Step through the doors of this classic Buckhead home and you’re immediately embraced by a sense of warmth. It’s a feeling homeowner Laura Deisley, alongside interior designer Beth Ervin, have spent nearly two decades cultivating.
Having grown up in the Northeast, Deisley and her husband, Chris, fell hard for the saltbox home originally designed by celebrated architect James Means. Its heart pine floors and Colonial-influenced architectural features offered the couple a sense of nostalgia, and although there was much work needed—laundry had to be done in the shed and the kitchen cooktop had only one working burner, for example—the family of four didn’t rush into renovations. “What I love about our home’s story is that we’re not a family that came from money, and the minute we walked in, we were able to do everything we wanted,” says Deisley. “As the home has evolved through the years, we’ve loved and lived through every bit of it.”
Ervin was more than happy to oblige Deisley’s unhurried timeline, given her own thoughtful approach to design. “I enjoy taking time to pick out rare and unique pieces that can’t be ordered from a catalog,” explains Ervin. “Laura and I were deliberate about selecting things that were just as timeless as the home’s architecture.”
In the foyer, they settled on a classic stripe wallpaper that has anchored the space for 15 years, while the living room’s drapes, made of a vintage Rose Cumming silk chintz, are a similar testament to the duo’s affinity for enduring details. Simple updates such as switching out painted wood window rods for metal ones keep things fresh in an understated manner.
To address structural changes to the home, the couple enlisted architect Norman D. Askins, whose own work is influenced by James Means. Askins’ two-part renovation included a garage addition gracefully integrated into the home’s front elevation and an underground wine cellar. The latter is a marvelous feat that can be accessed through a trapdoor in the floor that’s raised via a pulley system. The cellar is a feature Chris, a budding wine enthusiast who passed away five years ago, would have undoubtedly loved, notes Deisley.
The renovations were completed in time for Deisley to host a Christmas party for the 20th anniversary of the Ivy Ridge Garden Club, of which she is a founding member. With merry conversation and glasses clinking, it was a gracious reminder that patience truly paid off. “There were moments we thought, ‘This house needs so much, we have no business staying here,’” recalls Deisley. “But we had a vision of what this place could be; a comfortable and welcoming home we could generously open up to family, friends and the community.”
INTERIOR DESIGN Beth Ervin, Beth Ervin Interiors; [email protected] ARCHITECT Norman D. Askins and Daniel Witt, Norman Davenport Askins, Architect, (404) 233-6565; normanaskins.com BUILDER Bonner Buchanan, (770) 423-0249; bonnerbuchanan.com LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Jonathan Bussell, Jonathan Bussell Landscape Architect, (404) 805-1817; jonathanbussell.com