Whoever thinks ranch houses can’t be sexy has forgotten about California style during the tail end of Hollywood’s Golden Age. When Andy Heyman bought this 1940s-era ranch in 2011, it reminded him of Frank Sinatra’s chic Palm Springs hideaway. The rambling architecture and sunken living room evoked a sort of Rat Pack glamour.
When ranch houses were first introduced in the middle of the last century, they sprawled across their lots, luxuriating in the then novel privacy of large suburban yards. Andy embraced the low-slung vibe, hiring Siegel Construction and Design and working closely with architectural designer Kathy Siegel, who amplified the midcentury look with drop-down seating areas and a U-shaped central courtyard.
Meanwhile, contemporary features like vaulted ceilings, pale oak floors, white walls, streamlined moldings, and awning-style iron windows make the renovated home feel open and fresh. Kathy tested several shades of white in search of a clean hue that still felt warm. “I wanted the feeling to be modern, but cozy,” says Andy. His favorite feature is that “the home seems to magnify natural light.”
The understated lines also provide a versatile setting for Andy’s remarkable art collection. A high-tech executive and partner in Jackson Fine Art, Andy treats his home as an extension of the prominent Buckhead photography gallery. Treasured images by Harry Callahan, Vik Muniz, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Andy’s good friend Todd Murphy mix with rotating works by other artists. “We designed the whole house around art,” says Kathy.
From sleek Knoll chairs to simple wooden tables, furnishings were selected to complement the photographs. For example, the focal point of the living room is a large image of a decaying gothic-style organ screen from Andrew Moore’s Detroit series. “It’s an old theater that obviously wasn’t maintained very well as the city’s plight worsened. There is beauty in its truth,” says Andy. In front of the image, layered rugs and an olive green velvet sofa, inspired by a similar piece Andy saw at the Greenwich Hotel in New York, echo the theater’s bygone splendor. “The Greenwich is my favorite hotel in the world. Their furnishings are exceptional, and I hunted down the designer.”
Still, the carefully curated spaces manage to appear informal. “I don’t like it to look like you tried too hard,” says Kathy. “I don’t want you to walk in and think, ‘Who decorated this?’” For accessories, she chose vintage cameras and tattered hardbacks, objects that reflect the interests of Andy and his family.
“Even my daughter prefers to read on paper,” says Andy. “She devours her books and writes notes throughout. It’s a form of art to get hold of one of her books when she’s done.”
Not surprisingly, Andy encourages his teenage children, Eli and Talia, to be creative—allowing them to select masterworks for their own walls. Talia painted her bedroom a deep eggplant brushed with gold, which proved the perfect backdrop for a work by Ruud van Empel: an oversized silhouette of a young woman standing in a field of yellow wildflowers.
Entertaining is another priority. Le Jardin Francais delivers fresh flowers weekly, and though Andy himself often mans the massive BlueStar rangetop, he is famous for flying in top New York chefs like Ignacio Mattos of Estela and Dai Matsuda of Dirty French to cook for friends. An expansive dining room table seats a dozen or more, and the kitchen features a well-equipped butler’s pantry and two islands.
Andy will probably never stop tweaking his decor, predicts Kathy, who enjoys collaborating with the avid collector. “He’s the client who’ll actually get the stuff you really love.”
This article originally appeared in our Winter 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.