Last year, Tony Battah, owner of Hans Krug Fine European Cabinetry in Charlotte, sponsored his first Mad About Modern Home Tour. This year, he took his passion for preserving mid-century modern design to the next level when he became personally involved in Charlotte’s first Mod Designer Showcase Home.
Battah was drawn to the home on Lansing Drive because of its mid-century bones. “Unfortunately, it was in bad shape,” he says. “I knew it was in danger of being leveled for a new home – one with much less character – to be built in its place. I didn’t want our community to lose another mid-century modern jewel.”
He purchased the home and began remodeling it with the distinctive cabinetry from his store, Hans Krug. Around the same time, the Charlotte Museum of History’s Mad About Modern Board of Directors was searching for a home for its Mod Designer Showcase. Battah’s house was the perfect fit.
The architects from Liquid Design had already provided the plans for the home, and Dennis Pumneo of Pumneo Builders, a contractor passionate about mid-century home restoration, was overseeing its renovation.
Having worked with Pumneo on many projects over the years, Battah knew he was the right builder to enhance the clean, modern lines of the home’s mid-century past while giving it a more open, livable design for today’s homeowner.
“To be great at this type of work, you have to not only have a vision for the house itself, but also for what is going on inside the home,” Pumneo says. “True midcentury modern was all about the colors, furniture, and details of the home. I think the thing that sets me apart from others doing mid-century, is that I understand the finishes and I listen to how people want to live in their homes.”
Pumneo describes the home as a typical ‘60s ranch with good lines. The home needed curb appeal, and its main living areas needed to become more open for entertaining. A new front door and sidewalk were added to the home’s exterior. Cedar details completed the front gable and gave it a warmer appearance from the street, while reducing the brick on the facade.
The home’s old kitchen and laundry room were very compartmentalized, true to mid-‘60s style. To bring them up to date, Pumneo opened up the main living spaces to create a large area for entertaining. Modern cabinetry by Hans Krug was added to each of the other rooms to complete the updated look.
“We used the very best materials,” Battah says. “Having access to everything we do at Hans Krug made the renovation process easier and gave the home a true feeling of modern luxury.” “To pull off a great project you must have a great team of people, including homeowners,” Pumneo says. “We had a great group of designers who pulled it together and supported each other’s ideas and truly made it fun. You don’t often work with three different designers on a project, but things were seamless.”
The entire showcase home highlights the contributions each designer made – the essential architectural and design elements that make the home a success. The floors from Birmingham Wood, countertops from Cosentino, tile from Instyle, and work from Tees Electrical and HMS Mechanical Services laid the foundation. Artwork from Sozo gallery added life while Couture Knots provided the rugs used in the formal living room, family room, and sitting room. Appliances came from Miel and the classic mid-century modern accents were sourced from Design Within Reach in Charlotte.
Sarah Catherine Garvin, the lead designer, was also responsible for the collaborative design effort. She brings more than fifteen years of interior design experience and a globallyinspired perspective to her work. Her high-end studio, Sarah Catherine Collective (SCCo) has designed more than sixty homes.
Ashley DeLapp of Ashley DeLapp Interior Design and Monika Nessbach with designbar were also on the design team. Ashley DeLapp’s studio is a full-service interior design firm based in SouthEnd, while designbar, also a full-service firm, focuses on hospitality, corporate, retail, and multifamily design projects. Garvin and the team began their work from the studs. Hans Krug had already designed the kitchen and selected cabinetry for the home. Garvin finalized their decisions and drew inspiration from their selections. The chartreuse color in the pantry cabinets became her jumping off point, as she weaved the electric color throughout the home, beginning with the home’s vibrant front door.
A dramatic accent wall from Hans Krug in Tribal Makassar matte veneer divides the formal living area from the rest of the home. In this space, which seemed geared for the mid-century modern lifestyle of entertaining, Garvin envisioned an art gallery feel and used sculptural architectural elements to enhance the mood.
“It had a cool vibe and lent itself to a curved sofa that welcomes you and wraps its arms around you as you walk in,” she says. Her artistic eye also targeted the back corner of the home, where she felt a huge focal point was needed. Sarah Catherine Collective created the custom channel tufted banquette to define the space.
The kitchen features a Tribal Makassar island, Hans Krug Safari Glass countertops, and Italian leather stools. In the living space, Garvin created a warm, casual area for the family to relax, installing another custom-made curved sofa to complement the curves of the room’s fireplace, along with custom swivel chairs to flank a burl wood coffee table, giving a nod to midcentury modern style. Her choice of bouclé fabric for the chairs accented by gold and rust pillows creates a warm, energetic vibe throughout the home.
Garvin also designed the guest bath, drawing inspiration from the mint green cabinetry by Hans Krug. She used porcelain tile with a subtle geometric digital pattern and classic penny rounds for the backsplash.
A vintage Curtis Jere brass table lamp in the living room and vintage Turkish rugs from Fos Restoration Company were among some antique pieces used. “It’s always nice to put a piece of history in your home,” Garvin explains, who says she doesn’t gravitate toward any one style but likes an elegant, effortless mix. “There’s a certain feeling you get from vintage pieces; it’s an underlying vibrancy that pulsates through the room.”
Monika Nessbach pulled the sitting room together in golden chartreuse with rich navy accents. The Couture Knots white shag rug grounds her classic Knoll Barcelona chair, and the 1930s modernism-inspired Bantam sofa and William Platner coffee table, both from Design Within Reach, round out the space. Mid-century graphic wallcovering by Mitchell Black creates the vibrant accent wall, while custom floating shelves illuminated with LED lights from Illuminating Technologies add modern flair. The mid-century-inspired tripod floor lamp and artwork from Sozo Gallery add equal modern flair, complementing the Oak Champak closet by Hans Krug.
“Mid-century modern is my favorite design style, so I was really excited when Sarah and Tony approached us for this collaboration,” Nessbach says. “Our inspiration started with the idea of incorporating a focal wall with geometric patterns and built-ins, which was so indicative for this era. We then elevated the design to the 21st century by incorporating LED accent lighting and modern furniture pieces with classic roots.”
Ashley DeLapp also likes to throw a little vintage into the mix, using vintage lamps and nightstands in the master bedroom she designed. “I always incorporate vintage pieces into my designs,” DeLapp says. “They give character when used alongside new items and I love how they make a room unique.”
DeLapp drew her inspiration from the shag rug with its muted palette of blues, purples, and blush. Bold color is DeLapp’s trademark, so she chose grasscloth by Phillip Jeffries in vivid purple to accent the wall behind the bed. Artwork and pillows by local artist Windy O’Connor pair nicely with the patterns and textures DeLapp chose to accent a Hans Krug Walnut Corte laminate closet. The modern brass chandelier from Illuminate Vintage adds a final crowning touch. The home has been such a success and the team’s collaboration worked so well; Battah says he is eager to tackle another mid-century remodel. “We know there is a renewed appreciation for the unique design qualities of mid-century modern homes, and these homes are in danger of being torn down,” Battah says. “We are working to preserve these neighborhoods that make Charlotte unique by finding and restoring as many of these homes as we can. Our team has a vision for modern design that celebrates mid-century modernism and also works for the way we live today.”