In a city where commutes can stretch into hours and schedules are appointed to the minute, it’s easy to get lost in the flurry of daily life. But among the here, there and everywhere, for many, remains a constant craving: the clean, quiet, soul-replenishing respite of a small town’s charms.
Jimmy Stanton is one such man constantly on the move, managing his shop, design clients and frequent showhouses with remarkable finesse. Those familiar with the designer’s enormously successful Westside boutique, Stanton Home Furnishings, recognize his knack for re-imagining cast-off objects while curating an inventory that comprises the best of the old and new.
So it may come as no surprise that the country house he and Patrick Greco share in Madison, Georgia, was just as much a labor of love. They bought the home three years ago and have put in as much time fixing it up—rewiring the electrical system, overhauling the kitchen and exploring its many forgotten nooks and crannies—as they have fashioning a classic and comfortable scheme that honors the home’s splendid sense of history.
“We kept finding things like the window above the front door, which was completely painted over,” Stanton recalls. “We just started scraping and, once we punched through, everything instantly looked so much bigger and brighter.”
Built in 1818, the home is the oldest brick structure in town, and comes with a long and checkered history of owners, additions and mishaps, including a fire in the late 1960s. But it has withstood the test of time, and its many unique architectural features—such as staggered ceiling heights and intricate mantels—are proof positive. And the living room, with its soaring 11-foot ceiling, deep khaki walls and bountiful textures, is inherently calming. “There’s just something about this room,” Stanton says. “You get here and you sit down, and you instantly relax. It’s wonderful.”
Located just an hour’s drive from the big city, Madison is not too far off the beaten path, but remote enough to make it a wonderful discovery. “My parents live on Lake Oconee at Reynolds Plantation,” explains Stanton, “and on the way to visit them one weekend, we drove through Madison. We immediately thought, ‘this is incredible.’” With Athens and Reynolds Plantation—and, in turn, The National and The Ritz-Carlton—a convenient 30 minutes away, it was easy to fall head over heels. And because neither Stanton nor Greco work on Mondays, Madison is their favorite place to spend long weekends—their Chihuahua pup, Terry, ever in tow.
In fact, Stanton describes it as a place where time stands still. “Our cell phones don’t work well, and since we’re right on the square, we can walk to all the restaurants, shop at the interiors market and pass by the old graveyard. There are so many wonderful old things to see; we sort of just get up and have our coffee and go.”
The slow pace of things is a nice contrast to their life back in Atlanta, one that couldn’t be more urbane. The two live, work and play in the burgeoning Westside, walking to many of their favorite restaurants—among them Abattoir, JCT Kitchen and West Egg Café—and arriving at work in as few as five minutes. And though their Madison home is the perfect embodiment of the Stanton aesthetic—cozy, intimate and replete with meaningful objects—the couple’s two-bedroom condominium at Westside Provisions, which they moved into just six months ago, demonstrates how the same items can skew sleek and modern.
Here, Stanton’s telltale pieces and palette gain an edge thanks to cool touches like a mod freestanding fireplace in the entryway, a rich black guest bathroom, and a vibrantly colored Hudson’s Bay blanket tempering the dark gray walls of the master bedroom. A smart floor plan and sleek kitchen are just a few of the perks their city space offers, but without all the surplus of their former Atlanta home. Even the master bath, outfitted with subway tiled marble and espresso-toned cabinets, was a breath of fresh air.
“We had just finished doing the bathrooms in Madison, and it can be a nightmare working on old houses,” says Stanton. “When we walked in and saw how nice it was, we said, ‘This is perfect, we’re ready to move in.’” And so it happened; in just one week, they did.
ALL RESOURCES AND INTERIOR DESIGN Stanton Home Furnishings, 1194 Huff Rd. NW, Atlanta 30318. (404) 351-3890; stantonhomefurnishings.com
ART INSTALLATION Taylor Herbik, Design Accents Unlimited Inc., 2792 Benson Dr., Marietta 30062. (770) 565-4237
LANDSCAPE DESIGN (ORIGINAL/PREVIOUS): Brooks Garcia, Atlanta Fine Gardens, 3540 East Ponce de Leon Ave., Scottdale 30079. (404) 499-1779; atlantafinegardens.com
LANDSCAPE DESIGN (CURRENT) Tripp Pickles, Southern Landscape & Design, (706) 474-6175; [email protected]
KITCHEN DESIGN Jamie McPherson, Hearth & Home Interiors, 1194 Huff Rd., Atlanta 30318. (770) 251-2803; hearthandhomeinteriors.com
CONTRACTOR Watkins Builders, P.O. Box 253, Madison 30650. (706) 474-1064; watkinsbuil[email protected]