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Meet the Designer: Cheryl Luckett and Her Bright Southern Style

Stars twinkle on a midnight-blue bench, brass details wink from classic backdrops, and bold patterns bring verve to prim and proper seats in designer Cheryl Luckett’s buoyant spaces. We spoke with Luckett, the owner of Dwell by Cheryl in Huntersville, North Carolina, on how she infuses her designs with vibrant hues and plenty of personality. 

How do you characterize your style? It comes down to four things. Color is the running theme behind all my designs. And I’m a little more traditional, so my designs tend to be classic. Because I’m often designing for families, there’s always a coziness factor. Then I get a lot of requests from people who want their culture reflected in their home.

Ways you brought those four “c” elements together in the living room pictured here? The wife’s gargantuan African mask drove the design. The juju hat, a celebration headdress from Cameroon, went over the fireplace for texture, and since African art plays well with natural woven elements, I chose a basket for the ottoman. To add warmth, I wrapped the walls in a saturated teal color. The two wing chairs with cut-velvet cushions have really classic lines.

Patterns also loom large? For this closet [pictured here], we wanted a masculine space that was true to the style of the 1920s Tudor home. I looked to The Tudors show and current British menswear for inspiration, with all the rich, deep colors and embellishments. We upholstered the walls up to the ceiling, then added nailheads to mimic buttons in a quatrefoil pattern, since the quatrefoil is on the home’s exterior. Plaid is hot in British menswear, so we put that on the Roman shades [pictured here], then finished it with a fringe.

Ways you add detailing? I always use some sort of nailhead. They add visual interest, like putting on earrings. Plus, I like to play with metallics, usually brass, so nailheads on the furniture provide connectivity to accent pieces around the room like lamps and drapery hardware.

You have a flair for brightening up traditional style. I like timeless furniture but also fun fabrics. For the dining room [shown here], the client, who was a sassy senior, wanted to give new life to her space. I put an animal print on her Chippendale chairs, and the rug helped bring in color and vibrancy.

How do you choose your palettes? Gardening is my pastime, so the colors I use are often found in nature. My social media followers just tolerate me in the spring; my posts are all about flowers. When my peonies start blooming, I don’t even want to travel.

Does your locale influence your designs? I’m a real Southern girl, and my style is reflective of that. There’s a hospitality aspect here, a livability mixed with grandeur. It’s a balance between making things look nice and making your guests feel at home.

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