Feathering the Nest

Soon-to-be empty-nesters Meg and Scott Harrington transformed a 1930s historic Brookhaven cottage from homely duckling to beautiful swan with the help of architect Linda MacArthur and builder Michael Ladisic.

Self-proclaimed Francophile Meg Harrington and her husband, Scott, built their dream maison in 2008, but with daughter Molly away at college and her sister, Lilly, up next, the couple realized their 6,400-square-foot haven might be more of a headache.

They decided to walk through their home and note only the spaces they used daily and—sacre bleu!—in the end, the list consisted of only four rooms: the kitchen, family room, master bedroom, and covered porch. “That exercise sealed the deal. We were ready to design something that was small, efficient and oozing with personality,” Meg says.

After discovering a charming 1930s Brookhaven cottage that was small on square footage but big on personality, Meg began dreaming of ways to incorporate her fondness for all things French into a smart, functional and ultimately chic nest. As with their previous home renovation, the Harringtons partnered with architect Linda MacArthur and builder Michael Ladisic—known fondly to Meg as “the dream team”—to create a savvy space that uses every inch of their new 3,000-square-foot home.

First up was the living room, which boasted great natural light but a low and uninspiring ceiling. Because the home’s exterior sports a Nantucket cottage aesthetic, they vaulted the ceiling and installed shiplap siding to continue the Americana appeal. The original 1930s Rumford-style fireplace was too narrow for real logs, so gas logs were installed, an idea Meg originally fought but now enjoys for the click-of-a-switch convenience. Also, as co-owner of Huff Harrington Fine Art and Huff Harrington Home, she naturally believes that a television should not be the focal point of a mantel. So the talented team at Ladisic Fine Homes created a shiplap-sided cabinet to hide the silver screen when it’s not in use, and Meg adorned it with a French iron bolt she fortuitously discovered in the South of France.

The kitchen welcomes streams of natural light that illuminate the sleek cabinets constructed by Mike Whitbeck of WCC Custom Cabinets. Its elegant, clean-lined paneled doors align with Meg’s goals for the kitchen: simplicity and efficiency. She partnered with Atlanta Kitchens and selected the perfect Turkish marble for both the countertops and the adjoining galley butler’s pantry that is the perfect place to store both rarely used appliances and modern necessities.

The dining room is stocked with family heirlooms, such as Meg’s mother’s crystal chandelier from Stockholm, and French antiques, such as her cherished walnut armoire that was reassigned from the kitchen to its rightful place in the dining room. But while many a meal is consumed in this French Country salon, the Harringtons spend most of their time on the covered back porch. The fireplace makes any time of year comfortable, and a mounted (and concealed) television is perfect for roaring game days. “We eat most meals on the porch, as it’s a true extension of our home,” Meg says. “It’s our favorite space in the whole house.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Meg Harrington, Huff Harrington Home. (404) 467-0311; huffharrington.com. Architect Linda MacArthur Architect. (404) 233-4771; lindamacarthurarchitect.com. BUILDER Ladisic Fine Homes. (404) 495-0708; ladisicfinehomes.com.