This Roswell home overlooking the Chattahoochee River celebrates contemporary design

“People always comment that they feel like we live in a treehouse.”

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Exterior of the home

Photograph by Christina Wedge

For more than a decade, Andrea and Jerry Freeman lived in a Craftsman-style bungalow intown, but they decided it was time for a change—both geographic and architectural. School and sports opportunities for their two children, Jordan and Jerry Jr., were luring them to the suburbs. Then, there was their growing interest in the modern houses they’d seen going up around Atlanta, featuring clean lines and efficient space-planning. “We’re not modern purists, but we like the general aesthetic,” says Jerry.

The Freeman family and their two dogs
Andrea and Jerry Freeman, with one of their two children, Jerry Jr., age 14, and their two dogs, Charlie and Bo. The family built their “up in the clouds” home on a hill in Roswell overlooking the Chattahoochee River.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

“We didn’t want a traditional suburban house,” says Andrea. Architect Nathan Kirkman situated the house on the lot to preserve as many trees as possible. Low-maintenance landscaping by CORE Atlanta includes handsome hardscapes and plants like grasses and cedar.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

The living room with giant bay windows
The living room is all about the view and drawing the eye outside, says Andrea. Interior designers Stephanie Andrews and Elisabeth Paulson designed a 16-foot-high ceiling covered in teak, a floor-to-ceiling tile fireplace, and a floating bench made by Innovative Woodcrafters. Art from Gregg Irby Gallery and an abstract rug from Anadol Rugs add just the right amount of pattern. The Libeco Linen pillows are from Lewis and Sheron Textiles.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

When they found an empty lot in Roswell overlooking the Chattahoochee River, the Freemans got their opportunity to give suburban living their own twist. The goal: build a modern but warm sanctuary embracing the wooded surroundings. The couple gathered together a team of interior designer Stephanie Andrews with Balance Design Atlanta, with whom they’d worked on houses past, architect Nathan Kirkman with DNK development, and Anthony Bondhus of Principle Builders Group.

The sloping, pie-shaped property provided challenges and opportunities. “The emphasis for the design was to minimally impact the topography, maintain as much of the existing tree canopy as possible, and maximize the view of the Chattahoochee River below,” says Nathan. He achieved this by shrinking the footprint of the driveway to bring the house to the edge of the hill, minimizing the use of retaining walls. A sloping roofline helped define the main living area and open views to the river, he adds.

The gorgeous view from outside

Photograph by Christina Wedge

The pool
A flat area beside the house was originally planned to accommodate a large screened porch—until the Freemans opted for a pool to even better enjoy the outdoors. “We reinforced the views to the river by eliminating the deck on the south and west sides of the pool, creating an infinity edge,” says the architect.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Limestone and wood accents fit everyone’s goal of a warm, modern house.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Wood was embraced inside and out, echoing the trees all around. The exterior combines limestone, fiber-cement panels, and ipe, chosen for warmth and durability. Inside, white oak was used for the floors as well as accents like the floating bench in the living room and the cantilevered kitchen island. Stephanie found art and furniture that likewise celebrate the outdoors. The result is a house that’s both dynamic and soothing—and a big hit with visitors. Says Andrea, “People always comment that they feel like we live in a treehouse.”

The dining room
A dining table and chairs from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams fills the dining room. Andrea chose an aerial photograph of Manhattan by her photographer friend Andrew Kibble as a reference to her years living there.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

A white and wood-colored kitchen
Sleek cabinetry in a gray ultragloss finish by Porcelanosa anchors the contemporary kitchen. A white quartz countertop sits atop a white-oak slab; the custom cantilevered design is by Innovative Woodcrafters. The faucet is Kohler, and the sunny yellow stools are from Industry West.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Green velvet chairs in front of the master bed
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams green velvet chairs from the couple’s previous house found a home in the master bedroom. The bedding is Serena & Lily, and the abstract painting is by Decatur artist Crysta Luke.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

White oak island
A custom island made of white oak complements sleek cabinetry on the terrace level, which leads to a covered deck and pool. Birthdays, end-of-school gatherings, and holidays thrive at the Freeman house. “We have definitely become the party house,” says Andrea.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

The master bathroom
The master bath features a large wet room—a separate, tiled space that accommodates a bathtub and shower together. All tile is from Specialty Tile. A floating vanity continues the contemporary look.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

This article appears in our Fall 2019 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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