KELLY AND CROMWELL SCHUPP FELL IN LOVE WITH color, which is necessary when you work with lacquer—a high shine and hard protective paint that can be applied to . . . well, almost anything. Six years ago, a shift began that pushed the couple to realize their dream of opening a vintage furniture and lacquer shop in Raleigh, called Rail & Stile.
Of course, giving new life to beautiful old pieces is bound to drip into your own home, so as the Schupps looked around their neutral 1920s colonial, they knew it was time for a colorfilled update. Having worked with designer Cameron Jones of Cameron Jones Interiors on client projects in the shop, the couple knew that she would be a perfect partner to bring their vision to fruition.
“The house is located between downtown and Cameron village, and it was originally a duplex,” Kelly Schupp explains. “We purchased it ten years ago, and some of the stuff we found while renovating was stunning—things like all-brick flues that don’t actually go to a fireplace. But the size was great, the neighborhood was great, and the all-brick exterior was great, so we couldn’t pass it up.” Sticking with a calming and understated neutral palette, they added a porch and a master bedroom on the main floor, among other changes. A decade later, with a new passion looming large in their lives, the couple wanted to enmesh their work life with their home life.
“I feel like most people need a soothing home environment,” Schupp says. “I used to think that meant neutrals or singular color schemes—and I do love that—but I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that color can add balance to a space. And it can be energizing.” Schupp adds that the style and color of furniture are integral to that feeling, but fabrics can complete it—and that’s where Cameron Jones is an expert. “Kelly deserves so much credit for the furniture; she has such an eye for it,” Jones says. “But we needed to showcase her pieces. We love a fun twist on the traditional, so we found out-of-the-box ways to use colors.”
With a goal to honor the colonial architecture of the home, the team worked together to create a space that not only paid homage to the Southern traditional, but also brought excitement to every corner of the home. “Cameron understands the livability of modern times, and how to bring modernity to every home,” Schupp says. “Colonials are ultimately a big box and can be challenging to flow, but the colors and fabrics that Cameron chose created a consistency that gave way to a natural flow.”
Jones adds that today’s remote times have made creating a vision for clients a bit challenging. Case in point: the fabric that led the design in this project. “I found this fabric that I knew was perfect for our design direction, and I sent a photo to Kelly with excitement; her response was lukewarm at best,” she explains. Most of their exchanges had been over email, text, or zoom. “I was a little deflated and decided to take the fabric with me the next time I saw her at home.”
“She brought the fabric over to me and when I saw it in person, I fell over. It was so beautiful,” Schupp recalls. “The photo did it no justice. Fabric is just such a tactile thing.”
When asked to describe her home in one word, Schupp struggles. She’d like to say colorful, but decides that it is too overused and boring. She might choose eclectic, but feels it sometimes comes with a bad connotation. She settles on balanced. “We were aiming for traditional with a twist. We used a lot of chinoiserie and Asian pieces, faux bamboo, and even coastal elements,” she adds. “Cameron would tell me I needed to ground some spaces with real wood or black—two tools she uses frequently. For me, though, with all the color I was using, the white walls with wainscoting were key.”
“The Roman shades are simple linen, and the white walls, woven shades, and warm woods all serve to create that balance. It’s about the furniture and fabrics in this home,” Jones says. For Jones, the Schupps were the ultimate clients because they have “killer style,” but having great furniture, and incredible access to that furniture, was the icing on the cake. Both ladies echo the sentiment that this project was a labor of love. When designer and client admire each other, a little bit of magic happens. “It was exciting; it was creative. I mean, when people are redesigning their home, they want to see themselves reflected in the results,” Schupp says. “But you have to have someone you can trust to help you through it. I love that it’s colorful while at the same time calming— which I was nervous about trying to combine—so it was rewarding to see that happen.”
Schupp grew up in a home where aesthetics were an afterthought. “I think that’s what drove my hunger for creativity, beauty, design.” She worked an uncreative day job, so in her spare time she would create custom furniture to express herself. Her husband, Cromwell, had a background in custom cabinetry, and the next step seemed obvious. The pair opened Rail & Stile, and now they turn vintage pieces into updated treasures for clients and designers alike.
Jones has a similar story. “I honestly didn’t pay much attention to design or homes or furniture growing up,” she says. After working at Georgetown Medical and then becoming a mom, Jones began fixing up her home. “I was always shopping thrift and vintage because it was what I could afford, and at night I would pore over design books as a hobby,” she admits. “I started taking design classes at night for fun, got certified, and started a design blog—again as a hobby. But then I started helping friends fix up their homes and it kind of grew from there.”
“Cameron is such a great bridge from old to new,” Schupp says. “There’s never a moment that she makes you feel intimidated, which is so important.”
Just as important is modesty, perhaps. When asked about her design aesthetic, Jones humbly states that when she compares her work to other designers’ work, she sometimes worries that it doesn’t seem as polished or photo-worthy. “But it is soulful, and it’s my client’s life, and it’s functional.”
When asked about their favorite rooms in the home, the two women have slightly different answers. Jones is particularly attached to the living room, in which there is a bookcase full of perfect squares. Though a tad challenging to style, the result is stunning and the items are unique. “We covered the back of the bookcase in navy grasscloth, which really makes all of our items pop. We actually shopped Kelly’s home for all the accessories; she has the coolest collection. So everything is meaningful.”
Though she agrees that the living room is stellar, with pops of unexpected yellow, blue, and the red from the Turkish rug, Schupp must declare the master bedroom as her favorite. “It’s so calming and beautiful; everything nods to the blue bed,” she says. “I get clients all the time who fret over what kind of nightstand to put with their headboard, and I tell them to use simple linens and consider doing the bed and nightstands in the same color because it’s so calming.”