This charming Georgia farmhouse let an Atlanta artist get back to her country roots

Artist Elaine Burge displays her creative skills at her family’s charming Georgia farmhouse

518
Elaine Burge house
An inherited Persian rug anchors the living room, now home to an Anthropologie coffee table. The large painting by the front door is by three-year-old Lucy, with help from her mother, homeowner and artist Elaine Burge, who enlisted interior designer Whitney Durham to transform her family’s farmhouse. “We used solid pieces of furniture, such as the leather sofa and blue swivel chairs, in the living room to allow for a space to rest your eye,” says Whitney. “But we like unexpected color patterns and feel that all colors can coexist together.”

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Having grown up on 30 acres in north Georgia, artist Elaine Burge was thrilled when her future husband, Richey, showed her his farmhouse in tiny Riddleville, around two hours east of Atlanta. This was eight years ago, after Elaine had lived in Atlanta and Savannah, but it didn’t take long for her rural roots to lure this painter back to the country. “I guess I didn’t realize until then how much being outdoors meant to me,” says Elaine. “I remember driving down that dirt lane and just loving it.”

Elaine Burge house

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Elaine Burge house
Elaine and Richey Burge are able to maintain their careers in a small town about an hour south of Augusta while enjoying life with Lucy, three, and Bonnie, one. Richey has his own land- and wildlife-management company, and Elaine paints in a studio a few miles away. Her art is sold through Gregg Irby Gallery in Atlanta’s Westside, and her new line of wildlife-themed painted dinnerware is available at elaineburge.com.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Elaine Burge house
Elaine and her husband, Richey, turned an existing outbuilding on their property into a chicken coop. Their property is about three acres, but Richey’s 1,100-acre family farm is right down the road.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

The circa-1940s, 1,600-square-foot ranch house needed some updating, which the couple has tackled in phases while expanding their family to four, with the addition of daughters Lucy and Bonnie. Out went some yellow linoleum floors and Richey’s bachelor decor. They didn’t have a game plan exactly, but it was only natural that the design would incorporate her love of wild color and his passion for the outdoors. The result is funky, eclectic, and highly personal.

Elaine Burge house
A vintage farm table and former church pew are part of the charming mix of front-porch furniture, where the family eats whenever weather cooperates. Elaine found the garden stools at a garage sale.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Elaine Burge house
Mint-colored barstools and floral curtains are a cheerful touch in the kitchen.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Elaine Burge house

Photograph by Christina Wedge

The project was done on a strict budget, and Elaine’s DIY skills and knack for thrifting played a big role in the redo. “Anytime I see an antiques store or garage sale, I hit the brakes,” she says. She’s also a big fan of Final Cut in Augusta, a clearing house for major brands; the circular coffee table in the living room had originally been offered at Anthropologie for $1,200 but, with a few nicks in it (which Elaine cleaned up), was a steal at $80. Elaine’s own nature-themed art livens up walls, and even Lucy’s early skills are on display in a living-room painting.

Elaine Burge house
Blue-and-white pottery Elaine has collected over time lines the living-room fireplace mantel. As in many old houses, the fireplace isn’t functional but serves as a focal point to the room.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Elaine Burge house
A midcentury table—an antique-store find—anchors the dining room. The bead chandelier brings in Elaine’s beloved turquoise, while a 1970s pink console becomes an unexpected element in the room. Some choices are practical; “I love those ‘ghost’ chairs because they’re easy to wipe down,” Elaine says.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

The family had the help of interior designer Whitney Durham, who was already a fan of Elaine’s work. “We pulled from similar color palettes throughout the home so that there would be smooth transitions from one room to the next,” says the designer. “We carefully combined large-scale patterns with smaller-scale prints so they didn’t compete with each other.” The two of them worked out a barter system—paintings for interior design consultation—and have become friends along the way.

Elaine Burge house
Elaine’s artistic skills were put to use in the hallway, with a Dalmatian-print stencil adding a whimsical touch. She loves the high-gloss salmon color elsewhere on the walls, calling attention to the wood details in an old house.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Elaine Burge house
An artistic wallcovering from Anthropologie celebrates the Burges’ love for nature in the girls’ bedroom.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Elaine Burge house
Velvet draperies from Ballard Designs frame an otherwise neutral guest bedroom.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Elaine Burge house
A cornflower blue cupboard serves as a bar.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Elaine Burge house
Whitney layered rugs as part of her relaxed approach to country style. The lumbar pillow is made from fabric by Emily McCarthy out of Savannah. The distressed wooden bed is from Chairish.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

The country life has been everything Elaine hoped for. Her two young girls collect eggs from the chicken coop for breakfast. Riddleville doesn’t even have its own post office, Elaine notes, but she’s content with the peaceful view from their wrap-around porch. “There isn’t much to do around here,” she says. “Just being together is what we find to be the most fun.”

Resources | Interior designer: Whitney Durham Interiors, whitneydurhaminteriors.com
Art: Elaine Burge, through Gregg Irby Gallery, greggirbygallery.com Living room Sofa: Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com. Blue swivel chairs: West Elm, westelm.com. Coffee table and velvet armchair: Final Cut (originally Anthropologie), 500 Fury’s Ferry Road, Martinez. Dining room Acrylic chairs: Amazon.com. Master bedroom Pillow fabric: Emily McCarthy, emilymccarthy.com. Bed: Chairish, chairish.com. Guest bedroom Velvet draperies: Ballard Designs, ballarddesigns.com. White quilt: Target, target.com. Girls’ bedroom Wallcovering: Anthropologie, anthropologie.com (discontinued).

This article appears in our Spring 2020 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Advertisement