Have you ever passed by the quiet, leafy campus of La Charmant condos on Newburgh Road and wondered what’s inside? Longtime resident Dottie Shelton invites you in.
The Henderson, Kentucky, native was working at Klein’s hair salon on Washington Avenue 30 years ago. Looking to relocate to Evansville, she began house hunting, and the condominiums at La Charmant — one of Evansville’s first condo complexes, built in 1979 — caught her attention.
With no grounds maintenance and spacious square footage, “It was an easy way to live,” Shelton says.
But she did have her eye on improvements. Natural light was the biggest obstacle. As a second-floor interior unit, the kitchen and dining room, located in the heart of the 1,980-square-foot condo, were completely enclosed, trapping light in the front living room and back bedrooms. Luckily, Shelton’s sons Brian, a commercial real estate appraiser, and David, a builder in Henderson, could step in and help make the condo the home of her dreams.
“When I was visiting for the first time, I liked it, and David loved it,” Shelton says. “He viewed it as a project. He views everything as not what it is, but what it can be.”
They started with her galley kitchen, opening up space by removing a wall and creating more room for the gatherings Dottie liked to host. The dining room, a small chunk tacked onto the end of the former galley kitchen, became a dining nook. A large room adjacent to the kitchen could have been a bedroom, but Shelton opted to turn it into a spacious formal dining room. With cut-outs tucked between the kitchen cabinets, visitors in the dining and living rooms can interact with anyone standing in the kitchen. In all, they removed three walls, and Shelton further maximized space by converting a double closet off the dining room into a pocket office.
If her son has a vision for rearranging space, Shelton’s talent lies in maximizing the potential he finds. Natural light would continue to be a problem for the interior unit, so Shelton tackled it by installing mirrors and gleaming marble floors instead of rugs to bounce light around the condo. Dressed primarily in black, white, and gold, the main room pops with green and crystal accents, Ionic columns around the fireplace, crown molding, plantation shutters, and floral wallpaper from Enjole Interiors. Nestled into oversized chairs from Sugar Bakers and the former Finke Furniture Co., visitors are enveloped in an effortless chic that is inviting and cozy.
The two bedrooms also exude a comfortable elegance. The guest room is sprinkled with red lilies and ballet art, both favorites of Shelton’s youngest granddaughter and frequent visitor, Lilly. Shelton’s suite is appointed in mossy green and patterned marble with gold floral and Chinese accents hand-painted by Barb Woodruff, owner of Just Faux It decorative finishes.A hairstylist for 50 years — the last nine with Sola Salons — Shelton’s style has evolved over time.
“I used to rearrange furniture a lot. Now, I arrange accessories more,” she says. And though she doesn’t host parties as much anymore, she still enjoys it.
La Charmant’s campus, though, remains the same pleasant, stress-free environment as when Shelton moved in. It boasts an indoor pool and clubhouse, workout room, and tennis court. Residents make up the board and band together when small improvements are needed.
“Condos come on the market only occasionally, and several people have moved here with children, so there’s a lot of activity and laughter,” says Shelton, who can wave to neighbors while perched among fronds on tasteful black-and-white wicker seats on her balcony. “I love living here.”