Buckhead Realtor Wendy Petersen has seen (and sold) some of Atlanta’s most sought-after properties over the past 15 years. But when she and husband Pete, an avid gardener, began their own search several years ago, she likes to say that what they really bought was the garden—and the house simply came along with it.
After spending a few years inside the home, though, it became clear that the Buckhead abode would need as much love and attention as its verdant outdoor spaces, so the couple enlisted residential designer Fred Mozzo to help them with a renovation, envisioning a space with an open floor plan, rooms flowing into one other and large, blank walls for their budding art collection. In short: an escape as dramatic but relaxing as the one they had cultivated outdoors.
To that end, decorator Anne Williams consulted with the Petersens on finishes and the interiors. “Wendy absolutely loves white and understated elegance, and she has developed a passion for art,” explains Williams. “From the white Venetian plaster of the barrel-ceiling entry to the master bath, the home is predominantly a journey through light and art.”
That journey begins from the moment you walk through the two-story entry, where Mozzo capitalized on the light flooding through the home’s skylights with a clever disguise. A clean arrangement of concrete consoles and custom mirrors on either side reflect the elegant simplicity of what’s to come. Another key component in the transformation of the Petersen’s home into a gallery-like space was Myott, Anne’s husband, who is both a respected artist and the purveyor of the city’s most venerated frame atelier. The pair, whom have since become good friends with Wendy and Pete, proved instrumental in designing custom pieces, as well as securing sculpture and art to their liking.
The Petersen’s collection, says Williams, began with two purchases after a visit to a local decorator’s show house: a dress painting by local artist Todd Murphy and a Myott abstract. Excited by the transformation of her home with the installation of these two pieces, the couple’s collection soon expanded to include works by American artists Lynn Geesaman and Maggie Hasbrouck.
“The beauty of the order—home first and art second—was a luxury,” says Williams. And in order to preserve the home’s new architectural bones—and highlight the breadth of the couple’s collection, she wanted to maintain a simplicity of furnishings, “to allow the art to stand out in an almost gallery environment,” she says. “The Petersens collect what they like, not necessarily what has the most monetary value. Much like their wine collection, their taste for art gets more refined with each purchase.”