“When I would take potential buyers to visit properties, we would talk about possibilities and what the house could be,” he says. “I’d share my vision, and eventually many were asking me, ‘Can you make that vision happen?’”
For this client, Keesee was involved from the ground up, as the homeowners razed the existing 1971 residence to its original foundation. Harrison Design Modern Studio Director Robert Tretsch conceptualized a new house on the same footprint, which gently meanders toward the creek. An anomaly for the 21st century, this rambling layout has the effect of making the residence appear much more humble than its nearly 14,000 square feet—at least when viewed from the street.
The client and family, which includes three young children, spend most of the year in Europe but have roots in Atlanta. To build a relaxing retreat for their seasonal sojourns to Georgia, Keesee and Tretsch wanted to emphasize the woodsy context of the site. The new structure features soaring walls of glass, rooms beautifully cantilevered over the backyard pool, and dramatic uplighting in the trees, components that come together to maximize the surrounding views.
Tretsch retained the original stacked granite from the demolition, and Keesee paired it with rich woods like stained cypress and polished walnut. The latter, a midcentury standard, graces both floors and ceilings in sturdy, 10-inch-wide planks. Coordinating materials, finishes, and furnishings were meant to conjure glam 1970s style—but subtly. Keesee references Studio 54 several times when describing his scheme for the home’s interior, which includes nods to the decade’s grooviest design highlights: an authentic Noguchi coffee table, black-and-white photography by Robert Mapplethorpe, shag rugs and footstools, iconic David Hicks motifs, and even a wet bar whose walls are lined with gleaming gold leaf.
But it wasn’t all glitz, glamour, and grown-up sophistication. To consider the kids, Keesee kept textiles throughout the house soft and inviting yet durable. Furnishings in high-traffic rooms are borderline indestructible, such as the cowhide ottoman in the family room or the McGuire outdoor dining pieces Keesee placed in the kitchen. And since their two sons share a bedroom abroad, the clients wanted to create the same arrangement here in Atlanta, despite the sheer number of spare rooms under their new roof. To furnish it, a pair of polished walnut bunk beds from Ducduc did just the trick.
Even minor guest rooms received plush appointments. But the master is undoubtedly the ultimate showpiece of the project. With three walls of glass and stunning third-floor views of the treetops, the bedroom presented a clear opportunity for Keesee to continue the woodland theme. On the wall behind the upholstered bed, he installed a hand-fashioned wallpaper from Fromental featuring a whimsical branching motif. Super-luxurious wools, buttery-soft leathers, intricate embroidery, and fine art come together to form a graceful tapestry in this cultured couple’s nest. “In the summer,” Keesee says, “when you look out, all you see are these beautiful trees.”