The Moon & Lola founder opens her home for the holidays
by Jesma Reynolds
photographs by Catherine Nguyen
Kelly Shatat was driving down Saint Mary’s Street on her way to purchase a house when a sign in a yard caught her eye: “Coming Soon – For Sale by Owner.” Calling the number listed, the CEO and founder of Moon & Lola, a highly successful, trendsetting jewelry business whose products are sold locally in stores and across borders online, asked the owner if she could take a look inside. After several back-and-forth persistent phone calls, Shatat convinced the seller to let her in to preview the home that afternoon. By evening, she had signed a contract to purchase and provided a deposit check, sealing the deal with a champagne toast with the seller. “I always wanted to live in an old house with character, and I knew from stepping into the foyer that it was my house,” she says. Recently divorced, she was looking for a fresh start in a neighborhood close to all the places she liked to go. The 1925 Dutch colonial in Hayes Barton fit the bill. “This is the heart of Raleigh,” she says, adding that she was born down the street at what was then Rex Hospital on the corner of Wade Avenue and Saint Mary’s Street.
Dubbing it “Lola’s Happy House” (she’s the ‘Lola’ in the business named for her friendship with Avis Wicher, aka ‘Moon’), the double ivy Xs on the side of the house only confirmed she had found her new home. “I always sign everything ‘xx lola’,” says Shatat. With the help of her friend and designer Emily Johnson, the pair set out to create interiors reflecting her proclivity for fashion and femininity. Walking through the home, there are special touches around every corner. A custom pink lucite chandelier in the dining room pays tribute to her business – it was use of that material in necklaces, earrings, and bracelets that helped turn her side hustle into a multi-million-dollar company. Glass lavender door knobs enhance the exterior of a pair of French doors. There’s hand-applied gold leaf on the mouldings in the dining room, and hand marbling on the foyer walls. As Shatat says, there is “character in every nook and cranny.”
A character herself, Shatat has stories associated with nearly every object or piece of art she’s collected. She’s quick to share sources and give credit to those who have helped her along the way, understanding the importance of collaboration. Gilded metal sconces from friends Lance Jackson and David Ecton of Parker Kennedy Living flank an abstract painting by Apex artist Cathy Martin in the dining room, and a pink painting from her Lumberton pal TomTom (whose collaboration with Moon & Lola on a jewelry and home accessories line debuts in January 2018) hangs above the living room sofa. As she talks, a constant stream of texts seem to confirm that she is, as she says, “the great connector.”
On a recent sunny afternoon, she hosts a gathering for some women who work for her. Over lively conversation in the garden, Shatat raises her champagne glass for moment of gratitude: “To my Moon & Lola girls – and to pink!” And with that toast, Lola’s Happy House lives up to its name.