I want to share with you a special Atlanta house, one that has both inspired me and influenced my style of decorating. Belonging to a dear friend of mine, the house made a terrific impression on me during my first visit as a young 23 year old. All these years later, the house still never fails to charm me.
My friend purchased her home 60 years, a decision influenced by the fact that friends lived across the street. Even today, it’s a home that she continues to love, nurture, and decorate. Two things struck me upon my first visit: first, it’s filled with all kinds of collections and personal treasures. Family heirlooms and mementos, porcelain, shells, and books are all displayed with flair and gusto, something that gives the home great personality and warmth. I wish that some of the world’s too-perfectly decorated houses could borrow some of these treasures as I think they would go a long way to warm up those houses.
The other thing that I learned during that first visit is that classic, tasteful design never goes out of style. Lacquered walls, Chinoiserie, mirror, collections, and antiques- all of which make appearances in this home- trump decorating trends always. My friend’s stylish trappings make the home feel exactly like a Manhattan apartment within the shell of an Atlanta house.
By the way, there are a few things that my photos do not capture, but they are things that add to the pleasant atmosphere of the home. There is always a fragrant candle burning, one that imbues the house with an appealing fragrance. When I shot these photos a few weeks ago, the subtle scent of spruce filled the air; it smelled divine. Also, I have never visited her when music was not softly playing in the background. Most often, it’s the Great American Songbook. And finally, thanks to the previously mentioned lacquered and mirrored walls, the house positively comes alive at night. It looks so lovely bathed in soft light. It’s also the most fun time to visit as that’s when the conversation seems to be at its best!
Brown lacquered walls serve as an elegant and dramatic backdrop to various collections.
Boxes of all sorts- Limoges, silver, and ivory- are displayed on a living room side table.
A secretary stands in one corner of the living room and is filled with antique porcelain.
This ornate sterling silver porringer and spoon, purchased by the homeowner's mother-in-law in England, was used to feed all four of my friend's children.
A collection of framed dried flowers and leaves includes the homeowner's dried Lily of the Valley wedding bouquet.
The Reading Room is used as a repository for books, paintings, and objects. The walls are mirrored, while the wainscoting is covered in a trellis wallpaper that has been made to look antique.
A portrait of the Colonel, a family ancestor, is displayed prominently in the reading room. An antique chest holding antique porcelain sits beneath it.
When he married, the Colonel gave his bride a horse, a bridle, a saddle, and a crop as wedding gifts. The crop is displayed here alongside the Colonel's swagger stick.
Shells and shell-encrusted objects can be found throughout the house.
The petite antique bed was a display piece purchased from the downtown location of Rich's.
Dolls, once owned by the homeowner's mother, are now framed and hung in the bedroom.
Also hanging in the bedroom is this Horst photo of Hubbell Pierce, the New York entertainer with whom some of you might be familiar. Pierce was a native Atlantan and life-long friend of the homeowner. Above the Horst is a baby photo of Pierce.
A collection of antique evening bags is displayed on the powder room walls. Some of the bags belonged to the homeowner's mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
The silver chalice to the right is a family heirloom. During the Civil War, silver was often buried underground to escape notice by Union soldiers. The chalice's dents were caused by soldiers striking their swords into the ground in an effort to find hidden silver. Fortunately, this piece escaped detection.
The homeowner's love of cats is evident in her kitchen where a wall is devoted to cat-themed art. I especially like the framed quotation by Jean Cocteau, seen above.