holly and Matt Sellers met in grad school in Charleston. After they married, Matt’s post graduate work took them to North Carolina for a few years, but they always knew his hometown was where they wanted to land, so when Matt joined Upstate Cardiology, the Greenville house hunt was on.
“We probably looked at 50 houses to find one that had a good layout and flow that we felt would work for us,” Holly says. “We were kind of at the point where we thought we had looked all we could look.”
Their agent got wind of a sweet little bungalow not yet on the market in the Augusta Road area that checked all the boxes. “The previous owners had opened it up and there was a big master suite addition,” Holly says. “And I could just envision that we could make it our own and glam it up some.”
Once Holly had house keys in hand, her first call was to Cynthia Masters and her design team at Panageries (Holly had actually seen Masters’ work in a past issue of atHome) and knew she was the right designer to bring her vision to fruition.
We knew blues would be part of our palette, but then we thought about what we could do
to add a little punch. – Cynthia masters
The Sellers’ taste tends toward the traditional, and it’s a good thing, too, as they have inherited a number of beautiful antiques from Matt’s parents, who once owned an antique store. Still, they are a young couple with two young boys, ages 6 and 4, and Masters kept that top of mind when drafting her plan for the design. “I didn’t want to design a traditional home for a 60-year-old woman,” Masters says. “I designed it for thirty-somethings.”
Masters went with a theme she refers to as “new traditionalist” which she describes as an updated style that incorporates bright colors. Holly was enamored with Masters’ use of blues in other projects and they used that as inspiration. “We knew blues would be part of our palette,” Masters says. “But then we thought about what we could do to add a little punch, and that’s when purples and lavenders came in.”
An inherited Chinese Chippendale fretwork cabinet in traditional stained mahogany failed
to fit with the new traditionalist plans, so it was painted royal blue with bright white lacquer
shelves to showcase the couple’s extensive collection of antique blue and white porcelain jars and Mottahedeh china. Masters says they reworked many existing pieces by either refinishing them or painting them. Purple tones are woven so skillfully into the upholstery and accessories in the living room it reads almost as a neutral. Turquoise and teal pop up in the most unexpected places, like the vinyl seats of the barstools against the bright white of the kitchen.
Choosing white for the kitchen cabinets and countertops was a strategic decision, as this area of the house gets little natural light through the better part of the day. Masters says lighter colors are reflective, so using them in dim spaces can exponentially turn up the light in a room. She employed very little color in the kitchen, creating a bit of reprieve from the bright tones at work in the rest of the home.
As much as the Sellers love antiques, their appreciation for art may be still greater, particularly for original works by local artists. “Matt’s parents have a lot of original artwork in their house, and that was one thing we really wanted for our home,” Holly says.
In some cases, Holly stumbled across the perfect piece, but more often she and Masters called on local artists to create custom work based on their chosen palette of whites, grays, blues and lavenders. A bevy of plump birds by artist Joseph Bradley are perched behind the glass front cabinet doors of the wine bar in the family room and Holly’s love for these silver-backed beauties led her to commission Bradley to reimagine his beloved finches in turquoise to create a statement piece for the dining room.
The Greenville art scene is well represented in the Sellers home. A trio of Jean Wilson Freeman’s signature blue botanicals flank the master suite hallway; a pair of diptych lakescapes by Rebecca Hoyle hangs above the sofa in the family room; Cece Burnett’s bold use of color livens up the foyer; and Majane Tatum painted several pieces inspired by the turquoise and lavender tones in the living room.
Masters also helped Holly weave in her love of glam in a way that works for her boy-heavy household. “That was something Cynthia did really well for us,” Holly says. “We wanted it to be elegant and adult, but also be kid friendly so we could enjoy it as a family.”
The powder room is rather glamorous with its gold ceiling, beaded glass chandelier and shimmering metallic wallpaper. The hardwood stairs needed a runner to prevent slips and falls, so Masters chose a super chic leopard patterned carpet allowing form to meet function. And, a mirrored wall ups the sparkle quotient in the living room, but the family room furnishings welcome little boy lounging without sacrificing style.
“You can have high style, you can have glam, it can be sophisticated, and still be kid-friendly,” Masters says. “Fabrics have come a long way, so kids can be kids.”
Masters did, however, draw the line in the glam sand at the door of the boys’ bedrooms and remembers she had to rein Holly in a little on that phase of the project. They also have a wonderful fenced backyard with plenty of space for kicking balls and riding bikes, over which Matt and Holly can keep a watchful eye from the comfort of the screened back porch, which also got the Panageries treatment.
by Allison Walsh / photography by Carter Tippins