True Colors

Through the process of renovating her 1930s-era brick Georgian in Collier Hills, interior designer Nina Long finally embraces her true style

Shortly after buying their 1930s-era brick Georgian in Collier Hills, Taylor and Nina Long embarked on a room-by-room renovation. An interior designer with Mathews Furniture + Design, Nina was ecstatic to finally create an environment that truly represented her and her husband’s classic yet comfortable aesthetic. “I couldn’t wait to put my stamp on the house,” she says.

For a blank slate, Long first had the walls throughout painted in a warm shade of white and then, starting with the powder room, proceeded to renovate the bathrooms one-by-one. When they accomplished that mission, they set their sights on the kitchen, incorporating cabinetry and veiny, honed statuary marble countertops. Most dramatically, they opened the space to the dining room, allowing Long to gaze at the adjacent space’s mural wallcovering while she cooks. “It makes me so happy,” she says. “It’s like a piece of art.”

Accented by green-painted trim, the wallcovering depicts scenes of life in Italy—a nod to Long’s heritage. It’s a lush backdrop for a painted table and velvet upholstered chairs underneath an ornate glass bead-adorned brass chandelier—all French reproductions. “Wallpaper is a unique way to add character and the options are endless.”

Indeed, Long incorporated them into key areas throughout the interior. Paired with an antique gilded mirror, a patterned wallcovering with a hand-blocked pattern enlivens the first-floor powder room. A blue-and-white striped wallcovering likewise establishes a distinct mood in their 18-month-old son Collier’s nursery. “I wanted it to be fun and unconventional, not like your typical baby boy room,” she says.

The palette flows into the primary bedroom, which has blue walls punctuated by light patterned floral drapery and colorful bedding. Meanwhile, a neutral grasscloth wallcovering juxtaposes the Carrara marble countertops in the en suite bathroom, which includes a double vanity and a spa-like marble shower.

 While Long established the general design direction and a foundation for each room, she was in no rush to acquire items simply to finish a space. Instead, she left room for serendipitous discoveries, such as the Slim Aarons vintage color photo of Mick Jagger that now hangs over the living room sofa and the antique chest that perfectly occupies a niche in the front foyer. The approach “makes the house feel collected,” something that she learned from longtime design partner and mentor Don Easterling.

“It took many years to come into my own style, and for my own home, it really took me longer to make decisions,” says Nina. “It’s nice having someone I not only completely trust, but look up to, to bounce ideas off of. I ran everything by Don for his blessing before pulling the trigger.”

Today, the couple is blissfully happy in their newly renovated abode. And while Long has been designing interiors for 15 years, it’s only through designing her own home that she’s figured out her signature style—traditional yet updated, elegant yet comfortable. “This is a reflection of me,” she says. “I’ve finally figured out who I am as a designer.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Nina Long, Easterling & Long, (404) 237-8271; CONTRACTOR Dakota Kangas Construction Services