Interior designer Douglas W. Hilton says House of Hazen, the gift boutique run by Rhonda Hazen on East Andrews Drive, feels just like walking into her home. He should know, since he’s designed four residences for Rhonda and her husband, CTSI Global CEO Ken Hazen, over the past decade.
“Their busy careers mean they consider home a sanctuary; a retreat from everything else,” the owner of DWH Interiors says. The most recent residence he’d designed for the Hazens was a “transitional-contemporary” unit at the St. Regis Atlanta. So when the couple announced they’d purchased a traditional, English-inspired townhome in a nearby gated enclave, Hilton knew they’d be starting from square one.
“The building was designed to feel Edwardian, so the rooms are gracious, not large—though there are lots of them; a room for every activity,” the designer explains, noting features such as the magnificent curving stairwell ascending to four floors and three outdoor terraces that accommodate all manner of outdoor living.
With all five children out of the house, the empty nesters could truly use each space to the maximum (though with their two youngest sons recently enrolled at Auburn and Oglethorpe Universities, respectively, the townhome’s two guest rooms are still bedecked with the boys in mind). And a few focused renovations—including overhauling the kitchen—enhanced these capabilities.
The historic influences of the architecture inspired Hazen to channel the dignified elegance of Downton Abbey, so the cooking space was made “more rustic, as kitchens were in that era, used for preparing food, not eating it,” Hilton notes, pointing out the barley-twist counter stools and the faux trophy mount above the hood.
Hazen also requested “yummy” textures—so Hilton delivered with plushness and tactility at every turn. Textiles and wallcoverings were culled from Jim Thompson and Cowtan & Tout; furniture was gathered from Hilton’s standbys such as Jane Marsden, Parc Monceau and William Word Fine Antiques. Lighting selections included Ainsworth-Noah and Circa Lighting favorites, plus a few antiques. And because every room would need to look layered and plush, opulent rugs and carpets were culled from John Overton Oriental Rugs, Sullivan Fine Rugs, Moattar and Stark.
“None of these were casual selections,” Hilton says, adding that Hazen was intimately involved with the decision-making process. We probably went through 20 to 30 options for every [category].”
“We’re both big shoppers,” he continues. “She travels all over the country for her boutique.” So for every buying trip—be it a brief pop-in at Gramercy Home or a grand tour of ADAC showrooms—Hazen was at the ready. “I think this project reflects what I enjoy most [about residential design]. To develop that working relationship. The client who is very involved and very opinionated is the kind I want.”
To satisfy Hazen’s desire for a turn-of-the-century effect, Farrow & Ball paints were musts. The historic formulas were applied in colors like Cooking Apple Green and Pointing white, which give the walls an estatelike glow. The sooty shade in the entryway is Pitch Black—“The same color that’s on 10 Downing Street; Hazen researched it,” Hilton says. The pair also was intentional in including some of those mainstays of English decorating, like oil portraiture and antique creamware gathered here and there—at spots like The Stalls, Interiors Market and Scott Antique Markets. Most importantly, Hazen’s love for accessories makes the home an evolving environment, too, since she adores bringing home new pieces from her shop. “The Hazens are not stagnant people, and their house is constantly changing—new pillows, new art. It’s full of movement,” Hilton says.
Traditional though it may be, together they’ve ensured that this four-story townhome always feels fresh.
INTERIOR DESIGN Douglas W. Hilton, DWH Interiors, (404) 550-5484; dwhinteriors.com