As designer of record for the new condominium project in Raleigh, The Wade, interior designer Judy Pickett of Design Lines expected the finished spaces to be fresh, beautiful, and well done. What she didn’t expect, however, was that she would fall in love with the condos herself. After the finishes were chosen, the pre-sales done, and the interiors refined, Pickett felt she’d discovered the perfect location for a new home, right on the heels of a new phase in life.

Just minutes from Cameron Village, The Wade luxury condominiums boast upscale accommodations in a downscale size. “Many people find that downsizing means they have to sacrifice beautiful details, millwork, amenities, and/or quality,” Pickett explains. “That’s just not the case at The Wade. Every detail has been thought of, all the amenities are convenient and beautiful—and that’s what really made me feel comfortable to purchase my own unit.” Having lived in her previous home for nearly twenty years, Pickett was ready to pare down and refresh the spaces around her. “I’ve recently gotten married and was splitting time with my husband in two cities, so it seemed like the right time to get a place as a home base for the two of us in Raleigh,” she says.

Though Pickett loves her heavier traditional and antique pieces, in the process of clearing out and downsizing, she kept just three key items to carry over into her new condo. With a vision for a simpler, cleaner look with a casual yet sophisticated vibe, she began to pull together things that brought her joy, which included her key furniture pieces and most of her art collection as well. This proved to be part of the challenge of designing her new, truncated digs. “I had multiple piles and stacks of things to either be donated, go to my second home with my husband, or here to my new condo. The process was a little challenging, but I had a different mindset this time around, which was that I wanted to be unfettered and uncluttered, which helped smooth any wrinkles in the process,” she explains.

Pickett admits she had many pieces in mind from the outset, having frequented High Point Market and collected items from favorite manufacturers for clients. “It’s really a treat to be able to shop for myself for a change, and as I look around my home, I see some of my favorite suppliers revealed in my choices,” she says. “I have pieces from Hickory Chair, Highland House, Century, and Vanguard, to name a few.” She continues by saying that her favorite spaces in the condo are many, but the main living room, dining room, and kitchen, along with the balcony, are her most-loved spots. “I remember when I moved in. It was late fall and the trees beyond the bank of windows in my living area were on fire in brilliant orange, red, and yellow hues,” she recalls. “The whole space was bathed in these filtered lights and I just loved the way it looked.”

Located on the third floor, Pickett’s condo has a treehouse feel, with plenty of trees to admire in her view. The balcony, which is twenty-two feet long, is a space she would inhabit “morning, noon, and night if weather permitted,” and gets many “oohs” and “aahs” from visitors. The perfect setup of casual but pretty outdoor furniture makes it warm and inviting.

Inside, though largely neutral and light, Pickett dispersed pops of red and orange amid a backdrop of black, white, and the lightest gray. A bold zebra-stripe rug anchors the living room underfoot, with airy white walls and furniture punctuated by the occasional autumn-toned accent chair, artwork, or accessory. The finished white kitchen flows easily between the living room and dining room, creating an overall feeling of casual elegance. The master bedroom and bath are a study in contrasts, with a mostly neutral palette livened up with jewel-tone accents, including a small Turkish rug, colorful pillows, and, in the bathroom, black cabinetry with gold finishes against classically papered walls in cool gray and cream tones.

Growing up, Pickett became a seamstress at heart, mending and hemming and often sewing clothes for herself and her dolls. In college, she naturally felt she should choose fashion merchandising, but when her sorority sister made a comment otherwise, Pickett had second thoughts. “She said, ‘Judy, you know you’re not obnoxious enough to be a buyer in New York,’” laughs Pickett. “And, you know, it got me thinking that she may be right. I switched my major to interior design and haven’t looked back in forty years.” With the gift of knowing her talent at an early age, it’s no wonder that Pickett and her group at Design Lines have been chosen time and again to design interiors residentially and commercially all over the region. If her home conveys anything about Pickett personally, it’s that even a controlled and edited look, when executed properly, can evoke excitement, joy, and ultimate personality.

“I think the question with every project, no matter the client, comes down to how you present what they own and have collected in an uncluttered and sophisticated way,” Pickett says. “And that can be achieved in any style, from contemporary to traditional. Ultimately, the white space that is undesigned is something that is hard for some, but that is the breathing space for your home. And it’s something to get comfortable with.”