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An eclectic mix of furnishings and artwork transforms a blank penthouse apartment into a warm and collected home for a man-about-town embarking on an exciting new chapter

Although still seeking out new adventures as he approached his 80th birthday, interior designer Kelly Wolf Anthony’s client was nevertheless worried that he might not enjoy living in the modern penthouse he purchased at an upscale midrise in Buckhead. Indeed, fearing it might be too sterile, he decided against selling the single-family manse where he and his late wife had raised their children.

Determined to dispel his worries, Anthony and architect Oliver Carter transformed the apartment by making key architectural changes, adding custom millwork and commingling new furnishings with their client’s existing pieces and extensive art collection. 

Rendered in a black and white palette punctuated with strategically placed pops of color and pattern, the clean, edited design “allows the art to take center stage,” explains Anthony. “We had a complete inventory of his artwork and accessories, so we were particular about everything’s placement.” 

Crisp white walls and porcelain tile flooring, for example, create a gallerylike backdrop for art in the spacious living area, where a pair of linen-covered sofas and streamlined leather club chairs create a convivial spot for conversation. “It’s simplistic but elevated,” says Anthony.

The palette flows into the dining area, where a graphic rug the client acquired in Morocco defines an ebony-stained table and tailored upholstered chairs underneath a mobilelike chandelier that she persuaded the client to incorporate. “It reinforces that this is an art home.” Steps away, a pair of linen-covered slipper chairs accompany a piece of animated artwork by Todd Murphy. Carter built a hidden projection room for the piece, which shows nature scenes and Murphy’s daughter dancing ballet, and is displayed in one of the penthouse’s many niches added with art front of mind.

The architect also collaborated with Anthony on a luxe bar in what was formerly a guest bedroom. Based on the design of one of the client’s favorite spots, The Lobster Bar, the space sports a groin vault ceiling clad with glazed ceramic subway tile accented by dark wall paneling and a veiny marble bar. “[The client] and his buddies play cards three or four times per week, so that was a really important space,” says Carter.

As was the formerly bland hallway to the primary suite. Creating a home for the client’s large collection of weighty tomes, Carter incorporated built-in bookshelves painted in a rich dark hue. “[The architectural changes] make it a much more special experience,” says Carter.

Hoping to create an equally memorable experience, Anthony and her team made it their mission to introduce their client to his new home with panache, welcoming him with a glass of bubbly and staging the space with flowers and glowing candles.

Bowled over by the result, the owner called his real estate agent straightaway with instructions to put his house on the market. “He never knew in his wildest imagination that he would feel the way he felt when he saw the place,” says Anthony. “He’s just as happy as can be.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Kelly Wolf Anthony, Wolf Design Group, (404) 261-7778; wolfdesigngroup.com ARCHITECT Oliver Carter, Neil Carter Architecture + Design, (404) 451-5545; oncarter.com