Catie and Jeff Francoeur have known each other since third grade and started dating at Parkview High School in Lilburn. So even though Jeff’s career as a professional baseball player takes the couple all over the country (he’s currently with the San Diego Padres organization), Atlanta is their sanctuary. “We’ll always keep Atlanta as our forever home,” Catie says. “And because we’re not there a lot, we want our home to be comfortable as soon as we open the door.”
In 2012, they built a custom home on the golf course at the River Club in Suwanee. Architect Michael Swilley and interior designer Michelle Doughtie maneuvered that fine line between family-casual and country-club-sophisticated with an open floor plan and stylish but unpretentious furnishings. “Catie was a great client because she already had folders of pictures to convey what she was looking for in each room,” Doughtie says. “She knew she wanted grays and blues and soft tones, but nothing too fussy with swags and trims. They also love their dogs, so plenty of decisions were made to take the dogs into consideration.”
The Francoeurs didn’t have children when the house was completed, but Emma Cate, now a toddler, has since joined the household. “I’ve always wanted us to have the kind of house where all the kids around the neighborhood want to hang out,” Catie says. Their favorite place to visit with family and friends is the porch that opens off the kitchen. “With Atlanta weather being so nice, most of the months we’re able to keep the doors to the porch open all the time,” she says.
Jeff put in his wishes for comfortable sofas and chairs (some of which are oversized to accommodate his six-foot-four frame) and a downstairs room devoted to his sports mementos. Among his claims to fame: As a wide receiver and defensive back, he led Parkview to two AAAAA state football championships. The two-sport player was signed by Clemson to play football but ended up being drafted by the Braves. Francoeur (nicknamed Frenchy) was a hometown favorite, hitting twenty-nine homers in his first full major league season in 2006 and inspiring his own cheering section called “Francoeur’s Franks.” He has since played for various teams including the New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, and San Francisco Giants.
But even with a sports-star husband—or maybe because of it—Catie wanted a “girly” space just for her. The formal living room has a grand piano as a focal point—a reference to her years of lessons—as well as a delicate settee, fine art, and an Oriental rug.
When Jeff is home, you’ll most likely find him on the golf course (his handicap’s a 3.6, by the way). Atlanta’s mild climate allows him to play year-round, which is another reason he’ll always live here. “There’s everything I want to do in Atlanta,” Jeff says. “Family, church, sports, and, yes, golf.”
This article originally appeared in our November 2014 issue under the headline “Home Base.”