An almost tangible aura of history pervades a newly built residence in Newnan, Georgia, and that’s precisely what the owners—a couple who loves nothing more than opening its glass-paned front door to greet loved ones—had hoped for. Following several years in a more rural part of the Peach State, the duo decided to bid adieu to a large horse farm and embrace a smaller footprint along with the ease of town life.
Building from scratch meant their new home would be defined chiefly by what they brought to it: the jovial spirit of country living along with a museum-quality collection of Southern decorative arts. “They wanted to be surrounded by the things they love,” the couple’s designer, Susan Bozeman, explains. “This house would feel familiar to them, but also fresh.”
Originally inspired by a residence general contractor Henry Cole had already erected in the area, the couple worked with him closely to create a custom home of their own, deferring to residential designer Mitch Ginn to draw up the personalized plans. Cole and Bozeman’s collaborative adaptation pays homage to vernacular architecture—seen in the steeply pitched roof, sash windows, louvered shutters—with equally considered interiors. “It’s a very traditional home, so the size and scale of the details, like columns and trim work, were especially important,” notes Cole, who is quick to credit colleague Tito Castillo, along with local builder David Luckie, for the project’s masterful execution. On the exterior, three varieties of Pennsylvanian stone, cedar shingles and a slate roof lend the façade gravitas; indoors, white oak floors, rough-sawn beams, a fanned-stone fireplace and pierced banisters “give a nice rustic look,” Cole notes. “I like how the shiplap isn’t uniform, and has some random gaps,” he continues. “It adds to the historical feel of the house.”
To layer the soft spaces the owners desired, Bozeman looked no further than the family itself. Cherished objects and antiques—many of them heirlooms from the wife’s mother—set the tone from the entryway, where they receive pride of place. “The Blazing Star quilt, tiger maple Windsor bench and Southern huntboard in the foyer are some of our favorite pieces,” reveals the wife, who was equally delighted that Bozeman hung her inherited carved eagle over the front door, just as it was in her mother’s home. Farther into the house, exceptional collections of artisanal pottery mingle with 19th-century children’s chairs (now utilized by the homeowners’ grandchildren), antique hooked rugs and avian decoys aplenty. The more you look, the more you see.
An existing red patchwork rug was a nonnegotiable for the living room, where it provided the foundation for Bozeman’s design. “Because it says so much, we kept the upholstery fabrics to solids and textures in oatmeal hues,” the designer comments. Adding a built-in bar to this space was another key component. “It’s a focal point for the room,” she adds, pointing to a horse painting and carved wooden dog plaquettes accenting the feature, which nod to the couple’s love of animals. The designer went with a more subdued palette in the dining room, inserting a tall cabinet from the clients’ former farmhouse as a conversation piece. “Susan understands how to mix things in such a sophisticated way,” shares the wife, whose collections of pewter and ceramics—including Southern face jugs—were tempered by metal light fixtures with a forged look. “Iron talks so well with folk art,” explains the designer, who also collaborated with Cole to disguise the kitchen appliances within decorative millwork.
Considering their clients’ love for entertaining, the design team took care to deliver a screened porch to extend the living area, creating the spot where the couple now begins and ends each day. Bozeman opted to furnish this space with an uncontested Southern classic—wicker furniture—while the couple’s open-air grill pavilion boasts another nostalgic addition: the swing bed.
Gracious outdoor living areas continue toward a distinctly Southern garden. To keep with the property’s period charm, landscape architect Will Goodman fashioned stone terraces and brick-lined beds where landscape designer Keith Robinson planted hedging and seasonal color. Here, in a sunny spot, a dramatic faux bois bench brings in another historical note. “It makes me smile every time I see it,” reveals Bozeman, citing the pleasures of curating a house replete with meaningful objects and stories. All told, “I love when a client appreciates the items they already own,” she notes. “It makes a project that much more rewarding.”