Graphically Speaking

Designer Courtney Giles’ classic townhouse pops with graphic elements and splashes of color.


Courtney Giles lives an inspired life. Surrounded by daily doses of beauty, she is a striking young designer who landed her first job with one of the top interior designers in the South. She’s built a steady clientele while absorbing everything she can from fellow designers at Carter Kay Interiors, and all by the age of 31.

The proof of such experience, which belies her tender age, lies in her Buckhead townhouse. The high-ceiling space has classic architecture that Giles accented with Grecian elements and contemporary art. Silks and velvets, splashes of orange and copper, discreetly spice things up. The overall effect is ageless.

She credits the success of her graphic style to her ability to keep it simple. “I’m very meticulous about editing, and I’m more minimal. That’s what makes it work,” Giles says. Without overwhelming the space, Giles has sprinkled in a few classic Greek elements. In the guestroom, she incorporated a Greek key pattern on a drapery valance and bench. A klismos chair gets pride of place in the living room. In the dining room, a tall chest of drawers found at Interiors Market sports simplified Doric columns in contrasting ebony. “I gravitate toward all things graphic,” she admits.

Those standout elements are then paired with the warmth and appeal of antiques. “I inherited a lot of pieces in my home, and I love mixing them with newer things and contemporary art,” she says. “I think it’s a good way to keep antiques fresh.”

Giles also uses color with an exacting hand. Choosing to keep a neutral background, she paints in blues, oranges and reds with draperies, pillows and art. The shine of silver was added to the dining room by covering the ceiling with Chinese tea paper—wallpaper that’s been silver-leafed in a random pattern. “I added it long after the room was finished to give it a little punch,” she says.

Black reclaims its drama in the guestroom, which Giles uses as a home office. “The black walls were something totally different from the rest of the house but still neutral,” she says. White dominates the rest of the guestroom decor with crisp linens, chalky lamps, and occasionally even her two fluffy white dogs, Ferris and Phoebe. The final touch, a mahogany-and-maple inlay bed and vanity set inherited from her great grandmother, gives the room a touch of old Hollywood glamour.

Giles spends most of her time in the den. The cozy room is blanketed with built-in bookshelves (one of the few architectural additions to the townhouse Giles made) and dominated by a commissioned painting by Will Kay, an art student and son of Carter Kay. But her biggest collection of art is in the living room. Contemporary drawings and paintings mix with an anonymous driftwood relief perched on the mantel. Shimmering orange silk draperies pool on the floor. A Lucite cocktail table and a tall narrow wingback chair add character. The luxury of the space is tempered with a seagrass rug bound with a black border. The balance shown in this room is representative of the whole residence. After all, overwhelming luxury is no more welcoming than austerity. It’s in creating a balance that this home shines.

Courtney Giles, Allied ASID, Courtney Giles Interiors, (404) 846-6570