Simply Charming

Designer Nikie Barfield fashions a light and enchanting scheme within the walls of her vintage Decatur bungalow.

Designer Nikie Barfield and her family found Decatur before it was a destination. And their home, a 1920s charmer in the heart of town, might just be the happiest on the block. After moving to Atlanta from Raleigh in 1999, Barfield wanted nothing more than to find a home with intrinsic character, an attractive yard and, most of all, Tudor-style windows. As luck would have it, a work associate of her husband, Scott, happened upon a bungalow with exactly the features Barfield described. There was also a gorgeous stone fireplace, coved moldings and crystal door hardware installed by previous owners.

After six months of renovations in 2004, the couple had nearly doubled the home’s square footage. And Barfield, at the time an immigration attorney, found a new calling in design. Soon, friends became clients, and clients became friends. Describing her style as “neutral and natural,” Barfield has infused a light spirit into her own domain. Linen and creamware abound, cowhide swaths the living room floor, and textured surfaces reign paramount. If it’s natural, it’s included in the mix.

Ample gathering spots provide comfortable places to lounge on a Saturday, greet a guest, enjoy a meal, entertain or just chat on the phone. “My husband loves to sit in the living room and read. And one of my sons always ends up at the game table in the family room. There are so many little nooks to retreat.” The sense of serenity and softness is palpable throughout the space.

The kitchen is equally as welcoming—complete with a farmhouse sink, Roman shades, statuary marble countertops, and a butcher block that, surrounded by galvanized metal Marais chairs, becomes a rugged work space-cum-lunch spot. Meanwhile, a round, marble-topped number commands the breakfast nook. Upstairs, an entire master suite was formed from formerly unusable space, and now features steep, sloping ceilings and a dormer window. The adjacent bath features a winsome original window, clawfoot tub and an old-fashioned take on the vanity table.

Unexpected furnishings catch your eye in every room—a console snuck between a sofa and a wall, a demilune tucked behind a wing chair, a desk flanking the entryway, and a row of dining chairs aligned as a makeshift bench. It’s these little surprises that make Barfield’s rooms feel so unpretentious and real.

“I think of design as a deconstructive process,” she says. “I never start with a floor plan and just plug stuff in. I tell my clients to find something they love, and that’s where we’ll start.” With a finished product this beautiful, it’s clearly a method that works.
INTERIOR DESIGN Nikie Barfield, Nikie Barfield Design, LLC, (404) 226-1324