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An interior designer’s take on his historic home in Five Points.
Photographs by Jennifer Robertson
Designer Antoine Pontón takes pride in creating meaningful spaces for his clients. The owner of Raleigh-based interior design firm AP Designs, Pontón has a passion for creating beautiful spaces for others, but the tables were turned when he began designing the bungalow he now shares with his partner, Ryan. For Pontón, it was an opportunity to pour his heart into his most prized project yet: the place where he lives.
Pontón, who is originally from southern Louisiana, runs his design business with the motto “remembering the past and embracing the future” in mind. His regard for implementing existing details came in handy when restoring the 1928 bungalow located in Five Points, a project he completed this spring before moving into the home with Ryan, who has lived there since 2012.
As with most historic homes, the bungalow certainly didn’t lack character. From original moldings to glass doorknobs, Pontón focused on highlighting the bungalow’s authentic charm while updating it in a way that fits the couple’s lifestyle and individual personalities.
“No corner, inside or out, was left untouched,” Pontón says. “We decided to stay away from anything too trendy. We stuck with classics that will never go out of style.”
With design and decorating ideas swirling in his mind, Pontón kept them all in one place by pinning sketches and photos to a design board which he referred to throughout the renovation. Though this is his first time decorating a home for himself, Pontón says there are some pieces that have followed him for years, including items he has collected on travels. Persian rugs and paintings, for instance, make his house feel like home. Fabric that he and Ryan found on a trip to Bali last year are now throw pillows adorning a custom-made sofa, setting the tone for the living room’s ambience.
“Experimenting with bright colors can seem daunting, but I love to see how colors, textures, and shapes can harmonize when creating an eclectic, interesting space,” Pontón says.
One of his most beloved possessions is a trio of abstract paintings Pontón’s father painted in 1968, when he had moved in to his first apartment. “He couldn’t spend much on decorations, so he headed to the art store, got these three canvases and simply painted on them,” Pontón says. “They’ve hung in every place I’ve lived.”
Another meaningful piece is a framed American flag hanging in Pontón’s office. The flag, he explains, was flying over the nation’s capital the day his father retired after serving for 36 years in the U.S. military, in 1988. “I always try to incorporate sentimental keepsakes in every design, and this flag certainly fits that bill,” Pontón says.
Pontón and Ryan enjoy hosting cocktail hours with friends, but with no room for a butler’s pantry, some design innovation was needed. So Pontón dedicated a portion of the galley kitchen to an at-home bar that would make any mixologist swoon. “This is when the idea of ‘meaningful design’ comes into play, when it’s imperative to make every nook and cranny not only functional, but fun and enjoyable as well,” Pontón says. With an oversized porch to welcome visitors, the home is the perfect spot for entertaining or sipping cocktails with friends.
Now that the historic charmer has received its facelift, Pontón says he couldn’t be happier with the final result.
“One of our favorite things to do is to entertain guests, and we’ll be hosting gatherings often here,” Pontón says. “I’m looking forward to helping others transform their spaces, so they can see their homes’ potential as well. When you’re as passionate about your job as I am about design, it doesn’t make it feel like work.”
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