As an architect — and specifically, as a female architect with children of her own — Amanda Orr likes to think she brings something interesting to the table when working with residential clients. “I’m biased of course, but I do think working with a female architect has its advantages. As a mom and wife, I’m acutely aware of what it takes to make a household run smoothly,” she says. “Having degrees in both interior design and architecture also helps in developing the project holistically.” An example: She might design doorways so a homeowner has views through the kitchen to the breakfast room or to the playroom where the children spend time.
For this Atlanta house, what began as a renovation ended up as a start-over. The homeowners were able to build their dream house on the lot where they had already lived for years. “On their wish list was more living space, better bedrooms for their children as they were getting older (and bigger), higher ceilings and more natural light,” says Amanda. “They also enjoy entertaining frequently, and so an easy flow and space for guests were paramount, along with a fabulous wine cellar close to the dining room.”
“This house has traditional building elements, such as gabled roofs, a brick veneer and two-story volume,” says architect Amanda Orr. “Modern touches include the cedar-shingle roof that adds texture and warmth, as well as steel doors and windows (which are old but popular again) to maximize light and modernize the elevations.”
A covered rear porch provides easy access to both the outdoor kitchen and pool from the family room and kitchen. Hamilton Land Services helped reconfigure the entire backyard.
Turfgrass allows for maximum play space, and a covered porch offers a transition between indoors and the pool area.
The front entry was designed with a clean-lined approach. “We wanted to keep the foyer clean and bright,” says Amanda. “The charcoal-painted steel door provides the maximum amount of light possible while remaining elegant and not too stark or industrial feeling.”
A library off the foyer was designed to showcase the homeowners’ extensive book collection. Custom bookshelves painted a serene blue are accented with sconces from Restoration Hardware.
A casual family room off the kitchen benefits from more steel-and-glass doors to keep the space bright.
Amanda’s goal — working alongside interior designers Means + Carney and builder David Childers of Macallan Homes — was to find that perfect blend of traditional and modern. A lot of clients still hold onto many of the traditional rooms that are found in houses from generations past, Amanda says – such as a foyer, dining room, living room, kitchen, butler’s pantry and breakfast room. “The modern take on the floor plan has infused more communal spaces for the entire family; however, we’ve shifted the heart of the home to the kitchen, rather than the living room or parlor,” she says
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Amanda praises the group effort to deliver on the homeowners’ wishes. “One of our overarching goals was to create an oasis for them away from the hectic schedules they juggle,” she says. “And I think we all accomplished that as a team.”
A mix of classic and contemporary is on full view in the light and bright kitchen. Traditional features include the marble countertops and custom leaded-glass windows, while a wall of white tilework and modern brass accents keep it fresh.
The dining room is sophisticated but not overly formal, with a surprise at the end: a built-in wine cellar, conveniently located next to the place where entertaining goes on. “Sometimes, a basement wine cellar can get forgotten except for retrieving the bottles, so we thought we would showcase the wine as art and make it accessible on the main level,” explains Amanda.
Gray walls and a built-in ladder distinguish the dining room wine cellar.
Interior designers Angela Means and Danielle Carney (of Means + Carney) deftly added cheerful color throughout the house, such as the yellow barn doors that lead to a family sitting area.
A blend of grays, beige and teal keeps the master bedroom cozy.
A vintage rug adds history and texture to the master bath.
“The office was a bit of a modern departure from the rest of the house but also a very calm space for work and reflection,” says Amanda. “The homeowner found the chair, and we all thought it was the perfect pop of color and modern accent.”
See more projects by Amanda Orr and her team at amandaorrarchitects.com. All photography by Laura Negri.
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