Final Cut

Incorporating bespoke details, textural layers and splashes of color, interior designer Melanie Millner enlivens a riverfront abode in Buckhead recently renovated by Amanda Orr Architects

The smallest details can make all the difference, and that was the case when a couple with four children hired interior designer Melanie Millner to finesse their white stucco-clad manse at the end of a cul-de-sac along the Chattahoochee River in Buckhead. “It has good bones,” Millner says of the house, which was recently renovated by Amanda Orr Architects for previous homeowners. “They wanted to make it their own.”

Honoring the existing architecture and incorporating many of her client’s furnishings, Millner nevertheless enlivened the interior. In the front foyer, antique mirror clads the wall around the contemporary iron and glass door, reflecting light and expanding the space visually. And green mohair from Holly Hunt gives new life to the client’s existing benches—the first of many colorful notes throughout.

In the kitchen, a light blue Lacanche range purchased by the previous owner pops against the classic white cabinetry and marble countertops. The wife was unsure about it at first, but Millner helped her to see it in a new light, incorporating complementary throw pillows, slipcovered counter stools and artwork.

Color, in the form of chartreuse draperies and patterned throw pillows, likewise enlivens the client’s neutral furnishings in the sunroom at the back of the house. And a sumptuous, patterned, nearly wall-to-wall Tibetan area rug coordinates perfectly with the glossy gray-blue lacquered walls in the handsome study.

The most dramatic transformation is undoubtedly the posh wet bar, which Millner incorporated into an unused elevator shaft. An antique mirror backsplash balances the dark green jute wallcovering and brown marble floors. “The details make it that much more special,” Millner explains. “There’s something unique in every room.”

The bar is adjacent to the spacious double-height living room, where a pair of matching sofas sit back-to-back, creating two distinct living spaces, one in front of the hearth, the other facing a TV area with a tufted ottoman covered in green fabric. “It’s warm and inviting, and they have absolutely embraced it,” Millner says.

An entire wall of metal and glass French doors open to the new waterfront veranda, which Millner designed in collaboration with Land Plus. During the wife’s recent birthday party, nearly 100 guests milled back and forth between inside and out, where a band played her favorite tunes. While ideal for huge gatherings, the house functions just as well when it’s just the family.  “Layers make a house feel like a home,” Millner says. “You can’t always pinpoint it, but you can feel it.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Melanie Millner, The Design Atelier, (404) 569-7051; ARCHITECTURE Amanda Orr (404) 968-9994; LANDSCAPE DESIGN Land Plus, (404) 238-9595;