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Photos by Jennifer Robertson
Kimarie and Eric Ankenbrand’s house is anything but traditional—but that’s why they love it so much.
Kimarie, the managing director and Raleigh lead at commercial real estate agency JLL, worked with Dallas-based Ashley Bell Interiors to style her California Modern-inspired home in Country Club Hills—built by Raleigh’s Allure Homes—into her vision of a humble abode that prioritizes character, personality and class. “The style is very different from what you normally see in Raleigh, but timeless at the same time,” Eric, a strategic accounts manager for Samsung, says.
The Ankenbrands started the project almost a year ago, with the coronavirus pandemic hitting towards the end of the building process. Luckily, their builder was able to keep working through lockdown while ensuring everyone involved stayed safe and healthy. Due to the pandemic, Kimarie had to work with their designer virtually, as well, as Bell couldn’t travel from Dallas to Raleigh to work on the house in person.
Kimarie says she drew much of the inspiration for the home from Instagram, particularly from the profiles of various builders, architects and interior and exterior designers based across the country. “You could design an entire house just by looking at inspiration pictures and following people,” she says.
Bell also helped Kimarie break with tradition in different aspects of the home. They mixed metal finishes in every room, excluded crown molding and a formal living room and made the laundry/mud room one of Kimarie’s favorite rooms in the house. Kimarie also paid careful attention to the bathrooms, which she had styled with creative tiles and elegant light fixtures. She says shopping online from different vendors, she found unique tile options that could be hard to find locally but were still priced within her budget.
Kimarie integrated many of her family’s personal items into the design of the home. A 7-foot hammerhead shark that her dad caught in Key West before he passed away in 2007 hangs on the wall of her two boys’ playroom. The shark, nicknamed “Sharky,” has hung in all of the four homes the family has lived in over the past five years. “Every time we move, the one thing I tell the movers that is irreplaceable is the shark,” Kimarie says.
A personalized vintage name art canvas hangs on another wall in the home, which Kimarie bought at a decor shop in Dallas. It contains the names of places that have a special meaning to their family, including “White Rock Lake,” “Idle Rich Pub” and “Mi Cocina,” the name of the restaurant where Kimarie and Eric had their first date. The personal pieces give the Ankenbrands’ house a distinct character that’s all their own.
While the family’s new house is certainly a beauty, Kimarie says the Southern hospitality they’ve received since moving in just three months ago is what really made them feel at home. “The neighbors we have met have been absolutely incredible,” she says. “The house itself is great, but the people and hospitality that have welcomed us to the street, neighborhood and Raleigh have been the nicest surprise.”
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