For those of you who have never been to Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse & Marketplace, let me say it’s like Alice in Wonderland for interior design. Top-notch designers from around Atlanta put their fantastical stamp on every space of a chosen house … “House” might be an understatement; how about “castle”? Every square foot of space has been carefully designed to reflect the tastes and talents of this city’s industry leaders.
Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine puts together an amazing experience every year, and the 2015 event is no exception. The rabbit hole leads you to Buckhead’s Millwood Manor, a 15,000-square-foot “home” built to resemble Scotland’s Stonefield Castle. Five bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a whole lot of rooms in between will have your head spinning from the grandeur, opulence and sheer size. Add in the magic of the holidays, and it’s an experience like no other!
When you open the massive front doors, you enter the main floor (technically the second floor … don’t worry, there are three to explore) and the fun begins. Since each room was decorated by a different designer and/or firm, it’s a treat for the eyes to see each wonderful, varied space.
“We hope that people take away pages of notes and photos and, most of all, ideas and inspiration that they can use in their own homes,” says Kimberly Sundt, of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, who helps produce the annual event. “And as with anything creative, the inspiration one finds in a showhouse can spark an idea in many areas of our lives.”
The house is just too big and fabulous to describe every amazing room, every stylish accessory. From the custom furnishings and fine materials to the minute details like stunning hardware and thoughtful color palettes, every inch of Millwood Manor has been carefully considered and manipulated.
For me, the music room was an instantaneous draw (that’s right, there’s a music room), designed by Barbara Westbrook from Westbrook Interiors. The rich colors and metallic finishes make this a must-see stop in the showhouse, and the variety of textures, from the shaggy pillows to the soft fur throw, and perfect accessories were a major win.
“I’ve always dreamed of having a music room with gorgeous views, so Barbara Westbrook’s music room touches me personally,” says Kimberly. “I always thought a room of this type would need to be huge and grand, but this is a smaller space that really works.”
As I walked a bit farther down the hallway, past the airy and positively pristine kitchen, I came across another room I was specifically taken with: the family room. This room, designed by Lindsey Coral Harper of Lindsey Coral Harper Interior Design, makes a statement with its teal grass cloth walls and touches of animal prints throughout the area. The jewel tones and quirky accessories take guests on a modern interpretation of a sophisticated aesthetic.
“I was inspired by gorgeous Billy Baldwin rooms,” says Lindsey in her statement about the family room. “I wanted to keep it cozy with warm tones and gorgeous greens found in the natural landscape.”
It’s hard to call out individual designers and rooms because honestly, the entire estate is one big photo opp. However, as you walk down the west wing of the home’s main level, the design momentum builds to an awesome crescendo. First, you pass the study — a masculine, richly textured space ensconced in powerful walnut-stained wood and chocolate brown velvet. Joel Kelly Design, which designed this room, spared no expense with this thoroughly inviting room — the jaw-dropping chandelier and silky rug are true statement pieces.
Once you pass the study, you enter the master bedroom and bath. The dark colors of the nearby study make a great juxtaposition next door to the light palette of the master bedroom. This romantic space would make any homeowner feel proud, content and most importantly, comfortable. Carole Weaks from C. Weaks Interiors Inc., says it best when describing this suite: “We felt the room could go in many directions, but really wanted to do something that held a mix of styles. We love the way the antiques play with the newer pieces.”
The modern, floral chandelier, the dramatic bed, the perfectly ornate mantel, airy linens and romantic furniture are stunning; the view to match only enhances these elements. The room, complete with an abundance of natural light, overlooks the backyard’s lovely pool and water features. And please don’t get us started on that bathroom — just get a look at the intricate tile work.
We could go on and on about the Winter Wonderland-themed children’s bedroom featuring a built-in treehouse bunk or the rear stair hall inspired by a mother’s relaxing retreat or the upstairs bedroom designed for a jet-setting American gal who loves color, cool design and adventure or so much more. But the best way to picture the showhouse is to actually see it with your own two eyes.
Some quirkier design aesthetics may scream Mad Hatter, while other chic rooms are fit for a Queen of Hearts. However the entire Home for the Holidays Showhouse is a wonderland of sophisticated grace and creative joy.
The 2015 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse & Marketplace is open until December 13. Visit Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $30 and children under the age of 10 are free. Group rates are available. Admission benefits The Children’s Learning Gardens at the Southeastern Horticultural Society.
Check out a teaser for the 2015 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse & Marketplace below, then head out for the real thing before the event ends on Sunday, December 13, 2015.