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Merging the best of old and new is an important theme in interior design. Too much old, and a house seems museum-like and dated; add an excess of trendy, and a house looks too much like the latest West Elm catalog. Atlanta interior designer Kate Hayes got it just right here, successfully merging family antiques and a historic 1914 house with youthful, contemporary touches to accommodate Amy and Taylor Harrison’s family of four.

Kate Hayes Midtown design

The front door at this historic house in Midtown Atlanta opens into the expansive living room. Original stained glass windows surround the entryway.

Kate Hayes Midtown design

New furnishings include swivel chairs from Stanton Home Furnishings and a striped rug from Peridot.

“Aesthetically, we were looking to bring focus to the right places — the impressive stone fireplace, the open feeling of the main level, the generous light,” says Kate. “We needed to address this modern family’s needs — comfort, nothing too dressy and kid-appropriate, while honoring the beauty of the 1914 home. We wanted to feature her best highlights, as it will.”

The designer kept a lot of the weightier elements, such as wooden coffered ceilings, a stone fireplace, built-ins and stained glass windows, as well as some existing furniture. To modernize it all, Kate decided to unify the color palette with dramatic but neutral colors, creating a modern, moody makeover. She also purchased new key pieces, such as furnishings in the living room from hip Atlanta stores such as Stanton Home Furnishings, Westside Modern Atlanta and Peridot that merge nicely with an existing leather sofa.

Kate Hayes Midtown design

A vintage chair adds a pop of green to the otherwise neutral furnishings in the living room.

StyleBlueprint Atlanta: Kate Hayes Midtown design

Sultry, feathery wallpaper by Cole & Son adorns the upper part of the dining room, creating a contrasting look with the crisp white woodwork below.

StyleBlueprint Atlanta: Kate Hayes Midtown design

Dining room furnishings include a custom table by Matix Woodworking and sideboard from Noir.

StyleBlueprint Atlanta: Kate Hayes Midtown design

Sculptural lamps are from Stanton Home Furnishings.

“In the dining room, the client and I had agreed to do something a bit fun and dramatic here but not too distracting to the rest of the main level,” says the designer. “We wanted to strike just the right balance of historical and playful.” Adding black Cole & Son wallpaper above the chair rail and making the trim below a creamy white, the room now feels like a snappy tuxedo, she cleverly adds. The clients already had purchased the gorgeous Currey & Company chandelier as another focal point.

The designer didn’t shy away from rich colors elsewhere in the house, either. Farrow & Ball’s Pitch Black No. 256 covers the study walls. “Because both the homeowners are neurologists and the office is near the dramatic dining room, I wanted the study to hold its own and feel kind of heady,” says Kate. “To me, a black room is exciting — it feels intense on the brain — somewhat charged in a way — but looks oh so chic!” Vintage furniture and existing art give the room a storied, curated look.

StyleBlueprint Atlanta: Kate Hayes Midtown design

New black and white paint in the kitchen brings a soothing contrast to the existing wood cabinets. Designer Kate Hayes installed Roman shades in the eating area to soften the windows.

StyleBlueprint Atlanta: Kate Hayes Midtown design

Concrete pendants from Rejuventation complement the weight of the island.

StyleBlueprint Atlanta: Kate Hayes Midtown design

Family memorabilia stands out against the black walls of the study.

StyleBlueprint Atlanta: Kate Hayes Midtown design

Aside from the dramatic black walls, Kate wanted the study to be about vintage pieces and organic elements — such as the light fixture by Selamat and framed anatomical charts, which are nods to the homeowners’ profession.

StyleBlueprint Atlanta: Kate Hayes Midtown design

“The master bedroom came with the fabulous four-poster bed and colorful antique rug,” says Kate, “so we worked off these elements to complete the look.”

StyleBlueprint Atlanta: Kate Hayes Midtown design

Custom bed shams liven up the rich wood of the four-poster bed.

StyleBlueprint Atlanta: Kate Hayes Midtown design

The designer added wallpaper to a previously renovated master bath to bring in a more historical vibe. “The soft black and white paper plays off the existing black and white tile nicely,” Kate says.

Kate continued the black paint in the kitchen on the existing island but added white paint on a wall of cabinets as another study in contrasts. She also replaced Craftsman-style glass in cabinetry with ribbed glass for a more modern look. The outcome in the kitchen describes the house as a whole; as the designer puts it, “The result is still dramatic, but a cohesive, fresher approach.”

In the master bedroom, Kate brightened up existing wood trim with Benjamin Moore White Dove and painted the walls Stone Blue No.86 by Farrow & Ball. She added new furnishings, such as a ceramic lamp and custom sofa from Bungalow Classic and a framed line drawing by local Atlanta artist Tori Tinsley.

The successful melding of dramatic and neutral and historic and modern creates a home with a bold design that also genuinely reflects and respects the homeowners’ needs and tastes.

RESOURCES

Interior design: Kate Hayes Design 
Photography: Kristen Wade
Furniture: Stanton Home FurnishingsWestside Modern, Peridot, Bungalow Classic
Wallpaper: Cole & Son
Lighting: Currey & CompanyRejuventation, Selamat
Paint: Farrow & Ball, Benjamin Moore
Art: Tori Tinsley

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