When interior designer Lauren Lowe and husband Brandon moved into their newly built home—complete with a marble kitchen island and an open-concept plan—a few years back, something didn’t feel quite right.
“While it was a really beautiful sparkling new home, it didn’t feel like us,” recalls Lowe, owner of Lauren Elaine Interiors. “We realized we wanted something with history and character that just can’t be replicated in new construction.”
So the pair began house hunting, setting their sights on older Atlanta neighborhoods and eventually came upon a 1930s gem nestled in Collier Hills. The home had been untouched for decades, a big check mark for the young couple who were often left disappointed at the renovations that had stripped the original character of other historic homes they had viewed. “Brandon and I were excited to find something where everything had been preserved and we could really make it our own,” says Lowe. “While purchasing a home that hasn’t been updated in 30-plus years might scare some people, we found it really intriguing.”
Just as intriguing was the couple’s timeline; they were expecting their first baby in just four short months. So with renovations out of the question, Lowe got creative in outdated spaces such as the kitchen and powder room, which she boldly painted a custom robin’s-egg blue and polo green, respectively, to give them fresh appeal.
The couple also held an estate sale to sell all of their existing furniture to make way for more classic pieces that better matched their new home’s historical bones. Lowe turned to retailers like One Kings Lane for ready-made furnishings such as the master bedroom headboard, while going the custom route for select pieces such as the living room sofas, which arrived just two weeks before the birth of their son, John Ellis.
Also part of the equation was an exquisite art and antique collection that once belonged to the house’s previous owners, which Lowe and her husband negotiated as part of the purchase. “During the showing, I came across an old Venetian mirror that was pretty much buried in a bedroom, and it inspired me to ask if they would let us keep everything,” says Lowe. Freshly polished, the once hidden gem now proudly hangs in the foyer.
The treasure trove of items also included Persian rugs, oil paintings and dressers that Lowe worked into her design scheme that favors a mix of prep (her father hails from Connecticut) and Southern elegance (influenced by her mom’s Atlanta roots). But what really sets Lowe’s work apart is her infusion of modern elements as well, which she attributes to her background in commercial design.
Lowe was most excited to bring her trademark aesthetic to life in her son’s nursery, where a subtle nautical theme gives the petite space a dose of whimsy. A striped powder blue wallpaper serves as a backdrop for cherished pieces such as a drawing of her father’s sailboat and Lowe’s own teddy bear, both of which she had framed. Most special of all, she says, are the two armchairs—one for Lowe, and one for her husband. “I wanted there to be two spots to sit because what I’m going to remember most about my son being a baby is spending time together in the nursery as a family,” she says.
“I think we’ll be really proud to tell our son about the work we put into this house,” she adds. “It’s small and interesting, but most importantly, it’s extremely personal, which makes it uniquely ours.”
INTERIOR DESIGN Lauren Lowe, NCIDQ, Lauren Elaine Interiors LLC, (404) 431-9723; laurenelaineinteriors.com