An Elegant Redesign Took This Atlanta Home From Dated to Desirable
Designer Suzanne Kasler gives an Atlanta dad and his Buckhead home a fresh start with a redesign rooted in tradition yet young enough for three girls.
Country French-Style Exterior
Moving day jitters stood no chance of getting in Steve Fallon's head, let alone taking up residence. Yes, the Atlanta entrepreneur had just bought a 12-year-old Buckhead house that was a bit dated, a bit dark, not quite the place that teen and twentysomething daughters Darby, Ellie, and Grayson might consider prime real estate. But Steve wasn't worried. He had a couple of trusted friends (designer Suzanne Kasler and architect Rick Spitzmiller) along for the journey.
Gracious new dormers and a slate roof imbue the house with the Country French style that Steve loves.
Open Floor Plan
"The house had great bones, but it needed to be rethought for the Fallons' tastes and the way they live," Spitzmiller says. That meant a more open, sociable floor plan, along with architectural upgrades such as coffered and beamed ceilings, paneled walls, and character-rich moldings.
"In doing a renovation, we look for the weak points," Spitzmiller says. "The entry, for instance, didn't have visual cues to give it architectural scale or make it welcoming." New moldings now match the sophistication of a grand curved staircase and set the stage for Kasler, famed for her elegant interiors, to ply her considerable talents.
"My design is all about the architecture," she says. "I simplified the whole-house palette to make it more architectural."
Soft Neutral Color Scheme
As a foundation, she coated many of the home's walls in Benjamin Moore's "Linen White." "I went with a soft white to blend with the architecture and provide a really pretty background," Kasler says. "I love a neutral background with accents of color."
A big skirted table is Kasler's trick to bring pretty fabric into a room that has French doors and no draperies.
Chic But Comfortable Living Room
That's evident in the living room, where a calm canvas allows the details of the coffered ceiling and expansive arched window to shine. "There was no way to drape the window and no need to drape it," Kasler says. "I like it as a feature in the room." She had the wood muntins painted black to look like steel, giving the classic space a contemporary edge.
To complement the size of the room, the designer scaled up furnishings as she catered to comfort. "I wanted the casual elegance appropriate for a city house," she says. "It's loungy and comfortable, a great room to hang out in."
The primarily new pieces mingle with Steve's antiques, all dark-stained wood furniture that grounds rooms without defining them. "We wanted a foundation of traditional, but lighter and younger, not overdecorated," Kasler says.
"The goal was a beautiful home for a young family: chic-looking but easy to live in," Kasler says. In this hangout spot, a TV hides in the antique armoire, and a traditional chandelier contrasts with contemporary art by Heidi Berrin Shonkoff.
In tune with that fresh vibe, she layered in subtle color with pillows, throws, and art. "It's the perfect way to get color while keeping a room tailored and low-key," she says.
Above the mantel of the living room fireplace, the branch motif of a convex mirror by Paul Ferrante nods to views of nature just outside.
Touches of Color
Color crescendoes in the dining room, where Kasler sheathed walls in a sage hue that shows off the fluted crown molding and mirror-front china cabinets Spitzmiller designed. "Together with Suzanne's touch of color, they make the room sparkle," the architect says.
A stained-wood Regency table, its curves echoed by svelte armless chairs, puts classicism at the center of the formal dining space. Walls in Farrow & Ball "Blue Gray" mesh with silk taffeta draperies in Schumacher fabric.
Adding Interest to Kitchen Cabinetry
He also designed both mirrored and glass-front cabinetry for the kitchen, which serves as the hub of the home. "It's where we love to gather," Steve says.
A mix of styles on cabinet fronts dials up the interest.
Spacious and Functional Kitchen
To provide plenty of room for family, friends, and moments of shared culinary creativity, Spitzmiller annexed adjacent square footage to nearly double the size of the original kitchen. "Now it's wider, more functional, and a whole lot prettier," he says.
Activity in the airy, casual space revolves around a center island with comfortable bar stool seating. Calacatta marble tops counters in the U-shape work zone and also serves as a luxe backsplash. Classic cabinetry pairs with rustic beams and hammered-metal pendants by Edgar-Reeves.
Cozy Breakfast Area
A fireplace warms the breakfast room where a cottage table and Windsor chairs invite casual dining.
Family Hangout Spot
The kitchen opens to the family's other go-to spot, the pool den. "It was a storage space with no windows. But I saw it as the best real estate in town," says Spitzmiller, who installed a NanaWall, glass doors that open the entire wall to the patio, pool, and beautiful view beyond. "It's a spectacular change," Spitzmiller says.
Steve agrees. "It's so fun. We love to hang out there and watch college football in the fall or just be around the pool. The light and view are wonderful."
Pecky cypress, seen on beams in the kitchen, is used here in a coffered ceiling treatment. A wall of glass bifold doors makes it easy to blend indoors and out.
Classic Library Space
The wood paneled walls of the library are a departure from the linen white used throughout the rest of the house. Drapery panels from Cowtan & Tout pull together all the colors of the cozy, classic space.
Elegant Master Suite
When Steve's ready for some quiet time, the reimagined master suite, a neutral cocoon that shows off his carved antique bed and new freestanding tub, beckons. Beautiful blue linen draperies add a splash of classic color.
Antique Meets New
An antique four-poster mingles with new seating area furniture by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair.
Set against a backdrop of elegant Calacatta Gold marble, a Waterworks tub steals the show in Steve's bath space.
Double the Elegance
A custom double vanity continues the elegance.
Each Fallon girl also has her own bed-and-bath space. Colorful, playful patterns are used judiciously against plenty of airy white. "It gives them a great backdrop to personalize their spaces the way they want," Kasler says.
"I like how Grayson, who's an equestrian, displays her ribbons on a pair of dress forms. It's fun and young, and it makes this a place the girls want to come to. It's wonderful to create a family house that truly resonates with the entire family."
Steve concurs. "We love it," he says. "It's more than a beautiful house. It's something incredibly special created just for us."
Youthful patterns, colors, and attitude put some pop in this cozy sitting area.
What teenage girl wouldn't love a pristine white bathroom with a chic cheetah-pattern shower curtain?
The Fallon Family
Homeowner Steve Fallon is pictured here with daughters Grayson, Darby, and Ellie.