Fresh Take

A Colonial-Revival-style house receives an update that honors its integrity while looking toward the future

When interior designer Sara Alias and her husband, Andrew, first stepped inside what was to become their family’s future home, they felt like they were walking into a museum. “It could have been in a guidebook,” says Sara of the Colonial Williamsburg-style home. “Everything about it looked authentic.”

Built in 1984, the house was a tribute to the classic architecture and design beloved by its original owners—and it’s what drew the Aliases to the property. “I come from a family of interior designers with my mother and grandmother, and Andrew grew up in a historical Colonial Revival Neel Reid house on West Paces Ferry with a family who collected antiques,” says Sara. “We both respected the home’s integrity, and we love a traditional floor plan.”

In keeping with the period architecture, the home’s layout features individual rooms in lieu of modern, open spaces—a design that the couple embraced. “We dusted off a gem,” says architect Jack Davis, who worked with the couple on the home’s gentle renovations. “It had a beautiful architectural vocabulary that just needed to be updated for this family and their tastes.” Davis opened up the staircase, added three banks of steel-cased windows and designed a bar for the den. In order to bring the house to the new millennium, kitchen designer Barbara Shelton drafted a new plan for the kitchen and baths. Structurally, not much else changed. “One of the best things about the house was the accuracy and proportions of the moldings,” says Davis. “There was no need to correct anything or go shopping for beams or mantels. It was all right there.”

Sara’s imprint on the house comes through in her color and fabric choices. She majored in fabric design at the University of Georgia and later worked in New York at the British textile company Claremont before moving to Atlanta where she joined Holland MacRae and then Margaret Kirkland Interiors. Often using fabrics as her starting point, she set the tone for each room selecting mostly chintzes in florals and dainty prints for draperies and upholstery, along with a few bold graphic patterns here and there for effect.

Some rooms feature a blue and green palette, while others lean into warm hues that complement the home’s original brick floors and hearth. Antiques, family heirlooms and vintage art bring a sense of age, while new furnishings and contemporary works introduce a fresh touch in her deftly curated mix. “Every room speaks for itself and offers a different mood,” says Davis. “It’s fun to see people stop and pause to take in each space as they wander through the home during a party.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Sara Alias, Sara Alias Interiors ARCHITECT Jack Davis, Jack Davis Architect, (404) 237-2333; BUILDER Jim Hixon, Hixon Homes, Inc., (404) 557-4739;