Trusted Instincts

From first blush to final detail, serendipity prevails in a Barbara Heath-designed Brookhaven abode.

There’s a nugget of conventional wisdom that holds especially true for those on the quest for their dream home: “You’ll know it when you see it.” Never had that adage felt more true for local songstress-turned-actress Debra McDavid until she happened upon the dwelling she now shares with her husband, Tom, and their 3-year-old son, Mason, located in Brookhaven close to the Capital City Country Club.

Debra deserves credit for discovering the McDavid residence; she spied the for-sale sign on a cycling jaunt around the neighborhood in 2011, about a year after the former Emily Giffin residence made a cameo in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. “As soon as I saw it, I knew it was right for us,” Debra insists. “It was love at first sight.”

The home’s fetching architecture required an equally adept designer to fashion its interiors. Enter Barbara Heath, owner of beloved Brookhaven boutique The Mercantile, who is also a seasoned designer in her own right. “The McDavids wanted something lighter than their previous Atlanta house,” says Heath. “They truly wanted a contemporary feel, but very approachable. There is nothing about this white and silver living room that does not invite you in.”

Balancing the homeowners wishes for white upholstery with the reality that a 3-year-old would be sharing close quarters, Heath selected Perennials outdoor fabrics to help whisk away worries about chocolate stains. In fact, practically every design decision was made with the couple’s little one in mind. A Barbara Barry coffee table in the family room, newly topped with an indestructible slab of custom concrete by DEX Industries, was one such stroke of genius.

“Tom and I really do love design, and Barbara was such a wonderful collaborator,” says Debra. “The three of us naturally had so many ideas in common, but she continued to suggest things we never would have thought of.”

Take the living room sofa, constructed by Bjork Studio to be at once low and deep. It achieves the profile Tom desired while keeping the picture windows beautifully unobstructed. A square mirrored coffee table balances its imposing dimensions while reflecting the room’s silken rug for added shine.

Similar glamour can be found in the master, complete with mirrored chests and intriguing textures—from a handwoven pillow by the local abíla atelier to a towering Noir cabinet used to stow extra blankets. These elements harmonize with the interior architecture while providing quiet contrasts to the simple draperies and sleek leather bed.

An upstairs guest room, which connects to Mason’s via a Jack-and-Jill bath, boasts a Moroccan-inspired bed upholstered in burlap, an exquisite Schumacher floral accenting a wing chair and drapery panels fabricated with No.9 Thompson’s playful Bamboozle textile.

Textiles were no doubt a defining point in this home. But while outdoor versions were used liberally indoors, the concept was just as bravely inversed for the exterior. Case in point: The couple flipped the concept 180 degrees when they selected an exquisite silk ikat for a pair of Casamidy sitters on the porch. It’s a choice that’s required extra care, but for a pair who entertains as often as these two, it was perfect.

“We love to open up the doors and have our parties blend outside,” says Debra, who often hosts al fresco affairs in the ivy-clad back yard—accented by a soaking pool, latticed Mondo grass-and-stone court and, thanks to the ingenuity of Hamilton Landscaping, a spread of artificial turf in its shadiest spot. “It’s been a fantastic redo for us. We can use our home to its fullest now, and Barbara’s helped make it all possible.”


INTERIOR DESIGN Barbara Heath, The Mercantile, (404) 816-0060;