While designers are accustomed to varying levels of participation from clients during the design process, it’s rather unusual for both husband and wife to be happily engaged in almost every detail.
“Most couples don’t always work well together when building a house,” says interior designer Carole Weaks with a laugh, “but this was not the case with Beverly and Butch Ellars. They were totally involved and in sync with each other; it really was a joyful, collaborative experience.”
Butch, an engineer by training, took on the more technical aspects during the process, while Beverly reveled in the interiors of their Highlands, North Carolina, retreat. The rooms are refined, not rustic, and altogether very comfortable and welcoming. Weaks made sure to include Beverly’s favorite color, red, in every room, sometimes in generous doses and sometimes with a light brushstroke.
“It’s wonderful when someone really responds to a particular color because it gives a designer direction. But you don’t want to saturate the rooms with it,” says Weaks. Indeed, there’s something so irresistible about Weaks’ use of red in this home that it seems au courant again. She paired the bold shade with pretty neutrals, unlike the heavy-handed “red rooms” of past decades. The laundry room, wallpapered in a charming red-and-white Designers Guild pattern, brings a lighthearted attitude to the task at hand. The dining room chairs show off a rich red upholstery, while in the powder bath there are just specks of red in a silver metallic botanical-print wallpaper.
Many pieces from the Ellars’ former Highlands home were put to use in new ways. “The foyer is a great example of how you can repurpose pieces,” says Weaks. “The iron console, placed at the end of the space with a more contemporary piece of art instead of a traditional landscape, feels fresh. We also reupholstered many things, as well, and we wanted to find a place for all these lovely, quality pieces.”
Sometimes, of course, new pieces are required due to a room’s size and shape. A rectangular dining table simply would not work in the new octagonal room, for instance. And Weaks couldn’t resist adding a few new pillows and other accents into the mix. But here, the old, new and in-between all carry on a meaningful conversation, thanks to a mutual love of classic beauty and, of course, the color red.