Designers’ homes often portray an elegance and style that nondesigner homeowners just can’t seem to copy on our own, no matter how many times we pore over Architectural Digest. For a moment, one might think that about Stacy Charter’s stylishly Southwestern Gilbert home.
The designer, who’s been with Est Est Inc. in Scottsdale for nearly a decade, downplays her abode, calling it homey, comfortable and “normal, just like everybody else’s.” But you don’t really believe her until you walk upstairs and hear a chirp.
“And this is Sunburst and Sunkist,” she says, opening the door to a room that her two sun conures — palm-sized colorful birds — call home. “I keep them in here because I learned the hard way that Bo will eat them.”
Bo is a nearly 70-pound Siberian Husky who makes up just a third of Charter’s pack. Two more dogs, a handful of fish and a small turtle round out the home’s array of wildlife. Charter also shares the four-bedroom, 3,100-square-foot home with fiance Craig Scharf and her identical twin sister, Deana Charter, with whom she bought the home five years ago.
“I’m very partial to blue, while my sister is partial to reds, blacks and beiges,” explains Charter, 36. The color scheme works well, utilizing shades of desert beige on the walls, floors and major furniture pieces, and adding in splashes of color through accessories, pillows and art.
There’s a 20-foot-high ceiling in the main living room of the home that provides an airy, open space off the kitchen. A leather sofa and chair, custom-made, are accented with bright red pillows. Candle sconces and urns add a designer touch to the uncluttered and Zenlike space.
“I’m not an over-the-top kind of person,” says Charter. “I don’t like clutter, and I like to be comfortable.”
She’s also a budget-conscious designer, a rarity to find in caviar-taste Scottsdale. A native of Tucson, Charter says she was raised in modest settings where creativity ruled over labels. She got interested in designing by sewing her own throw pillows and other bed linens. Many of the projects in her home are things she’s created herself.
“I have a really hard time selling a client a $10,000 sofa,” she says. “My talent is making your home look like a fortune without spending a fortune.”
An Arizona State University graduate, Charter started out in the business world before getting into design. “I worked for a couple of years behind a desk, and I hated it,” she says. So she decided to return to college at 26, receiving a degree in design from Scottsdale Community College two years later.
At home, her style reflects a simplistic beauty that’s big on details, not excess. Blue glass tiles are placed intermittently on her bathroom floor, while curved doorways are spruced up with swags of gold silk fabric. “I think accessories make all the difference,” she says.
Pretty soon, she’ll take a crack at a whole new space. The Gilbert house is on the market as Charter and Scharf — who plan to marry in October — begin to look for their own home. Charter says her fiance has made the wise decision to leave her in charge of the design.
“Oh, but he’ll get one room,” she says, “to do whatever he wants with.”
Q&A WITH STACY CHARTER
Q: How did you become a designer?
A: Growing up, I was always very creative. I liked to draw, and in college I liked to design my own home items, like pillows and drapery. So after sitting at a desk job that I didn’t like, I started to explore the field of interior design. I really enjoyed the classes, so I decided to make it my career.
Q: Do you have a design motto?
A: If the client is happy with what I have presented, then it is perfect.
Q: Price range for your services?
A: It’s $4 per square foot for material specifications and $200 an hour for furniture (selection). We also have different set-fee contracts.
Q: What is your favorite type of home to design?
A: I don’t have a specific favorite — I like them all. Variety allows for more creativity.
Q: Most memorable design job?
A: I think it would be the Gallagher residence. They were the nicest people in the world to work with, and I also had no budget! The feeling of the house was very unique and eclectic — lots of curved walls and architectural details. The owners had great taste and traveled to Paris for some of the furniture. Each space turned out spectacular. I liked it because we were able to be very creative (with) the materials, ceiling treatments and fireplaces. It was a great house.
Q: What’s something “in” right now, in interior design?
A: Teal and brown colors are in. So is more urban living.
Q: Something that’s definitely “out?”
A: That pastel Southwest motif.
Q: If you could design anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: I don’t need to go anywhere else. I find my inspiration from my current projects, which range from Mexico to Hawaii. It allows me to diversify my creativity.
Q: How do you describe your own personal home style?
A: My current home is very eclectic, but I tend to lean more toward a Santa Fe style.
Q: What is your favorite design aspect of your own home?
A: It’s not overdecorated. It’s very comfortable and usable, and I enjoy every room.
MEET THE DESIGNER
Designer name: Stacy Charter Design firm: Est Est Inc. in Scottsdale, owned by Tony Sutton Designer since: 1997 She does: Everything — working with architects from the conception of construction, to the end result choosing furniture, colors and layout design. Accolades: Her work has been featured in various local publications, and she has passed the National Council for Interior Design Qualification board exams. Family: Engaged to Craig Scharf, a chiropractor. You may not know: She has an extensive teddy bear collection.