When Laura Pearce and husband Tom first spied the house they now call home, it was on the market for the first time in 20 years. “It was a little dated,” Pearce says. “Very 1980s with teal walls and all—but the proportions of the house and sizes of the rooms just felt right.” In a happy coincidence, it turned out that Spitzmiller and Norris, a noted Atlanta architecture firm who had renovated the Pearce’s Ansley Park house several years prior, had designed this house, “which sealed the deal,” says Pearce, owner of Laura Pearce, Ltd., an estate and fine jewelry boutique.
She then turned to another trusted design expert, longtime friend Beth Ervin, to adapt their furnishings from the Ansley Park abode to their new one. The women, who first met when their daughters became playmates in elementary school, have cemented their friendship through the years with a shared passion for interiors that feature a graceful, collected look. “She knows what she likes,” says Ervin. “And our tastes are the same. It is so easy to work with her. She’ll say she wants a pop of color in a room, and I’ll suggest a fabric, and she’ll say, ‘Perfect!’”
The palette for Pearce’s Buckhead home is a study in pale, creamy tones, accented with notes of rich reds, oranges and cobalt blues. The living room’s Oushak rug inspired that space’s fresh but traditional palette of neutral linen, but is accented by a pair of upholstered persimmon ottomans and a club chair covered in a classic Travers print. In the dining room, textured sisal floors and drapery panels in a soft print create a serene foundation for a round, glass-topped table and linen-covered dining chairs crowned with a romantic chandelier.
Other updates the Pearces made to the home included structural changes, like gutting the kitchen to open it up to the family room. The taupe-and-cream color scheme was inspired by Ervin’s own kitchen and features a heart-pine butcher block-topped island and painted floors in a diamond pattern. Upgrades were also made to the ground-floor bathrooms, though the most dramatic change occurred outside, with the addition of a pool and pavilion by Kevin Kleinhelter of K2 Construction and landscape architecture by Graham Pittman. “We were determined to have a pool on the same level as the house, so you could walk out of the main rooms and be on the pool deck,” says Pearce. The process involved major excavation, but resulted in a pool area that not only serves as an extension of the house’s interior living spaces but also a space that is used year-round. “We have a fire in the fireplace every night except in the summer,” she says. The pool house—which features a boathouse-inspired mix of sporting and nautical accents—was inspired by Pearce’s memories of her family’s summer home on the Atlantic coast.
It’s nearly a cliché, but the goal Pearce had in mind for the house was a place where her children (ages 20 and 17) and two dogs, Biscuit and Charlie, could sit anywhere and be comfortable. Thanks to the design hand of her friend Ervin, it’s also an undeniably pretty house, filled with things the family has collected over the years, from the etching of sailboats in the living room to the walnut buffet in the entry. “It’s a look that doesn’t chase trends,” says Ervin. “It’s the look of a family acquiring things over the years. It’s a reflection of Laura.”
ARCHITECTURE Spitzmiller & Norris, Inc., (404) 812-0224; spitzmillerandnorris.com
INTERIOR DESIGN Beth Ervin, Beth Ervin Interiors, [email protected]