Home of young Charlotte couple featured in HGTV magazine

CorrespondentJanuary 31, 2014 

  • Great decor on a budget

    • Look for bargains at auctions, flea markets, Craigslist and other second-hand sources.

    • Keep to your budget, but buy pieces you like and are well-made. They can be refurnished, repainted, repaired.

    • Don’t rush to fill every space all at once. You’ll end up spending twice as much as you need to. It’s OK for rooms and walls to remain empty until the right “finds” materialize.

    • Buy a couple yards of sumptuous fabric for throw pillows on that inexpensive but comfortable sofa.

    • Paint is a cheap but effective way to make terrific design statements. Ever consider a rich gray kitchen with white-painted cabinets next to a dark eggplant dining room? It works for the Dunns.

If Bryn and Matt Dunn’s house illustrates anything, it’s that style and taste don’t depend upon a budget.

This young couple, who moved into the two-story, 2,300-square-foot colonial house in Charlotte in May 2010, have deliberately kept the cost of furnishings low. “We’re young, and this is the first house we’ve bought,” Bryn Dunn explains. “We admit that we don’t have a whole lot of money. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t like nice things.”

It helps that Bryn, 29, is an interior designer. And she has trained Matt, 30, to look at potential home purchases with a critical eye.

The result is a comfortable, texture-rich space in soothing neutral colors and décor whose sophistication belies the age of its occupants.

Moreover, no less a style arbiter than HGTV Magazine agrees that the Dunns hit a home run with their fresh aesthetic and budget-friendly approach: The Hearst publication features the home in its February issue.

In her position in marketing and design at Isabella, a home furnishings boutique in Myers Park, Bryn had met a client whose Davidson home was featured in the magazine. Serendipity did the rest to match up the Dunns with the publication.

After their marriage in 2007 one of Bryn Dunn’s first projects was transforming their tiny rental house in Southern California into a livable space on a strict budget. Flea market treasures were the norm, but both she and her husband dreamed of the day when they could stretch out in a house of their own.

Southern California’s cost of living made that dream seem impossible. But in November 2009, Matt Dunn’s company gave him the opportunity to relocate. One of the choices was Charlotte.

They happily got rid of most of their furnishings from California so they could start from scratch to acquire more sophisticated pieces.

They found a solid investment in the 1990 house on a quarter-acre with three bedrooms, a bonus room for an office and two-and-a-half baths – enough room if children came along.

The treasure trove of secondhand resources they’ve found in the Charlotte area has delighted them.

Bryn takes the lead but Matt weighs in, as well. “He’s the best husband for what I do,” she says. “We’ll find a piece of furniture, and so long as it’s comfortable and doesn’t cost too much, he’s amenable. And he has developed a really good eye for design along the way.”

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