For many couples starting married life together, the two (perhaps three, counting Fido) live in a small space, maybe an apartment or condo, stuffed with hand-me-down furniture. Because let’s be honest, outdated furniture is better than no furniture at all. But as time goes by and the family grows, homeowners want their place to be an inviting space that truly reflects who they are. That’s when the much-needed home makeover begins.
When Leah Tennille and her husband moved from a townhouse into their Buckhead home, they realized their furniture just didn’t fit. The combination of dark wood, old lighting fixtures and ill-fitting furniture made the home feel dreary and just “not them.” So they decided it was time to send in the big guns and get professional design help for their home makeover. Enter Clary Bosbyshell of Margaux Interiors Ltd.
“Leah and her husband, Dre, wanted the house to look like them and be functional, yet pretty, for their family,” says Clary. “Just from briefly meeting Leah, I totally connected with her and got a great feel for her vibe and aesthetic. We started with a traditional base in her furniture lines and layered them with more modern and eclectic pillows and accessories.”
The team began redecorating in stages, starting first where the Tennilles spend the most amount of time—their sunroom/den, dining room and living room. Clary’s first challenge was to lighten the home, creating spaces people would enjoy. She used Benjamin Moore’s White Dove paint to brighten the walls, and focused on lighter upholstery, fabrics and rugs. On top of that, she manipulated natural light and brought many outdoor elements indoors. In fact, she always encourages her clients to have real plants, as its “good Feng shui and puts out positive energy into the home.”
“Everyone remarks how comfortable and bright our home is,” says Leah. “It’s a perfect space for entertaining, but also for daily family living.”
Clary mixed modern art in a traditional setting to create a fresh, more layered feel. The dining room features the eye-catching paintings “Semmie and Madge” by local artist Sally King Benedict, and, as Leah says, “they just make me happy every time I see them.” A Sarah Otts painting, hanging over the living room sofa, came from the Anne Irwin Gallery. Even unconventional items can be made into art—Clary repurposed African juju feather headdresses into hanging art in the dining room.
Repurposing came in handy again as Clary worked to use some of the family’s existing furniture and décor in the new space. She used side tables originally from the couple’s bedroom as part of the redecorated living room. In fact, the living room features almost all existing furniture—with a twist. Clary rewired the lamps and added Lucite bases and modern shades; she layered the existing Oushak rug on top of a new sisal one to make the room feel bigger; and she added new pillows and the Sarah Otts painting to refresh the sofa and chairs.
“Clary did an awesome job using my existing stuff,” says Leah. “A perfect example was our dining room chandelier, which was original to the house. Instead of getting a new fixture, Clary took it to Lamp Arts and had them update it—much cheaper than buying a new fixture and also cool that we got to use an original one.”
Since the Tennilles are redecorating in stages, next on the list is the master bedroom and their son’s “big boy” room. “Once you get one room done, it’s addictive and you want to keep doing more,” says Leah. Regardless of which room they work on next or if they eventually add on to the home, they know that Clary will be involved in all phases.
This bright, cheery, Buckhead home continues to evolve into an inviting space that will be a welcome family respite for years and years to come.
A big thank you to Heidi Geldhauser from Our Labor of Love for the gorgeous photographs.