Design Master Class Tips and Tricks from The N&O Design TeamDesign Master Class Casey Blalock

Design Master Class: Casey Blalock

June 13, 2014 

  • About the designer

    Senior designer Casey Blalock has 25 years of interior design experience, having worked in Southern California, Kansas City, Oklahoma City and the Triangle. She studied interior design at Oklahoma State University and received her bachelor’s degree in art history, design and fine arts from the University of Kansas. Associate designer Allison Chetwood was also part of this project.

  • Design Master Class

    N&O Design Team members who share their expertise twice a month in Home & Garden are all members of the Alliance of Interior Designers, a group of Triangle-area professionals. Learn more at

The challenge

“I have an entire house of beach furnishings and an entire house of traditional furnishings. How on earth do I combine them into one townhouse?” This was the challenge we confronted when our clients combined their New Orleans family home and beach home into a North Raleigh townhouse. See the stunning result on 4D.

Super space

Combining households and downsizing need not be overwhelming. For our empty-nesters, this transitional townhouse was the culmination of a dream – a “grown-up” home that comfortably fit their new lifestyle and echoed their story of a life well traveled. It was important to reflect their rich personal history throughout the space, while using furnishings from both previous residences to create a carefully edited and beautiful collection.

The two-story living room and adjacent dining room comprise a tall, narrow space with soaring ceilings. Working with traditional mahogany furniture, a pair of richly colored Persian rugs and a varied and extensive collection of artwork, we gave new life to existing furnishings by pairing them with a palette of soft blues and punches of cranberry, contemporary textiles and unexpected touches of whimsy.

To combine the furnishings effectively, we added a few key pieces. A new media cabinet with platinum and mahogany finishes and contemporary lines bridges disparate styles. The whimsical Flambeau chandelier above the inlaid mahogany dining table is a welcome juxtaposition to traditional Henkel Harris furniture, and a settee at the table creates a comfortable reading nook.

Grasscloth wallpaper adds a textural backdrop for an art collection that is as varied by age as by media. A French trumeau-style mirror, hand-crafted by a local artisan, placed over the fireplace is a beautiful statement piece that pairs well with the art collection. Tying these elements together, the tone-on-tone silk draperies fall in a relaxed drop from rosettes at ceiling height.

Terrific trick

Using a darker color on one side of a narrow space will give the illusion of extra width. In this space, we used Pratt & Lambert Hudson Blue on the fireplace and one long wall and a much lighter color, Pratt & Lambert Diamond, a very soft hint of blue, on the opposite wall. Not only did this alter the visual perception of the space, it also made a dramatic statement while giving an overall feel of lightness.

(Not) by the book

We arranged the owners’ collection of art to make the most of the tall walls. Taking a cue from a 17th-century Paris salon tradition, we hung the artwork nearly floor to ceiling. We overlapped two paintings over the tall cabinet to create a more interesting arrangement.

The Virginia Gail Collection

510 Meadowmont Village Circle #307, Chapel Hill

919-929-9910 or

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