Atlanta is a vast metro of six million people, but locals know it better as a collection of hundreds of in-town neighborhoods heaped with history and charm—each with a distinct personality. For a former Californian who’d originally moved to the city with the intention of staying two years, the charisma of its historic neighborhoods became hard to resist, and he’s now spent two decades as an Atlantan. Having renovated several residences in the past without ever quite finding what he wanted within an in- town footprint, this homeowner finally opted to build from the ground up, securing a well-situated lot in Morningside—a Midtown-adjacent enclave just minutes away from multiple parks and the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
Residential designer Richard C. Hatch initially fashioned the residence to meld with Morningside’s traditional façades. But as priorities changed, the question became how to maximize the footprint Hatch had established while updating it for the homeowner and his family’s evolving needs. “I really wanted something personal, and very functional for teenagers,” he notes. It was also important that the homeowner and his partner have space for various hobbies, such as cooking, distilling and brewing, woodworking and 3D printing. Enter architect Linda D’Orazio MacArthur, who worked within Hatch’s already-established footprint to adapt a residence that embraces modern living while respecting the classic vernacular of its milieu.
“There’s a definite scale to homes in the neighborhood and we worked really hard to maintain that character,” explains the architect. “It’s very clean, with very little detailing, and it’s a pretty good size house, but it doesn’t really look that big from the front.” By changing the roof lines and adding glass to the rear, MacArthur achieved something decidedly more contemporary. Bringing on Jane Hollman—a designer who specializes in interior architecture, space planning, kitchens, bars and related spaces—ensured showstopping details and workhorse rooms, such as the cook’s quality kitchen, that are as chic as they are useful.
In realizing these revisions, general contractor Craig Bass didn’t miss a beat. “The fact that he could come in and pick up where the original builder had left off, and make all elements come together as if he’d started from scratch, was pretty impressive,” the homeowner notes. “He also lives in the neighborhood, so he gets what it’s all about.”
When it came to interiors, designer Tanya Lacourse’s fresh instincts melded perfectly with the owner’s vision for a home that subtly transcended tradition but would still be welcoming. “If you look at the front of the house, you don’t necessarily know how modern it is until you come inside,” she says. “Though it’s modern, it needed to feel inviting and warm; there’s nothing cold or sterile about it.”
Lacourse looked to another designer, Lee Kleinhelter, in a consulting capacity early on in the project. Kleinhelter’s initial suggestions for many of the home’s upholstery hues and textures led the way for nubby rugs and textiles; velvets; and Belgian- inspired translucent finishes on natural hardwoods, paired with wallpaper and stone accents. For the powder room, Lacourse tapped New York City-based artist Jill Malek for a custom digital wall covering inspired by Japanese weeping willows. To up the intrigue, she embellished with a gray smoked-glass fixture that resembles a glowing geode, giving the space sophisticated drama. “It’s gorgeously moody and the light sort of dances along the wall in this really interesting way,” the designer explains.
Keeping the downstairs palette to a mostly timeless neutral selection of creams, blacks and browns, Lacourse accented with moments of muted green and warm peach, with the latter adding an aspect of romance to the dining room. “People could say it’s pink, but it almost reads like a neutral,” Lacourse says of the shade, adding, “It has an earthiness rather than a sweetness.”
And since the client wanted a home where he could just as easily host a party or cozy up with a book, the design team ensured its spaces would feel flexible and seamless. Answering the owner’s request for a resort-like backyard sanctuary, the home’s convivial pool surroundings flow naturally into the open, airy living spaces—including an inviting screened porch that extends the living room footprint. Here and elsewhere along the home’s posterior, sunlight spills generously through floor-to-ceiling windows that frame landscape designer Jeremy Smearman’s plant selections below. “The idea was to create a simple, tailored landscape reflective of the clean lines of the architecture,” notes Smearman, careful not to compete with Morningside’s native assets. Furthers MacArthur: “You look out the back windows and you see all these beautiful trees. That’s one of the great things about Atlanta: We’re a city in a forest.”