A Test of Time

Frank Neely and Jessica Bradley renovate a 1920s Brookhaven home with a fresh perspective rooted in history and harmony

To accommodate their busy family of five—and love of entertaining—the homeowners of this 1920s Brookhaven home knew a renovation was in order. But a refresh would be a delicate task, one where preserving the charm and integrity of their historic home was equally as important as meeting the functional requirements of a modern family.

With this combination of function and charm in mind, the homeowners entrusted their family homestead with Atlanta architect Frank Neely, who tapped longtime industry partners Jessica Bradley of Jessica Bradley Interiors and Rogers King of Eumenean Construction to strike a balance of traditional and fresh.

The first order of business: taking the house down to the studs, creating entirely new floor plans and building up three stories (plus a terrace level), which allowed the team to maintain the original, T-shape footprint of the home. “It’s a completely new house on an existing foundation,” says Neely.

The key to making an all-new home look and feel centuries-old? The constant collaboration and painstaking attention to detail between architect and designer—Neely bringing in historic architectural motifs and Bradley mixing family heirlooms with modern pieces for a fresh take on classic design. “There’s always a dialogue with me and Jessica,” says Neely. “The client benefits so dramatically from that sort of synergy, rather than two teams doing their own thing.”

This is especially evident in spaces like the formal living room (which Neely calls the “hallmark of the home”), where a ceiling molding—made from 100-year-old molds sourced from The Fischer & Jirouch Company—adds a sense of history, as do the fireplace and the mantel, which were salvaged from the original construction.

To complement these architectural details, Bradley kept the color scheme soft, painting the ceiling with a neutral sheen and incorporating a strategically skeletal Currey & Company chandelier that enhances the details overhead. “This room is one of the first impressions you get when you walk into the home,” says Bradley. “We wanted the space to be formal, but also inviting.”

While the homeowners wanted the front of the house to feel slightly more formal, “the back of the house needed to feel more family friendly and livable,” says Bradley. “We wanted the amenities of today with the feel of yesterday.”

In the dining room, for instance, a showstopping silk wallpaper hand-painted by de Gournay serves as a timeless yet impactful focal point, appearing as if it had been there for decades. And the same could be said for the home itself. “The clients really appreciate the fine details that are so prevalent in the design,” says Bradley. “It really is the wife’s dream house, and it was a pleasure working with clients who love the process as much as I do.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Jessica Bradley, Jessica Bradley Interiors, (404) 846-3220; jessicabradleyinteriors.com ARCHITECT Frank Neely, Frank G Neely Design Associates, (404) 817-0807; neelydesign.com BUILDER Rogers King, (678) 612-8488; eumenean.com