Athens Authentic

Photographer Jim Fiscus and his wife, Kimberly, transform their historic Athens, Georgia, abode into a contemporary but cozy gathering place thanks to family friend and designer Tami Ramsay of Cloth & Kind.

When photographer Jim fiscus and his wife, Kimberly, made plans to renovate their Athens, Georgia, home—originally a Plantation Plain–style house with dark interiors and a cramped layout—they turned to family friend and designer Tami Ramsay of design firm Cloth & Kind for guidance. Their mission: to create a bright, open gathering place for their young family, without sacrificing the existing structure’s sense of history.

“We wanted to add a contemporary element to the house without destroying its historic integrity,” says Jim, a professional photographer whose frequent career travels make time at home with Kimberly and his children, particularly precious. “The challenge was how to make those two sections flow together so it wasn’t a shocking difference.”

To add additional square footage and create a bright, airy space, they incorporated a new addition onto the back of the existing house, which now encompasses a spacious deck, kitchen and living area. “We weren’t trying to re-create the old,” says Ramsay. “The goal was really to blow out the back with this modern addition and add tremendous amounts of natural light.”

Sliding doors and an expansive wall of windows off the kitchen create a seamless flow from the deck to the newly combined kitchen/living area, where a roomy island and communal bar stools cater to the family’s penchant for entertaining. “It allows for family and friends to sit and congregate,” says Ramsay. “It’s a great gathering place, and totally suited to them.”

To that end, the designer incorporated intimate groupings of furniture throughout the house that are personal to the couple, such as mud cloth chairs and a rug picked up on a cross-country trip, to speak to the Fiscuses’ laid-back aesthetic. “We made a lifestyle choice to be here,” says Jim. “We wanted open space where kids could run around. This is a place I can return to from photoshoots to raise my family and live somewhere that’s beautiful.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Tami Ramsay, Cloth & Kind CONTRACTOR Smith Wilson S & W Development Inc LIVING ROOM SOFA Restoration Hardware PILLOWS Clay McLaurin Studio at Ainsworth-Noah RUGS, MUDCLOTH CHAIRS and LEATHER CHAIRS Vintage KITCHEN PENDANTS Agora Vintage ENTRY PENDANT Scott Antique Market