Clever finishes give this woodsy Underwood Hills house instant character

We asked interior designer Gina Sims to describe some of her clever solutions for her 6’2”, professional real-estate developer client

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Horizontal shiplap in the foyer adds texture to previously plain walls. A painting by Lucy Reiser (Anne Irwin Fine Art) and a natural teak console table soften the hard angles.

Photograph by Cati Teague

When your client is 6’2” and a professional real-estate developer, you’re going to supersize some things. Along the way, Matt Teague’s ’90s-era Underwood Hills house was transformed into a modern industrial space with a “warm Southern twist,” says interior designer Gina Sims, who added wood and metal accents without being too wed to one particular style. We asked her to describe some of her clever solutions.

What kinds of things did you do to accommodate Matt’s height, remodeling-wise?

Countertops were raised to 40 inches (standard is 36 inches), and appliances were chosen to accommodate him. The refrigerator is seven feet tall, and the custom range hood is a bit higher, for example. We made the most of the nine-foot ceilings throughout, not just because it looked better but because he could reach ceiling-height storage.

Gina designed the custom wood accent wall (covered in Benjamin Moore’s “Vintage Vogue”) in the primary bedroom to accent the leather headboard. A silk rug adds to the mix of textures.

Photograph by Cati Teague

Tell us about your creative wall treatments.

Matt wanted a collected, traveled look with a modern flair, so adding wall treatments that were clean and bold were part of that. We focused more on texture than on pattern. Stark white or charcoal was the backdrop in most of the rooms, but in a couple places, we wanted something special. We used paint to create a dramatic color-blocked “stripe” on the headboard, wall, and ceiling in the guest room. In his bedroom, I designed a graphic-paneled wall and had it painted a saturated green with a custom leather headboard.

Pendants by Circa Lighting join custom features in the kitchen, such as zebrawood-look cabinetry from Dove Studio and a raw steel-and-brass hood. The raised countertops fit Matt’s tall-guy profile.

Photograph by Cati Teague

What special features are in the kitchen?

We chose durable, sustainable melamine cabinetry from Dove Studio with beautiful zebrawood-look striations. We accented it with black and raw brass and iron in the shelving (made by Fred Martin Welding) and a custom hood made by St. Udio out of Athens. A vintage rug, minimalist accessories, and windows painted black give a nod to the upscale industrial feel we were going for.

Matt Teague, an Atlanta native, works for Walton Communities now but, at one point, held positions in Washington, D.C., for President George Bush. When he moved here, he was intrigued by this house tucked in the woods away from the street. “I discovered what looked like a mountain retreat in Underwood Hills,” he says. His dog Callie approves.

Photograph by Cati Teague

How did you create the bar?

The bar area had been a blank wall that previously housed only a chest of drawers and a dog bed. We love creating uses for spaces that don’t have a purpose, and this is a prime example. This bar was inspired by a restaurant vibe, with a custom raw-iron shelving unit and wine storage. We backed it with patinaed mirror tile to give it a smoky, speakeasy vibe and added lighting from Rejuvenation and vintage accessories.

Custom cabinetry from Dove Studio in the primary bath has a texture that fits the industrial vibe; plus, it’s raised higher than standard. Shower walls are a 24 x 48 inch marble-look tile. The console is from RH.

Photograph by Cati Teague

The primary bath and closet have so many great features. How did you make the most of the space with custom elements?

Matt wanted a steam shower and the industrial look of black iron doors, but because iron can rust, we opted for black-painted glass from Drexler. The floor is a gray porcelain tile called Foussana that feels amazing on your feet and has a beautiful texture. We did this same floor and cabinetry in the kitchen and loved it so much, we carried it up here. Interesting feature: We installed an anti-fog mirror in the back of the shower niche—perfect for shaving! The backsplash on the vanity wall is herringbone marble, then for contrast, the black quartz has light veining.

In the closet, we partnered with Katie the Closet Lady to design a moody, masculine space that highlights his clothes and makes him feel great to start or end his day. We removed the standard door and used a barn door to double as a full-length mirror. It’s a space saver and is a great use of the bathroom wall.

A stripe of “Hale Navy” by Benjamin Moore behind the painted headboard feels architectural in a guest room.

Photograph by Cati Teague

This article appears in our Winter 2021 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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