Earthy materials, agrarian architecture make this Serenbe manor stand out

“I planned all this two years before Restoration Hardware was doing that [Belgian farmhouse] look,” says homeowner Dana Lynch
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Serenbe Home outside

Photograph by Jessica Ashley Photography

Dana Lynch woke up in a panic one night, worried she was combining too many elements in the kitchen of the house she was building. “I realized I had specified a plaster wall, three different stones, four completely different cabinet materials and finishes, four different metals (not including the stainless appliances), and a wood floor and wall color,” she says. Expecting her husband, Bill, to object to the layered approach, she was surprised when he trusted her instinct. The happy end result: a sophisticated kitchen that mixes a lot of finishes but still seems soothing and organic—a metaphor for their home as a whole.

Lynch family
Dana and Bill with two of their children, Gigi, 9, and Jack, 7. Their oldest son, Will (not shown), is 13. “We chose Serenbe because our kids couldn’t stop talking about it, and we loved the kind of parenting this community embraces,” says Dana. “Seriously, you just feed and clothe whomever is at your house because your kid is probably eating somewhere else.”

Photograph by Jessica Ashley Photography

Serenbe Home Gigi and Dixie
Dana’s daughter, Gigi, plays with the family dog, Dixie, in the hallway. “We have huge planked oak floors that add so much rustic character to the whole house,” says Dana. A natural oil product by Rubio Monocoat provides a flat finish that makes the surface look antique, she says.

Photograph by Jessica Ashley Photography

Serenbe Home Dixie
Dixie finds a cozy spot at the foot of the master bed.

Photograph by Jessica Ashley Photography

The Lynch house is surrounded by rolling farmland that looks like a Hollywood set, but is part of the bucolic Serenbe neighborhood south of the city. After honing their expertise for decades as “serial builders” (her words), Dana and Bill tapped into her love of sophisticated farmhouse style for this new family home. “I made Bill drag home 50 pounds of design books about Belgian farmhouses the last time we went to France,” she quips, citing her inspiration for the home’s European flavor. She adds, “And I planned all this two years before Restoration Hardware was doing that look.”

The couple enlisted kindred spirit Ryan Duffey, an Atlanta architect who shares their love of natural materials, to help design the custom house. Ryan’s plan called for a stucco-and-cypress exterior topped by a wood shingle roof. The two-story main building is flanked by two wings, housing the master suite on one side and the garage on the other. The U-shaped structure creates a charming courtyard in the middle, and its rambling layout evokes a pastoral grange.

Serenbe Home dining room
A floating wood and metal staircase installed by Southern Staircase provides a sculptural element.

Photograph by Laura Negri Photography

Serenbe Home living room
The home combines a European sensibility with traditional country house elements. Architect Ryan Duffey particularly likes authentic, rustic materials, such as wood shingle roofing, saying, “I am on a mission to rid fake, lifeless materials from every project of mine, and fortunately Dana and Bill were all on board for that.”

Photograph by Laura Negri Photography

Serenbe Home sitting room
Metal doors and windows throughout the house are part of its European-industrial charm.

Photograph by Laura Negri Photography

Inside, the rooms reflect Dana’s love of a neutral palette combined with a passion for textures and materials: wood, stone, leather, worn metals, hand-hewn plaster, and iron, just for starters. “I completely die over brass these days—the real thing, pitted and green, nothing faux,” says Dana. “I am trending more toward color, but color in its natural element for the most part, such as a gorgeous stone slab. Natural elements just feel the most honest to me, and I know they will stand the test of time rather than look trendy.”

Serenbe Home kitchen

Photograph by Laura Negri Photography

Serenbe Home kitchen
Poured concrete countertops and custom cabinets distinguish the kitchen. Counter-to-ceiling metal shelves in front of the windows provide storage space without blocking the natural light.

Photograph by Jessica Ashley Photography

Serenbe Home master bath
The master bathroom features a dramatic rectangular bathtub. Dana says, “I’m a tub girl; I had to have a great tub.”

Photograph by Laura Negri Photography

Serenbe Home master bath
Double vanities in the master bath are made of poured concrete topped by gilded mirrors. Faucets were mounted directly on the mirrors.

Photograph by Laura Negri Photography

She includes touches of glamour, too. A fine art collection greets visitors in the foyer, and swanky lighting permeates every room. “I have to admit I have shiny object syndrome,” says Dana. “Anything Lucite can come live with me…anything.”

Serenbe Home sitting room
A navy sectional in the sitting room is a kid-friendly hangout. Dana’s cheap-chic secret? The sofa is from Ikea; she painted the legs gold for an upscale touch.

Photograph by Laura Negri Photography

Serenbe Home copper mugs
Copper mugs

Photograph by Laura Negri Photography

Dana began her career as an attorney but these days is devoted to her interior design practice. Her skills will soon be on display at the Organic Living Magazine show house in Serenbe and a myriad of projects in the forthcoming Pinewood Forrest neighborhood (in conjunction with film studio mecca Pinewood Atlanta Studios). Already, she has designed custom houses all over metro Atlanta, combining her lawyer’s attention to detail with her instinctive passion for beauty. And she has stopped waking up in a panic about taking a few chances. Says Dana, “I have learned to embrace and welcome asymmetry and imperfection.”

Serenbe Home pool
A wildflower meadow serves as a backdrop for the pool.

Photograph by Jessica Ashley Photography

This article originally appeared in our Spring 2017 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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