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The Art of Aesthetics

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Ask Debbie and Brad Weitz where they spend most of their time, and the answer is swift: at B.D. Jeffries, the Buckhead home furnishings and accessories boutique beloved for its richly textured, natural finds and eclectic assortment of antiques, gifts, ceramics and works of art. This year marks 25 years that “the store,” as the couple refers to it, has been Atlanta’s go-to shopping source for interior designers and the design-loving public alike.

As any shop owner knows, the beauty (and peril) of the job includes the ability to amass piece after piece—on buying trips, at furniture markets, at antiques shows—not because there is a need or the space for a certain item but simply because he or she adores it and doesn’t want anyone else to snap it up.

While the Weitzes literally have a store and a warehouse full of these finds, when it came to outfitting their own recently renovated Buckhead home, Debbie was very clear about the pieces she wanted to incorporate and the direction she wanted to go in, enlisting interior stylist and longtime friend Eleanor Roper to execute her vision.

“Debbie has such an eye and penchant for the unusual,” says Roper, “and you can see that come through in the complexity and the layering of the curated approach we took to the house.”

Roper’s main design objective: to combine Debbie’s classic but clean, restrained but relaxed aesthetic with the coziness and warmth of their charming 1930s English Tudor country abode. “The style of the house, the age of the house, and the materials used—it feels like an English landscape to me,” says Roper of the exterior, “and when you walk in the door, the design is this big surprise.”

Weathered, beat up, patinaed, rough-hewn, rarefied: These are all words Debbie uses to describe an aesthetic she’s made uniquely her own, one that embraces natural imperfections for a distinct contemporary-meets-rustic vibe. Selecting pieces with age, or pieces that conjure the effects of age, was top priority.

The Spanish buffet in the dining room (one of the few times Debbie has reserved a piece for herself directly “off the floor”) and the carved Italian chair in the foyer (one of her first purchases after moving into the home more than 30 years ago)—these are pieces that convey her collected, timeworn narrative. And when it came to making a statement, no walls or surfaces were off-limits for Debbie’s character-rich collections, which include African masks, pottery and shields; pewter jars; and antique vellum books.

“Debbie has such a global connection to things,” says Roper, “and where there are a lot of other designers who might be persuaded to [opt for] something more new and trendy, we stuck with the complexity and the depth of older pieces. I feel like you could be anywhere in the world in that house.”

The resulting, confident mix is displayed against a subtle backdrop of muted tones, from the soft-gray finish on the floors to the darker greige painted on the doors, bookcases and breakfast room window trim. It’s this soft but layered palette, says Roper, that has “opened up the house and allowed the rooms to breathe and flow interchangeably.” And the materials added during the renovation—a stone fireplace in the living room, as well as antique, rough-hewn beams, play up this tactile effect.

“The design,” says Roper, “is kind of like a beautiful marriage, with bits and pieces collected through the years on display.” A beautiful match, indeed.

INTERIOR DESIGN Eleanor Roper; Brad and Debbie Weitz, B.D. Jeffries (404) 231-3004; bdjeffries.com

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