Polished & Poised

A collection of antiques and modern art create an atmosphere of sublime sophistication in Caroline Willis’ personal home

Rarely do life changes segue seamlessly, but when designer Caroline Willis decided to move during the pandemic, the process was a study in serendipity. The stately 1930s home that she and her family had occupied for more than a decade was in need of a significant renovation in the kitchen and bathrooms. Facing the disruption of overhauling her home, Willis decided to look at options on the market. 

When she went to preview a new listing near her house, she was certain her family could get the space they needed while remaining in their existing neighborhood. “From the moment we walked in, we knew it was the perfect home for our family,” says Willis. 

As she toured the house, something familiar struck a chord. “I recognized many of the upholstery pieces, and soon realized that the owner is a furniture representative I know,” says Willis. The new breakfast room table and family room sofa worked so beautifully in the house, as well as with Willis’ existing pieces, that she purchased those with the home. 

The kitchen, bathrooms and hardwood floors were in pristine condition, and the gracious room sizes and well-proportioned architectural details provided the ideal backdrop for Willis’ collection of fine art and furniture. Mike Hammersmith worked quickly to accommodate changing the existing limestone foyer floor to black and white marble so that the home feels timeless and classic from the moment one enters.

Willis curated furniture spanning centuries and continents so that every piece is appropriate for its place. From a stunning American Duncan Phyfe console table, to a sprinkling of English and French antiques, to contemporary upholstery, the house feels refined and elegant, yet approachable and comfortable for the young family. Works by noted contemporary artists including Sally King Benedict, Kimo Minton and Edy Gosselin offer a cultivated edge that balances the traditional furniture. 

The house has multiple living areas, but the blue music room is a family favorite. Willis’ husband is an accomplished pianist who’s frequently found playing classical pieces on the grand piano. However, when he retreats to his office, he might pick up his Les Paul guitar or play a rock ’n’ roll set on his new drums—another purchase from the former owners. 

“Not only was it incredible to find this gorgeous home during the pandemic, but it’s amazing that all of our furniture, draperies and rugs fit so beautifully—it really is the perfect home for us,” says Willis. Finding perfection during the pandemic has been difficult, but this family found their flawless forever home—just around the corner.

INTERIOR DESIGN Caroline Willis, Caroline Willis Interiors, (404) 861-1239; carolinewillisinteriors.com