Classic Update

Thoughtful architectural changes and a pleasing mix of contemporary and vintage furnishings elevate a 1920s-era Italianate-style home in Buckhead to new heights

When a young design-minded couple with three children and a golden retriever first purchased this home on a sought-after street in Buckhead, they knew they needed just the right design team to reimagine it for a new era. Designed by interior designer Suzanne Kasler along with architects Rick Spitzmiller and Robert Norris, who first renovated this early 1920s-era brick Italianate-style home two decades ago, the team got started on translating the homeowner’s love for classic interiors in a fresh, youthful way.

In pursuit of warmth, the architects had the stark white exterior painted in a warmer shade punctuated by black window shutters. They also swapped out the steel front door with a wooden one and replaced the clear kitchen windows with paned—just a few of their many subtle yet impactful changes. “We pulled the house together and made it more cohesive inside and out,” says Norris. “There’s a classical basis, but it’s also timeless,” says Spitzmiller.

The landscape design by Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design enhances that timeless quality. Among their many changes, the firm incorporated large boxwoods alongside flowering plants such as oakleaf hydrangea and azaleas. “We only wanted to use green and white plantings,” says the firm’s CEO Kaitlyn Peake. “It’s showstopping but in a modest way.”

The interior likewise radiates a quiet elegance. Tailored draperies, for example, call attention to the height of the tall windows in the formal living room, where blue velvet accent chairs add a hint of color to a soothing area of sumptuous fabrics rendered in neutral hues.

The palette flows into the kitchen, which is outfitted with a mix of oak and painted cabinetry accented by light marble countertops and brass hardware. A white metal hood adds a bespoke touch. “Even in a house with a classic or traditional foundation, you can push the envelope,” says Kasler. “This house has more than one note.”

The lighting exemplifies her assertion: Pendants with large fabric drum shades soften the linear architecture in the kitchen. And a vintage chandelier with a trio of metal shades adds another dimension to the adjacent breakfast room, where a set of curvaceous, modern upholstered chairs by Saarinen surround a white Tulip table. “The light fixtures are special elements,” says Kasler. “The clients loved that.”

The dining room chandelier is one of their favorites. Its constellation of smoked glass globes appears to float above a wooden pedestal table that is surrounded by iconic Platner chairs with Venetian silk velvet upholstery. An embroidered patterned wallcovering adds to the sense of romance. “In a house with a quiet elegance, wallcoverings give you a chance to have your own personality,” says Kasler. “It’s a great way to create a strong point of view.”

Indeed, a handpainted Gracie Studio wallcovering in pale blue and white hues creates an equally magical backdrop for the neutral furnishings in the wife’s office, which has tall arched windows overlooking the lush landscaping. And while its impact is subtle, the neutral fabric wallcovering in the primary bedroom establishes a sense of warmth that is reflected in the plush furnishings.

No strangers to renovations, the owners took the pandemic-related supply chain issues in stride. That said, they were overjoyed when they could finally relax in their newly renovated home. “It’s beautiful and chic, but it lives very comfortably,” says Kasler. “They love it.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Suzanne Kasler, Suzanne Kasler Interiors, (404) 355-1035; ARCHITECT Rick Spitzmiller and Robert Norris, Spitzmiller & Norris, Inc., (404) 812-0224; LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design, (404) 467-1690;