As far as guest houses go, this one in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood hits the sweet spot of being not too big and not too small, offering rooms both inside and out, comfort galore, but plenty of high style, too. Oh yeah, and there’s a pool right outside the door. Interior designer Michelle Doughtie of Atlanta firm Schilling & Co. pulled together this charming new building with the help of her builder husband Sean (with whom she works) and architect Stephen Fuller. Their goal? Build a separate guest house to accommodate lots of visiting relatives for Jill and Jimmy Rice, while relating to the main house visually.

Guest house design

This cream-colored house in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood resembles the property’s main house, but it has a separate function as both guest house and pool hang-out. The square footage is about 3,000, with both indoor and outdoor spaces for year-round enjoyment.

Guest house design

There’s even a bocce ball court on the back of the house, and tennis courts just beyond that.

Beams and cabinets in a gray-washed white oak add rustic charm to the downstairs sitting area and grill, just off the pool. The sofa and chairs are from outdoor company Kingsley Bate, with an oversized light fixture from Currey and Company. To keep the temperature just right, wall-mounted fans and heaters are nonetheless unobtrusive.

Striking tile by The Tile Shop around the grill serves as outdoor art and is a focal point for the cabana area.

A wallpaper with bathing beauties from Mitchell Black is a fitting accessory in the downstairs pool bathroom.

“They wanted the new structure to look similar to the existing house and flow together,” says Michelle. “Jill loved the idea of a balcony looking over the pool with a couple of chairs for guests to enjoy coffee or a glass of wine, and inside to be a light, airy, happy space for the apartment with blues and whites.” There’s even a three-car garage, and above that, a hang-out room for the Rices’ daughters, with a bohemian-chic hanging chair, pink-and-blue wallpaper and plenty of space for art projects or large sleepovers.

Architecturally, the house is a classic brick structure with traditional elements, just like the main home. The painted brick abode has iron touches on the front, including large metal doors and the balcony, as well as gas lanterns as an old-world touch.

Inside, Michelle’s furnishings offer a primer on successful pool house decorating, with durable fabrics and tables. “For a guest house, I recommend white walls everywhere with added color through fabrics and wallpaper for a fresh, clean feel,” says the designer. “We used wood on ceilings and walls to create a cottage look and really made every inch of the space useable. If you plan ahead and think about how the space will be used, you can usually figure out how to meet all of your needs.”

The stairway has modern art and light fixtures to offset the traditional exterior and wood-plank walls.

The upstairs living area — painted all around in that designer favorite, Benjamin Moore “White Dove” — has a kitchen, sitting area and bedroom in cozy colors and textures. The high-low mix of furnishings includes comfy chairs from Home Goods, a coffee table from West Elm and accent pillows from Noah J. & Co.

A 14-foot-high vaulted ceiling is a place to show off the beaded chandelier from Regina Andrew Detroit.

Cool features in the kitchen include a vibrant blue range from BlueStar, and open shelves.

A bistro table by Lexington Home Brands and Parisian-style bar stools from Serena and Lily offer a relaxed place to have a snack.

A lively canopy made from Schumacher fabric softens the small but chic bedroom. Art is by Maggie Matthews.

The guest bathroom features white cabinetry from IKEA and snappy tile floors from Floor Stars, which enhance the space.

The hang-out room above the garage is all about youthful fun, with wallpaper from Anthropologie and durable furnishings from Costco and World Market.

Brass hardware in the snack area allows the cornflower-blue cabinetry to pop.

Thanks to Michelle, Sean and Stephen for sharing this amazing project. And thanks, too, to photographer Mary Powell Photography for the beautiful pics!


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