The French Connection

A radical renovation plus addition transforms a house into a French chateau-style abode that appears as though it has stood for centuries

It was the project of a lifetime for designer Cindy Kahn, who helped her longtime clients transform their relatively modest Atlanta-area home into something akin to a French chateau. “This project was a labor of love,” she says, noting the result elevates the lush 12-acre lakefront property. “I lived and breathed it.”

Architectural designers Charles Nevinson, Maria Williamson and Andrew Albarez of Architectural Accents, along with builder Kathy Gregorcyk and landscape designer Greg Arnold, were equally committed to the multiyear project, dramatically reconfiguring the layout and designing a neighboring structure clad with Fond du Lac stone that resembles a 14th-century farm granary. Detailed with stucco and weathered timber, the existing home looks like it might be a 17th-century addition.

A two-story structure with a steel facade that’s evocative of a Parisian storefront connects the two structures. “I decided to tell a story of different periods in French architecture,” says Nevinson.

The owner of salvage shop Architectural Accents, Nevinson took a similarly historical approach to the reconfigured interior, incorporating finely crafted wooden paneling, antique fireplace mantels and plank, parquet and stone flooring. “You’d be hard-pressed to know what’s old and what’s new, which is what I strive to achieve,” he explains.

That ethos also informed Kahn, who scoured European antiques shops and flea markets for rarified pieces that would live up to the architecture. An ornate pedestal she picked up at the Paris Flea Market, for example, stands next to the hand-carved stairway railing in the granary’s entryway, which has rustic stone flooring accented by a Turkish area rug. An iron bench with a cowhide-upholstered seat adds a modern flair that perfectly complements the time-worn antiques.

That mix also enlivens the family room, where iron chandeliers illuminate a pair of plush sofas and 1920s French high-back chairs covered in a blue-and-white ikat fabric that plays off both the contemporary area rug and antique pottery. “It was a real balance, but it feels fresh and alive,” she says.

The sprawling dwelling also includes an Art Deco-inspired space to enjoy music, a drawing room, a wood-panel library and a lavishly decorated dining room with reclaimed painted wall paneling.

Kahn is quick to credit the architectural design team, Gregorcyk and Arnold, who spent untold hours making sure every detail was rendered to perfection. “This is the pinnacle for me,” she says, noting that completing the years-long project was bittersweet. “It felt like letting go of a child when they go to college.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Cindy Kahn, Cindy Kahn Interiors; (770) 309-7687
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNERS Charles Nevinson, Maria Williamson and Andrew Albarez, Architectural Accents, (404) 266-8700;
BUILDER Kathy Gregorcyk, KHG Construction;
LANDSCAPE DESIGNER Greg Arnold, Garden Architects Inc., (678) 358-8004;