A League of Their Own

Lee Kleinhelter cultivates an original—and highly functional—atmosphere for a forward-thinking family of six

When an upbeat family sets out to transform a classic home with good bones, one might expect extraordinary results. But when boys rule the roost, how to keep things chic, too? Thankfully, the client in question counted a very stylish woman among her coterie—Atlanta designer Lee Kleinhelter, who is no newcomer to making homes feel both fun and fresh.

Kleinhelter and the client grew up together, so an interview was hardly necessary to learn about the family and the preferences of the wife, whom the Pieces boutique proprietress dubs a “dream client” and “supermom.”

 Although the project was undertaken on an expedited schedule—accomplished in four months from start to finish—it proved very low-stress, because the owners put their faith entirely in Kleinhelter’s capable hands.

 The family decided to purge nearly everything from their former abode, knowing that Kleinhelter would have an interesting arsenal of wares at her fingertips to fill the rooms of their newly acquired forever home.

 First up: the color palette. Kleinhelter conceived a cheerful scheme of juicy blues and greens to keep the interiors feeling fresh. The homeowners loved the home’s historic character; however, they felt it was too ornate in style. Kleinhelter worked with Washington, D.C., contractor Geoff Kuck of FWI Development to transform it architecturally while also remixing the room plans to meet a number of unorthodox but exciting must-haves.

 The family’s unconventional vision for the first floor included everything from converting the formal living room into a homework study (close by the kitchen, of course) to turning what was formerly the library into a fully equipped gym. “Because it was in the main living space, this was a design challenge,” Kleinhelter recounts. “But health and fitness are a priority for them, so it was a fun one to surmount.”

 Situated at the front of the home, the dining room remains rooted in classic concepts, but Kleinhelter brought it into the contemporary realm through invigorating shades of green and blue that continue into the family room. Designed for both form and function, this living space was organized to comfortably accommodate six on a daily basis with plenty of room to spare. 

 Even though adequate square footage was not an issue, the couple wanted the children to share bedrooms—two boys in each. “They enjoy spending time together,” Kleinhelter adds. Plus, with all that extra space, she was able to maximize in other ways, establishing a restful guest bedroom, bath and lounge on the third floor, plus a tranquil office for the lady of the house. Four floors down is a fully equipped basement game room, complete with a custom-upholstered pool table, allowing room for yet another guest suite containing two queen-size beds. 

“[The clients] are constantly entertaining—they hosted 20-plus people during Christmas—so it was important that their house be welcoming and not stuffy,” Kleinhelter says. “The results perfectly reflect their personality and lifestyle. It’s a happy, fun house.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Lee Kleinhelter, Lee Kleinhelter Interior Design, (404) 869-2476; leekleinhelter.com