Comfort, Embedded: Ruard Veltman Redefines the English Cottage

Ruard Veltman's Bing Home
Photos by Joe Purvis

So much of ourselves — our personality, memories, and experiences — are poured into our vision of an ideal home. More often than not, such notions of the home look differently for each person. For many of us, these definitions contain elements of comfortability, utility, and a place conducive to familial hospitality. In Charlotte, Ruard Veltman Architecture is the medium through which this elusive architectural expression of home and family can be obtained. A perfect example of this fact, his reworking of the English cottage concept for the local Bing family epitomizes family-oriented design without sacrificing an ounce of that characteristic country beauty.

The thatched-roof pool house
The thatched-roof pool house

When Candy and Darren Bing bought their beautiful Myers Park property, they did so with every intention of transforming it. They wanted a home that embodied their personality and tastes, but one that could also comfortably house their family. The English cottage style, with its clean simplicity and countryside warmth, was something toward which they’d always gravitated. Ruard Veltman was brought in to assist the Bings in recreating their Myers Park property from the ground up. Working closely with the homeowners, Ruard has ushered in a new brand of English cottage.

The "front" door
The “front” door

As she began to ruminate on the new construction, Candy knew she wanted “something small and charming that wasn’t predictable.” She had a “clear vision” of her home and how her “family wanted to live in it.” Ruard grounded her vision with masterful finesse, a fact highlighted in a myriad of nuanced details throughout the home. Perhaps the most enticing design choice is the subtle, gentle nestling of the construction into the hillside, making the exterior of this home absolutely captivating and the interior exceptionally cozy. To make the house a little “more humble and quaint than it already is,” Ruard recessed it three feet into the ground…at Candy’s suggestion. The step down to the front door “plays into the quirkiness of the house.”

A warm, naturally-lit kitchen
A warm, naturally-lit kitchen
A gorgeous dining area
A gorgeous dining area

This is a home that you “start to experience at the street.” A long, winding drive allows you to “interact with the property” as you enter it, garnering an appreciation for the timeless welcoming nature of its front elevation. A charming, limited floor plan was designed to keep the space intimate and small. A secret doggy door and hidden compartments, those little nook-and-cranny details that Ruard uses to make a house a home, can only be found if you know where to look for them. That’s the nature of a Ruard Veltman home: Pieces like the wood-fired pizza oven and the kegerator are thoughtfully installed so that they fit organically as parts of the home, rather than jutting out like unplanned additions. Together, it seems, Ruard and the Bings thought of everything.

A cozy living area made cozier by the recession below grade
A cozy living area made cozier by the recession below grade

As you move through the rooms, “the home begins to unfold” with a genial warmth. The walls are light and neutral, affording visual space for black hardwoods and rich, dark textiles. This being a home full of avid art enthusiasts, the art displayed on the walls naturally provides the “primary source of color,” innately drawing the eye. The home itself doubles as a piece of architectural art added to Candy and Darren’s impressive collection. From but a short distance away, they can truly admire the artistry of their home while relaxing in the pool house. Resting opposite the home’s back elevation, across the rich blue of the pool and the artful lawn-work by this buildout completes the home rather than serving as a mere structural addition. This space is full of all the expected Ruard detailing, too: A swim doesn’t necessitate a trip indoors because there’s a gorgeous outdoor shower in the pool house. The elegant, thatched roof of this second living space — another of Candy Bing’s unconventional design suggestions — completes the home’s “honest, pure, and authentic” cottage artistry while incorporating a construction technique practically nonexistent around Charlotte.

The main living area
The main living area

They don’t just want a house. They want something that they are proud of owning.

From the texture and undulations of the ceilings to the front door charmingly tucked out of view, it’s clear that Ruard has made the Bing’s vision of “home” tangible. This house extends beyond the mere status of a place to live, and in doing so, has become something truly unique to the homeowners. Convivial and unpretentious, this is a beautifully designed space which will foster many cherished memories with family and friends.

The back elevation, facing the pool