In Good Cheer

Atlanta tastemakers John Oetgen and John Lineweaver toast the new year

For two of Atlanta’s most creative talents, entertaining at home is truly an art form. From their Buckhead residence perched high atop one of Atlanta’s premier residential buildings, interior designer John Oetgen and brand strategist John Lineweaver regularly rewrite the rules of entertaining—whether it’s an intimate affair or a big blowout. And when it comes to imbuing good cheer into one of the most cheerful of all holidays, New Year’s Eve, they orchestrate an elegant and ebullient soiree that mixes high and low, old and new, and formality and frivolity with aplomb—that is, when they’re not toasting the new year in one of their favorite haunts such as Paris or St. Barths. Lucky are the guests who find themselves in the good graces of Oetgen and Lineweaver for an intimate evening at home on this festive night.

“I think of our dining room as sort of a circus tent,” says Oetgen with a laugh. “It’s like a stage where anything can happen.” Indeed, the room’s backdrop—walls enveloped in a riotous mix of striped wallpapers in different colors and varying widths and an array of blue-chip contemporary art—encourages conviviality. The tablescape’s mix of flatware, china, linens and silver features an assortment of new finds, heirloom pieces and cherished objects collected from their world travels.

“I love modernity, but I also love antiquity, and appreciate the new as much as the old,” says Oetgen of the mix. For this evening’s event, emerald and cobalt colored glassware is eye-catching and unexpected. “We wanted to move away from just gold and silver,” says Lineweaver.

Surrounding the table, three sets of French chairs from different periods, bedecked in the same gray velvet for uniformity, work as a whole and can go with any sort of event theme or palette one could imagine. “They’re like party guests!” says Oetgen of their shapely silhouettes and stalwart presence.

Unlike their weekend home in Highlands, North Carolina, which features a large communal gathering space, and where entertaining is a bit more fluid and casual, their Buckhead residence allows any sort of get-together to reveal itself in different stages, much like acts of a play.

“In the mountains, we do more passed, family-style or buffet meals. In the city, it’s a little bit more formal and set,” says Lineweaver.

Opening act features cocktails and appetizers served in the living room. Next up, is the meal itself in the dining room. Before the final curtain drops, the dessert course is served in the den, a space closed off to guests until the last minute. 

“It’s three different environments for one night,” says Oetgen. “They’re like episodes, and I think episodes are far more effective than one long drawn-out dinner.”

After the doors are flung open to the space, guests are ushered into a festive room festooned with balloons, an array of tasty French-inspired confections, and, of course, Champagne is at the ready for the celebratory midnight toast. From their bird’s-eye view, the downtown skyline glitters in the distance. As the corks pop and fireworks light up Atlanta’s night sky, Oetgen, Lineweaver and their guests peer out over the balcony, welcoming the sights—and the new year—ahead.

INTERIOR DESIGN John Oetgen and John Lineweaver, Oetgen Design, (404) 352-1112;