Natural Wonder: Step inside a creekside, glass-walled abode in Buckhead’s Tuxedo Park

Built on a vintage footprint, this home has become a tailor-made retreat
Buckhead Tuxedo Park house

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

It all started with the sale. Real estate agent Casey Keesee, with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, sold the heavily wooded 2.5 acres in Buckhead’s tony Tuxedo Park to a friend he’d known for two decades. Most agents’ work would be done after that, but not so for Keesee, who also runs an eponymous design-build company.

“When I would take potential buyers to visit properties, we would talk about possibilities and what the house could be,” he says. “I’d share my vision, and eventually many were asking me, ‘Can you make that vision happen?’”

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The exterior is ensconced in its woodland habitat.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

For this client, Keesee was involved from the ground up, as the homeowners razed the existing 1971 residence to its original foundation. Harrison Design Modern Studio Director Robert Tretsch conceptualized a new house on the same footprint, which gently meanders toward the creek. An anomaly for the 21st century, this rambling layout has the effect of making the residence appear much more humble than its nearly 14,000 square feet—at least when viewed from the street.

The client and family, which includes three young children, spend most of the year in Europe but have roots in Atlanta. To build a relaxing retreat for their seasonal sojourns to Georgia, Keesee and Tretsch wanted to emphasize the woodsy context of the site. The new structure features soaring walls of glass, rooms beautifully cantilevered over the backyard pool, and dramatic uplighting in the trees, components that come together to maximize the surrounding views.

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The study features a tufted velvet A. Rudin sofa, a multifaceted walnut and bronze coffee table, and vintage armless chairs. An Ochre chandelier dangles from the walnut ceiling. Custom cabinetry was fabricated by Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The light-filled living room is anchored by a modern classic: Jean de Merry’s iconic Lumiere chandelier. Forming the seating group are two plush Baker sofas, a vintage coffee table, curly wool poufs from Coup Studio, and Powell and Bonnell’s Chatsworth reading chair. The dynamic abstract painting was picked up at a Palm Beach gallery, while the rug and the chain-detail fabric used for the pillows on the sofa—like so many textiles in the house—are Holland & Sherry.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The doughnut-shaped Ochre chandelier in the dining room perfectly complements Jean de Merry’s Soho dining table and Neoclassical-style chairs (made with wood finished to look like zebrawood and mohair seats) from Blackman Cruz, both through R HUGHES. Forming the backdrop are large planes of cypress and glass, affording a view to the expert engineering by Southern Staircase and Harrison Design’s Robert Tretsch. A flag photograph by ’70s icon Robert Mapplethorpe serves as a conversation starter.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The office takes a page out of the Mad Men playbook. Beneath a rich walnut ceiling, a Kyle Bunting cowhide rug featuring cool marquis shapes provides a bold foundation underfoot, while a Noguchi cocktail table serves as the room’s center of gravity. Midcentury Vladimir Kagan armchairs reupholstered in a Holland & Sherry mohair; Roll & Hill’s smoke Modo chandelier from Design Within Reach; a turned-wood bowl by local talent Robert Moulthrop; and photographs by both Ormond Gigli and Ernst Haas, through Jackson Fine Art, round out the scheme.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Tretsch retained the original stacked granite from the demolition, and Keesee paired it with rich woods like stained cypress and polished walnut. The latter, a midcentury standard, graces both floors and ceilings in sturdy, 10-inch-wide planks. Coordinating materials, finishes, and furnishings were meant to conjure glam 1970s style—but subtly. Keesee references Studio 54 several times when describing his scheme for the home’s interior, which includes nods to the decade’s grooviest design highlights: an authentic Noguchi coffee table, black-and-white photography by Robert Mapplethorpe, shag rugs and footstools, iconic David Hicks motifs, and even a wet bar whose walls are lined with gleaming gold leaf.

But it wasn’t all glitz, glamour, and grown-up sophistication. To consider the kids, Keesee kept textiles throughout the house soft and inviting yet durable. Furnishings in high-traffic rooms are borderline indestructible, such as the cowhide ottoman in the family room or the McGuire outdoor dining pieces Keesee placed in the kitchen. And since their two sons share a bedroom abroad, the clients wanted to create the same arrangement here in Atlanta, despite the sheer number of spare rooms under their new roof. To furnish it, a pair of polished walnut bunk beds from Ducduc did just the trick.

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The boys’ shared bedroom contains walnut bunk beds by Ducduc and an orange zebra rug by Jonathan Adler, custom enlarged to three times its typical size. The drapery fabric is “Chinese Steps” by Jim Thompson, a modern classic with a chainlink-like look.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The bright orange zebra print is carried over to the boys’ wash space via a Brunschwig & Fils wallpaper that adds impact around the white-lacquer double-sink vanity.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The third-floor master bedroom’s Fromental wallpaper, hand-rendered with blossoming branches, frames the plush upholstered bed. An irregularly shaped glass lamp by AERIN sits upon a multifaceted Karat nightstand by Natasha Baradaran, while a white shag rug and Rosemary Hallgarten custom ombre throw complete the soft color scheme.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The embroidery on the Holland & Sherry fabric appears not just on the bed’s accent pillows but also the room’s sumptuous draperies, gathered at one corner to embrace a silver gelatin print by Ruth Bernhard set upon a Studiolo easel. With its loosely upholstered leather, Magni’s Divine ottoman mimics the draping effect of this nearby nude while providing a comfortable spot to stretch out in front of the fireplace.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Even minor guest rooms received plush appointments. But the master is undoubtedly the ultimate showpiece of the project. With three walls of glass and stunning third-floor views of the treetops, the bedroom presented a clear opportunity for Keesee to continue the woodland theme. On the wall behind the upholstered bed, he installed a hand-fashioned wallpaper from Fromental featuring a whimsical branching motif. Super-luxurious wools, buttery-soft leathers, intricate embroidery, and fine art come together to form a graceful tapestry in this cultured couple’s nest. “In the summer,” Keesee says, “when you look out, all you see are these beautiful trees.”

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
This first-floor vignette features a vintage Hans Wegner Papa Bear chair and a grid of 10-by-10-inch silver gelatin prints by Aaron Siskind.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
Just off the cypress-clad hallway leading to the living room is a wet bar lined with gold leaf, mirrored backsplash tiles from Waterworks, and chocolate-brown lacquer cabinets from Poggenpohl, the world’s oldest kitchen brand. “I wanted it to feel glamorous,” Keesee says. “The original house was built circa-1971, so we wanted it to have a sort of ’70s flavor.”

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The Poggenpohl kitchen is constructed almost entirely of walnut, offering a midcentury look. Two chandeliers by Downtown (the Dante III and Dante V) cement this retro sentiment. Counter stools by Baker’s outdoor living brand, McGuire, help keep the house equipped for roughhousing kids. The Silestone countertops are just as durable.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Buckhead Tuxedo Park house
The master bath is a vision of white marble—Thassos and Carrara, both from Waterworks—which is complemented by a series of Masao Yamamoto prints that can be just barely glimpsed in the mirror’s reflection.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Resources
Architect Robert Tretsch, Harrison Design Modern Studio, harrisondesign.com
Builder Builders II Inc.
Entry Planters: Lush Life Home & Garden, lushlifehomegarden.com
Foyer Chandelier, bench, console, lamp: R HUGHES, r-hughes.com
Living room Pillow fabric: Holland & Sherry, hollandandsherry.com
Dining room Chandelier, table, chairs: R HUGHES.
Kitchen Poggenpohl, poggenpohl.com
Study Cabinets: Bell Kitchen & Bath, bellcabinets.com
Master bath Waterworks, waterworks.com
Office Chandelier: Design Within Reach, dwr.com
Boys’ bedroom Drapery: Jim Thompson, jimthompson.com
Boys’ bathroom Drapery: Brunschwig & Fils, brunschwig.com
Bedding Gramercy Fine Linens & Furnishings, shopgramercy.com
Outdoor furnishings JANUS et Cie, janusetcie.com; Restoration Hardware, restoration­hardware.com

This article appears in our Spring 2018 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.