Spring is the time of color, renewal and beauty — a testament to Mother Nature’s artistic talent. And these creative attributes have popped up at the 2018 Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens.
With the blooms of spring come the flourishing talents of the Southeast’s most talented interior design firms, tasked with the skillful challenge of putting their thumbprint on this year’s showhouse. The event, produced by Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and benefitting the Atlanta History Center, celebrates the extent of designers’ imaginations throughout the region.
This year’s home measures about 9,800 square feet and is inspired by the English country homes of 1900s architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. The residence sits on a cozy, tree-lined street, featuring brick-and-stone masonry with limestone for the exterior and fantastic interior elements sure to make every guest gasp. From the seven bedrooms (including two master suites), six bathrooms, two grand stairwells and two laundry rooms to the basement, pool and massive ceilings, this home is a true beauty.
As you tour the space, beauty wraps itself around every corner. There’s no textile, accessory, furniture item, even dog bed, that hasn’t been painstakingly analyzed before being placed by each participating designer. Designers like Jena Salmon of Jena Salmon Designs, LLC, marry their aesthetic with inspiration from nature, new design products, even the house itself, to create a room that’s breathtaking and awe-inspiring.
Jena, who designed the upstairs bedroom/bath suite with laundry room, says she wanted her space to have a calm essence but still be pretty. “I love traditional with an element of surprise — such as a fur pillow, an antique French settee or an original piece of art on a toile wallpaper.” Jena’s room shows off the power of wallpaper and the impact it can truly make when done with a brave and artful eye. The bright reds and blues provide a palpable energy that is both feminine and masculine. Thibaut’s enchanting wallpaper continues through to the laundry room, where future residents of this house may just decide washing clothes isn’t such a chore after all.
There’s so much to see and admire in this year’s showhouse, but I have my own personal standouts. The kitchen and keeping room, designed by Karen Ferguson of Harrison Design with Design Galleria, offers a modern interpretation of the home’s English cottage inspiration (which was also designed by Harrison Design). The kitchen’s beveled counter, made from “blue explosion” quartzite, mimics the outline of the adjacent fireplace. The entire room is bathed in natural light, artfully highlighted with window sheers with a cute geometric pattern — another nod to the home’s overall architecture and exterior façade. And this kitchen, with its hidden passageway into the pantry, isn’t just people friendly — Fido even gets his own little slice of heaven with a built-in dog bed located right below the counter seating.
Situated right behind the kitchen, looking out to the rustic, modern loggia, the whimsical living room also celebrates the home’s English cottage inspiration. Beth Webb Interiors transformed the space into a veritable English garden, right inside the home. The outdoors makes its way inside with cool greens, blues and neutrals, natural materials and foliage, clever accessories and a fanciful wallpaper pattern with birdcages, winding branches of flowers and feathered creatures. Beth Webb, this year’s honorary chair, accomplishes the task of creating a style sanctuary with elements that entice all the senses.
Choose whichever staircase you desire and head to the upstairs bathroom and bath that Catherine M. Austin Interior Design created. Catherine, an expert at color, took inspiration from a trip to Italy in early spring, witnessing the lush greenery and blooming wisteria. The combination of vivid greens and bright lavender sparked the first decision of the room — a scenic chinoiserie wallpaper. She juxtaposed the traditional floral patterns with contemporary art from Southern artists and modern, clean-lined upholstery and fabrics. The colorful fun continues down the adjacent way leading to the bathroom — the lilac hue is highlighted with a carefully curated collection of mixed media pieces.
There are just too many talented designers and exquisite rooms to go through when describing this year’s Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens. If you have an eye for design, or want to see life through the eyes of someone who does, make sure to get your tour tickets.
The Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens is located at 2805 Normandy Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30305 and runs until Sunday, May 13, 2018. Hours are Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). Daily admission is $30 online and $35 at the door. Get more information about the event by visiting southeasternshowhouse.com.
All photos by Melanie Preis unless otherwise noted.
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