How to get the most out of a visit to the Magnolia Designer Show House

Turn your tour into a day trip
Magnolia Designer Show House
Keeping room by Jennifer Healey of J. Healey Interiors

Photo by Lauren Rubinstein

To tell the truth, when veteran interior designer Beverly Baribault first told us about the top-drawer professionals and vendors she’d recruited for a show house in Cartersville, we were sort of stunned. (Cartersville is waaay OTP.) But it didn’t take long for us to agree to be the media sponsor. We loved the idea of transforming a historic house and the local team’s enthusiasm for supporting their hometown nonprofit, Advocates for Children. As Atlanta magazine is known for our travel stories, we already knew Cartersville is a charming small town that happens to have two Smithsonian affiliate museums—and we knew that October is when Atlantans start itching for an easy road trip out of the city.

More than a year later, we’re happy to report the show house has stunned us again. (See lots of photos and video here.) Much as we’d like to take credit, all props go to event chairs Beverly and Jenny and Eric Rothman.

Though the home was built in the 1940s, the interiors feel remarkably fresh, an imaginative balance of old and new. Magnolia has just enough of those surprises that make show houses fun (without getting too gimmicky): the two-story mural in the foyer, the gold leaf ceiling in the powder room, the cowboy painting in the living room (of course, we knew designer Bill Peace would bring that Montana spirit), the glossy red interiors of closets and the vanity in the lady’s bath—oh so Louboutin. There are also those thoughtful details that make you want to go home and start renovating: the expansive marble island in the kitchen, the faux bois wallpaper in the family room, the nearly iridescent curtains in the master bedroom. Every floor, every ceiling, every cabinet pull offers a bit of inspiration.


The show house is open Wednesdays to Sundays through November 13, so make your plans to attend now. Here’s what to do when you visit:

  • atl_mag_magnolia_foyerTake a phone photo of the two-story mural in Insidesign‘s foyer. It’s easier to see the “hidden” face of the homeowner’s family patriarch on your phone’s screen.
  • Pay attention to details. Every space is loaded with ideas, from a black-and-white gallery wall to a row of turtle shells installed as art.
  • Go up on the roof. If your house has a flat roof, why not turn it into an outdoor lounge? Check out festive perches by Steve McKenzie and Susie Goldenberg Long.
  • Attend a symposium. On November 5 and 12, top designers like Steve McKenzie, Bill Harrison, and Lindsey Coral Harper will be participating in educational sessions at the Booth Museum. Learn about interior design, architecture, and landscaping. And discover the secrets behind the beautiful spaces inside the show house. And, designers, on Friday, November 11, Paragon Wool Products is sponsoring a day-long series of courses on environmentally friendly design—which offers CEU credit.
  • Visit downtown Cartersville. Stop by the 1854 train depot that now houses the town Welcome Center and find information on local museums, shops, and restaurants.
  • Tour a Smithsonian-affiliate museum. Booth Museum of Western Art, which is practically across the street, houses the largest permanent exhibition space for Western art in the country. Also nearby is the Tellus Science Museum, which includes a 120-seat digital planetarium and an observatory with a state-of-the-art 20-inch telescope.
  • Spend the night at Barnsley Resort. For a real treat, take the short drive to this top-rated resort, where you can enjoy championship golf, a spa, horseback riding, fine dining, and your own private cottage.