The Next Step

For a pair of empty-nesters looking to update their ’80s abode, interior designer Barbara Westbrook employs a near minimalist approach—without sacrificing comfort.

Leave it to Barbara Westbrook to make even the most clean-lined interior appear not only approachable, but also incredibly sumptuous. Tasked with bringing a 1980s Buckhead home fully into the 21st century—in conjunction with Kenneth Lynch & Associates—Westbrook, taking cue from the tailored and stylish homeowner, looked to legendary French designer Jean-Michel Frank for inspiration.

The result is a carefully curated combination of eye-popping color, texture and pattern that’s as comfortable as it is contemporary. “I hate it when everything’s one material,” says Westbrook. “A little wood, a little stone, a little lacquer, a little [gold] leaf—I love the mix.”

And this home’s dining room offers a glimpse into the understated luxury she’s so carefully cultivated. There’s the tactile: a parchment-front rosewood buffet accented with exquisite butterfly cabinet pulls; the visual: a gold leaf-dipped white iron twiggy chandelier; and the dramatic: cream-colored, floor-to-ceiling draperies against dark walls.

But beyond her abilities to embellish even the simplest forms with luxurious finishes, it’s Westbrook’s knack for infusing a neutral palette with show-stopping color and artful pattern that’s proven her success. Take the angular formal powder room, for instance, in which she punctuated a large-scale black-and-white wallcovering with a shiny, marble-topped red-lacquer vanity. “It’s fun to walk into someone’s powder room and want to come out and talk about it, just like in a great restaurant,” the designer explains.

Another conversation-worthy space is the light-and-bright kitchen, where in lieu of overhead cabinets, the designer specified a long, bookmatched slab of Calacatta Conti marble—topped by an equally large stainless steel hood—to create a striking focal point. Just as unexpected are the island and kitchen table, both identical in size, breaking up that visual plane. Dripping glass pendant lights above “add a little sparkle to the space. And every woman likes a sparkle,” Westbrook smiles.

And although the home’s more public spaces, such as the living and sitting rooms, include rich chocolate browns, Westbrook says she’s always mindful of making the master bedroom more feminine in feel. Here, the designer amped up the room’s glam quotient by juxtaposing the gray color palette with an intense citron-colored headboard, while the sinuous curves of the room’s leggy cocktail tables and an upholstered bench “keep the room feeling lighter,” she says.

It’s yet another example of the designer’s propensity for softening clean-lined spaces with character and curves. “It’s modern, clean and simple, but it doesn’t ever feel hard-edged,” she says.

ARCHITECTURE Kenneth Lynch & Associates, 56 East Andrews Dr. NW, Suite 29, Atlanta 30305. (404) 262-3762;
INTERIOR DESIGN Barbara Westbrook, Westbrook Interiors, 2991 Hardman Ct., Atlanta 30305. (404) 355-9430;