When building their dream home, this Milton family reached for the stars—literally

The Old World–style abode even has a home theater complete with a twinkling night sky

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Milton dream home
The home’s exterior received a makeover with a slate roof, a new trim color, and extensive landscaping by Rick Anderson. On the far right side, a porte-cochère connects the four-car garage and two guest suites to the house, surrounding a large motor court that provides parking for up to eight cars.

Photograph by Emily Followill

When you’re creating your forever home, why not reach for the stars? This Milton family took that advice quite literally, checking off every item on their bucket list—down to a plush home theater with lights that twinkle overhead like the night sky.

Third-generation Atlantans (fourth if you count the kids), they found their dream house in 2013. The wooded five-acre lot, reached by a short gravel road, seems far removed from city life but is less than 10 minutes from downtown Milton. The couple—high school sweethearts who had been living in nearby Cherokee County—fell in love with the home’s stately design, which blends elements of English Arts and Crafts with French Country.

Milton dream home
In the master bedroom, a large window looks over the expansive back yard. Neutral walls and rugs provide a restful backdrop, while color appears in fabrics and artwork.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Milton dream home
The focal point of the master bath is a dramatic onyx slab selected by Contreras for the glass shower. Duffy chose countertops and floors that echoed colors in the slab. She also replaced a built-in tub with a freestanding model and added new plumbing from Waterworks.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Milton dream home

Photograph by Emily Followill

On a practical level, the layout, which includes a master suite and two bedrooms on the main floor, was ideal for the young family, allowing the parents to keep their two children close at hand. Two additional bedrooms upstairs will give the kids the option of moving when they get older.

Still, there were things the new owners wanted to change. They enlisted Eduardo Contreras, the architect who had originally designed the 12,000-square-foot home in 2005, and Atlanta interior designer Teri Duffy to make their vision a reality. The collaboration proved to be highly effective. “We all worked incredibly well together,” says Contreras. “We listened to the homeowners, and they were receptive to our ideas. There was no drama. Everything was very orderly.”

Milton dream home
The theater can accommodate up to 10 people. A mix of traditional chairs, lounge seating, and bean bags (for the kids) ensures everyone is comfortable. Speakers are hidden behind fabric-covered walls, and theater equipment is concealed behind two paneled walls at the back of the room. The ceiling stars can be controlled electronically.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Milton dream home
The family room mixes color and texture to create a happy space. Beams were distressed to look old and to enhance the walnut cabinetry. The sectional is covered in a durable mohair fabric.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Milton dream home
The library showcases a gallery of Renaissance prints and an extensive book collection compiled by Antonio Raimo Galleries on Miami Circle. The settee is 19th-century Italian.

Photograph by Emily Followill

That harmony was all the more remarkable considering the many renovations, including the addition of an enormous walk-in closet; the conversion of a home office into a linen closet and morning kitchen; and the transformation of an unfinished basement into a large and comfortable space that includes a state-of-the-art home theater, a playroom with a kitchen and bath, an exercise room, and a wine cellar. On the main level, changes were made to almost every room, including the library, kitchen, master bedroom, and master bath. The home’s exterior also got a face-lift: a new slate roof, updated paint, and new landscaping.

In addition to their two children, the owners have lots of extended family in the metro area, and often hold birthday parties or holiday gatherings for as many as 50 people. Contreras and Duffy made sure the layout, furnishings, and finishes were family-friendly. “The design provides lots of possibilities for entertaining and lounging, and the furnishings and fabrics are durable,” Duffy says.

Milton dream home
In the living room, the designers applied burlap fabric to the ceiling between the beams to add texture and softness. The room features an 18th-century tapestry from Robuck. A Swedish clock from Jacqueline Adams Antiques can be seen down the side hallway.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Milton dream home
To avoid monochromatic beige and white colors, Contreras and Duffy used unexpected color combinations.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Milton dream home
In the breakfast nook, the designers created a custom banquette covered in sturdy blue leather.

Photograph by Emily Followill

The homeowners wanted to incorporate color throughout the house and insisted that the designers avoid monochromatic beiges and whites. So Contreras and Duffy suggested unexpected combinations, including turquoise, purple, and brown, that give an energetic vibe to the home.

A mix of traditional and contemporary furnishings and accessories keeps the Old World–style abode feeling fresh. “We’ve given the home a clean look, yet one that complements its architecture,” Duffy says. The owners’ book collections, sculptures, paintings, and antiques add interest to every space, and next to the stairs is a gallery wall of watercolors painted by the husband’s grandfather.

Milton dream home
These watercolors, arranged as a gallery wall, are family heirlooms painted by the husband’s grandfather.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Milton dream home
Atlanta decorative artist Bethany Travis painted this scene on the foyer walls. The antique table is from Robuck at the Galleries of Peachtree Hills. Opposite, a hallway highlights a bronze sculpture by Tom Corbin.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Milton dream home
The Old World kitchen was renovated to include new lighting and an 18th-century French fireback from Wyatt Childs. The fireback was installed over some existing decorative tile.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Milton dream home
The family room mixes color and texture to create a happy space. Beams were distressed to look old and to enhance the walnut cabinetry. The sectional is covered in a durable mohair fabric.

Photograph by Emily Followill

The homeowners say that both Contreras and Duffy poured their hearts and souls into the renovation and achieved exactly what they wanted. “You can just feel that this house is for family,” the wife says. “It’s accessible and warm and a place where people can hang out and visit. It’s our dream home. We don’t plan to move again.”

This article originally appeared in our Spring 2017 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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