A New Life

Updated fabrics, furnishings and finishes energize this 1930s-era Buckhead abode more than a decade after a major renovation

When their children left the nest, Catherine and Thomas Fleetwood’s thoughts turned to downsizing from their 1930s-era Federal-style home in Buckhead. Unable to find a house that felt like them, they instead asked interior designer Heather Dewberry to update their longtime abode for their next chapter in life. “They wanted a crisper, whiter palette with cleaner lines to accentuate their existing antiques,” says Dewberry. “We updated and brightened the interiors to reflect the way they’d like to live today.”

Dewberry had previously collaborated with architect Norman Askins on a major renovation and addition of the house more than a decade ago. Among his many changes, Askins widened openings between the main rooms and designed a spacious rear addition that includes a larger kitchen along with a mudroom, a laundry area and a second-floor primary suite. “The house works so much better,” says Askins. “The spaces feel more generous and the layout flows better.”

Dewberry employed paint, wallcoverings and new furnishings to both enhance that sense of flow and to establish the lighter, brighter milieu her clients envisioned. Formerly a dark wood, for example, the bar area and a wall of built-in cabinetry in the family room have been repainted in a soft blue hue. In addition, she replaced the kitchen island’s marine-varnished walnut countertop with the same Cremo Delicato slabs that adorn the perimeter cabinetry. “They like the calm, relaxed feeling these hues provide and they play well off of their antiques,” she says.

The palette flows throughout the interior. A traditional area rug anchors a quartet of swivel chairs in a soft blue fabric in front of the living room fireplace. A floral wallcovering with a light blue backdrop likewise distinguishes the formal dining room, where the designer paired the client’s existing antique wooden table with new dining chairs covered in a solid celadon fabric. “We were able to use their family pieces and items they loved in a light-hearted, new way,” she says.

Indeed, a mix of check and floral fabrics in a soft cream, aqua and celadon colorway enlivens the subtle diamond-patterned wallcovering she selected years ago for the primary bedroom. And after anguishing about whether to replace the white and yellow floral wallpaper in the guest suite, the designer instead freshened up the cheerful palette with new headboards, linens and other furnishings. “If you choose wallcoverings well, they will stand the test of time,” says Dewberry.

The Fleetwoods are thrilled with the result, moving back into their longtime home just in time to host a Thanksgiving party. According to the designers, it exemplifies that good design can last a lifetime. “It still looks fresh after all these years,” says Askins.

“There are lots of collected family antiques, but it feels more youthful and energetic,” Dewberry adds. “It’s very much
a breath of fresh air.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Heather Dewberry, Huff-Dewberry, Inc., (404) 355-7600; huffdewberry.com ARCHITECT Norman Askins, Norman Davenport Askins, Architect, (404) 233-6565; normanaskins.com BUILDER Wright Marshall, Revival Construction