Blue Bliss

For a couple looking to downsize, designer JUDY BENTLEY raises a Buckhead townhouse to new heights

Some of the hallmarks of a great designer include a high retention rate of previous clients; the commitment to buy quality during the first project so that it can be incorporated into future projects; and the ability to adapt to different circumstances for the same client. When renowned designer Judy Bentley created this Buckhead townhouse, she did all three things in one fell swoop.

Having designed several homes for the client, Bentley was familiar with their aesthetic preferences. However, this project was a notable departure from both their previous primary and vacation homes since it involved significant downsizing. “They were ready for a change. They wanted to live graciously, but in a smaller home in Atlanta,” says Bentley.

Working with architect Cathie Magnan Power, Bentley made impactful changes to the townhouse. Ceilings were raised, pocket doors were installed, and a new kitchen, bathrooms and an elevator were included in the considerable renovation. “The clients said, ‘We’re turning it over to you,’ so we gutted it,” says Bentley.

An extensive collection of antiques had been purchased from Toby West 30 years ago when Bentley designed the first home for the owners. Additionally, Bentley started their blue-and-white porcelain collection in the 1990s, and recent additions have created a large assemblage. “They wanted to use all of their antiques and decorative pieces but in a lighter, fresher way,” says Bentley. By mixing a subtly sophisticated color palette with contemporary art, Bentley melded antiques and traditional decorative arts for a new spin on a classic motif.

Noting that her client completely trusted her guidance, Bentley pushed the boundaries of old and new. “I absolutely love the blue-and-white leopard print carpet by Stark, and the custom iron detail in the foyer is tailored and crisp,” says Bentley.

Although the clients have downsized, they’ve upped the ante on creating a smaller, brighter home with beloved former pieces. It takes a deft and experienced hand to navigate that goal, and fortunately Bentley has that in spades.

INTERIOR DESIGN Judy Bentley, Interior Views, (404) 816-0027 ARCHITECT Cathie Magnan Power, Power Architects, (404) 272-1057; BUILDER Brian Atkinson, Atkinson Custom Builders, (404) 939-0164; LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Rick Anderson, Richard Anderson Landscape Architect, (404) 892-1788;