Modern Magic

Inside an unassuming 1970’s contemporary house in Buckhead, John Oetgen and John Lineweaver make themselves at home among a superlative collection of 20th-century decorative arts.

Although John Oetgen and John Lineweaver are in the business of creating things for other people, the home they share isn’t decorated in the traditional sense of the word. “I didn’t move in here for a ‘decorated’ look,” says Oetgen, an acclaimed interior designer. “When you’re interested in art, architecture and beauty, you naturally accumulate things that you flip over.”

Their Buckhead home is filled with pieces by such notables as Picasso, Lalanne, Koons, Lichtenstein and Warhol, but the owners get equally excited by their book collection. In other words, this is not a house that reflects the color of the season or what’s in and what’s out.

“Everything we buy, or that I bought in the past, wasn’t because of who did it,” says Oetgen. “I don’t care about collecting an autograph. These are things that make me smile when I see them.”

For Lineweaver, a creative director whose work encompasses brand identity and marketing for corporate clients, the house is a laboratory, of sorts. The living room, with its 20-foot ceilings and curtained wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, is particularly well-suited to this purpose.

“It’s like a changing canvas,” says Lineweaver. “It’s gallery-like and allows you to change things up. And John’s a master of that.” A recent acquisition that has been given pride of place, for instance, is an original Tony Duquette biomorphic console and mirror—one of four—that Oetgen discovered at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.

Thanks to the home’s clean lines and architecture, new things like the Duquette pieces can be set next to old ones, like the 19th-century version of a Louis XVI canapé, with seemingly effortless ease. “When I saw the house in 2001,” says Oetgen, “I saw this great potential for a modern box. I found the house thrilling and aesthetically pleasing.”

These days, Oetgen and Lineweaver (along with bearded collies Double and Flizo) are also spending time at their new North Carolina mountain retreat, which was completed in early 2008. While their primary residence is light and bright, the mountain house is much more intimate and cozy, reflecting the moody landscape of the surrounding forest.

“We have come to appreciate the antithesis of each of the houses,” says Lineweaver. “The history of our lives is reflected in both of them. Every time we look at something, we remember where we were or what we were doing when we bought it. Every piece holds a special memory and each of the houses has a real energy.”

This past spring, John Oetgen has been on a roll. In addition to completing a move and expansion of his offices—and putting the finishing touches on design projects at Miami Beach, The Brookwood (a new condominium building on Peachtree Road), and the dining room of the Decorators’ Show House & Gardens at the St. Regis Atlanta Hotel & Residences—Oetgen debuted a new upholstery collection for Jerry Pair showrooms in Atlanta, New York and Dania, Florida. Standout pieces include a sexy slipper chair, a glamorous tufted sofa and an extra-large lounge chair.

John Oetgen, John Oetgen Design Inc., Atlanta, (404) 352-1112