Plans for Underground Chapel in Raleigh

by Lisa Stewart 27 May 2016

TED Fellow and world renowned Spanish architect Xavier Vilalta has created plans for an underground chapel on Ebenezer Church Road adjacent to Umstead Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. The idea came to my friend Mark Boone 10 years ago while sitting there next to the natural spring. The initial concept was simple: create a place for people to come and find peace, hope and healing.

The vision is to carve a chapel from the underground granite that will last for centuries to come. Mark and Xavier have assembled a worldwide team of experts to design a completely safe structure which will serve people as a sacred refuge for generations to come. Using the latest technology, the Chapel will be 45 feet underground and will need no heat, electricity or even a sound system. A landmark tower will stand high above to hold chapel bells and to bring light and ventilation to the interior.

The Chapel will be a place of quiet contemplation and give its visitors a deep sense of connectedness. I’ve walked this peaceful land many times and I share Mark’s and Xavier’s dream to see the chapel completed. I invite you to visit the Ebenezer Chapel’s website and donate if you can: go to

When we seek to understand the lives of those who walked before us, we look at what they left behind. What will we leave behind and how will we be understood?

Interior Designer, Lisa Stewart, with Lead Architect, Xavier Vilalta,
at the Boone home in Raleigh NC.

Homes of Hospitality

by Lisa Stewart 26 May 2016

Stress-free entertaining tips.

Do you love to entertain and host cozy dinner parties? Do you have the gift of hospitality that allows family and friends to relax, linger and laugh in your home? Or does the thought of entertaining stress you out? Have you given up trying to host the perfect party? If so, here are a few pointers to get you moving again.

Clean just enough. Remember your guests are coming to see YOU not your home. Relax and let go of perfectionism.

Photo by The Glamourai

Keep it simple. We would all love to set the perfect table with flowers, name cards and fancy dishes but who has time? Loved ones will understand if you ask them to set the table or grab a plate, silverware and napkin as they sit down. Calm down and make it easy on yourself.

Some people love to cook and can unwind through the process. But others are stressed out by it. If that’s you, plan a simple proven menu. For me, it’s a crock pot of chili. Or better yet, order food from your favorite local place and pick it up. After all you deserve to put your feet up and take it easy too.

Most important of all, a hospitable host enjoys entertaining and the immense gift of family and friends. So welcome your loved ones to share great food and build memories together with worry-free ease. What could be better?!  

Lisa Stewart is an interior designer serving the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC.

The Baker Furniture Showroom Experience

by Lisa Stewart 25 May 2016

Design dreams come to life with the Baker signature style.


For three generations Baker has set the standard for fine furniture with superb design and workmanship. The individually handcrafted pieces have come to define quality. They’re designed to be passed from one generation to the next because true elegance spans across centuries.

The collections are created by the world’s most prominent and talented designers, including Michael S. Smith, Thomas Pheasant, Barbara Barry and Jean-Louis Denoit, to name a few. Each setting in the showroom excites us with the modern interpretations to classical shapes.

The entrance hall to the Baker Furniture showroom shown below was a fun place to hang out and experience the feel of 1920’s Shanghai. We chatted with the designer and wanted to linger as time seemed to fade away. 

Lisa Stewart is an interior designer serving the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC. 


North Carolina Designers Love the Biltmore Estate

by Lisa Stewart 23 May 2016

The grand architecture and interesting interior decorating will awe and inspire you too! 

Schedule your trip now to see George Vanderbilt's bedroom and relax in the gorgeous gardens of this mountain estate. 

Only a few hours drive from Raleigh, the Biltmore Estate is a large tourist destination near Asheville, North Carolina and one of my favorite places to visit. Biltmore House was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 is still owned by Vanderbilt's descendants. The Châteauesque-style mansion is the largest privately-owned house in the United States and one of the most prominent remaining examples of the Gilded Age.

Vanderbilt’s 250-room chateau is a true marvel because it features built-in conveniences non-existent in those days, like electric lighting and bathrooms. The luxurious home spans three-plus floors including servants quarters. The basement features the kitchen, exercise room, bowling alley and indoor swimming pool. Almost all the priceless accessories, art and furniture are from George and Edith Vanderbilt’s original collection. The inspiring color scheme throughout illustrates the eclectic style, elegance and charm of the Vanderbilt family.

Lisa Stewart is an interior designer serving the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC. 

Color's Effect on Us

by Lisa Stewart 20 May 2016

Our behavior and mood can change as the world of color changes around us. Colors in our environment affect us physically and emotionally. Why?

Color is light. When light strikes any colored object, the object will absorb only the wavelengths that exactly match its own atomic structure. The reflected wavelengths are the color we see and feel. The important point here is that the light bulbs you use will affect the color.

Color is energy. The fact that the energy of light physically effects our bodies has been proven time and again. Therefore, our reactions can be strong at times. Do you have a color you HATE? Be aware color physically hits us.

Color is Nature's own powerful non-verbal signaling system. It is the first thing we unconsciously register when we see things. When yellow daffodils, bluebells and colorful crocuses appear, we immediately begin to feel livelier. On the other hand, the sight of a yellow and black bumble bee sends off alarm signals and we react differently. Colors of the interior environment where we live or work affect us in the same way those in the natural world do. 

Color is subjective but when the study of color harmony is combined with the science of psychology, reactions can be predicted with startling accuracy. That’s why I developed a Color Questionnaire for my clients. We combine your questionnaire answers and my expertise to make sure that the colors we paint in your home will be perfect for YOU. Ready? Let me come, see your space, the lighting and everything in the room. Analyzing what color is best for your life can be very fun!

Lisa Stewart is an interior designer serving the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC.

The Bright White Decorating Trend

by Lisa Stewart 18 May 2016

Interior Designers In Raleigh are Seeing White All Over

The all-white decorating trend is in full force among my Raleigh, NC clients who love the clean and fresh feeling. And for my northern China clients who feel the all-white look might be too cold, during my last trip there I reminded them that this light look is popular in Scandinavia where the winters are long and dark.

I first embraced the swing to all-white several years ago as I worked with a client building a new home. We pored over white paint samples and came up with the perfect combination: Sherwin Williams SW 7008 Alabaster for the ceiling and trim, and  SW 7012 Creamy for the walls. It’s heavenly! The client’s wonderful artwork and furnishings added lovely warmth and comfort.

Kitchen remodels are also leaning toward the all-white look. White cabinetry with Carrara marble or quartz countertops are showing up everywhere. The airy atmosphere of all-white can be beautifully complemented by selecting a backsplash with texture and choosing fun hardware that reflects your personality.  

My clients often ask how to achieve this look. I suggest beginning with white walls and then adding a mix of vintage rugs, carefully curated artwork, repurposed antique pieces and other cherished pieces. 

Whether you love it or hate it, this aesthetic is taking the design world by storm!

Lisa Stewart is an interior designer serving the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC.

Easy Ways to Green Your Lifestyle

by Lisa Stewart 16 May 2016

Ways to Decorate and Live Green

The greenest piece of furniture is one that already exists. Most vintage furniture uses solid wood and has much better quality and craftsmanship than today’s mass-produced furniture churned out by factories.

-Carry your own bags into the stores. When purchasing small items ask the cashier for NO bag. Buy in bulk- food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.

-Carry a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, when traveling or at work. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste.

-Wear clothes that don't need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.

-Download to view favorite movies and TV shows instead of purchasing DVDs. Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books. This saves money and eliminates storage hassles too.

-Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.

-Recycle your electronics and batteries. Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible. Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.

Lisa Stewart is an interior designer serving the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC.

Decorating Homes in Raleigh and the World

by Lisa Stewart 14 May 2016

Comfort is key to good interior design in North Carolina and beyond.

Interior designers in North Carolina or Shanghai want your dream home to suite YOU. This apartment was created on my last trip to China. Would this home be comfortable for you? 

Lisa Stewart is an interior designer serving the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC.