Serendipity was in play when Mary Kate and Joe Hewes discovered that a particular Buckhead house was on the market. Mary Kate had toured the property’s extensive gardens with her mother a decade before, and they had made a lasting impression on her.
Though the grounds were overgrown, Mary Kate, a passionate gardener, knew she could bring them back to life, just like she knew that—with the help of interior designer and friend Shayelyn Woodbery—the inside could be transformed to express her creative spirit. “My old house never felt like me,” says Mary Kate, who worked previously as an art teacher and is now a jewelry designer. “I was always drawn to the English cottage style and quirky houses, and I knew this one could be turned into a little jewel box.”
Saying goodbye to a larger family ranch home gave the empty nesters an opportunity to edit and choose their favorite pieces of art and most treasured family heirlooms to include in their new home. “That was probably the biggest challenge, deciding what would fit and work with the more eclectic style that we envisioned,” says Woodbery. The move also gave the couple an opportunity to think about how they wanted to live in this house. “I wanted everything in this house to be authentic and represent us,” adds Mary Kate. Eschewing tradition, they decided to turn the living room into a billiards and television space. “We use it a lot, and it’s a perfect spot for our kids to hang out with their friends, especially because it opens to the back porch,” says Mary Kate.
While the house had previously been renovated to create a more modern layout, its design read dark and masculine, and needed a breath of fresh air. “We painted almost the whole house a soft white, with rich olive for doors and some trim, which made an instant difference,” says Woodbery, who refers to the interiors as “transitional with a good dose of tradition and a little edge.”
Color and texture come through in the layering of patterns that Woodbery is known for—purple velvet in the dining room, animal print in the family room, and bold blue and orange fabrics in the billiards room. Shades of caramel and olive unite the spaces, while antique pieces, such as an ornate French mirror, have a fresh attitude. The design focused on comfort, too, with sink-in upholstery for the family room and richly patterned rugs underfoot. “Joe is just as crazy about it as I am,” says Mary Kate. “It reflects us and how we want to live at this stage in our lives.”