See a Modern Take on Vintage in This North Carolina Home

A designer and vintage furniture fan has turned her Charlotte, North Carolina, home into her design lab.

June 03, 2020

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

Photo By: Andrew Sherman

North Carolina’s Queen of Vintage Modern

Ariene Bethea is the creative force behind Dressing Rooms Interiors Studio, a design firm and vintage shop based in Charlotte, North Carolina. While she uses her shop to meet clients and store her vintage finds, her home is really her design lab. For 13 years, Ariene has perfected her style in the space that she shares with her husband Daren and their dog Mini.

The Perfect Entryway

Ariene describes her newly built, 3,100 square foot, 4-bedroom home as "craftsman-ish," blending modern and classic elements. The home welcomes guests with an entryway that is a clear statement of what matters to the people who live here. A beautiful collection of objects rests atop the Chinese-style cabinet, which is flanked on both sides by images of iconic African-American musicians. The walls and welcome mat promise more color and pattern to come.

Maximalism 101

Ariene's living room is a visual treat. But there are some very functional decisions at the core of this fashionable layout too. "I knew I wanted to be able to see the TV from the kitchen," Ariene recalls. "Which meant there would be two focal points in the room — the TV and the fireplace." To make it work she designed the room around two separate-facing sofas. "This also created a natural walkway and room for custom cabinets," she says.

Objets d’Art

Ariene's love of material culture is present in every part of her home. Every wall is decorated with photos and paintings; every flat surface features stacks of books and statues — sometimes on top of each other. All the while Ariene's refined sense of balance and layering — a style she describes as "sophisticated bohemian" — keeps the space from feeling overwhelming.

Creating Connection

One of Ariene's tricks for creating balance within her multi-layered design aesthetic is to create subtle connections between those layers. The pattern on the leopard statue is echoed in several of the photos that hang above it. Connective threads like these help the eye move smoothly from one piece to another, allowing visitors to take it all in as a single coherent moment rather than as a collection of disparate parts.

Leaning Into Leopard

Ariene continues to demonstrate her fearless dedication to pattern with a complete set of leopard-print chairs around the dining table. As always, she blends them seamlessly into the overall decor of the home by creating connections all throughout the open plan living-dining room space. Color connections can be seen as far away as the brass-framed artwork on the living room wall, and as far up as the chandelier over the living area. Thematically, the chairs are echoed by the leopard-themed vase that sits on the dining room table.

A Space Apart

Originally the home's dining room, what is now Ariene's office is a place for her to work, reflect and create. But getting the space into its current shape wasn't easy. "The hardest part of designing my home was turning my dining room into a home office without it looking like an office," she says. Earlier iterations of the room included yellow walls, followed by white stripes before Ariene fixed on a simple backdrop of white for the walls. "The layouts changed as my business grew. It's more of a workspace now, since I've opened my shop and now have a dedicated office there."

Paintings in the Powder Room

When asked about her favorite space in the home, Ariene is quick to answer: "Right now it's my powder room," she says. And it's all because of the color. "I've been dying to use this color for a project and decided to use it myself." Taking a cue from the painting she wanted to have in the space and a weekend to do the project herself, Ariene created this stunning powder room full of art, energy and fun.

The Heart of the Home

At the top of the stairs, twin doors open on a small parlor space dominated by large paintings and beautiful velvet furniture. The furniture belonged to Ariene's mother, and remains in the same perfect condition in which it was purchased in the 1960s. "I get my love of design from my mom," Ariene reflects. "She taught me to buy once and buy well."

A Retreat for Guests

Guest rooms are often catchalls for things that don't quite go with the rest of the house. But Ariene has designed her guest suite to be a full-on retreat for anyone staying with her. The blue walls, sand-colored carpet and wood furnishings create an island feel that's supported by the palm leaf art and canopy bed. Colorful textiles throughout the space keep the color palette lively and add to the tropical aesthetic.

A Quiet Palette

The second guest bedroom offers a restful aesthetic of a different sort. The pastel walls and bright orange floral curtains give the space a whimsical feel. It's a calmer side of the home's decor, evoking a seaside cottage rather than a beachside resort. For Ariene, creating different looks is part of the fun. The constant search for the perfect piece is what keeps her on the move. "I own a vintage shop so I'm always traveling and picking up things," she says.

Global Design in Every Room

The master bedroom is the boldest of the bedroom suites. Like the rest of the home, it has been designed to reflect Ariene's eclectic tastes while inviting guests on a unique visual journey. "I love that our home reflects our love of culture and family," she says. "I've used art, masks, objects and coffee table books to tell the story of who we are and what's important to us."

Shop This Look