From their Mid Century Modern residence in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’d never guess that Holly Schoolmeester and her husband Ken were newcomers to MCM before they purchased their 1960 home.
About “97%” of the North Carolina home is filled with vintage Mid Century Modern furnishings, thanks to the help of local furniture store Mid Century Salvage and its owners Scott Whitaker and Darra Privett, the Schoolmeesters’ home is now the mid century pride of the neighborhood.
With a home chock-full of so many Mid Century Modern goodies, we had to go more in-depth into the pieces of this Charlotte home.
AR: Can you tell me about the color scheme of the living room and the choice of more muted colors?
Holly Schoolmeester: We went more neutral because one, I needed it to match the dining room because the whole space is open and secondly, from that living room you can see into the sunken room and there was a lot already going on so I went with a more neutral room to complement the dining room and not contrast with the conversation pit. I tried to create one big harmonious space … jumping off from that one big painting in the dining room.
AR: As for the Adrian Pearsall Walnut Jacks coffee table, why did you choose this shape?
HS: I just loved it. I love that’s it unique and that it’s not round or oblong. I love the kidney shape of it and it would add interest to the room. I just thought that in that room, it would benefit from something more organic in shape versus linear.
AR: The ottoman is an interesting shape as well. Why did you go with a really long, curved couch?
HS: It was designed like that. [Mid Century Salvage] refinished it and we chose that striped fabric to reupholster it. We liked that it was lower and I wanted something lower. To be honest I didn’t think it was going to be comfy but it’s one of the most comfortable pieces in that house. You’ll fall asleep in ten minutes.
AR: And can you tell me more about the turquoise Plycraft lounge chair?
HS: [Mid Century Salvage] already had it reupholstered that color and I fell in love with it. I shaped the rest of the room around that color of the chair. That’s why we chose the striped fabric [of the ottoman] to kind of go with that chair. I’ve never owned anything blue in my life—now half my home is blue.
AR: You seem to really be a fan of chandeliers. What do you most like about them in relation to the MCM style? And are you a fan of the exploding star style?
HS: Both. The sputnik is from the MCM style so I love it. And I definitely wanted the sputnik chandelier in the conversation room because we have two huge front windows and when the chandelier is on I wanted to see it from outside the home.
AR: What do you love about this Quistgaard Teak Credenza?
HS: There’s little corrugated slips on the whole bottom drawer front, and so the drawer kind of accordions back on itself. It looks like it’s solid like a roll top desk—instead of rolling up, it rolls to the side. It’s pretty cool.
AR: Can you tell me the background behind the original Shag painting on the dining room wall?
HS: It’s an artist print … kind of like his base for when he does his other prints … typically the artist print is more expensive than the other prints.
We actually went to Shag in Palm Springs and bought it. He always depicts a fun party, and that’s exactly what we wanted.
AR: Where did you find the Jonathan Adler Chandelier above the dining table? What made you decide to hang it there?
HS: I found it online at jonathanadler.com. I liked the scale of it, it fit right for the room. I liked that most of his pieces have a mid century flair to them, and I wanted something modern but retro at the same time. It’s hard to find a large vintage original chandelier, and Jonathan Adler has a great design flare for the ’50s and ’60s. All original.
AR: Why did you decide to go with a non-vintage piece for the dining table?
HS: I’d say there’s like three percent [of the home] that we kept original pieces. And because that space is a square, it was hard to find something that fit the scale and space of that area. I kept trying to find something else that was more vintage and there was nothing out there. Most things are oblong … I could not find [a round Knoll table] large enough to fit that space.
AR: Can you tell more about this five piece divider?
HS: The top of the shelving portion I got from Mid Century Salvage. I had been talking to Scott that I wanted floating shelves for the cat … below it is the litter box for the cat. When you look to the right of the cabinet there’s a round hole that goes into the first compartment for the cat to walk through with a pad to catch kitty litter from its feet … [the] second compartment is the litter box, I got it off of Etsy. And I chose walnut, you can choose all these finishes to match with your house.
AR: How do you feel about the role of lighting in your home? Do you feel it is important?
HS: Yes, very. I like ambient light. I just like when you have other forms of light, other ambient light, in a room. I just think it helps to warm [the room], and it’s more pleasing to the eye when you have more forms of light. When you have a table lamp or freestanding, downlight or uplight, and a wall sconce … it just gives the room more dimension.
AR: Why did you choose to install a sliding door instead of a traditional one?
HS: I designed that because I didn’t want a door that either opened into the bedroom and block something or open into the bathroom and block the bathroom.
AR: Can you explain the concept of these floating shelves?
HS: I don’t know what people used to use that for, but when I saw it at Mid Century Salvage I fell in love with it, but I was concerned there was no space for it. I turned to Scott and said ‘You know what, this would make a great jewelry box.” Scott lined all of those drawers with padded silk and all of those drawers are essentially a floating jewelry box. It’s one of my favorite pieces.
AR: Explain your thought process behind styling this colorful outdoor pool area.
HS: So Scott found images online of what the cushions were supposed to look like from the ’50s and I chose crazy fabric colors from the ’50s. Usually they’re white. I got Sunbrella fabric and Scott made all of the outdoor cushions for me in the original style. I wanted the pool area to be fun and playful and kind of like a party place. I just wanted it to be vibrant and fun. If I went with all white it would just be too stark and sophisticated and nice.
When people come to our pool parties I just want them to have fun. I don’t think we had them then, but now we have blow-up flamingos. I have a big floatie of a pink flamingo in the pool and put a white Christmas wreath around its neck.
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