I had only been home from the hospital a few days after our second son was born, when my husband asked me to go for a ride. He had somewhere he wanted to take me. In my postpartum slumber, I agreed thinking some fresh December air may do me some good. After a short ride, we pulled in front of a house, a shop I had never even noticed before, right off a main thoroughfare I drive daily. The large open sign had caught his eye coming from a lunch run earlier that day and he had decided to stop in. Instantly he knew it was a place I had to see. He knows me well.

When I stepped inside Home with Heart, a Charlotte-based gifts and home furnishings shop, I was awakened by unexpected personality and unique finds from brands around the globe. I was greeted by Christmas décor, which had me envisioning next year’s mantel and trimmed tree (even though we were only days removed from Christmas) and gifts I wish I had gifted if only we had made our discovery a few weeks earlier. I was quickly drawn into the “kids shop” and could not help but bring home a mounted felt fabric moose head (by Roost) for my firstborn, who I knew would love the addition to his “big boy” room. I could have spent hours in the shop that day; it was a magical place worthy of exploring.

I sat down with Lynn-Anne Bruns, designer and creative behind Home with Heart and lakbdesign, a full-service interior design firm, to learn about the inspiration behind the unique retail space. Its location, an almost one hundred year-old house, innately provides a backdrop of character and charm. Lynn-Anne recalls bringing her children to hear a reading by Eric Carle when it was Black Forest Books and Toys, which she pays tribute to through the decorative butterflies that adorn the wall of a hallway and “fly” above today’s visitors on the ceiling of the kids shop. This nod to the famous children’s author is something Lynn-Anne does in her broader design approach; she tells a story and links décor with people’s experiences.

As the shop owner, Lynn-Anne’s goal is to create “visual delight”, as she calls it, for her clients. “If you are going to do it, make it good,” she says. Her initial motivation for opening the shop almost four years ago was to provide staples, or the things people fill their homes with, such as picture frames, coffee table books and other essentials. However, she also wanted to bring something unique to Charlotte and does so by bringing European brands not available in the area. Lynn-Anne highlights the importance of incorporating local and regional artists as well and supporting women-owned businesses. This unique compilation of brands helps set Home with Heart apart. The shop is reflective of something different, something from far away yet something familiar. It is similar to Lynn-Anne’s own personal story, born in Scotland, raised in Europe and the States, a former lawyer, a mother of four; her diverse experiences and travels have uniquely shaped her as a designer. Her passion for interiors started at a young age, her mother often telling stories of Lynn-Anne styling her childhood room and home. She carried this lifelong passion throughout her law career and moves across Europe and the U.S., and has now been doing interior design for over nine years in Charlotte.

As an interior designer, Lynn-Anne seeks to create a space that is reflective of the people who live there. She is not one to do the same thing over and over again, but rather tailors each design plan to its client. She gets to know them and enjoys hearing about their travels, experiences and significant life events. Lynn-Anne works to tie this into how she styles their home, seeking out décor from a place traveled or a book to sit on a coffee table that captures memories of a trip. She makes it personal, which is evident as she walks me through her studio upstairs in the shop showing me samples of the box each client receives for the design proposal. The uniquely patterned boxes contain samples of lush fabrics and wool rugs, transforming the proposal into a visual experience. It is clear that each one has been thoughtfully constructed. I want a box. It is a treasure box of sorts, waiting to be brought to life in the home of the client.

Lynn-Anne strongly believes design should be democratic and accessible. She is mindful of this when she buys for the shop, bringing affordable, mid-range and high-end brands. She also considers this when pulling together proposals for a client, providing them with multiple fabric options and a transparent budget. Undoubtedly clients benefit from a fresh design perspective and the well-curated retail space, which Lynn-Anne loves to style from with heart.

Noteworthy Picks

Lynn-Anne Bruns is the owner of Home with Heart and lakbdesign, a full-service interior design firm. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and is a mother of four. She has been featured in Country Living Magazine and Marie Claire Mexico. Lynn-Anne draws inspiration from the unique homes her family rents during their travels to Scotland and her time at the family’s South Carolina lake house surrounded by nature.

Images by Candice Lanning, www.thebeautifulmess.com.