For even the most pulled together among us, making a snap decision can be a perfect storm for disaster. But for Lee Kleinhelter, it was the ultimate opportunity to deliver well-polished style to the Buckhead condominium she shares with her husband, Kevin, and their newborn son.
The couple had taken their Garden Hills cottage off the market after several unsuccessful months of trying to sell—just as Lee was entering her third trimester and readying the nursery for their new arrival. But as luck would have it, a buyer soon approached with an offer they couldn’t refuse.
“That’s how you sell a house,” the designer laughs. “You ﬁnish the things you were holding off on because you were planning to move out.
“I’m a very organized person, so at ﬁrst I said, ‘No way! It’s too late; we’re not doing this.’ But it was the perfect opportunity, so it forced me to be a little more ﬂexible.”
The couple had to ﬁnd a new home quickly but nonetheless surveyed many options before selecting Sovereign as the best ﬁt. Typically drawn to ﬁxer-uppers, Lee admits that she’d never imagined living in a high-rise. After all, her husband is a builder with K2 Construction, a ﬁrm that specializes in renovating historic homes and designing new ones in keeping with the historic charms of their neighborhoods. But Sovereign, for all of its modern glamour, gave them plenty of reasons to fall in love. “It has a different tone than the other condos we’d looked at,” she explains. “It isn’t too formal, but it still has all the amenities we could want. It’s relaxed but, at the same time, very high-end.”
The couple had just two weeks to design their new space and move in. Fortunately, Lee had some of the city’s best decorating resources at her ready—the inventory of her home décor boutique, Pieces Inc. Many of her favorites from the store, as well as treasured pieces from the couple’s former home, found their way into the new scheme at Sovereign, where a neutral palette of white and gray serves as a backdrop for white-leather upholstery, streamlined accents, mirrored furniture and a few rustic touches for added warmth.
Because the living and dining spaces ﬂow together freely, clever positioning of furniture was necessary to deﬁne them. But the couple loves the openness of the new setup, allowing the family to converse and convene with ease.
Kevin’s pre-teen daughter, Madison, was given a cheery white-and-yellow bedroom, complete with a pair of Hollywood Regency-style porter chairs and an elegant tufted headboard while—toward the master suite, down a metallic wallpaper-lined corridor—the new nursery came together beautifully. “At ﬁrst, I panicked when I realized that the room that would have been our study was going to be the nursery; it didn’t have a closet,” Lee recounts. “But then I thought, ‘he’s a newborn. Why does he need a closet for his onesies?’ ” she laughs.
The room’s small size worked in the owners’ favor, creating a cozy effect. Lee covered the walls in grasscloth, adding an unexpected texture to the space—and making for an easy transition to a den or study after the baby has grown. She then added a whimsical vintage rocking chair cushioned in nubby Knoll wool, plus thick display shelves for stowing books and hanging clothes in full view. Meanwhile, a simplistic painting establishes the color story and lends a sweet touch. And in lieu of a changing table, she raised a vintage credenza to the right height, rendering it a uniquely special piece.
In the absence of a traditional office, the master bedroom serves the purpose. A chic modern desk takes its place in a windowed corner while a pine wardrobe houses a printer and other office essentials on the opposite side of the room. “If Kevin’s on the laptop working, we can still chit-chat and enjoy that time together,” says Lee.
“In our former house, we were calling each other on our cell phones just to see what the other wanted to do for dinner. It was kind of silly, because the house wasn’t that big,” recalls Lee. “Now that we live in the same spaces all the time, it’s fantastic. It’s so much more efficient this way, and it keeps our family closer together, too.”
With the city views around them and new baby Holden in tow, the Kleinhelters have discovered that downsizing doesn’t mean giving up a dream at all—it means living one.