Inside interior designer Martha Schneider’s Raleigh residence, sunlight streams through the lavender living room, brightening the coral, pink, and blue glass vases that rise from the mantel like flowers.
Playful color pairings are but one of many pleasures in this Georgian-style home, which was built in 1918 by North Carolina’s first general surgeon, Dr. Hubert A. Royster. Since purchasing the property in 2003, Martha and her husband, Kevin, have renovated the house four times. Today, it is a happy, historic homestead for the couple and their three grown children.
In addition to running her interior design firm, Martha is known in Raleigh for her beloved home store, La Maison, along with her neighboring floral boutique, Trellis. Together, these venues have become destinations in the capital, curated with elegant furnishings, original art, and fresh-cut flowers.
“I love surrounding myself with luxury and beauty in furnishings and florals, and I’m thrilled that our customers do also,” she says.
Before pursuing design, the Ohio-born entrepreneur worked in fashion retail. Fashion is one of Martha’s first loves, and her passion for it is evident throughout her home. In the living room, pillows are upholstered in Hermès and Christian Lacroix fabrics, while in her light-filled dressing room, glamour abounds, with labels including Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana.
“I wanted it to make me happy every day when I walked through it to the bathroom,” she says of the space, with its gold chandelier, lilac walls, and balloon valances trimmed in beaded fringe. The result is a feminine, nostalgic boudoir that is both stylish and functional. “My dressing room is a perfect example of the way I love to design—beginning with the function of a space, selecting the right furnishings, creating joy, adding a touch of glam, and in most cases, finishing with an animal print,” she says.
In addition to high fashion, Martha’s affinity for French antiques pervades her residence. In the front hallway, an oversized mirror that once hung in a hair salon in Paris is accompanied by a Willy Guhl concrete planter, a whimsical blue rug from Romo, and a French settee.
“I love my antique mirror,” she says. “I can imagine living in Paris and going to a hair salon in an old building with high ceilings and this large baroque mirror in front of me.”
For a woman whose livelihood has been built around fine furnishings, naming a favorite piece could feel like naming a favorite child. And yet, when asked, Martha quickly answered that her dining table, an Oscar de la Renta original by Century, takes the prize.
“I would definitely say our big round dining table is our most precious piece of furniture because it creates that sense of family for us,” she says, adding, “We love sitting at that table as much as we possibly can.” Both Martha and Kevin are self-proclaimed foodies and avid entertainers, and the table has been witness to a healthy heaping of debate and conversation.
The designer’s love of art is yet another way she incorporates color and conversation into her home. Water Landscape, the Diana Greenberg painting that hangs over the living room mantel, is particularly meaningful. She found it on a trip to New York in 2017, just three years after opening La Maison. “That started the renovation of color,” she says of the discovery.
In 2019, Martha opened Trellis after noticing a void in the market for fresh-cut specialty flowers. “I was selling beautiful vessels out of La Maison, so I knew people had the same passion,” she says. While her own favorite blooms are dinner plate dahlias, she believes florals in general are the ultimate accessory, “For me,” she says, “they round out how homes should be furnished.”
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By Sallie Lewis | Photography by Catherine Nguyen | Interiors by Martha Schneider