Michelle Lane defines design as being about constant change and movement. “I like to do everything with a twist,” says the Mooresville-based interior designer.
Lane, who named her firm Whirlygig Designs, moved to the Lake Norman area from Portland, Oregon, in 2010. Although she grew up in the South, her design aesthetic leaned toward the sleek, contemporary styles popular in the Northwest. “I found that just doesn’t fly here!” she says of her Southern clients’ more traditional tastes.
Among her first clients here, George and Wendy Shuping hired Lane to help design their new home at The Point in Mooresville. “Wendy’s style was very European country,” Lane says. Instead of one extreme or the other, she nudged everyone out of their comfort zones to create something altogether new.
“I really found myself in terms of design style in this house,” says Lane, who worked on the home’s design and construction specifications in tandem with luxury home designer Jim Phelps, and builder Warren Smith of Courtland Homebuilders.
Taking into consideration the couple’s love for entertaining and their two young daughters, Scarlett, 7, and Lillian, 9, Lane worked to give the Shupings a home that was stylish but also family friendly. “I made sure everything was functional first,” she says, “then I made it pretty.” Blending Wendy’s love for feminine glam and George’s penchant for neutrals, Lane stuck to a simple palette but layered on texture and details to add interest. “We ended up with this kind of urban lounge feel,” she says.
By paying close attention to detail (such as using over 25 different kinds of cabinet knobs and drawer pulls and fearlessly mixing metals throughout the home) Lane achieved a custom—not ‘matchy matchy’—look. Furnishings are sophisticated and chic, as in the living room’s ‘What’s New Pussycat?’ chairs from Caracole, but Lane really brought the drama in the home’s lighting. She used a pair of oversized lamps from Global Views in the living room and a massive crystal chandelier above the stairwell to stand up to the home’s high ceilings. Chandeliers in the keeping room and master bath add shimmer to otherwise utilitarian spaces. Several fixtures in the home, such as the gorgeous globe chandelier in the powder room, double their wow factor by casting stunning shadows on the walls when lit.
Lane even gave neutral paint colors a twist in the dining room, powder room, master suite, office, and girls’ rooms. She used metallic versions of grays, taupes, and deep blues, rendering a subtly lustrous effect. Some of the most striking features in the home are Lane’s show stopping wall installations. “I love to do something unexpected on the walls,” she says. In the dining room, gilded, dimensional ‘sea urchins’ from Arteriors were laid out in random patterns on opposite walls; in the hallway, white and gold ‘egg cups’ from Gold Leaf Design Group are scattered to create an abstract cascading pattern; in the living room, the wall behind the sofa holds a grid of identical mirrors; in the powder room and foyer, Lane hung groupings of eye-catching candle holders.
“I put a part of my heart into this house,” says Lane, and she isn’t finished yet. The Shupings currently have her dreaming up a sophisticated man cave design for the basement. Whatever Lane comes up with, it’s bound to be different—in a good way.