Simply Chic

The St. Regis Atlanta Hotel & Residences, which debuted in Buckhead this spring, was marked from the start by legendary style and elegance that made it an ideal setting for many of the city's top designers to unleash their talents as part of the 39th annual Decorators' Show House & Gardens. The resulting 29 spaces—spanning three distinctly different high-rise units—demonstrate that luxury has never been more evident—or more important—than it is today.

Atlantans are not scaling back or scaling down, but rather, making the skies the limits for great design. Even traditional spaces pushed these boundaries, adopting an eclectic mix and a fresh outlook, as with C. Smith Grubbs‘ high-impact dining room and Patricia McLean‘s customized “Tricia Show House Green” walls—perfectly complementing the high-rise lighting. Bob Brown’s living room, too, demonstrated how usually-grounded antiques can find a home high above West Paces Ferry, while contemporary quarters such as Bill Peace‘s living room showed that contemporary can have a warm, earthy and dynamic verve. From classic to modern, show house rooms took inspiration from history—like Kay Douglass‘ 18th-century French hotel logs and Boxwoods‘ throwback to Old Hollywood Glamour. Offering interest at every turn, these spaces are the sort you’d want to linger in for hours—and many of you did.

Bob Brown // Robert Brown Interior Design // Living Room
Using a collection of antlers unearthed at Robuck & Co. as the jumping-off point, Bob Brown and his team created a living room that proves even lodge-inspired elements can work in high-rise living. But the true magic here is in the mix. Museum-quality pieces like the 18th-century Italian breakfront and sideboard give the room strength while acrylic-and-glass furniture, coupled with a creamy palette, keep the overall ambience light. What’s more, this space is just as much a treat to the eye as it is to the touch, thanks to luxurious accents like black cashmere and fur throws.

Mallory Mathson // Mallory Mathison, Inc. // Foyer
To give this narrow foyer maximum impact, designer Mallory Mathison utilized a rich peacock blue, beginning with the trellis-patterned grasscloth on the walls. Its delicate yet graphic motif, layered over warm ivory, looks brilliant but not brash, and lightens up the space. A ceiling treatment in turquoise and muddled gold lends an Old-World, fresco-like feeling, while a painting that—on its own—might have leaned toward the contemporary is instead softened by sunburst sconces and a similarly styled ceiling fixture.

Carole Weaks// C. Weakes Interiors // Study
Using dark grasscloth to create a rich backdrop for this study, designer Carole Weaks effectively framed the windows’ spectacular views while allowing the art to remain subtle. Carefully edited upholstery, tables and accessories give the room a comfortable, not cluttered, vibe. Most importantly, all pieces are new or vintage—as opposed to the French antiques Weaks typically favors—to keep this room’s transitional theme at the forefront. One can easily envision slinking into this space to enjoy a glass of wine, catch up on e-mails or simply watch the evening news.

Bill Hudgins // Lush Life Home & Garden // Outdoor Living Room
Taking a cue from Mother Nature, this airy outdoor living room is outfitted with an abundance of natural materials and foliage that are just as remarkable as the high-rise locale. Red travertine, blue coral, selenite and petrified wood combine to create a muted color palette that designer Bill Hudgins describes as both soothing and stylish. A custom-framed antique mirror doubles the drama, reflecting a chic space ideal for taking in spectacular skyline views.

Cheryl and Alison Womack // Womack Interiors // Master Suite
Starting with a scheme of formal yellow in this master suite, Cheryl and Alison Womack added touches of gray and white to give the space “sophistication with an edge.” As punctuation points, an 18th-century Italian commode and sconces from Parc Monceau—plus vintage Murano glass lamps from The Mercantile—elevate the room to yet another level with crisp linens and a tufted headboard adding sleek touches of their own. Amidst more traditional elements, however, it’s the contemporary art from Bennett Street Gallery that gives this room its edge.

Kay Douglass // Kay Douglass Interiors // Gentleman’s Bedroom
Inspired by 18th-century French hotel logs, designer Kay Douglass created a bedroom that pays tribute to the St. Regis as a proper place to retire for the evening. Artfully framed pages have graphic appeal amidst a scheme of saturated greens, the hues adding visual impact while keeping the space serene. Custom tufted daybeds fill the corners to balance the room’s visual weight, while a workspace—anchored by an iron desk with a surprisingly lightweight look—serves as both a visual center and a spot for penning a letter.

Nancy Pendergrast and Yvonne Ryan // Summerour Interiors // Breakfast Room
A soft color palette reigns in this breakfast room, where designers Nancy Pendergrast and Yvonne Ryan used neutral shades of grayish greens and brown. Coupled with warm ivory, the collective neutral hues are the perfect complement for black-and-white photography and an original charcoal drawing by architect Keith Summerour. The room’s contemporary elements—like the concrete- and-iron dining table and wing chairs with smart silhouettes—are grounded by rustic touches that include vintage fish baskets, a honey-colored buffet and a one-of-a-kind chandelier made from barrels salvaged on Summerour’s own Meriwether County estate.

Stanley Ellis // Stanley Ellis Inc. // Guest Room
In a departure from the neutral palettes that have reigned supreme in recent years, designer Stanley Ellis introduced color here in a dramatic manner. Deep blue walls provide an elegant backdrop for rich reds, bold browns and warm gold accents. Sumptuous silk mohair custom bedding makes this guest bedroom a luxurious retreat, where contemporary lines and antique pieces, such as the 18th-century walnut chest, mix and mingle for a truly transitional space.

Sheri Vest Bradley and Bryan Marquardt // Cucine Lube of Atlanta // Master Dressing Room
Defined by clean, crisp styling, this master dressing room takes a design cue from the adjoining bath. Recycled Italian cabinetry echoes the simple aesthetic of the adjacent space while cleverly concealing clothing and accessories for a tidy look. Designed by Cucine Lube, this dressing room also has an innovative edge, thanks to novel luxuries like a built-in folding table and retractable hanging rods.

Jeff Boetig, Daniel Duplechien & Dustin Hatley // Waterworks // Master Bath
A palette of pale gray blues takes on a watery feel in this master bath, featured in lustrous materials like Thassos marble spanning the floor, as well as glass tile walls behind the tub and shower, which add sparkle to the space. Against the subdued hues, the room’s crowning jewel—a novel, free-standing Waterworks tub surrounded by marble mosaic tiles—stands out even more prominently. Beyond the basics, however, original artwork, framed coral prints and Suzanne Kasler’s signature Alexandra chair add the kind personality essential to any well-designed room.

William Peace // Peace Designs // Living Room
In this contemporary living room, William Peace wanted to create a space with warmth, visual interest and artistic influences. “Contemporary style has a stigma that it’s going to be cold and uninviting; I wanted to totally get rid of that untruth,” he says. “Modern can be warm and inviting.” Partnering with the clean-lined Holly Hunt sofa, for instance, is a cocktail table crafted from a fallen tree in the Brazilian rain forest and, above it, a Calder-esque light fixture. Together, they provide a small snapshot of the masterful mix in this soothing neutral space, characterized by contrasts in color, contrasts in texture and contrasts of style.

John Oetgen // John Oetgen Design Inc. // Dining Room
One look at this long room with a barrel-vaulted ceiling reminded John Oetgen of a room he’d seen in Venice. Thus, he set out to interpret that “Winter Garden” right here in Atlanta. The dining area is central to this space, comprising a modern table surrounded by antique chairs, with comfortable seating at either end of the room. A pale, neutral palette creates a refreshing ambience, enhanced further by cool aquamarine pottery and antique lanterns newly fitted with green glass. And the finishing touches? Beautiful palms and exotic orchids, of course, interspersed with colorful bird prints.

Maria McLaurin Nutt // McLaurin Interiors // Breakfast Room
This contemporary breakfast room demonstrates, once again, that modern design need not sacrifice warmth or comfort. Inspired by artist Lorraine Christie’s misty city scenes, designer Maria McLaurin Nutt elegantly contrasts gray cashmere walls with splashes of earthy bronze and tangerine. Silk-linen-blend chairs circle an acrylic Allan Knight dining table—illuminated by a high-style light fixture that echoes the table’s shape—providing a serene spot to start each and every day.

Rita Carson Guest and John Guest // Carson Guest Interior Design // Private Entry
This private entry, filled with show-stopping art, proves that even the smallest of spaces can make a major impact. “We wanted to create something that was so breathtaking that the low ceilings and tight space were a distant thought,” explains Rita Carson Guest. Completing their inspiring vision is an oversize mixed-media painting, courtesy of Bill Lowe Gallery, and a whimsical crystal branch chandelier.

Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio // Kitchen 
The floor plan of this contemporary kitchen dictated, to a degree, its design. With the interior space blocked from natural light by the adjoining terrace, Matthew Quinn and the team at Design Galleria found other ways to make it bright—starting with the floor. “We knew we’d either need a dark floor and light cabinets or a light floor and dark cabinets to get that contrast, that pop,” says Quinn. He went for the latter, also adding other reflective surfaces, such as stainless steel, honed granite and even a glass hood specifically shaped to fit the slope of the ceiling.

Jill VanTosh // VanTosh & Associates Inc. // Master Sitting Room
The elements of Jill Vantosh’s sitting room are, indeed, masterful. Thanks to all-white walls and floors, modular seating pieces genuinely seem to float in the space. But each piece—from the whimsical sculpture to the flexible chandelier to the full-length mirror and cantilevered tray tables—suit this artistic space. “This is a place to reflect—to read, to enjoy your art and family photos, to reflect on the things you’re proud of,” says VanTosh. “Everything here is meant to relax and elevate the mood.”

Shon Parker and Tim Coughlin // Shon Parker Design Inc. // Master Bedroom
The inspiration for this retreat, says Shon Parker, came not only from the room’s stunning architecture, but also from circa-1920s photographs of modern architecture in Russia. The arched window, treated with velvet drapery panels in an ochre color, creates the grandest of “headboards.” Meanwhile, channel-quilted walls are more linear, as is a bed designed by Parker himself, providing the perfect foil for the soft curves of the window and the barrel-vaulted ceiling. The bed’s design is ingenious for this location, too; pillows can be positioned, conventionally, at the head or at the foot, to better admire the skyline view.

Randy Korando and Dan Belman // Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts // Outdoor Living Room
Wanting this space to be less like a terrace and more like an outdoor room, the team at Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts gave it all the glamour of Old Hollywood. Pleated fabric enveloping the area contributes both softness and structure, while reflective surfaces—like custom-framed mirrored doors, towering obelisks and the classic convex mirror—make it chic. It’s a round settee, however, that serves as the room’s signature; upholstered in a state-of-the-art outdoor velvet, it provides a soft spot to take in the scenery from a variety of vantage points.

Peggy Snider // Closets and More, LLC // Master Dressing Room
A towering peninsula in this master dressing room not only houses abundant storage cabinets and supports a soaring mirror; it also serves as an engaging focal point. Peggy Snider chose Tuscan teak grigio panels to complement the adjoining master bath. Meanwhile, lighted shelves and sleek, satin-finished hardware give this space smart and sexy appeal.

Jackie Naylor // Jackie Naylor Interiors Inc. // Guest Bedroom 
Simplicity is key in this guest room, where designer Jackie Naylor used a marine blue hue to create a dynamic impact. The feeling of the wall color flowing right into the bed—complete with a Heidi Pierce lacquered finish—is part of what makes this space so soothing. But the relaxing mood also can be attributed to the rest of the room’s understated surround, including the cool gray carpet and off-white sliding drapery panels that, says Naylor, “have a feng shui feeling of their own.”

Jim Essary & Bill Murphy // Essary & Murphy Inc. // Living Room
Bill Murphy points out that the living room in this traditional unit isn’t purely traditional at all. “People just don’t decorate that way anymore,” he says. “They want an eclectic mix.” So he and Jim Essary created a space that’s part classic, part contemporary and completely comfortable. Color inspiration came from the room’s spectacular 180- degree views; the design team relied on browns, beiges and taupes that wouldn’t detract from the panorama. But as much as there’s a beautiful balance of color, adds Essary, there’s a well-considered balance of scale, too. Sofas that measure 93 inches, for instance, are right in step with this living room’s generous dimensions.

C. Smith Grubbs // Smith Grubbs & Associates // Dining Room
Envisioning an inviting space that encourages friends and family to come together, designer C. Smith Grubbs used an intriguing mix of details to give this traditional dining room its easy elegance. Faux-painted walls add an element of excitement to the neutral palette, while a towering pair of antique gold étagères acts as an impromptu library. Taking center stage among the impeccable selection of accessories is a stunning Venetian glass chandelier; embedded with gold dust, it adds an alluring sparkle to the room’s classic scheme.

Tish Mills // Harmonious Living by Tish Mills // Guest Bedroom
Pure luxury provides an inviting escape in this guest room designed by Tish Mills, with monochromatic shades of gold, platinum and beige giving the space a sense of serenity. An antique wooden console, set next to the custom PierceMartin bed, displays an artful collection. But a small agate table is this traditional room’s crowning jewel. “It’s organic, glamorous and very unexpected,” says Mills. “And when the sun shines on it just right, the room glows.”

Patricia McLean // Patricia McLean Interiors Inc // Master Bedroom
English style reigns in this master bedroom designed by Patricia McLean. Not only does the bed have English Regency provenance, but so do the window treatments, topped with cornices that echo that of the sleeping spot. Throughout the luxuriously large space, however, there are also touches of Continental flair, exemplified by an exquisite French writing desk. Still, it’s the color of this retreat that makes it most appealing. “Colors can change in a high-rise, you’re so far up in the sky,” says McLean. “We finally came up with a custom color that looked good up there.” And the name of it? “Tricia Showhouse Green.”

Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio // Kitchen
What could have been a dark and cramped galley kitchen is anything but, thanks in part to elements like a custom hood made of reflective stainless steel and antique brass. On either side of it—in lieu of conventional wall cabinets—a pair of étagères echo not only the hood’s materials but also its gracefully curved shape. “I love adding picture lights over étagères like this, so the wall looks really light and bright,” says Matthew Quinn. But just as key to the sense of spaciousness are integrated appliances. “The kitchen would have looked much smaller with an exposed oven and microwave, and a stainless steel refrigerator,” adds Quinn. “By integrating them, the focus stays squarely on the beautiful design elements.”

Ed Castro // Ed Castro Landscape // Outdoor Living Room
Thoughtful touches make this classically styled outdoor space a relaxing highrise respite. “I stuck with a neutral palette—creams, tans and espressos—not only for a calming effect but also because it created a natural flow from the color schemes of the interior spaces,” says Ed Castro. He was inspired, too, by the wrought iron railings, thus repeating the material throughout this outdoor living room, right down to the fire screen and chandelier. Comfortable chairs and a custom granite table intentionally sit lower to the ground, ensuring that the overhead roof doesn’t deter from the “Central Park views.”

Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio + Clay Lanier Snider // Clay Snider Interiors // Master Bath
Working with the basics put in place by Design Galleria—including a dramatic chocolate brown and white tile floor plus a focal-point tub designed by Matthew Quinn himself—Clay Snider took this already elegant bath to an entirely new level. For starters, he pulled a red hue out of the brown marble tile, applying it to the walls in a linen-like texture. But the real difference in this master bath lies in the ingenious details. Bullnose molding not only trims the baseboards, but also frames three oversize mirrors that cover the entire back wall. The center one, behind the tub, is even made to look like French doors, as if you could walk right out to a balcony.

Meg Adams & Bobbie McLendon // Meg Adams Interior Design // Powder Room
To play up the classic architecture of this powder room, creating a “timeless, yet progressive look,” Meg Adams designed a custom chinoiserie vanity with a clean, contemporary silhouette that melds beautifully with the rich golds in the damask wallpaper and ornate giltwood frames. An antiqued mirror on one wall grounds the room in tradition while, on another, a colorful, free-wheeling painting adds punch. Finally, a glittering chandelier and artful sconces provide shining contemporary notes.