Interior designer and blogger Sherry Hart takes decorating—but not herself—seriously

A look inside her sophisticated Peachtree Park cottage
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Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Rattling off past design fails at her Peachtree Park cottage, Sherry Hart cites a faux-finished fireplace, silk ficus trees, and harlequin-patterned walls. But like Goldilocks, who has to test too hard and too soft before appreciating what’s just right, Sherry has landed on a sophisticated end result.

It all started with the location. “When I moved to Atlanta in 1989, I would drive through this neighborhood and think how much I’d love to live here, with these older, traditional little ranches,” she says. The former Eastern Air Lines flight attendant and her husband, David Higgins (a pilot at the time), finally bought this house 23 years ago, paying more than full price. While some of the neighboring homes now sport two or three floors, the Hart-Higgins house remains one story. “I always say that if a long-lost relative leaves me a pot of gold, I might rip the roof off and add more, but we do truly love living in a ranch,” she says. “The three-bedroom, three-bath plan works great for the two of us.”

Sherry centered the swan painting by Dawne Raulet as the focal point of her gallery wall just off the entryway. “If I have to grab one thing in a fire, that would be it,” she says.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

As part of the One Room Challenge, a biannual national bloggers event, Sherry redid her dining room to embrace a more modern-rustic aesthetic. She found the acrylic table base at a flea market and commissioned a marble top. “The curtains are made from my beloved Schumacher fabric ‘Pyne Hollyhock,’ and I have to say, they are my second-favorite thing after the swan picture,” she says.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

The acrylic table base

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Along the journey, Sherry started teaching exercise classes (she still does), turned her decorating hobby into a career, and launched a blog in 2010. The biweekly posts are part personal diary—where not much is off limits, from a dog’s flatulence to the occasional fashion faux pas—and part professional designer’s daily agenda: which bathroom tile looks best, how to sort through a gazillion pillows. “I started it on a whim, like most things I do, and I try to keep it real,” Sherry says.

Design Indulgence readers eat up stories of her own home’s transformations. A few years ago, Sherry redid the dining room, embracing its eight-foot ceilings with a large-scale Circa Lighting fixture and “jumping on the shiplap train,” as she puts it, by adding horizontal planks to the walls. At various times, her open family room/kitchen/sitting area has been painted cream, apple green, gold, chocolate brown, and tan. “Then there just weren’t any colors left to try, so I painted my whole house Benjamin Moore ‘White Dove’ years ago, before it was trendy,” Sherry says. “I thought I would stick with white until I could find another color that moved me, and I never did.”

Builder Michael Ladisic, a frequent collaborator with Sherry as well as a client and friend, recently updated the kitchen cabinetry, keeping the existing base cabinets. New countertops are honed Caesarstone, in a pattern resembling Calacatta marble.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Wood floors painted “China White” make the home feel light and airy.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

“We used to have a big table and chairs here, but now that we have it as a keeping room, we use it all the time,” says Sherry.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

In the living room, the blank slate serves as a backdrop for a gallery wall. There she has artfully arranged neutral pieces, including her most cherished painting, a swan by Dawne Raulet. “I think I’ll be in this phase for a while,” she says of the black-and-white scheme. “My white-and-turquoise phase was pretty strong for about 15 years, and it’s still my favorite color, but I’m gradually swapping out for a more neutral palette and then throwing in some black to keep things from being boring.” From a practical standpoint, she adds, the flexible color scheme makes it easy to find inexpensive accessories.

“The master bedroom is right off the family room and everybody peeks in, so I have to make my bed everyday,” gripes Sherry. Touches of blue remain from her turquoise phase, mostly because of a rug with blue in it. “That’s what I get for buying an expensive rug,” she says. “Now I don’t have the heart to change it.”

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Sherry is a Scott Antique Market junkie (she starred as tour guide for a Better Homes and Gardens video and knows many dealers by name), but this bargain hunter also produces high-end projects. In addition to serving as interior designer for the 2016 House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year and for builder Michael Ladisic’s high-profile home renovation—both of which were in her neighborhood—she’s now working with clients in other states. “My interest in design started with this house, 20-some years ago, so this is where it all began,” she recalls. “I went through the learning experience and then started helping others. I sometimes wonder if my design obsession will ever end.”

“No matter how you spin it, this room is small and the furniture arrangement can really only go one way,” Sherry says of the family room. An off-white Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams sofa and chairs provide a neutral setting for an ever-changing tableau of new pillows and throws. The vintage acrylic coffee table is from Scott’s.

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

Photograph by Anthony-Masterson

This article originally appeared in our Winter 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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