Southern Comfort

Updated for a new era after an extensive renovation, this Georgian Colonial by SANDE BECK and ROSS PIPER effortlessly blends Southern formality and comfort in a fresh way

Drawn to its lush setting and classic architecture, Jessie and Andrew Somoza decided to start a new chapter in a 1930s-era Georgian Colonial on a hilly, wooded lot in Buckhead. After becoming acquainted with the home’s charms, quirks and outright problems, they hired architect Ross Piper, builder Stuart Grubb and interior designer Sande Beck, who had designed their former home, to help them make it their own. “They wanted it to feel unique and personal,” says Beck. “Traditional but updated.”

In addition to adding new moldings, arches and other bespoke details, Piper and Beck reimagined the floor plan to create more functional spaces and improve the flow between them. In the process, they flipped the location of the living and dining rooms and relocated the kitchen to the other, brighter side of the house. The pair also reconfigured the upstairs plan to create a more spacious primary bathroom. “We made this house what it always wanted to be,” says Piper.

The transformation starts outside, where a new portico with classic columns frames the stately white brick home’s front door. While the front foyer is largely unchanged, arched doorways and a fluted, barrel-back ceiling enhance a formerly unremarkable corridor that leads to the new keeping room. “Arches loosen up the architecture in a way that’s still classic and pull you from one room to the other,” says Piper.

Blue accents likewise impart a comfortable cohesion. The formal living room’s walls, millwork and ceiling are covered in a light, high-gloss blue, for example, creating a dramatic, traditional backdrop for a tailored navy sofa accented by patterned upholstery, pillows and antique dishware. “The mix makes things more interesting and balanced,” says Beck.

Indeed, in the new formal dining room, a traditional brass-and-crystal chandelier illuminates a classical wooden table and chairs with new seat fabric that plays off the lavender grasscloth wallcovering—a nod to the wife’s favorite color. “It’s so beautiful and unexpected that it almost takes your breath away,”
she says. “It feels inviting.”

The new kitchen, by contrast, feels open and expansive. Formerly the sunroom, the space now sports large iron windows that frame beautiful views of the bosky property. White lanterns illuminate the white marble island, which is adorned with millwork that pays homage to a diamond-like motif on the glass flanking the front door. The detail can also be found in the butler’s pantry. “It makes the house flow,” says Beck.

As a result of the changes, the owners now enjoy formerly unused spaces, often entertaining guests in the spacious family room, which is conveniently located next to the relocated kitchen, or sitting by the fireplace in a pass-through keeping room with shiplap paneling. “We all worked together and got a great outcome that couldn’t have turned out more beautifully,” says Beck. “It’s welcoming, inviting and very comfortable.” 

INTERIOR DESIGN Sande Beck, Sande Beck Design, (404) 808-0557; ARCHITECT Ross Piper, Ross Piper Architect, (404) 343-1980; BUILDER Stuart Grubb, S.G.P. Construction, LLC, (404) 851-3006 LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Graham Pittman, E. Graham Pittman & Associates, Inc.