The Palettes by Winesburg collection is a popular bedroom choice at Good’s Home Furnishings in Pineville.

Homing Instincts

Residents Turn to Area Stores to Achieve Décor Dreams

By Nan Bauroth | Photos by Ray Sepesy

The word is out. ZIP code 28277 is one of the hottest residential housing markets in the country. And as people flock to Ballantyne, they are feathering their nests with local finds that reflect a casual lifestyle. First, they are gathering décor ideas from HGTV, social media and other sources; then, they are turning to local experts to help them realize their home furnishing dreams.

Inspirational signs are sought-after décor items at Casual Elegance

“Sales are booming,” reports Beth Taflinger, owner of Casual Elegance in Blakeney. “People are into one of two color schemes, going earthy or gray blue in a new shade called ‘greige.’” In addition to pottery in those tones, Taflinger says her big sellers are designer Annie Sloan’s decorative, chalk-based paints and inspirational wall signage.

Across the street in Blakeney at Creative by Nature HOME, owner Paula Tompkins and son Zack, who helps manage the store, are enjoying similar strong business. “Gray is huge with our customer base, and white is still good because it is a nice complement,” Paula says. “Rose quartz is another trending color. “It’s neither pink nor peach, but more of a neutral we’re seeing in accents like pillows.”

To meet customer demand, Tompkins introduced a line of artwork canvases that can be scaled to fit any room. “People would also rather have larger accessories such as pottery or a chunky lamp,” she says. “They still want their home decorated but more as if it is curated or collected as opposed to an accumulation of little things.” On the furniture front, modern farmhouse remains in style, Paula says, with her store featuring a line of sliding barndoor pieces, including a full-size media cabinet. 

Decorative, chalk-based paints in earth or gray-blue tones are big sellers at Casual Elegance in Blakeney.


At Good’s Home Furnishings near Carolina Place Mall, business is also brisk. “This is a great time to be a consumer because personalization abounds,” says store manager Shana Bretzius. “Many of our manufacturers create their product in North Carolina so you can design exactly what you envision.”

One of the store’s top sellers is a large sectional sofa called the Orlando by Bernhardt, which features a double chaise perfect for piling everyone in for family movie night or Panthers games. The Palettes by Winesburg collection of custom, solid-wood bedroom and dining room pieces is also extremely popular, Bretzius says.

Royston Davies, a designer at Good’s with 15 years of experience, says that millennials want to get away from the jewel tones their parents favored.

“Empty nesters and older adults also want to update or entirely redo by going lighter in style and having a more streamlined look,” she notes.

At Vintage Home Charlotte, also near Carolina Place Mall, owner Kelly Carroll says solid hardwood dining tables that seat six to 10 are moving fast. “We keep a large inventory so there is not a long wait, and customers

love that.”  Sideboards are also in vogue, Carroll says. “People like them because they have so many uses, so we carry a large variety of styles and finishes, from a lighter vintage whitewash to a darker, reclaimed wood look.”

Ginger Goff, husband Gregg Goff and their son, Greg (who has only one “g” at the end of his name), owners of District 5 Interiors uptown and Details Home Boutique in Park Road Shopping Center, just opened their second District 5 Interiors in Waverly.

“The biggest trend right now is adding color to the palette,” Ginger says. “Everything was monotone, but now people are adding pops of color and textures in artwork and pillows to achieve a nice blend.” Green is huge, she adds, noting that the stores’ No. 1 selling sofa is a green velvet Lillian August.

Customers are also seeking dramatic lighting fixtures. “It isn’t your basic gold chandelier, but a great hanging light fixture that mimics a piece of art and serves as a focal point,” she says.

Creative by Nature HOME in Blakeney finds customers are seeking accessories that work with modern farmhouse furniture.

Eclectic Selection

As the country’s population has grown more diverse, home furnishings have become more eclectic. “Over the last three decades, furniture manufacturing has evolved into an international industry with a lot of blending of styles, as designs and techniques from different cultures are pulled into our most popular pieces,” says Carroll from Vintage Home Charlotte.

For example, she carries a line of one-of-a-kind-items featuring reclaimed wood sourced from homes in India built at the turn of the century. “It’s not unusual to see a cabinet or bookcase that integrates a piece of ornate, hand-carved crown molding from a 100-year-old home that was torn down,” she says.

Inspirational signs are sought-after décor items at Casual Elegance

“The biggest trend right now is adding color to the palette.”

— Ginger Goff, District 5 Interiors

On one occasion, a customer from India enlightened her on the origin of one of these unusual decorative wooden pieces that she was selling as wall art. “He explained that during that era in India women stayed at home, so this piece of wood with tiny holes in it was really a window that let the woman see through it and get daylight into the room, but prevent anyone from seeing her.”

State, Local Themes

With so many people moving into Ballantyne from other places, state and local-themed home accents are a huge draw. Customers at Casual Elegance snap up prints, tea towels and onesies that depict scenes in every state, created by artist Anne Klein at Fish Kiss.

At Creative by Nature HOME, people love pillows with whimsical maps of Ballantyne, Waxhaw, Fort Mill and Charlotte drawn by Charlotte calligrapher Lori Sparacio of The Write Occasion. Ella B. Candles featuring individualized fragrances for Ballantyne, Marvin and Weddington also fly off the shelves. “The Ballantyne scent is a blend

of mandarin orange and vanilla,” explains Julie Tassy, who creates the hand-poured, pure soy candles in Matthews.

“Orange oil is known for energizing properties, while vanilla is soothing and warm,” she says. “We paired this scent with the Ballantyne neighborhood because it is both fresh and sophisticated.”

Taflinger at Casual Elegance sums up the Ballantyne craze for locally themed décor by pointing to a plaque she has sold by the hundreds: “A Little Bit Yankee, a Little Bit Y’all.”

Vintage Home Charlotte near Carolina Place Mall is selling lots of solid hardwood dining tables and sideboards these days.


Advice from Local Home Fashionistas

Ballantyne residents are getting their décor inspiration from Pinterest, Houzz and HGTV’s hit series “Fixer Upper,” often showing up at stores with hundreds of photos on their cellphone of items they like. But with so many ideas out there, people can get overwhelmed. Here are tips from Ballantyne’s home-fashion experts on where to begin:

“Start with a single room and focus on a piece you really love. Once you find it, build around that piece and add as you go.”

Kelly Carroll
Vintage Home Charlotte

“Trust your own sense of style and start with a piece you can’t live without. Too often, I see rooms that don’t reflect someone’s personality. You don’t want a space that looks like everyone else’s house. The best place to begin is with a rug that is large enough. In a sea of neutrals, it can be an unexpected pop and a way to tie your space together.”

Shana Bretzius
Store Manager
Good’s Home Furnishings

“Select a color palette first. Decide what you definitely need and have to buy, and then what you would like to have and work around that. Staying organized will also keep you from getting confused, so get an interior designer to help you with the challenge.”

Ginger Goff
District 5 Interiors

“When you are shopping, be prepared. Come with measurements, fabric samples, paint chips and photos of your rooms. For instance, if you need a lamp, know how tall it needs to be so you can choose the right height lamp the first time.”

Paula Tompkins
Creative by Nature HOME

“People look to us as experts, and we will gladly help them, but the bottom line is you are living in your house every day, so pick out things your eyes see that bring you peace, because if it doesn’t bring you personal peace, it is not right for you.”

Beth Taflinger
Casual Elegance