Elizabeth Hanson bought a Buckhead loft and designed the interior from the ground up, little did she know she was prepping for what would be a newfound career.
“I stumbled across the construction site while driving around one Saturday,” she recalls. “I walked into the construction trailer to see what was going on and if there was a top-floor unit for sale; I had spent enough time living below people in apartments. Luckily, there was a top-floor corner unit, and that was that! After one quick look at the floor plan and finishes, though, I decided to purchase the unit completely empty—no sheetrock, no ductwork, no flooring, no plumbing, no appliances, nothing—and just finish the place out myself. It only took about four months but they were the most hectic four months I’ve ever lived!”
Understandably. That’s a tall order for even a seasoned design professional. But Hanson reveals something that makes her undertaking of the build-out more extraordinary still: It was done before she attended design school or joined the staff of Westbrook Interiors. “I think I had probably lost my mind!” she laughs.
After graduating from Emory with degrees in psychology and sociology, Hanson started to pursue an advanced degree in psychology—but admittedly “hated it.” What was supposed to be a short break from the books turned into five years arranging flowers at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, after which she decided to channel her creativity in another way: By pursuing her lifetime love of interior design.
It was while Hanson was studying at the Art Institute of Atlanta that she was hired as an intern at Westbrook Interiors. And the day after her portfolio show, she signed on full-time. Fast-forward 10 years and Hanson has worked on many an impressive project, but perhaps none more rewarding than her own loft—which continues to evolve.
“I love living in a white, neutral space,” Hanson explains. “I wanted to achieve a quiet, clean, unified space that is satisfying to come home to after a day filled with abundant design details, one that’s unpretentious and relaxing, both visually and physically. The challenge of open-plan living is to achieve an aesthetically integrated environment. I wanted not so much to divide the spaces but, instead, outline them so [the plan’s] not confusing. Here, the surfaces are natural and restrained; it’s a simple color palette that unifies everything.”
INTERIOR DESIGN Westbrook Interiors. 2991 Hardman Court, Atlanta 30305. (404) 355-9430; westbrookinteriors.com