May 27, 2024
Home Design Trends in Charlotte Real Estate

Mortgage interest rates have soared back to pre-2008 levels, and Canopy, the local Realtor’s association, refers to the supply of homes for sale in Charlotte as “critically low.” If you’re stuck in the home you own, it makes sense to maximize the space to your lifestyle. These five design trends are examples of just that.


Sculleries originated in Britain, where they’ve historically served as kitchen-adjacent rooms for washing dishes and storing utensils and cookware. (They were often a flex for wealthy homeowners, too.) Today, sculleries are making a comeback in high-end homes because they can conceal mess and clutter while the kitchen remains clean and presentable. Many have modern storage solutions like rotating shelves, secondary dishwashers and refrigerators, and adjustable racks.

Home Design Trends in Charlotte Real Estate

“From a design standpoint, I think people are wanting a smaller, designated space so they can make riskier design choices,” says Michelle Lane of Modern Cottage Charlotte. “Making kitchen footprints smaller and doing cool, creative things in sculleries is an excuse to do that.”

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Michelle Lane, owner and principal designer of Modern Cottage Charlotte, designs between four and seven custom homes a year. Since 2020, she says, every one has had a scullery. “From an architecture perspective, it’s intended to be a place to hide the icky stuff,” she says. “In this post-COVID era, people are opening their homes more, so the thought process behind it makes sense. You’ve got no countertop appliances muddying up your beautiful kitchen.”

Lane, who often works with the team at Grandfather Homes on new builds, says her clients now devote huge portions of their budgets toward sculleries. “Sculleries are neck and neck with primary kitchens,” she says. “People are putting more time and money into it from a design perspective. A lot of people splurge on tile, plumbing, or countertops because it’s less square footage, and you can make design decisions that are a little more bold.” 


Decades ago, “granny flats” and “in-law suites”—small, detached homes built on the same property as the main house—were common. The single-family zoning laws cities adopted during postwar suburbanization usually disallowed them. But the rising cost of land and senior care, and cities’ need for affordable housing, have brought them back into fashion with an urban planning moniker: accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.

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In the past five years, homebuyers have increasingly asked about properties with secondary homes for elderly parents, says Charisma Southerland of Allen Tate. Courtesy Mario Bianco

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Courtesy, Skycam Digital.

Charlotte’s Unified Development Ordinance, which took effect last year, allows ADUs. Its adoption has driven more homeowners to ask real estate agents and builders about them, says Charisma Southerland, an agent for Allen Tate Realtors and president of the Realtor association Canopy. Southerland, also a licensed general contractor, says buyers had already begun to ask before 2020 whether homes for sale had or could accommodate ADUs.

But COVID and the spike in cost of living have accelerated the trend, she says. In contrast to expensive assisted living centers, ADUs allow homeowners’ elderly parents to live on the property but still maintain some physical separation from their children and grandchildren—an economic and, at times, emotional benefit. “It depends on people’s needs,” Southerland says. “But a lot of people in their 50s are saying, ‘Hey, I need an extra bedroom for that parent.’

Hobby Rooms

As homes are increasingly used for work, people want the ability to escape and focus on an activity or pastime. Hobby or special interest rooms allow them to do both under the same roof. In the past four years, homeowners have converted these spaces into home theaters, gift-wrapping rooms, speakeasies, hunting closets, quilting studios, and golf simulators.

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Designer Rebecca Bridges worked with the team at Ashley Bates Construction to install a medical-grade sauna (below)
in the primary bathroom of a client’s home. COURTESY CHRISTINA HUSSEY

House Of Drennan | December

Rebecca Bridges of House of Drennan has designed a whiskey room and a safe room hidden behind a bookcase, and she recently installed a medical-grade sauna in the primary bathroom of a client who wanted a space to relax at home. “The husband had read all of these studies about the benefits of medical-grade saunas, and this was his one request,” she says. “He’s a fit man with no major health concerns. This was for overall wellness.”

Bridges worked alongside the team at Ashley Bates Construction on the eight-week project and says the sauna was surprisingly simple to assemble and install. She believes the uptick in special interest rooms like this is largely a result of COVID. “People were home and couldn’t get out,” she says, “so they understood the value of home and getting it the way you want it versus how it should look for resale.” 

Multipurpose Rooms

Few homes these days have enough space to accommodate all our needs and rituals. But with some creative design and convertible storage, they can coexist. Loft beds can house desks underneath for kids to study. Garages can double as art studios or gyms. Entryways have lockers for backpacks and sports gear. 

Preston Craft, co-owner of P.S. Carpentry, has seen a resurgence of Murphy beds because people can tuck them away during work hours and convert the space to a guest room when needed. Think of them as upgraded sleeper sofas. “People are working from home, but they can’t afford to lose a bedroom, so we have to make this space function as both,” he says. “People also want to present themselves well on a Zoom call. Most people we do flex spaces for now openly talk about how they want the backdrop of their Zoom call to be impressive.”

Craft recently completed what he calls “the ultimate multipurpose room” for a client in Fort Mill. He built a custom Murphy bed into a wall unit so it blends in with the shelving on either side. On the adjacent wall, he built a bourbon bar with matching floating shelves. Since he launched his business in 2020, Craft says most of his projects have involved space-saving solutions like pocket doors and built-in benches for toys. “People are trying to do more with less in their homes,” he says. “Built-ins like these can be a huge upgrade to a house.”


Preston Craft of P.S. Carpentry matches his millwork to the home’s architectural details. “These,” he says, “are the things that make new blend well with old.” Courtesy Edgar Gomez


Outdoor Spaces for (Almost) All Seasons

One of the many ways the pandemic changed our habits: Patios have evolved into all-purpose spaces. They’ve become workspaces, de facto dens, covered refuges even in nasty weather, and spaces to entertain.

Men especially, says Charisma Southerland of Allen Tate, have latched onto what you might call “the multigrill movement.” In recent years, more and more have asked Southerland if properties have outdoor spaces large enough for their grilling infrastructure. “All these guys love these Blackstone griddles, so now there’s two grills in the backyard,” she says. “They’re not replacing one for the other. They want both.”

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COVID accelerated homeowners’ recent penchant for building out their yards and patios with features like covered areas and multiple grills. Courtesy Matthew Benham Photography

Credit a change in the weather, at least for newcomers to Charlotte from cities like Buffalo and Cleveland. They aren’t used to the luxury of outdoor spaces they can enjoy for much, even most, of the year, Southerland says. That makes them inviting for buyers, useful for owners, and highlightable for agents. “That trend was coming before COVID,” she says. “But since COVID, we’ve also seen a lot of people requesting screened-in porches, and now they want more areas to hang out in and entertain.”