Wander through the Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens, and you may get lost in a maze of lacquered walls, hand-stamped ceilings, intricate rugs and lots of gorgeous items in between. The home creates a dazzling, dizzying venue to appreciate the best of interior designers from across the region. In fact, it seems odd to call it a house — the grandeur and absolute beauty of each individual room evoke feelings of being in an inviting museum that has on display jaw-dropping creative works by master artists.
The Buckhead estate itself is already a work of incredible artistry and skill. Sitting on a 3.5-acre lot, the English manor-style home offers 20,000 square feet of gorgeous space, inside and out. Besides the home’s three levels, talented designers from across the Southeast also designed the 2,500-square-foot poolhouse and backyard (including an infinity edge pool and tennis court).
After stepping out of the event shuttle, visitors to the home are greeted by a stunning façade with dramatic cast stone and stone veneer, as well as a slate roof. And then you enter the great front doors and that’s when the real show begins …
A pair of arched staircases greet visitors, drawing the eyes upward to the lovely paintings on both walls and modern chandelier hanging from the impossibly tall ceilings. Head left and enter a dining room fit for only the chicest of families. Suzanne Kasler, of Suzanne Kasler Interiors, focused especially on the interesting architectural details of the room by lacquering the ceiling in soft blue. The effect is cool and modern, like a new take on a French chateau.
Continue on the west side of the main level and you’ll pass the formal powder room and eventually come to the kitchen. Designed by Lauren DeLoach, of Lauren DeLoach Interiors, the kitchen offers a modern take on classic design, using grand proportions for a home with such massive space. And speaking of space, feeding right out of the kitchen is the home’s great room, designed by Barbara Westbrook, of Westbrook Interiors. This is a two-story room with 28-foot-tall ceilings, where Barbara used the size and streaming light as inspiration for her design, with the use of large indoor trees, stunning wall art and a massive chandelier.
In fact, just the main home is so huge (five bedrooms, nine bathrooms), lending itself as a massive blank canvas, that there are room types I’ve never heard of before. The “al fresco dining room” is a charming space set off to the side of the kitchen, where Beth Webb, of Beth Webb Interiors, celebrated a spring palette with light from the window wall and use of green and white (she said greens are a trend for 2016). Amy Morris, of Amy Morris Interiors, was inspired by Pantone’s Color of the Year (rose quartz) when designing the “lady’s lounge,” a feminine room with a gold, hand-stamped ceiling, natural materials and comfy fabrics. And right next to the lady’s lounge sits “her dressing room,” designed by Alison Womack Jowers and Cheryl Womack, of Womack Jowers Interiors, a feminine place for the lady of the house to get dressed in peace and luxury, featuring a custom chaise in off-white velvet with lacquered legs, as the designers put it, to create a “cloud-like effect.”
A highlight we have to include is the friends’ entry and mudroom designed by Lisa Mende, of Lisa Mende Design. I have always had an affinity for The Wizard of Oz, and Lisa played off this theme of “there’s no place like home” when creating a warm, inviting area as the place where a home’s friends and family would usually enter. The painting “Dorothy” is by a local artist, Mark Boomershine, and is a way to offer a friendly greeting to all who enter, with fabulous details like the pagoda mirror and bright colors. The warm design continues right outside the door to the “friend’s porch” inspired by the idea of enjoying a cool glass of lemonade and sharing some gossip with the closest of pals.
Take the grand foyer stairs or the rear staircase up to the second level and there are bedrooms, bathrooms, even a game room, that raise the level of taste and style to new heights. Specifically, I fell in love with the masculine bedroom designed by Mark Williams and Niki Papadoupolos, of Mark Williams Design Associates. The dark grass cloth wall covering created a dramatic effect, alongside some modern furniture and pieces that felt like a mid-century take on the future. The designers mentioned that the fireplace recalled the look of “The Jetsons,” which helped tie the other textures and shapes together (I’m dying over the ceiling light and side tables). It’s almost impossible to stay within my word count limit with this article because I would go crazy describing all the other wonderful rooms throughout the home.
The terrace level, of course, offers luxurious options like a media room/theater and spa bathroom (seriously, there’s a sauna in there). But one of my favorite rooms on the whole property is Hope & Will’s Room. Hope & Will’s Room, designed by Jo Rabaut, of Rabaut Design Associates Inc., with Southface & Safe Kids Georgia, is an interactive kids’ room in recognition of the event’s beneficiary, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Safe Kids Georgia. “Hope & Will” represent an optimistic attitude, where kids become brave and find their courage, whether sick or healthy. The room has a global, multicultural attitude, with lots of fun textures and fabrics to keep the kids happy and engaged.
I can’t talk about the design of this house without mentioning the fabulous guest house. Walk out the back of the main home and look upon a dizzying array of luxury set among Buckhead’s lush surroundings. An infinity pool and sweet lounge seating greet guests, right before entering the guest house. I love the main level of this backyard home, but the terrace level literally made my jaw drop. The lower level is designed by Don Easterling and Nina Nash, of Mathews Furniture + Design, and features an amazing chandelier, which reminded me of jacks, and a tribal motif. Take a few more steps and the downstairs bedroom and bath, designed by B.D. Jeffries Design Group, shows off a Moroccan flair and an appreciation for world travel, with many natural fabrics and cool textures, including another fabulous chandelier, this time featuring globes lit from within.
The architecture is breathtaking, but visiting a home and event like this shows you how interior design can really mold the look and feel of a space. The right attention to detail and understanding of personal tastes can create a palace, no matter the size.
The 2016 Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens is open until May 15. Visit Thursdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $30, and group rates are available. There is no parking allowed on Northside Drive, so park at 500 Fairfield Road, Atlanta, GA 30327, and follow the signs to the designated shuttle loading zone. Beneficiaries of the event are Safe Kids Georgia and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.