Traditional on the outside, transitional on the inside … meet the preferred style for many Southern homes these days. “People want better flow, more natural light and less clutter these days,” says architect Frances Zook, who updated this Cape Cod-style Atlanta house with interior designer Judy Tillman Long. “Homeowners want better quality as opposed to quantity in the form of more square footage,” Frances adds. The homeowners saw potential in this circa-1990s house, with its charming cedar-shake exterior and wooded yard, and they tasked the design team to give it a fresher look on the inside.

Frances Zook Architect/Tillman Long Interiors

A new front door and lighting freshened up the exterior for this Cape Cod house built in the ’90s.

Frances Zook Architect/Tillman Long Interiors

A solid wood door now greets visitors. Interior designer Judy Tillman Long chose the classic Darlana Lantern as lighting in the foyer, joined by a vintage oriental rug and sideboard from Joseph Konrad.

Plaid fabric by Colefax & Fowler through Cowtan & Tout is on swivel bar stools (as well as the banquette, not pictured) for a nice blend of form and function.

Frances Zook Architect/Tillman Long Interiors

“Originally, this kitchen was a closed-off mess with lots of sharp angles and wasted space,” says Judy. “Frances Zook opened it all up to the breakfast room and living room to give the house a beautifully functioning kitchen with that great banquette.”

Handmade green lamps by Charlie West flank the linen sofa, and an exuberant painting from Gregg Irby hangs in the family room.

Nottingham Antiques made a custom trestle table to provide easy access in and out of the banquette, stained a soothing soft grey color. Art is by Lynn Sanders through Gregg Irby Gallery.

From a remodeling standpoint, the architect instantly made rooms feel more spacious by raising the room openings to eight feet and choosing simpler doors. She also redesigned the kitchen, removing walls between the kitchen and family room and replacing the area with a built-in banquette and butler’s pantry. Aside from bigger changes, Frances made sure architectural features felt current. Vertical planks on the front entry hall and master bedroom reflect a desire for simple textures.

Judy helped lighten the color palette, giving the entire house a better flow. “The wife wanted more casual furniture and light colors in this house and wanted it to work well for entertaining both large and small groups,” says the designer. A light taupe color — sometimes referred to as “greige” — was a unifying start, first with the kitchen countertop stone called “Pearla Venata” and then carrying over into the breakfast room, living room, family room and elsewhere. “We used Olympic Mountains (Benjamin Moore 971) as a very soft neutral that pulled the color from the countertops onto the walls in these rooms,” she adds.

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A round dining table from Chaddock can expand to seat more people. “We did add a little glam to the room with silk curtains by Vervain with Samuel & Sons trim hung on acrylic rods,” says Judy. “A touch of gold on the chandelier helps to dress up the table, as well.”

Clean-lined (and not stuffy), the living room benefitted from a new limestone mantel through François & Co. and updated seating with a velvet sofa and graphic pillows made from Schumacher.

“We added planking to the master bedroom walls for warmth and painted it all ‘White Dove’ from Benjamin Moore,” says Judy. “Blue linen curtains have black-out lining to give them a nice dark room for sleeping.”

A newly redesigned master bath included more windows for natural light. The Calcutta Borghini marble countertops are particularly elegant. Heavy crystal sconces from Circa Lighting provide the size and look the design team wanted with an added bonus of a regular-sized light bulb to provide good lighting. Silver grass cloth walls by Schumacher add another layer of glow.

Frances Zook Architect/Tillman Long Interiors

Even the laundry area is chic, with soft blue tile going all the way to the ceiling.

“The homeowner is a very tidy car hobbyist,” says Frances. “We added new garage doors with windows so he’d have better light in that garage space.”

The backyard was redone to make the most of the space, now with a covered grill porch and plenty of hardscapes for entertaining.

All isn’t soft and refined in this home, however. The husband got his tricked-out garage, custom to hold four cars (thanks to a car lift). A basement has even more storage for additional cars and a great room with a car simulator inside! “The husband LOVES cars and trucks and collects fun styles of both,” says Judy. “He tinkers with them in his fabulous garage with a fan blowing on his work area while the TV or music is playing.” As it turned out, the wife had her spaces, and he had his. The front façade doesn’t necessarily hint at what’s inside, and that’s part of the fun with houses these days.

Thanks to Emily Followill for the beautiful photos!

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