Classic Contrast

Simple yet impactful changes by Susan Ferrier foster the warm, updated environment a young family envisioned

Designed by architect James Means in the 1970s, the charming two-story Dutch Colonial in Buckhead seemed like an ideal spot for a stylish couple to raise their young family. Envisioning a sophisticated blend of classical and contemporary influences, they recruited interior designer Susan Ferrier to help them make it their own. “They wanted a warm, beautiful family home but didn’t want to do an extensive renovation,” says Ferrier. “This project is a great way to show what you can do with an existing space aesthetically.”

 Replacing the kitchen island’s concrete countertop with a gleaming white quartzite, for example, instantly established a fresher, more modern milieu. The designer also eliminated a bank of upper cabinetry in favor of a sleek stainless-steel shelf that crosses the large, gridded window over the sink. “The space is fresher and brighter,” she says. “I brought it forward in time.”

Indeed, paint and fabric play outsized roles in the redesign. Dark green velvet drapery plays off the light green walls in the formal living room while calling attention to the high, beamed ceilings. A metal fender with a tufted leather cushion surrounds the traditional stone fireplace mantel, adding to a harmonic ensemble of tailored furnishings in complementary shades of cream, sage, ochre and camel. Antique books and paintings by Dutch masters, meanwhile, add a sense of history that befits the architecture.

The palette flows into the breakfast room, where floor-to-ceiling plaid draperies accent inky green walls. There, a large wooden lantern made of vintage parts illuminates a round white oak table surrounded by mismatched chairs. “Most people only have one thing hanging in their ceilings, and it should be strong and make you feel as if you’re in the company of something warm,” says Ferrier. “The larger furnishings are like a long, low gong, and the accessories act more like chimes.”

The designer flipped the switch in the more private areas, establishing a lighter, more casual look. White walls create a soothing backdrop for a tailored sofa and contemporary wing chairs atop a prominently striped rug in the family room. Light walls and textiles likewise buoy the primary bedroom, where floor-to-ceiling sheers create a sense of separation between a contemporary painted vanity and a sleeping zone that includes a plush love seat. “It’s a lighter touch that feels open and clean,” says Ferrier. “It’s boring if every room in your house has the same mood.”

Happily settled in their new abode after temporarily relocating during the renovation, the owners are thrilled with the result; Ferrier is equally pleased with the seamless blend of contemporary and historic elements. “It looks like this is the way it always should have,” she says. “I’m satisfied that we were able to address these spaces in a way that was warm and inviting.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Susan Ferrier, Susan Ferrier Interiors; (678) 705-7509;