Lady in Waiting

Architect Brandon Ingram and designer Mallory Mathison Glenn team up to feather a resplendent empty nest in Griffin, Georgia

Harriet Newton is a firm believer that an empty nest need not feel, ahem, empty. When she and husband John were looking to downsize from the 5,000-square-foot Griffin, Georgia, home where they’d raised their family to something smaller in scale, Harriet was adamant that the only thing modest about it should be its size. “My needs had changed, but my style had not,” explains Harriet. “I still love color. I still love hosting. I still love having a good time!” 

To achieve that nothing-too-boring, nothing-too-spare aesthetic, Harriet partnered with a dream team if there ever was one—architect Brandon Ingram and interior designer Mallory Mathison Glenn. Their first order of business: transforming the exterior of the lackluster 2,500-square-foot home the couple had purchased. The house had been right in terms of size and location (John’s brother lives on the same street), but the 1950s facade was tired, dated and, as Ingram describes, just all-around boring. “This was an exercise in adding,” he explains of the outside overhaul. “It needed larger windows, x-brace trellises, and a little eyebrow dormer up top to make it sing.” Also added: crisp white paint on the drab brown brick and cheery, new green shutters. 

Inside, things took on similar joie de vivre. Rooms were taken down to studs and reconfigured for better flow. A particularly unfortunate blemish on the original floor plan was a kitchen sequestered to a front corner of the home. “This change was essential for us,” explains Harriet. “We live to host and needed a kitchen that was in the center of it all.” Throughout the renovation, Ingram and Mathison Glenn worked closely with one another to plan for architectural elements that would complement the decor. “I was able to scale up or dial back millwork, window casings and so forth based on what I knew Mallory had in store,” he explains. 

And what did she have in store? Colorful, pattern-filled rooms that echoed the look of Harriet’s former home in a lively new way. “Harriet and I are both drawn to bright colors like aqua, green and coral,” Mathison Glenn says. “With every project you have to walk in your client’s footsteps. But with this one it felt like we were walking in the same shoes.” 

From room to room, Mathison Glenn deployed a one-two punch of daring hues and family heirlooms. The combination makes for spaces rooted in the past, but also joyfully alive in the present—just like the woman who calls them home. As Harriet explains: “It’s just so livable and so easy. It’s a pretty house, but better than that, it’s a happy house.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Mallory Mathison Glenn, Mallory Mathison Inc., (404) 816-3860; ARCHITECT Brandon Ingram, C. Brandon Ingram Design. (404) 205-5245; LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Southern Design Landscaping, (470) 253-8294; BUILDER Bowen & Sons Construction Inc., (678) 414-7465