don, a retired CPA and avid golfer, was drawn to the upscale golf community of the Chapel Hill Country Club. The Moore’s daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren live in the same neighborhood, so the relocation decision was an easy one.  The 5,500 square-feet two-story, four-bedroom, three-bath home sits on almost an acre on the tenth and eleventh fairways of the challenging course. An elegant exterior of clean white brick reflects a Normandy architecture and the charm and feel of old New Orleans was instilled by the addition of outside gas lanterns.

As it is often with new residences, what started out as some minor desired changes evolved into a major renovation, resulting in gutting almost the entire house and changing much of the floor plan. Moving some furniture around would have been easy, but the owners added a 1,500 square-feet master bedroom suite, changed the previous master bedroom into one of three sitting rooms, built a study for Don, a patio, and a dramatic new staircase entry.

A home, it is said, is always an extension of self. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you find an interior designer who understands this and is willing to not only work with you but also during the process becomes your friend and confidant. She helps define your space through a relationship that exemplifies the very definition of trust because the connection is so innate. Loren Lamb, of Loren Lamb Interiors in Durham, is this kind of designer. She knew instinctively what this home needed to say. Realizing that interiors speak loudly to tell the story of its owners, Loren believes there is a difference between decorating and curating. She says, “While the design project was very rewarding, the most meaningful part of this endeavor was the long-lasting relationship I found with the clients and family. you can always buy new furniture, but some things you can never replace. Our relationship was one of those things.” Loren, also co-owner of Vintage Vault in downtown Durham, is known for her layered look, or what she calls, “ the art of the mix.” She says, “A space needs to reflect the personality of the homeowner.

Each project, to me, is an individual work of art. I consider each client’s lifestyle and budget and seek to design a functional as well as beautiful space that is not contrived.“ Loren’s skills were put to the test with the major renovation and she expanded her talents to include designing the master bedroom, bath, including all of the cabinetry and fixtures and walk-in closet. Gail and Don Moore appreciate antiques and like Loren, enjoy mixing the old with the new to reflect a feeling that is both classic and timeless. They took what was salvaged from the New Orleans home, including a 45-yearold teal chair that survived the test of time and mother nature, and started over. The resulting traditional interior is powerful and reminiscent of many different prominent art genres – European, Oriental and contemporary – all collected from their extensive travels abroad. Other personal, rescued objects with storied pasts  engage the eye throughout and fill the home with life and interest, offering an eclectic combination of comfort and creativity. Gail says, “Being close to our family gives us a sense of timeliness and permanence. I guess you could say that, spiritually as well as physically, this is our ‘forever home.’ And no matter what you lose, as what we experienced with Katrina, there are some things that can never be replaced. One of those things is family. There is a time to leave and a time to return. This is the forever time. The time to return… to a new space… to a new home.” And while forever is a long time for the Moore family, it’s a new beginning because permanence is best understood when it has been taken from you.