Rustic & Refined

With help from her pals at Bungalow Classic, designer Beth Webb creates a home that melds country charm with city sophistication

For many of us, the notion of living in rural Georgia might seem at odds with a cosmopolitan lifestyle. But thanks to designer Beth Webb, country life just got more sophisticated and, well, a little worldly too. Inspired by the work of Belgian and Danish designers, Webb has banished from her showhouse the stereotypical country decor—heart pine, antique quilts and a smattering of Americana—choosing instead to decorate the home with furnishings and finishes that are both rustic and refined. It’s a look that Webb refers to as “rustique chic.”

Balancing this European refinement with a desire to create a warm, comfortable environment, Webb eschewed bright colors in favor of a neutral palette of cream and honey tones, a departure from the usual grays prevalent in Belgian design. It’s this neutral canvas that, according to Webb, allows the home’s “interesting objects and textures to come into sharp focus.” Nubby linens and soft velvets, used to stylish effect on furniture from Atlanta’s own Bungalow Classic, add yet another layer of comfort to the house. Webb’s “it’s all about the texture” design mantra is most apparent in her liberal use of rough-cut woods throughout the home’s kitchen.

“When you enter the house, you walk from the entryway right into the kitchen,” she explains. “I wanted the kitchen to ‘fade away,’ so it would integrate with the family room and dining area.” This meant giving the space an array of rustic flourishes similar to those found in the rest of the house. The result is a kitchen that is just as suitable in Douglas County as, say, the Belgian countryside.

Of course, a house in the country simply begs for visits from family and friends, so Webb created ample space to indulge in some Southern hospitality. Boasting views of the property’s lake, the dining area features two corner banquettes, each surrounding an ebonized wooden slab table. Overnight guests can take their pick of sleeping quarters that include a bedroom with bunk beds and a bathroom with—what else?—a bunk shower. (It’s like one of those “summer camp-style” communal showers but with more luxuriously appointed stalls.) And should the mood for a midnight game of table tennis strike, there is even a high-style ping-pong table, custom designed by Bungalow.

Despite her sophisticated tweaking of the country house look, Webb never lost sight of the fact the house is, after all, located on wooded property set among a sporting enthusiast’s paradise. The absence of window treatments allows unobstructed views to the outdoors while the home’s neutral color scheme and natural materials further blur the boundaries between inside and out. The house may exude a European sensibility, but its Georgia roots remain firmly planted. As Webb notes, “It’s hard to have an original idea anymore.”

Perhaps that’s true, but based on the results seen here, it’s certainly not impossible.

 The Secrets of Style

WEEKEND READING: Cote Sud, Spanish AD, the newest issue of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, and catching up on my favorite blogs: Remodelista, What Katie Ate and Smith on Style. I can’t wait for Emily Giffin’s new book, Where We Belong!
WEARING: Malene Birger, The Row, J Brand jeans from darling Ann Mashburn’s eponymous shop
COCKTAIL: Kettle One Martini, please—ice cold, very dirty
CHINA: Astier de Villatte “Bac” dinner plates
PLAYLIST: Madeliene Peyroux, Nina Simone, Sarah Jarosz, Beibel Gilberto
ESSENTIALS FOR A WELL-STOCKED GUEST ROOM: Duxiana mattress, fresh flowers, Molton Brown toiletries, bedside water carafe and exquisite down pillows, particularly the “Princess Alexis” by Down Town Down
LINENS: C&C Milano bed linens, Holland & Sherry cashmere blanket
TOWELS: Brahms Mount linen towels
WHEELS: My snappy Mini Cooper convertible
AL FRESCO DINING: Anis for a “pink wine” lunch and Villa San Michele Fiesole in Italy
SUNDAY BRUNCH: Holman & Finch’s burger and Miller Union’s fried okra and homemade ice cream sandwiches
BEING ACTIVE: Exercise is as much for the mind as the body! Matt Hurst’s killer classes at the Training Zone—no pain, no gain!