The Bold Type
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On a bright spring morning on the eve of 2019’s High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction, an intimate group of High Museum benefactors gathered for a celebratory Krug Champagne brunch at the home of Atlanta philanthropist Susan Been, who worked with Atlanta designer—and longtime friend—Robert Brown to translate her penchant for fashion and eye-catching color palettes into the overall scheme of her Buckhead home.
“My personal style is color,” Been says, who also worked with event consultant Barbara Roos and caterer Dennis Dean to execute the brunch festivities. “It really is a challenge for Bob [Brown] to reign me in, but he always balances my love of color with such sophistication.”
The Champagne brunch—which was attended by guests including Patti Dickey, Jada Loveless, Millie Smith and Raj Patel—began with Krug Grande Cuvée (166 Edition), then moved to Krug Vintage Brut 2004 and ended with the remarkable and rich Krug Rosé 18 Edition magnum.
“[Been] is a pro at hosting parties,” says Brown. “Presto, off she goes.” Brown has now designed 19 projects with Been, so working with her style has become something of a second nature. “On the first few projects we would meet and go through each room and pick fabrics and paint colors, and eventually we stopped doing that,” says Been. “Now I may tell him that I want a red living room or a vibrant blue powder room, but that is about it with my input. He just knows me so well that he just does his thing and I always love it.”
In the living room, for instance, a red damask wallcovering by Thibaut was inspired by a red room that caught Been’s eye during a summer trip to London. “That would typically be a hard sell for us, but she loved it,” Brown says. “I think it’s stunning.”
Indeed, for this particular project, maximalism is the name of the game, as evidenced by Brown’s skillful mix of color and pattern, a choice largely inspired by Been’s penchant for Gucci. “I like it when we are able to mismatch things to add interest,” says Brown. “The more pattern and color we add, the better I like it.”
True to form, an animal-print carpet from Stark creates a statement in the study, where Brown lightened the color of the paneling to create a more feminine feel. In the dining room, a custom de Gournay wallcovering features scenes of England, Scotland and Ireland—along with personal touches, including “a couple of gentlemen wearing her family’s tartan kilts,” Brown says.
“I want my guests to be wowed when they enter the dining area,” Been says. “My goal is always to create an elegant experience.”