When you approach the grand brick facade of the 1043 in Adair Park, so named for its street number on Metropolitan Parkway, you’re struck by both the building’s proportions and its history. Atlantans aren’t used to seeing houses 160 years old in a city that was all but incinerated in 1864.
“No building permits exist for it,” explains owner Tracy Galasso, who, along with her boyfriend, bartender Parks Pope, spent more than two years transforming the forlorn mansion—most recently used as a hospice—into a modern inn with three rooms for rent, as well as common areas designed for intimate events. Their efforts garnered them the Urban Design Commission’s 2018 award of excellence for historic rehabilitation.
After gutting the aging residence down to the studs, Galasso was left with good bones, original wood floors, and ornate trim. Interior plasterwork and double layers of hand-packed brick (there’s no exterior wood framing) make the house feel extra solid. Its 10-foot ceilings, eight-foot-tall period-glass windows, and four breezy porches hark back to an earlier time. Galasso and Pope made most design decisions themselves but called in Caryn Grossman of CG Interiors for advice in a few sticking points.
Moody hues from Benjamin Moore, Behr, and Farrow & Ball felt right for the gravitas of the building. With guests in mind (the couple lives full-time on the top floor), Galasso opted for a mix of fun, kitschy, and one-of-a-kind decor, hitting up local shops like Bobo Intriguing Objects, Paris on Ponce, Brick + Mortar, and a host of secondhand sellers. Though her job is in social work, she laughs: “I spend my weekends meeting people in parking lots to buy their used furniture.”
Guests can enjoy the many common areas, including a cozy den and a clubby library stocked with design magazines, vintage records, and A-list art books from Warhol to Basquiat. (“I have a crazy uncle who granted me my entire Amazon wish list when I graduated from college,” says Galasso.) A bar fit for a connoisseur can be stocked for weddings or parties. Rate from $99.
For the past 20 years, Corrina Sephora’s name has been synonymous with metal, from numerous private commissions of imaginative stair railings and custom furniture to significant public monuments like Nautilus Passage at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. But when the artist’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, ultimately succumbing to the disease in late 2017, Sephora, a recent artist-in-residence at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Science in northeast Georgia, wondered: Had she done everything she wanted to do? Everything she could do?
Sephora had dabbled in mixed media, including printmaking, collage, and light boxes. And she’d been wrestling with the nature of her metalwork for a while. The process had begun to feel too mechanical, too static. Her mother, a paragon of creativity and spirituality, had set an example of following her muse: She was a midwife, musician, herbalist, poet, psychotherapist, and practitioner of Sufism who moved to California from New England in 1977 before settling at an artist commune in New Mexico, pursuing her bliss, and embracing death as a beginning, rather than an end.
So, as Sephora buried her mother’s body in the Taos mountainside, she decided to “throw myself into my work in a new way. To really touch on my emotions, my intuition. I see [my new work] as a sort of storytelling, a form of meditation in the making.”
For Sephora, painting became as much a means of liberation as an exercise in processing grief. “There’s a certain energy it takes to work with metal,” she says. “You’re working with fire. You have to be strong and engineering. But I wanted to explore the softer side of myself, along with other realms and new materials.” Layered with spray paint, gold leaf, acrylic, copper pigments, graphite, and more, her textured pieces make visual nods to human cells, the moon, and the afterlife. Moody, atmospheric, otherworldly, and allegorical, they’re embedded with messages about climbing the corporate ladder, crossing over, and the universe’s grand design.
“Metal is pretty predictable. You can control it to a degree,” she says. “But the paintings speak back to me. They tell me what they want to be.”
Experience Sephora’s newest work An exhibition of Sephora’s work at Mason Fine Art runs from January 10 through February 16 and will offer a few solid metal specimens—ladders, boats, even authentic AR-15 rifles transformed into steel bouquets—plus around 25 new mixed-media pieces. 415 Plasters Ave. 404-879-1500.
House Beautiful’s Whole Home Concept House, which opens tomorrow in Brookhaven, is the first custom house the media brand has ever built. They accomplished it with modern trailblazer Michael Ladisic, a local builder who was involved with the magazine’s Kitchen of the Year in 2016.
When House Beautiful reconnected with Ladisic, he was already preparing to erect a house on this particular lot at 983 Carter Drive, so when he brought architect Linda MacArthur, interior designer Sherry Hart, and kitchen and bath designer Matthew Quinn to the project team, the entire concept came together beautifully.
Thus, the innovative Atlanta concept house stands to be one of the last vestiges of Donelson’s imprint on the publication—and a big reason why so many are clamoring to see it in person. As a longtime design writer, I was quick to join my peers at the Thursday press preview to pay homage to the Donelson-led era.
The magazine’s aesthetic seems to be shifting quickly toward something more Millennial-focused. But both the new marketing direction and the style of the concept house are responses to consumer demand, so it makes perfect sense that the residence has so many hallmarks of the modern American farmhouse. And that’s certainly not a bad thing. Holistically, this house is marvelous.
The home’s proportions are super roomy, and Ladisic’s team added floor-to-ceiling, glass-and-metal windows and doors throughout, which further amps up the openness. The stairwell features a massive Marvin window that Ladisic has housed within a larger, bronze-colored frame—a really cool way to catch an overhead glimpse of the home office-slash-hallway while descending from the private level to the ground floor.
I absolutely loved the surplus of pale woods and similarly colored stones—employed on closet doors, wide-plank floors, clean-lined fireplaces, and the cool veneer covering the kitchen ceiling. Its dramatic vaulting was made possible thanks in no small part to the step-up landing MacArthur and Ladisic devised for the master bedroom upstairs. Clearly this is a house conceived for style, but it’s just as much about function.
“Donelson’s mission in 2018 was to show readers how strategic design choices can deliver more than a pretty space—they can help them live a smarter, happier, and healthier life,” Hearst senior PR manager Gabriel Ford explains.
The whole-home concept is about living well with loved ones and having places to engage in the activities of actual everyday life. Lounging and dining spaces blend together, with a long table that can host huge groups or split up into two parts when the occasion calls for it. The table is set with mismatched but coordinated china from Replacements.com, underscoring the contemporary importance of reuse.
As a sign of the times, the design team has eschewed the formal living room in favor of having a meditation and wellness space—complete with the latest Peloton stationary bike—at the front of the house.
“A lot of times, mothers don’t want to be down in the basement working out. So why not work out upstairs while the kids are watching TV—or playing on their laptops—from a fun daybed?” Hart says.
The area between the two garages has been devised as a courtyard (where the eventual homeowners can throw parties or screen “drive-in style” movies for the kids). And to take the stress away from receiving packages, a wooden valet closet just to the right of the driveway is outfitted with a BoxLock that can be easily opened by delivery personnel to keep parcels safe.
Throughout the house are customized vent covers from house sponsor Architectural Grille—featuring everything from palm fronds in the children’s bedroom to milk bones in the dog room, which boasts a convenient wash station and steel-framed doggie door.
There also seems to be a focus on modern gadgetry—several new LG products make their debut at this show house on Saturday. These include appliances from its high-end label Signature Kitchen Suite, such as a range with a built-in sous vide.
A walk-in larder—or chilled pantry—keeps produce and sundries fresher longer. House Beautiful specifically requested the year-round grow closet for fresh herbs that Design Galleria principal Quinn created. It in itself is worth a trip to see.
Upstairs in the master closet, shirts can be refreshed for a business meeting with LG’s Wi-Fi-enabled Styler Smart Steamer cabinet. Advanced tech also appears in the light switches by NOON Home, which can be configured with presets like “wine time” in the study, which is chiefly used for oenophilic pursuits. (That particular room also has a climate-controlled vino storage case behind the desk.)
The bathrooms are restful, with the curvaceous shapes and contemporary flourishes Quinn is internationally renowned for. (Don’t miss his gleaming silver tiles for AKDO in the master, which represent only one of his numerous signature collections in the house.)
The kitchen is ground zero for these. Marked by powerful symmetry and grandiose dimensions, it embraces an exquisite quality of light—both natural and from Thomas O’Brien’s mod Reflector chandelier in the ceiling. This dramatic design moment is a big reason Quinn fought so hard for a contained cooking space. Be sure to take a good look around, because this room is an idea machine.
Vintage-look sconces from Circa Lighting punctuate retro-inspired wall tiles, while island cabinets are colored Quinn’s favored teal. There are lots of these deep gray-greens in the home—the Benjamin Moore hues used are all masterful—which seem to be the “it” colors of the moment. Hart loved using them, too, as you’ll see with the coral-and-teal Thibaut drapery fabric (Corneila) in the living room.
There’s also something vaguely vintage Palm Beach about Hart’s approach—the children’s bedroom is a Lilly Pulitzer-esque palette of pink and green, complete with a partial wall of palm-print paper, a rattan bed by Suzanne Kasler for Ballard Designs, and a ceramic sculpture of a watermelon slice at the bedside. That minty hue appears once more on the shallow coffered ceiling of the luxurious covered porch. Hart says the way it converses with the enormous, verdigris-colored urns planted with fig trees was entirely unplanned, but that’s exactly the sort of intuition that makes a designer not just good, but great. She also got into rug layering and pattern mixing inside the home—both historically beloved by House Beautiful’s editors. She employed the latter heavily in the master bedroom, which proudly appears on House Beautiful’s November cover.
Visit: House Beautiful’s Whole Home Concept House will be open October 20 and 21 from 12-5 p.m. There will be no on-site parking; parking and shuttle services are available at Sarah Smith Elementary School, 370 Old Ivy Road Northeast.
This spring, everyone’s talking about rosy palettes, high-tech products, and edgy materials (hello, copper). Roy Otwell, cofounder of the contemporary home furnishings and furniture haven Switch Modern, takes us through his favorite current trends.
Nothing says modern like minimalism. Otwell likes mixed-use appliances like Miele’s speed oven, which also has microwave setting, for their form and functionality: “It’s an easy way to declutter your kitchen without sacrificing the ability to cook a great meal for friends and family.”
“Lighting is hands down the most important aspect of bathrooms and kitchens—and technology has really changed the game for lights,” Otwell says. LED and low-voltage lighting not only conserve energy but also add a warmer ambiance to spaces compared to traditional fluorescent lamps. Moooi and Davide Groppi are two of Otwell’s go-to makers for a softer, tech-enabled glow.
“There’s a growing trend of people who want one-of-a-kind surfaces that can’t be replicated in someone else’s home,” Otwell says. For countertops, there’s been a move away from mainstays like Calacatta and Carrara marble and toward composite finishes with metals such as copper or antiqued brass, or even concrete. This trend has also extended to cabinets, where metals have been popular, along with stencil patterns and digitally printed surfaces.
Cult of Color
Introducing new hues can give a room a quick and modern update. For spring, expect to see a rise in pinks, roses, reds, and purples. “These palettes have been especially popular abroad in Europe, and they’re finally starting to take hold in the States, too,” he says.
Kitchens are no longer just a place to eat; bedrooms no longer a space just to sleep. “We’re seeing the barriers come down between rooms to create more connected spaces,” Otwell says. One popular combination to try? Connecting closet space to the bathroom in a master suite.
This article appears in our Spring 2018 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.
When The Handmaid’s Tale took home a slew of Emmys and Golden Globes during its first award season, it was thanks in no small part to the work of Ane Crabtree, an Okinawa-bred, South Dakota-born, Kentucky-raised costume-design phenom who has clothed the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Antonio Banderas, and Sarah Jessica Parker during her career.
For her work on Hulu’s breakout streaming series, the Costume Designers Guild Award-winning designer—also lauded for her work on Westworld, Pan Am, and Masters of Sex—drew inspiration from the descriptions in Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, but certainly added her distinctive spin. And thanks to a new exhibition debuting at Atlanta’s SCAD FASH Museum of Film + Fashion on May 1, fans can soon explore her imaginative creations in-person.
Composed of 45 ensembles from both seasons of the series, the “Dressing for Dystopia” exhibition is co-curated by SCAD FASH executive director Alexandra Sachs, director of fashion exhibitions Rafael Gomes, and recent SCAD alum Mangue Banzima, a fashion marketing and management grad who worked with Crabtree on a display of her Handmaid’s Tale creations at NYC’s Public hotel last summer. This is the museum’s first exhibition focused exclusively on costume design.
Much like the themes of the show itself, the display is undoubtedly ominous. The first gallery makes use of the Japanese tradition of “shou-sugi-ban,” which involves burning and blackening wood for a waterproof finish, proffering incredible textures and grain patterns. Elsewhere in the exhibition, visitors will experience light projections of scenes from the series, along with a monitor displaying a montage of Handmaid’s Tale actors donning the costumes on view.
We chatted with Crabtree to learn more about her creative process, her experiments on set, and how her own politics bled over into the memorable visuals she helped bring to life.
The clothing worn by residents of Gilead (the dystopian United States in which the story takes place) was detailed thoroughly in Margaret Atwood’s novel, so you had a blueprint for your work. In what ways did you deviate from her concepts? Both the original novel and the  film [starring Natasha Richardson] were definite “blueprints” for my designs. One deviation was using solid gray outfits for the Econowives (women married to poorer men) rather than the stripes depicted in the book because we needed a vehicle, visually, to [contrast] the former United States. In that world, we’d previously enjoyed using patterns [like stripes], a multitude of colors, jewelry—basically anything you no longer see in Gilead.
But it was very important to create something that would speak to Gilead in this time and space. I was looking for a specific modern dystopia that transcends the time frame of the U.S. at this very moment. So I designed from a point-of-view that is very classical and from many early time frames of each decade in fashion.
You can pinpoint many historical references in these costumes: Amish, Puritan, Japanese military uniforms. I’ve even read that you were inspired by certain European cults and a canister of Old Dutch cleanser. But since the series is contemporary, the costumes also had to feel current. How did you successfully merge past and present? All of those references were important to me. The Old Dutch cleanser is something I’ve read that Margaret Atwood utilized to inspire description of the handmaids’ clothing. My [personal process] is to first research like mad, then select elements from each decade that speak to me and speak to the story, stopping along the way to examine that decade’s most classic elements. [The result] is a mash-up of past and present. Having studied fashion design [at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology] and not costume design, it has always been important to me to interject that element. We can’t escape the influence of fashion; it inundates our view without even trying.
The handmaids’ red cloaks and white wings were first introduced in 1985, but they’ve had a recent resurgence in Trump-era protests. How do you feel about that costume reentering the cultural zeitgeist more than 30 years later thanks to your work on TV series? I’m absolutely surprised and pleased by it, that my interpretation of Mrs. Atwood’s words became a visual metaphor for women’s individual rights and women’s collective spirit. I set out to do a job that I was hired for, and what followed was a visual dream, a reaction to many political beliefs I already align myself with. That can only be described as a dream come true.
Color was central to both Atwood’s descriptions in the novel and to your vision boards when researching the costumes. I read about how painstakingly you picked particular hues, even considering how they would look with different skin tones. But colors can appear different to viewers as they watch on their various screens—some fans felt the Econowives were dressed in pale blue, rather than gray, and the Wives’ blue outfits can sometimes appear green. Do you feel that your artistic vision comes through even with these variations? Everyone’s [creative] eye is different, including my own. I find the variations on screen exciting, rather than limiting. So much can be changed with the turn of a dial. I do feel that my artistic vision comes through, and welcome the changes that come—whether via post-production or through the lens of the viewer. Ultimately, I hope that the visitor [to the exhibit] finds the differences enlightening.
The costumes convey a clear delineation between the social classes of Gilead. A more fashionable, figure-conscious mode of dress is reserved for the highest class—commanders and their wives. Aunts, who oversee the handmaids, don a matronly-meets-military style; Marthas, who tend to housework, wear homely outfits; and there’s a clear oppressive nature to the handmaids’ cloaks and winged headgear. In a time when many feel as though social classes are becoming more and more divided, how does your manner of costuming illustrate this? While I always design [for Handmaid’s Tale] from a male point of view—as the “architect of Gilead”—I can say that my creativity was only further fueled by current events. I also come from a mixed-race heritage, with an immigrant mother, so I had my own fuel to add to the proverbial fire.
Atwood has long upheld the interpretation of her story as a plausible future rather than science fiction, so I imagine you wanted viewers to contemplate genuine possibilities, rather than simply suspend disbelief. In what ways have you made the garments more believable than typical costumes? Mrs. Atwood considers The Handmaid’s Tale “speculative fiction,” as it is birthed from real stories and histories. This is Gilead; I try to imagine a place where there is no fabric, no money exchanged. Honestly, we haven’t been definite on the where, why, and how these costumes were created, but my perspective is that someone—like Economen in factories—assembled Gilead’s uniforms as a service to the community. Or perhaps a commander like Waterford hired people to design the looks as a kind of modern nomad template for the masses.
I’m coming from a pragmatic point-of-view with the clothing; it has to last through various weather—like a prison uniform that can stand wear and tear. I also designed each look for the seasons of Toronto [where we film], which is super hot in July and cold in October, then freezing for January through April. Due to on-set rain machines and sub-zero temperatures, I’ve been making use of VorTex and other waterproof fabrics, which get thrown back into the design as a reality check. This very well may be my first “method” costume design show.
Costume design is not all seriousness and cultural commentary; it’s also a vehicle for creativity and fashion. Drawing upon classic Hollywood influences (Marlon Brando, Cary Grant), as well as design houses such as Prada, Yohji Yamamoto, and Comme des Garçons who play with military silhouettes in their collections, you’ve created something artful and fun. What are your favorite components of your designs? Perhaps something whimsical or surreptitious that visitors should look for at the exhibition? I love all of it, and would wear all of it. That’s the basic gift I try to give the viewer: I’m creating clothes that can be worn forever, much like all that you mentioned above. I guess my favorite component is the layering—from the cobweb-style underwear to the cotton layers, the petticoats, the boot covers (definitely a fave), the high-waisted trousers, and the one Shinto star the commanders wear. I also love the triple-thick suits I’ve made for Commander Waterford. They’re a kind of David Byrne shout-out.
Are there any prototypes that didn’t make it into the final series that will be on view? How about any of the smaller items and accessories (such as the intentionally unflattering brown stockings handmaids wear)? I’m into showing my failures as much as successes in terms of design. Early muslins will be on display in the SCAD FASH lab as commentary on the beginnings of the design for the whole show. And yes, I will have the brown stockings on the mannequins! Those came from being a kid in the South in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, always noticing that people of color never were given the choice of the right shade for hosiery, myself included. That dead brown color is a statement on how I grew up.
Why was SCAD FASH Atlanta chosen as the venue for the costumes’ debut? [Assisting curator] Mangue Banzima, who created my costume show with Vogue at the Public hotel in New York, is responsible for introducing me to SCAD FASH. I knew about SCAD Savannah and was excited about the prospect of Atlanta as a place to show the costumes. I have a long love affair with Georgia; I’ve worked on Rectify, the Sundance TV series filmed there; a film called Lila & Eve with Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez; and, finally, a dystopian pilot called The Passage, which filmed last year in and around Atlanta. My “dog daughter,” Georgia Earline Oconee, was rescued at a shelter near the Oconee River and is a constant reminder of all of my time in Georgia. I’m a Southern girl at heart, and I wanted an exhibition and premiere to blow the east coast/west coast (both places I have lived) mythology out of the water. This is our Southern version, and it’s going to be a real blow-out party.
How will the SCAD FASH exhibition be curated to show off the designs and offer viewers an immersive experience? I’ve always wanted a costume experience that was completely immersive, one that integrated costumes with the sights, sounds, emotions, and psychology of the brilliant words of Margaret Atwood and [show producer and writer] Bruce Miller, along with the full experience of this expansive series. SCAD was completely open and generous in the process of creating this exhibition, and combining that moment with education and exposure for students promises to make this such a memorable event. I hope everyone comes out to experience it with me.
See the exhibit (and a new episode before anyone else) The first two episodes of the new season premiered on Hulu on April 25, and SCADFILM will hold an advance screening of the third episode at a free-to-the-public preview event on April 30 at 7:30 p.m. at SCADshow in Midtown. The event will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Handmaid’s Tale cast and crew, including Crabtree and actors Madeline Brewer (Janine) and Ever Carradine (Naomi Putnam, the wife for whom Janine bears a daughter). Reserve tickets at scadfash.org/handmaids-tale.
Preceding the screening from 5 to 7:30 p.m. is a special VIP reception for SCAD student and faculty ID holders and SCAD FASH Museum members at the SCAD FASH.
Jonathan Adler’s sphere of influence doesn’t stop at his international empire of boutiques. Adler’s big-name collaborations range from Lacoste to Kohler, Tumi to TOMS, Formica to Fisher-Price. Now, his debut collection of roller shades for the Shade Store embraces his signature retro motifs—from ’50s Italian mod to ’60s flower power—in six patterns (all available in both blackout and light-filtering) and 14 total colorways. “They’re bold,” Adler admits, “but, depending on how they’re used, can come across very versatile, tailored, and polished. I could see the bright clementine on windows looking out onto a lush Sandy Springs backyard, and the Vionnet pattern in maize would add fresh, mod appeal to a Midtown apartment.” The modern maestro’s ultimate advice? “Life’s too short to look back and see an endless haze of beige.” Custom pricing, theshadestore.com
This article originally appeared in our Spring 2018 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.
“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?’”
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.
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.
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.”
In Denmark, the word hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) conjures up an abstract notion of coziness, harmony, intimacy, and togetherness. Danes live and die by this concept, and they’re consistently named some of the happiest people on earth. They’re also design fanatics, although hygge—said to originate from the archaic Norwegian word hugge, translating roughly to “hug”—is more of a feeling than an aesthetic. It connotes a relaxed, mindful, egalitarian lifestyle—made easier with glowing candlelight, a steaming mug, and a snug throw.
Hans Wegner “Papa Bear” chair and footstool designed in 1950, $15,000, 1stdibs.com
This brick tudoron Buckhead’s Habersham Road was built in 2014, but it already has a storied history. Originally constructed as a facility for the Catholic church, its clean-lined, ceremonious façade might seem solemn. But inside, a family has made it into a warm and joyful home.
The owners, both news anchors who’ve worked all over the U.S., Susan Hendricks and Joe Carter first crossed paths in Atlanta on an HLN weekend morning show. Susan, an alumna of Anderson Cooper 360, can still be seen on HLN. Joe is a former CNN sports anchor who has headed up his own production company, Hencar, since 2015.
The site was once owned by Joseph Mitchell, the last living heir to Gone With the Wind scribe Margaret Mitchell. Upon his death in 2011, he donated it and a large sum from her estate to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta.
The church spent two years scrapping the existing house and building a residential-style events space complete with an austere (and elevator-accessible) live-in apartment for its prelate archbishop.
“They saw the house as an opportunity to grow the Catholic name, to welcome out-of-town visitors, to host events, to grow the Catholic church for years to come,” Joe explains.
However, a front-page story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about plans for the $2.2 million residence helped touch off sharp criticism from parishioners. The archbishop issued a public apology, moved out, and put the building up for sale. When the couple visited with their real estate agent, Joe immediately saw its potential. It wasn’t extravagant or ostentatious, but it was elegant—stately, even.
“Joe has a keen eye. He sensed what great bones this house has,” Susan says. But after considering its dark wood archways, commercial-coded bathrooms, stained-glass-shrouded chapel, robe room for wine and offerings, working kitchen, a “safe room” concealed behind a bookcase, and industrial A/C that “could cool down a high-rise within minutes,” Susan was hesitant. “I worried we couldn’t make it feel like a home.”
“Growing up, I had this great respect for the priests and the archbishop, so being in that room with the holy water was a little strange,” says Susan, who, like her husband, is Catholic. Their family of four, which includes eight-year-old daughter Emery and one-year-old son Jackson, all attend the nearby Cathedral of Christ the King.
But an entire year of renovations, accomplished with the help of Atlanta-based ESD Homes, put their fears aside. Plans included moving many walls and reimagining large chunks of the floor plan. The chapel was converted into a guest room. What was formerly a suite for visiting clergy became a bedroom-playroom combination. And the archbishop’s diminutive apartment saw the greatest transformation: His keeping room was made into a luxe new master bath, his former bathroom was changed into the master lounge, and the low ceilings of his former sleeping quarters were vaulted to create a loftier look. His closet, formerly lined with robes, became home for Joe’s sleek wardrobe.
Susan changed all the light fixtures and painted the home’s dark-wood details in light, creamy colors to brighten the space. She also added luminous Phillip Jeffries wallpapers to the foyer, daughter Emery’s bedroom, and the downstairs powder bath, rather than the lacquer wall treatment she had previously considered.
Next was figuring out comfy, kid-friendly furniture placements in an open-format living arrangement. “Our previous house was smaller, but because rooms were so contained, they fit more furniture [than this one],” Susan explains. A fan of transitional style who extols the talents of Suzanne Kasler and Beth Webb, Susan purchased a number of new pieces for this house, consulting with Ann Huff and Meg Harrington of Huff Harrington Home to carry off the light and airy look. Gracing the walls are art pieces from Huff and Harrington’s gallery by the same name, while Susan filled in with furniture and decorating finds from local shops Interior Philosophy, B.D. Jeffries, Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts, Restoration Hardware, Ralph Lauren, and a touch of Jonathan Adler (seen over the fireplace in the exceptionally plush dining room). Oushak rugs, like the one in the foyer, cozy things up.
Though there remains a pervasive preconception that Tudors are dark and foreboding, this house, the very height of light and bright, shatters it.
This article originally appeared in our Winter 2017 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.
Since 1961, Atlanta magazine, the city’s premier general interest publication, has served as the authority on Atlanta, providing its readers with a mix of long-form nonfiction, lively lifestyle coverage, in-depth service journalism, and literary essays, columns, and profiles.