The Italian Job

At the 44th annual Decorators’ Show House & Gardens, Neel Reid and Philip Shutze’s 1926 Italian Baroque “Pink Palace” is transformed to Palazzo Rosa thanks to Atlanta’s top talents.

Grand Salon // Barbara Westbrook // Westbrook Interiors

Westbrook was drawn to this airy space for its original hand-painted linen wallcovering. Taking her cue from its deep tones, she opted not touch the original moldings, mantel or over-mantel mirror. Instead, she mixed in antiques from Robuck & Co. with deep, modern Verellen sofas from Bungalow Classic. “The house is a grand example of Italianate architecture. Why fight it?” she asks. An overscaled coffee table by R. Hughes anchored the room, while maple trees and towering orchids added another layer. “Every piece is as rich as the wallcovering. It gives the room a depth that belongs in the 21st century.”

Morning Room // John Oetgen // Oetgen Design Inc.

“It was great to re-imagine this space,” offers Oetgen, who also designed the room for the 1979 Show House. Both years, Oetgen utilized the transitional space that connects two grand rooms for a small dining area. This year, he incorporated a playful bird theme with a mix of pieces from Parc Monceau, Robuck & Co. and Jerry Pair. “Returning to the house reassured me that there is or was a creative force in architecture,” he states. “Atlanta is full of gems from the past and this is one of those.”

Solarium // Robert Brown // Robert Brown Interior Design

“The Solarium has such stunning architecture that it was important to showcase it,” says designer Robert Brown, who left five pairs of French doors open and un-covered to allow its bones to shine. To make the soaring space more intimate and livable, he painted the 16-foot ceilings and walls the same dark grey velvety tone and created two seating areas of furnishings from Townhouse by Robert Brown, Parc Monceau and MacRae.

Family Living Room // Timothy Corrigan // Timothy Corrigan, Inc.

Because this space overlooked the pool, Corrigan wanted to create a sea of blue that would bring the outdoors in. He accomplished this using a recently released collection he designed for Schumacher. “The entire room is bathed in a watercolor-designed fabric that was inspired by the French Mediterranean resort town of Cap Ferrat,” he says. Mirrored panels reflect the garden and pool outside, mimicking the French doors on the opposite wall of the long, narrow room. “Nothing makes a room feel more cozy and thoroughly elegant than draping an entire room,” Corrigan says.

Kitchen // Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio

Principal Matthew Quinn envisioned the home’s new owners as empty-nesters with dogs and a passion for cooking and entertaining. Challenged with an asymmetric layout and an obstructive structural post, the Design Galleria team resolved these obstacles by partitioning off a pantry area to rebalance the room and by using the center post as an anchor for the cantilevered arm of a custom light fixture. The island is topped with leathered Cielo quartzite countertops from Marmi Natural Stone. A black-and-brass hood and range by LaCornue, customized Miele coffee bar and a dog feeding station bring a livable luxury to the space.

Dining Room // Melanie Turner and Cristi Rajevac // Melanie Turner Interiors

Turner and her team dared not touch the circa-1926 Venetian murals which were original to the home. “I let the murals play center stage,” she explains. “Having a soft design touch was more important than putting my ‘stamp’ on the place.” To brighten the room, she painted the chair rail to match the existing crown molding, added custom cream-colored dining chairs and a chandelier from Circa Lighting wrapped in an ethereal cloud of tulle. “I used bright and soft elements to bring a sense of airy lightness to the space,” Turner states.

Teen Retreat // Tish Mills // Harmonious Living with Tish Mills

This year’s showhouse space held special meaning for Mills as her 16 -year-old daughter served as both the inspiration, and the lucky recipient of the European-infused design. The space was abloom with fabulous flourishes fit for a teen like Romo fabrics sourced through Travis & Company and an antique carved trunk nestled at the foot of the bed from Parc Monceau. “I love this idea of a girl having a hope chest,” Mills explains. “This room is actually a sweet 16 birthday present to my daughter,” she reveals. “This room will be her bit of Paris in Atlanta.”

Master Bathroom // Clay Snider // Clay Snider Interiors in collaboration with Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio

“By converting the master bedroom into the master bath, we achieved a spa-like experience so that the homeowners might feel they are always on vacation while they are home,” offers Snider, who revamped the room with the help of Design Galleria’s talented team. Matthew Quinn worked closely with Crossville Tile and Store to select elements that echoed the architecture of the classical home, while Snider used draperies to soften and define spaces like the lady’s dressing table.

Loggia // Michael Habachy // Habachy Designs in collaboration with Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio

Describing the aesthetic as “Palm Beach with a modern twist,” Habachy harkened back to classic modern and Art Deco designs from the 30s and 40s. “There is something nostalgic about those glamorous resorts in Palm Beach and Miami Beach,” he says. After completing a gut renovation with the help of Design Galleria’s expert team, the sparkling new pool house featured black-and-white herringbone tiled floors, Habachy’s signature trellis-patterned mirrored walls, a new bar design, and was adorned with an antiqued glass-blown chandelier from Brooklyn-based design studio Apparatus. “It’s the first piece that I found for the room, and it set the stage for my whole whimsical theme,” Habachy says.


Guest Retreat // Barbara Heath // The Mercantile

“Our goal in its design was to create a refuge—a space where our guests would feel welcomed and special,” offers The Mercantile’s Barbara Heath. Health was inspired by Jim Thompson’s latest fabrics, and mixed textiles in shades of rich jade, soft aqua and seafoam. The effect was echoed the hues in a painting by Atlanta artist Melissa Payne Baker from Huff Harrington Art Gallery, which hung over the desk.

Study // Stan Topol // Stan Topol & Associates

Topol decided to rethink the study as a more livable space. Since the room did not have bookshelves, or a room to include them, he says he re-conceived the space as an art room with modern media conveniences and comfortable furnishings from Century Furniture and Brunschwig & Fils fabrics and wallpaper. “I have found that most show houses don’t show how people could really live,” Topol explains. “After all, comfort is the ultimate luxury.”

Master Terrace // Lance Jackson and David Ecton // Parker Kennedy Living

Crisp whites, a Greek key motif and faux-bamboo elements informed Parker Kennedy Living’s cabana-style design. Inspired by Estee Lauder’s Palm Beach estate, vintage furnishings like stools covered in Scalamandré’s zebra fabric and a pie crust-shaped table from Baker added a whimsical touch to the retreat. The designers envisioned the homeowners enjoying their morning coffee or evening cocktails in the space. “It is great place to start and end each day,” Jackson suggests.

Master Bedroom // Traci Rhoads // Traci Rhoads Interiors

“The late afternoon light that streamed in through the windows just before sunset inspired me to bring in the different colors of the sky offset by earth tones of the landscape,” explains Rhoads. An accent wall papered in Jim Thompson’s Ikat print offered a bright pop of color against neutral furnishings like an upholstered headboard from Stanton Home Furnishings and area rug by Keivan Woven Arts, while a chandelier by Allan Knight available through Paul Plus picked up the hue.

Master Sitting Room // Jimmy Stanton // Stanton Home Furnishings

Tasked with converting the master bathroom into the master sitting room, Stanton replaced the tile with a herringbone wood floor and removed the tub, vanity and shower.  “We had a lot to do in that little space,” he remembers. Stanton kept the coffered ceiling and appointed the comfortable quarters with furniture, art and accessories, all from Stanton Home Furnishings. “I imagined the occupants lighting a fire, opening the doors to the outdoor space and relaxing with a good book,” he says.

Upstairs Gallery // Michel Boyd // SmithBoyd Interiors

“My background is in fashion, and I believe that building rooms and choosing furnishings is as personal and specific as clothing,” explains Boyd. Pulling inspiration from the architecture of the home, he selected a rug from his SMITHBOYD collection at Verde Home and crafted a custom oval ottoman with brass turned legs to echo the arches above the doors in the upper hall. A chandelier from Circa Lighting and antique lamps from Parc Monceau provided the finishing touches.

Grand Hall // Laura Walker // Verde Home by Laura Walker

A four year stint in Italy informed Laura Walker’s fascination with the marbleized papers so well known in Florence. Walker’s hand-tufted rug of wool and banana silk with a marbled effect—one of her original designs—is part of her Verde Home Grand collection and served as the main inspiration for the room. “It is exciting when you can design a room from the rug up,” she explains. “I would want the owner to stop and feel good in a room that they would pass through so many times each day.”

Carriage Entry & Hall // Randy Korando // Boxwoods Gifts & Gardens

“We are big proponents of bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out,” explains Korando, co-owner of Boxwoods. Pulling elements from Boxwood retail locations, Korando selected a framed series of gilded leaf botanicals hung over an antique French console and live plants like a potted Ming Aralia to bring a touch of nature indoors. A chandelier from Circa Lighting and a custom cobalt settee added a polished patina to the side entry.

Powder Room // James T. Farmer // James Farmer Designs

Farmer took his cues from the Venetian-inspired legacy of the home, but with a nod towards today’s comforts. Farmer selected ikat paper and linen check window treatments by Stroheim to draw upon the vibrant hues found in the Venetian paintings of the harbor and other coastal scenes. The intimate space also allowed him to employ classic elements in fresh ways, like the lantern light fixture from Circa Lighting or hammered pewter bath fixtures from J. Tribble of Atlanta. “Taking delights from the past for today’s enjoyment is always such a fun project,” he declares.

Breakfast Room // Maria McLaurin Nutt and Clay McLaurin // McLaurin Interiors

Maria McLaurin Nutt focused on the warmth and beauty of nature for this sunny space, which was also informed by the debut of nephew Clay McLaurin’s new textile patterns.  They highlighted the “Weeping Willow” fabric by hanging a large framed watercolor by Clay, which represented the beginnings of this pattern. With very little usable wall space and lots of doorways, hanging the Ainsworth-Noah chandelier slightly off center in the narrow room allowed Nutt to accommodate a plush seating and dining area.

Guest Retreat Bath and Dressing // Bryan Kirkland // BAK Designs

When designing the guest retreat bath and dressing area, Kirkland was inspired by the Roaring Twenties, “when everything was all about glamour,” he says. Imagining Hollywood starlets of a bygone era needing an escape to pamper and primp, Kirkland crafted a dressing area where the closet would be today. The dramatic space is punctuated with powerful pops of vibrant orchid and whimsical touches like the “Flower Head” series of photographic prints by Gibson-Spizman.

Family Stairwell // Loren Audrey Taylor // Anna Abrams Design

Originally designed as a service staircase, Taylor re-imagined the area as a family stairwell. Challenged by the small footprint of the landing, she utilized custom antiqued mirrors by Brooks & Black Fine Framing to add depth to the small space and removed a closet door to create a vignette where the lady of the house might make a quick call or attend to the business of running a busy home. Taylor completed the space’s eclectic yet luxe look with crystal finials, custom leather rail covers, chandeliers from Circa Lighting, Baroque ceiling medallions, Dupioni silk portieres and a flame-stitched stair runner.

Grand Stairwell // Kellie Griffin // Kellie Griffin Interiors, Inc.

With the help of Anne Irwin Fine Art, Keivan Woven Arts, Edgar Reeves and Jay Scott Studios, Griffin created a modern gallery in this transitional space. Lee Jofa’s “Tara” fabric lent a sense of grandeur to the stairwell and reminded the designer of the infamous scene with Scarlett O’Hara’s drapery-fashioned dress. “A fresh approach on a traditional and timeless pattern naturally seemed fitting for my grand stairwell drapery treatment this year,” she declares.

Solarium Garden // Lila Pryor Frank // Lila Pryor Frank Interiors // Allyson Kirkpatrick // AllysonK Designs

Frank and Kirkpatrick set out to craft a “secret garden” designed to complement the classical symmetry of the home. Riffing off existing elements like the terracotta roof and black wrought iron fence and gate, the designing duo used tiles left over from the roof to outline the garden border. The white-and-lavender Janus et Cie fabric-draped daybed and armchairs provide flowing movement and a pop of crisp color against the green of the garden, while sculptural midcentury iron chairs add a touch of whimsy.

Guest Retreat Terrace // Janice Palmer // Palmer Design Group, LLC

“I wanted the occupants of the house to feel like they are literally at a retreat someplace far away,” says Janice Palmer of the guest retreat terrace she designed outfitted with luxurious appointments from Frontgate and Habersham Gardens. “Time stops and this is their time read, sleep and relax, to just enjoy the moment and forget everything.”