An affinity for the Beatles was the starting point for John Byrne’s office, where the retired Coca-Cola exec now relaxes among his beloved British icons. Cartersville-based interior designer Beverly Baribault deftly channeled Carnaby Street—circa 1968—throughout the space.
1. Come together
Knowing pattern would continue the cheeky feeling of the room, the designer turned to another British brand, Cole & Son, for geometric wallpaper.
2. Valancing act
Beverly’s custom window treatments used tapestries of the Fab Four trimmed with a green velvet, continued in the draperies. “My goal was to select a green that blends with the Beatles’ image but didn’t overpower them as the focal point,” she says.
3. In my light
A modern, masculine chandelier from the aptly named furniture company Noir anchors the room.
4. Savvy sculpture
John and his wife, Michelle, purchased the cubist wall sculpture in Asheville. Its 3-D charm enhances the room’s groovy vibe.
5. Get back
Clean-lined furnishings—some from perennial favorite, West Elm—are in keeping with the throwback look.
Baribault splurged on the officially licensed Beatles fabric by Andrew Martin, but she used it in a clever way that didn’t involve a lot of yardage. Similarly, using small amounts of fabric for pillows or chair backs is budget-wise.
When Heidi Woessner and her husband, Jason Williams, bought the Westside lot, it was just a sloping plot of weeds with a cinderblock house. But the Howell Station neighborhood, sandwiched between the West Midtown shops and restaurants and the future Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry (which will become the city’s largest park), has become a hot intown haven. The couple was able to buy the land slated for two smaller houses so they could build one custom home with a yard for their three dogs.
All along, they wanted something that looked historic, where nobody could quite tell what year it had been built, says Jason. The Craftsman exterior is a nod to timeless design, and inside, they continued the classic look with 10-foot ceilings, substantial trim work, a Dutch door, and old-fashioned joinery techniques. Working off a plan by architect Bonnie Henry, the couple enlisted interior designer Kate Hayes to assist with every step.
“I had a pretty good Pinterest page to start with,” admits Heidi, “but I didn’t want a house that looked like anyone else’s. I wanted to be prodded.” Kate did just that, coaxing Heidi into a dreamy kitchen bathed in shades of saturated green, with a backsplash of handmade Moroccan-style tile. A groovy agate wallpaper and custom pink doors to Heidi’s office are other unique touches. “We definitely went a little edgy,” says Kate, confirming that this house is all about taking risks.
In Augusta, all things somehow relate back to the Masters Tournament, and this grand house owes some credit to the golf event for its recent update. Thousands of people descend on the city every April, and many residents rent out their houses, explains homeowner Morgan Bundy. When she and her husband, Justin, were looking for a house to buy last year, they loved this 1920s Italian Renaissance estate for many reasons—its barrel-tiled roof, original details, and its potential as a stunning Masters rental.
“When you first walk in the front door, you can see from one end to the other, which is so appealing,” says Morgan, who grew up in Augusta and knew the significance of the historic area dubbed “the Hill.” Morgan works in medical sales, but has always helped her mother’s business renting homes and facilitating activities during Masters week, so she had an incentive to update the house pronto for the tournament last year. Fortunately, Brittany Cason Johnston, an Augusta interior designer who had been looking for a large house to use as a showhouse fundraiser, stepped in.
“It was perfect timing,” says Brittany. “We wanted to create a not-so-typical showhouse, and it allowed Morgan to avoid having to quickly make a lot of decisions herself.” Fortunately, the grand old manse—designed by architect Willis Irvin, who worked on the original Augusta National clubhouse—had been well maintained.
“We were able to leave the original molding, mantels, and doors and windows, and mostly just update the aesthetics,” recalls the designer. The kitchen got a full overhaul with new cabinetry and appliances, but retained its original square footage. A host of local designers tackled the interiors and outdoor living areas, injecting a cohesive array of color and whimsy. After a quick few months of decorating, the designer showhouse opened last March benefiting SafeHomes of Augusta, a domestic violence center.
The Bundys kept most of the furnishings, but they didn’t move in right away; instead, they opened the doors to a group of Spanish bankers for Masters week. After that, they took residence and began their own yearly traditions. “We turned this into a beautiful showhouse, but we also did everything to make sure this would be the Bundys’ ‘forever home,’” says Brittany.
Resources Lead interiordesigner Brittany Cason Johnston, brittanycasonintdesign.com Landscape architect Matthew W. Raulerson, 770-530-0990. Landscaping Greg Poteet, Georgia Outdoor Service, 706-863-2114. Living room Sofa: CR Laine, crlaine.com. Watercolor over sofa: Kat McCall, kmccall.com. Velvet chair: Global Views, AmericasMart, globalviews.com. Kitchen Cabinetry: B & B Woodworks, 706-796-2003. Window treatment fabric: Donghia, ADAC, donghia.com. Appliances: Miele, mieleusa.com. Guest bedroom Window treatment and bed fabric: Romo, ADAC, romo.com.
Making the most of a 1920s Poncey-Highland house, architect Roger DeWeese tapped into unused attic space to create a spacious master bath. “We exposed existing dormers and recycled salvaged windows to maximize light and headroom,” he says. “Since the upstairs windows look directly into a tree canopy, we made it a modern ‘treehouse’ experience.”
Attic spaces often have exposed wood, so DeWeese played off that look with wood planking on the walls and ceiling.
A floating vanity (“Kole” by Porcelanosa) and frameless shower door add an ethereal quality. The architect intentionally chose LED lights and forewent an overhead fixture for simplicity.
A wall of white glazed mosaic tiles (“Shogun” by Soli) adds texture while suiting the clean-lined look.
Flooring in a weathered-gray hue has the warm look homeowner Tom Jung prefers, but the planks are actually porcelain tiles by Ann Sacks that withstand moisture.
Custom cubbies between the sink and shower can hold towels and other bath items. A mirrored medicine cabinet keeps the vanity clutter-free with its hidden space for toiletries.
DeWeese used a perennial favorite—Benjamin Moore “White Dove”—on walls and ceiling. “White is popular in bathrooms because it gives a clean and bright impression,” he says, “but you need to add some wood tones for contrast.”
This stately Georgian-style house with the red door often attracts the eye of architecture fans—even if they don’t realize it was designed by historic architect Neel Reid. But the house also gets high praise from homeowner Donna Heilman for livability. She and her husband, Johnny, were somewhat familiar with Reid’s classic exteriors but appreciate his talents even more on the inside. “You can walk in and tell it’s his design by things like the high ceilings and molding, but the house is truly grand and functional both,” Donna says. “We love and use every room.”
They were drawn to the circa-1914 Druid Hills home for the same reasons other people appreciate the neighborhood: curving streets and diverse horticulture in six linear parks (designed by another revered name: Frederick Law Olmsted), deep wooded lots, and large, European-style homes. The Heilmans didn’t want the house to be a stuffy shrine to the past, however. On any given day, the kids might be taking ukulele lessons in the living room, splashing in the pool, or playing games on the sun porch, so interior design needed to be friendly and fresh.
The Heilmans enlisted Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning, the interior design duo behind Gordon Dunning, who gutted the kitchen and bathrooms but kept most of the traditional layout intact. They selected mostly traditional furniture to honor the surroundings but weren’t afraid to take risks. “We used color to shake things up,” says Lathem. “When we originally did a walk-through with the Heilmans, Donna said, ‘I know the eye is supposed to have a place to rest, but not in my house.’”
Zebra wallpaper, stately chairs upholstered in chinoiserie fabric, and pops of teal and turquoise fill the house, exemplifying this bold direction. “This whole project was all about striking the balance between fun and sophisticated,” says Cate. “The most serious of antiques needed to have the brightest and freshest abstracts nearby and vice versa.”
Donna and Johnny took the leap to merge fine architecture with fresh decor, but they give credit to their famous architect and the fun-loving but serious designers for the rest. Says Donna: “It takes professional people to tell your story.”
Highlands, North Carolina, is well-known among Atlantans for its rustic mountain houses, but it was a modest office building that caught Laird Memory’s eye as a potential second home. “It had been for sale a long time and was in a great spot close to town,” she says of the low-slung former ranger station and law office. “But the interiors were super ugly.” The fake wood paneling and brown carpet, however, didn’t deter Laird and her husband, Matt Bunting, from transforming the building into their dream mountain getaway.
Once the couple met with Atlanta architect David Colgan, they all decided to add a second floor and create an “upside-down house,” placing main rooms like the living room and kitchen on the higher level with bedrooms tucked down below. It creates an ideal scenario for entertaining, giving the home’s social spaces the best views. The living area features large windows, a vaulted ceiling, and a spacious porch overlooking peaceful Harris Lake.
Inside, the vibe is both relaxed and vibrant. “I’ve always loved the balance of modern and traditional,” says Laird, who designed the interiors. After years at Turner Broadcasting, she now channels her creativity into art and decorating projects and filled the house with a creative mix of vintage, thrift-store, and modern wares—the latter exemplified by large-scale, domed light fixtures hanging from the 15-foot ceilings. Her favorite color pops up everywhere. “I love red,” she says. “It just makes me happy. To me, it’s a neutral.” She paid homage to Highlands with vintage postcards, enlarged and framed on the walls.
The family, which includes Raleigh (11) and Augie (12), calls Buckhead home but enjoys spending time off wandering the trails and exploring the quaint town. “I hear a lot of people say they want to move to the mountains or a small town, but in Highlands, you have both,” Matt says. “Sometimes it feels like we see our Atlanta friends more in Highlands than in Atlanta.”
Bravo to kitchens that function well—without a predictable recipe of ingredients. For a clean look, builder and designer Pam Sessions located the refrigerator and small appliances in an adjacent pantry and forewent the ubiquitous barstools for a luxurious banquette.
Time to shine
The cozy kitchen setup led to one knockout chandelier rather than typical pendants. This beaded number from Currey & Company makes a stately focal point.
Reversing the trend of vent hoods that scream, “Look at me,” this wooden one is understated but clever, with niches on either side.
Sessions chose white-oak floors in a nontoxic stain called “Salty Biscuit.” A touch of blue adds interest to gray cabinetry.
Instead of using the countertop as a breakfast bar, Sessions designed this banquette. Faux leather from Designs by Sudiscores high for comfort and durability.
An antique table brings a warm patina to the seating area, and vintage chairs with a midcentury vibe were recovered in a lively Zak + Fox fabric to keep the look fresh.
Marry style and function with mounted pot racks. “I think hanging pots and pans sends the message that this is a working kitchen but still looks great,” says Sessions, who rents out this home through her boutique rental company, Hedgewood Stay.
Design plans can be stalled by indecision, but that wasn’t an issue for Jessica and Trip Taylor. “Jessica knew what she wanted and didn’t get paralyzed in the decision-making,” says interior designer Stephanie Williamson. “I would suggest something to her and Trip, and they’d get back to me the next day.” Because the house was new construction and almost everything in it was custom, this project involved more selections than most.
Where to live was an easy choice. The Taylors were drawn to Vickery, a Hedgewood Homes neighborhood developed by Pam Sessions and Don Donnelly, after driving up to the planned community in Cumming one night for dinner. “It’s one of those neighborhoods where people still let kids run free,” says Jessica, who’d noticed children playing in the greenspaces and walking to a neighborhood store. “It’s like a step back in time.”
Hedgewood Homes and architect Lew Oliver worked with the family to create a design that accommodated their ideas.
Parents of five-year-old twins, Jessica and Trip wanted a home with a casual sophistication but not something everyone else had. “I feel like so many other houses look like they came from a catalog,” says Jessica. Enter Stephanie, who took that popular look—a lighter color palette, comfy swivel chairs and sofas—and refined it with custom furniture in luxurious fabrics and colors. Wood artisan Kevin Scanlon created tables out of white oak with custom paint stains in the dining room, living room, breakfast room, and other areas. Atlanta’s own Bradley USA was the source for chic, one-of-a-kind consoles and mirrors. The final product is subdued but with intriguing textures: linens, velvets, pecky cypress, and mohair.
Jessica wanted rooms to function for all ages, so she often opted for performance fabrics or indoor-outdoor rugs, two tried-and-true solutions to spills and dirty shoes. The comfy-casual dining room is a destination for the whole family. “The kids love eating in the dining room,” she says. “So, as a tradition, we all sit in there for Sunday night suppers.”
For Georgia-based Buffy Ferguson and New York–based David Frazier, two designers were better than one when it came to freshening up David’s family home. His parents, Patsy and Mike Frazier, purchased the house in 2005 but began to grow tired of the ’90s-era, cookie-cutter decorating. David, who graduated from Auburn University with a degree in architecture, had since moved to Manhattan and launched his own design firm, so he called in Buffy to collaborate and execute the job. Her office in West Point, Georgia, is just across the state line from the Fraziers’ home in Lanett, Alabama.
But Buffy, a family friend, was more than the local liaison. She helped bridge design styles between a 20-something and his parents and take the pressure off mixing work and family. “Buffy played ‘middle man’ between Mom, Dad, and me,” David says. “She also has a much more feminine sensibility and could soften my modern aesthetic.” The design team was taking their time until David agreed to host his 10-year high school reunion and a friend’s engagement party there. “There’s nothing like a hard deadline to create some urgency to finish,” he says.
Design lessons to copy:
The “wow” doesn’t have to come from architecture. “This is a pretty typical suburban house,” says Buffy. “But you don’t have to have a house with great features to make it dramatic.” Dark walls and light furniture—with one eye-catching painting in each room—provide the sophisticated dynamic in both the dining and living rooms.
Art collections can provide unity. Paintings by Signe and Genna Grushovenko, collected over the years, are in almost every room. “My parents and I joke that we’re their largest gallery,” says David. Buffy points out the appeal of the colorful, layered pieces, with references to vintage photographs: “It’s approachable art, and each one evokes memories, as if you could imagine someone you know in each painting,” she says.
Balance is everything. Furniture with history and the patina of old wood is important, so antiques in each room are as key as comfortable seating. Compromises were part of the process, too. David lobbied for a more modern light fixture in the dining room, but Buffy steered the choice to a brass chandelier with an overscaled edge—more appealing to the parents but still a look everyone could get behind.
If any couple needs a place to nest, it’s Alexandra Breckenridge and her husband, Casey Hooper. They married in 2015, had baby Jack in 2016, and then daughter Billie came along in 2017. “We do things quickly,” says Alexandra, smiling. Along the way, she was cast as the nurse/soulmate/ex-wife of Kevin Pearson on NBC’s hit show This is Us. The role cemented her career, already hopping with gigs on American Horror Story and The Walking Dead, which brought her to Atlanta. Casey, whom she met at a Grammys after-party while both were living in California, was wrapping up years of touring the world as lead guitarist for Katy Perry.
In the current family scenario, the foursome is happily ensconced in a quiet community just outside Atlanta in a two-story house they’ve made their own. “The previous owners had a very different style from us, and the entire house was more traditional,” recalls Alexandra. “It felt like Christmas in the ’90s, kind of like the McCallisters’ house in Home Alone.” Casey remembers lots of brown, dark reds, and heavy drapes. Fortunately, Casey’s mother, Rebecca Cartwright, is an interior designer who followed them to the South part-time, so she helped them reimagine the circa-2008 cottage into a lighter, more relaxed abode.
“They have an eclectic, boho look influenced by living in California,” says Cartwright. Furnishings from laidback-cool companies like Bobo Intriguing Objects and Serena & Lily fit the bill, along with a contemporary desk for Alexandra’s office that the designer had made by a woodworking company known for its unique glazes. Cheeky wallpaper and Hollywood photos add personal touches.
Alexandra and Casey give credit to Georgia as the real draw. With its thriving entertainment industry, both are able to work on projects close to their new home. “The rural areas of Georgia have an amazing sense of community we were lacking in L.A.,” says Alexandra. “We wanted our children to grow up in a place where they could play and ride their bikes that didn’t feel like a big city.”