Dr. Moira Artigues finds her happy place in the city she’s loved for nearly 30 years
By Morgan Cartier Weston | Photography by John Michael Simpson
Dr. Moira Artigues graduated from medical school in 1995 and moved to the Bull City that same year. “I interviewed for my residency at Vanderbilt, Yale, the University of Virginia, lots of wonderful places,” the Charleston, South Carolina, native says. “But when I came to Duke University, I just fell in love.” She says she’s never lived somewhere as diverse, welcoming and unique as Durham. “I have always felt at home here among the rainbow of faces and experiences our community shares.”
In the nearly three decades since, she raised two children, established a business in Cary as a forensic psychiatrist, and eventually began a new chapter as a single woman. “My former husband and I lived in a house in north Durham, but I never loved it. It was a convenient location and a good place to raise our sons, Harry [Artigues] and Will [Artigues],” Moira explains. “But once my sons moved out and began lives of their own, I realized that, like so many other women, most of my decisions in life had been fueled by what was best for other people.”
Moira’s move to City Port earlier this year was a big step in putting herself first. “I have a demanding job and work frequently on the weekends, so a walkable, downtown condo was exactly the kind of low-maintenance lifestyle I was looking for,” she says. She describes the condo building as a friendly, cool, “Durham-y” space. “There is nothing not to like from my perspective,” she says.
She worked with Realtor Alan Trammel to select a top-floor, two bedroom, 915-square-foot unit that offers views of the night sky (“I study the stars and like to look up what planets are overhead,” Moira says). She officially made the move in February 2022, eager to begin making the space her own.
“In the notes from my first meeting with Moira, I have written down that she wanted a fun, colorful and not-too-serious condo,” says designer Tara Clayton of Cobblestone Lane Gallery. “This home was to be her space to unwind from a fulfilling, yet taxing, job, and the primary focus was to design a place where she could recharge with friends and family.”
“I’ve always liked spaces with a sense of humor and don’t like things that are too serious or stuffy,” Moira says. “My sons and I like to travel, and wanted to bring the colors of some of our favorite places, like Miami and the Bahamas, into my home so I always have those memories around me.”
She shared these ideas and colors with Tara, who challenged Moira to narrow down what she wanted most for her new home. “I loved that she tasked me with identifying my priorities, because I might not have necessarily given it that much thought, but by the end, Tara really seemed to get me,” Moira says. “We went back and forth a little, but she really nailed it.”
The result of Moira and Tara’s collaboration is a relaxed, yet sophisticated, home that fits right in at City Port, a colorful, no-frills building just off the Duke Street exit from Highway 147, where residents can take a brief pause from Durham’s burgeoning city landscape before heading out for dinner and drinks. The color scheme evokes Moira’s love of the Caribbean, and thoughtful touches ensure that she and her guests are never far from what they need. “There’s lots of natural light, which is a great feature,” Moira says. “I especially love the big window in my bedroom, where I can look out over the city.”
“I think our combined love for eclectic design is rooted in a belief that, beyond aesthetics, design is about building friendships and community; it’s about inviting people to connect with you and feeling social warmth emanate throughout the space that you create,” Tara says. “I am thrilled for Moira to have that kind of atmosphere in her condo, one which will undoubtedly be magnified by the building’s amazing roof deck that overlooks the cityscape and the ballpark. The location offers abundant opportunities for connection through the immediate and surrounding communities.”
City Port itself was a true Bull City collaboration; developer White Oak Properties engaged Center Studio Architecture and their development company, ReVamp Durham, to research and design the 43-unit building. The inviting common areas and rooftop deck were designed by Carrie Moore Interior Design, and custom mosaic artwork by Jeannette Brossart welcomes tenants and visitors into the building’s vibrant lobby.
“The name was intentional,” says Susan Herst, a broker and partner with Urban Durham Realty, which represents City Port. “Just as it sounds, this is meant to be your portal to all parts of the city – in fact, it is equidistant to downtown and Ninth Street, so you can be at DPAC or Duke in minutes without having to cross any major roads.” The location, combined with the building’s ample amount of sunlight, are among Susan’s favorite features. “It’s not a fussy building, yet still has everything you need,” Susan adds.
For those looking to own a home within walking distance of American Tobacco Campus, this is a great option,” says Jed Gammon of Raleigh-based White Oak Properties. “We included a multitude of unit styles to fit different budgets, from studios to three-bedrooms, to provide downtown living for a range of income levels and lifestyles.”
The building offers the best of both worlds: It is slightly off the beaten path, which offers privacy, but close enough to downtown to provide views of Durham’s growing skyline (and accompanying gorgeous sunsets) from its rooftop deck. It also offers views of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. “I love baseball, and I can walk to the Durham Bulls,” Moira says. “I’ve easily been to 10 games since I moved here; it’s fantastic. I love to host friends here for drinks, and then head out to dinner and a game together.” Her standby restaurants include Mateo Bar de Tapas, Luna Rotisserie & Empanadas and Rue Cler, and she especially enjoys grabbing pizza at Mellow Mushroom on her way to the ballpark.
In addition to her love of baseball and food, Moira has a passion for local art, which she and Tara embraced to personalize her home. The piece above her sofa is by Golden Belt artist Kerry Burch, and she recently began frequenting downtown art galleries to see what’s new that she might want to add to her collection. Tara, who has past experience working in art museums, also commissioned works from Atlanta-based textile artist Olivia Fields to punch up the color in the living space.
“I love the wonderful arts and music scene, both downtown and at Duke,” Moira says. “There are always wonderful new restaurants, venues [and things to do], but I also just enjoy walking around and [taking in] the funkiness of Durham. It’s a perfectly sized, walkable city – though I did recently buy a bicycle, and I’m looking forward to exploring that way.”
But the feature nearest and dearest to Moira’s heart remains the same reason she chose to move here in the first place: the people. “I have made such an eclectic mix of friends, all with different interests and jobs, ages and backgrounds, all friendly and welcoming,” she says. “In fact, I can’t think of a better word than ‘eclectic’ to describe Durham, and that is what makes it so special.”