Designer Digs

Designer Digs

Heather Garrett's swoonworthy loft in the warehouse district

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Heather sits in son Walker's bedroom. "For residential design, having children has definitely given shape to a more practical approach to an interior," Heather says.
Heather sits in son Walker’s bedroom. “For residential design, having children has definitely given shape to a more practical approach to an interior,” Heather says.

With a portfolio that includes the funky chic-meets-swanky upstairs dining room of Mateo, it’s no surprise that interior designer Heather Garrett’s own living space is a sight to behold. “The truth is, things change a lot around here. When the kids were little, we would call it Crazy Furniture Change-Around Day,” Heather says of decorating her own home. “Now they’ve just accepted the revolving door.”

Heather bought her loft in the Bullington Warehouse on North Duke Street in 2007 – at the time, it had one bedroom and a small sleeping loft. Last year, she completely renovated the space to create four bedrooms and two bathrooms, suitable for moving in full-time with her son, Walker, 13, and daughter, Blaire, 11. Although the airy space is certainly not small, it’s compact enough to notice that most of her walls are papered and not painted. “Wallpaper has made a huge comeback of late,” Heather explains. “It can sort of stand in for art in many cases. I love the texture and pattern you can get with a huge bang for your buck.”

A custom wallpaper mural of ethereal gray birds blends seamlessly into the stairwell’s white walls leading to the living room at the heart of the loft. “For any given time in my life, I have a few pieces that feel important to me,” Heather says. “A large painting by my college roommate and pair of antique warehouse doors were determining factors for the design of my living room, so I filled in the blanks with a mix of pieces.” Filling in the blanks meant layering; original wood floorboards peek out from beneath a neutral area jute rug, which is underneath a vintage 1930s floor covering topped with a real cowhide. It’s simultaneously luxe and livable. “I’m a homebody, so we’re here a lot together,” Heather says. “We’re on the floor playing Rummy Cube; I’m on the sofa reading; my daughter spends a lot of time drawing and journaling.” It’s been the perfect backdrop for a balance of family functionality and personal serenity. “I love waking up early, making coffee before the kids are up and raising the shades on my 12-foot-high windows,” she says. “That never gets old.”

Ed. Note: This article first appeared in our October/November 2014 issue.

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Amanda MacLaren
Amanda MacLaren is the executive editor of Durham Magazine. Born in Mesa, Ariz., she grew up in Charlotte and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, majoring in journalism. She’s lived in Durham for five years now. When she’s not at work, you can usually find her with a beer in hand at Fullsteam, Dain’s Place or Bull City Burger or getting takeout from Chubby’s.