Michelle Lane didn’t start out as an interior designer, but she’s always had an eye for design. She spent 15 years working for companies like Lacoste, Express, and White House Black Market, where she oversaw visual merchandising in their retail stores. After she and her husband renovated their first home in Plaza Midwood, Lane realized furniture, textiles, and lighting were another extension of her creativity.
In 2015, she launched Modern Cottage as a vehicle to sell vintage finds and trade products to Slate Interiors, Sleepy Poet, and other local retailers. As she made more design contacts, friends and neighbors enlisted her to help with their home renovations. Two years later, she added a design studio to the Modern Cottage brand.
By 2019, Lane was juggling 13 clients on her own. But she was ready to take on another project. She and her husband, Brandon, wanted to build a “forever home” for their 6-year-old son. They purchased a quarter-acre lot in the Cramer’s Pond community, a 15-acre site in Plaza Midwood that’s home to the historic Barnhardt-Cramer House. They worked with Bryan Mermans of Mermans Architecture and the team at Grandfather Homes to create their 3,800-square-foot custom build.
“When we started the design, I was planning an office space for Modern Cottage, but that was when it was just me,” Lane says. “Fast forward to today, and now there are six of us working out of the space.”
The Lanes moved into their new home in February 2021. Since then, the house has doubled as an office for the Modern Cottage team and a showroom for their clients. “You have to practice what you preach,” Lane says. “If you come to my house, you’ll see form and function. This is what you’ll get if you work with us.”
“To showcase our personalities, I focused on incorporating lots of texture, unique wallpapers, deco and boho motifs, and unexpected pops of color.”
Paint: Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore (ceiling), Sherwin-Williams Pure White (walls)
Lighting: Hudson Valley Lighting
“The architecture and design was heavily influenced by our travels and love of European style. My husband is in corporate real estate, so houses are our life.”
Windows and Doors: JELD-WEN
Custom Steel Door: Clark Hall Doors & Windows
Facade and Trim: Sherwin-Williams Creamy
Roof: Owens Corning
“That wallpaper is shockingly peel-and-stick. I don’t see this trend going anywhere anytime soon.”
Paint: Sherwin-Williams Smoky Salmon
Pendant Light: Modern Forms
Vanity: Avanity Corporation
Lane purchased the dining room sconces as wall art and had them custom hardwired by Insight Automation.
Chairs: The RH Effect
Rug: West Elm
Paint: Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore
Wallpaper (inside built-in shelves): York Wallcoverings
Dining Table and Chairs: Restoration Hardware
“That tubing under the kitchen island is just a half-round demilune trim piece that we had the trim carpenter add, then had painted.”
Cabinetry: Marsh Cabinets
Hardware: Alno, Inc.
Barstools: Pier 1
Lighting: Kelly Wearstler for Generation Lighting
Lane’s trim carpenter made the birch veneer shelving in the bookcases.
Built-ins: Marsh Cabinets
Wallpaper: Chasing Paper
Sconces: Hudson Valley Lighting
Chandelier: Currey & Company
Cabinetry: Marsh Cabinets
Countertops: MSI Surfaces
Hardware: Top Knobs
Lane thought the space above the bed in the guest room needed something, so she painted the abstract art above the headboard in about 20 minutes.
Wallpaper: Brewster Home Fashions
Bedside Tables: Four Hands
The 15-acre Cramer’s Pond community in Plaza Midwood is booming with new construction that belies its rich history. Cotton broker and manufacturer Charles Barnhardt and his wife, Edna, purchased the land in 1936 when it was part of the Club Acres subdivision near Charlotte Country Club. They hired architect Martin E. Boyer Jr. to design a 6,500-square-foot Colonial Revival home.
Construction began in 1937, but before the home was complete, Charles drowned in the pond as he inspected the grounds. Edna never moved in, and in 1944, she sold it to Walter and Jennie Hollinsworth. Four years later, they sold the property to textile tycoons George and Elizabeth Cramer, whose family built the mill town of Cramerton in Gaston County.
In 2016, the Cramers sold the estate to developer Fred Caligiuri, who divided the property into 40 lots. But the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission purchased the Barnhardt-Cramer House along with the four lots it occupied and negotiated a new site plan. Since then, Grandfather Homes has led construction on 17 of the 37 surrounding homes, and its president, Matt Ewers, restored and moved into the Barnhardt-Cramer House, which remains the historic focus of Cramer’s Pond.