Growing up in a Pennsylvania coal mining town with 700 people, Michael Ladisic never imagined himself building breathtaking homes in a city boasting half a million residents. After moving to Atlanta, where he practiced as an attorney and small-business owner, Ladisic renovated his family’s former home in Peachtree Park as a weekend hobby. Soon after, neighbors and friends started knocking on his door. By 1998, Ladisic was bursting at the beams with requests. He decided to build his former pastime into a full-time career and started Ladisic Fine Homes.
As a premier builder in Atlanta, Ladisic has cultivated some of the finest homes and renovations in the area. So when he finally caught his white whale—a large vacant lot in Peachtree Park that he’s had his eye on for 17 years—he became his own client and teamed up with architect Linda MacArthur, interior designer Sherry Hart and kitchen and bath design expert Matthew Quinn for the personal project of a lifetime. Here, Ladisic opens up about building his dream abode from the ground up.
AH&L: We love how you and your family are “lifers” at Peachtree Park. Michael Ladisic: We have lived here for 27 years and love our terrific neighbors. Everyone is friendly and neighborly. And like us, many people have lived in multiple houses in the community—this is our fourth home in the neighborhood.
But you’ve always had your eye on one particular property. We tried to buy this single lot from the owner for more than a decade. And 17 years later, it was ours. We knew it was the one because it was nestled on a larger, flatter lot, making it ideal to build a home that used the entire footprint for a sprawling, light-filled house.
What inspired the style of the home? I’ve always admired the architecture of Rosemary and Alys Beach on the Florida coast, so architect Linda MacArthur helped me collect my scattered ideas into a cohesive design. The home’s coastal influences can be seen with the Texas limestone façade and large windows that connect the entire home with the light-filled yard. I wanted the house to be dramatic and inspire people to think outside the box—when everyone wants big baseboards, go super small and thick.
The exterior is composed of a mix of natural elements. I tried to balance simplicity with enough details to make the home interesting. The front façade combines Texas limestone from Stone Center of Georgia, oversized brick that we painted and large leaded windows from Hardeman Fine Art Glass. But the front iron doors from RG Ironworks really set a big, dramatic tone for guests as they enter the house.
The fluid interior boasts interesting architectural features and textures. I love the home’s great sight lines—from the cased openings through the dining room to the beautiful curved foyer and staircase that make a beautiful entry statement. In the sitting room, the couch is anchored behind a large arched cutout that was originally intended to be wine cellar. (We determined it was odd since we’re not crazy wine connoisseurs.) Interior designer Sherry Hart advised that we add grass cloth for texture and paint all the ceilings pale gray to warm up things. In the master bedroom, we did a dramatic 18-foot barrel-vault ceiling lined with 2-inch boards in an antique-patina finish by Larry Hoyt.
The entire home feels connected with the lush outdoors. We spend so much time outside. The courtyard was the one element of the project that made everything come together. Natural light pours into every room of the house, and the family room’s 20-foot iron doors open into the courtyard to act as an extension of the room. My wife loves to garden, so we teamed up with landscape architect Graham Pittman to design a cozy space—even though it’s surrounded by tall walls.
You and your wife, Lisa, have four daughters—how have they influenced the home? The house was built to accommodate large groups of friends, while there is room for Lisa and I to get away if we need some peace when the girls come home from college. I’ve also always had grandiose dreams of having at least one wedding in the backyard. The terrace off the master bedroom lends itself to a grand entrance for the bride onto the lawn. Thankfully, the girls are on board with this idea.