It was one year ago that he and partner Patrick Greco acquired the four-bedroom residence, the longtime estate of heirs to the Coca-Cola fortune. But Stanton was initially more interested in what the previous owners left behind: rustic relics filling “Sadie’s house,” the cottage of the family’s maid until about 1947.
Unearthing such a treasure–which happened to blend with his signature aesthetic–might be described as a happy accident. After touring one disappointing Madison property, Stanton and Greco were surprised by an unexpected offer from their real estate agent: a buyer had fallen in love with their existing Madison abode, thanks to a 2011 feature on the pages of this magazine.
The pair accepted the offer on a whim, but found themselves wondering, “We’ve sold our house; now what are we going to do?'” Stanton says. Though the duo had been happily ensconced in their one-bedroom charmer for years, they’d quietly desired more space, especially for entertaining and hosting guests. The agent quickly suggested a tour of Honeymoon, and the rest is history.
“When we walked through the door, we knew, immediately, this was the house,” Stanton remembers of the immaculately maintained landmark. “It was just so different from the others we’d looked at; it was so bright and airy.”
Stanton eventually outfitted its towering windows with his favorite wooden blinds. As for walls, he painted each room a single, calming color (ceiling and trim included) for a cozy, enrobing effect, while other spaces received conversation-sparking Cole & Son wallpapers.
But not every one of Stanton’s home improvements proved so simple. The custom lanterns he had originally chosen for the front facade didn’t make the cut due to historic preservation ordinances, and other exterior enhancements were subject to equally stringent code restrictions.
Indoors, the symmetrical architecture proved much more manageable. Only the formerly claustrophobic kitchen called for significant alterations. Stanton assembled it anew from Ikea components, plus a few custom pieces, such as a rollaway island crowned with a speckled Belgian bluestone top.
Stanton’s go-to craftsman also fashioned the dining table from bleached pecky cypress and weathered zinc, while most other furnishings and accessories–ranging from Lee Industries dining chairs to Aerin lighting–were culled from Stanton Home Furnishings. The showhouse veteran, in fact, installed everything in the main house (save the kitchen) in one day with assembly-line precision, employing proportional floor plans that make the deceptively large rooms appear intimate and inviting.
“I wanted traditional, but a fresher, more modern take; that’s why I love the big, exaggerated Audubon prints,” Stanton says of his nod to nature near the front door–fitting, since they speak to the abundance of wildlife on the property. He and Greco sometimes spot deer, raccoons and other critters foraging for blueberries, pomegranates, pears and other exotic fruits. Stanton and Greco enjoy the land every bit as much as the resident fauna. Theirs is a vast yard dotted with fire pits (perfect for nocturnal gatherings with friends) and hammocks, where Greco enjoys whiling away the afternoons with a book, basking in the shade of pecan trees cultivated by neighboring Pennington Seed.
Never one to underestimate the restorative benefits of a more leisurely ZIP code, Stanton notes that the added time to disconnect in Madison actually allows him to get more accomplished back home in Atlanta. And that’s good news for someone as busy as he is. “I cannot wait until summer,” he says enthusiastically. “Sadie’s house, which has four rooms, will be our next [renovation] project.” With the completion of the ancillary dwelling, the pair will likely create even more space to host family and friends. And what could be better than sharing their labor of love with, well, everyone they love?