High in the Sky

A full-floor residence at the Waldorf Astoria boasts citywide views and well-appointed spaces

Even when it was an unfinished shell just waiting to be built out, a full-floor penthouse inside Buckhead’s Waldorf Astoria dazzled nonetheless, thanks to its 360-degree views of Atlanta and surrounding areas. So when an out-of-state businessman purchased the residence as his family’s home away from home, he sought to finish the space so that the views remained the primary focus. Turning to Harrison Design, which has worked extensively in the building, the new homeowner tasked designer Betsy McBride and architect Robert Tretsch with creating a sleek aerie in the sky.

Tretsch organized the residence so that its main living spaces, such as the living room and study, face south, creating a show of the city’s skyline. The home’s private spaces, including bedrooms and bathrooms, are situated opposite, on what Tretsch refers to as the “quiet” side of the building, offering peaceful, less-bustling views of North Atlanta and Stone Mountain.

Advocating a modern, minimalist space, the architect eschewed crown molding and extraneous flourishes, but that’s not to say that the space is devoid of architectural dash, such as the striking circular recess in the living room ceiling, which Tretsch conceived as a counterbalance to the building’s many angles. “The circle lines up with the center of those windows and boom! It takes your eye right out to the skyline.”

To soften the architectural details, McBride selected finishes and furnishings that lend a relaxing environment for the client and his family to escape to while in the city. “The homeowner is very busy and travels a lot for work, so he wanted this space to feel peaceful and calm.” That meant a tranquil palette of warm grays, taupes and blues. The myriad wallcoverings used throughout the home feature subtle patterns and textures enhancing both the indoor and outdoor scenery, which McBride kept visually accessible through an unobtrusive combination of retractable window shades and stationary draperies. But as atmospheric as the surroundings may be, the rooms never feel cold due to the designer’s skillful use of layered warmth. Soft gray hardwood floors enliven each room, while the primary bathroom is softened with rose-gold hardware.

Despite its sleek and clean-lined aesthetic, perhaps the most defining feature of the home is its livability. “The homeowner wanted to make sure that all generations of his family would feel comfortable in this space,” says McBride. “Everything is comfortable, but clean and modern too.” In other words, a home that feels as good as it looks.

INTERIOR DESIGN Betsy McBride, Harrison Design, (404) 365-7760; harrisondesign.com ARCHITECT Robert Tretsch, Harrison Design, (404) 365-7760; harrisondesign.com