Poised atop more than four forested acres on Atlanta’s northern outskirts, a traditional home caught the eyes of a vibrant young family for several reasons. Besides being close to the two daughters’ school, the lot impressed with its spring-fed pond, picturesque swimming pool and spacious backyard for the children and dogs to play. Originally built in the 1990s, the residence desperately needed renovations, but the owners weren’t deterred.
Having worked with residential designer Brandon Ingram on their previous abode, the couple did not hesitate to bring him aboard. Renovating this new house was “an opportunity for them to let their personalities run wild,” Ingram shares. The clients wanted it all: color, pattern and architectural detail. Thus, the wife jumped at the chance to hire designer Mallory Mathison Glenn, a frequent collaborator of Ingram’s, to reimagine the interiors. “Our goal was to create a house that not only our children’s friends would want to visit, but that their parents would, too,” says the husband, a fan of impromptu entertaining. “We wanted something fun and light for our daughters that could grow along with them, but spaces for the adults to enjoy as well.”
Accommodating scores of guests for casual parties while keeping spaces intimate for daily life would mean a significant overhaul to the floor plan—so Ingram went all in: taking the interior walls down to the studs while reconfiguring room arrangements. “We looked at the house from a structural perspective and figured: If we could start over within the same footprint, what would we do?” Ingram recounts. Working closely with general contractor Wright Marshall to bring those ideas to fruition, the residential designer adds: “Wright is practically an architectural historian; he’s incredibly adept at making wonderful things happen.”
In the project’s most daring move, Ingram and Glenn agreed to drop the living room’s 22-foot-tall, two-story ceiling—paving the way for an expanded primary suite above. “We literally created square footage from air,” Ingram notes. “And that decision made the living room so much cozier.”
Embracing the family’s lively personality, as well as Glenn’s plans for equally ebullient interiors, Ingram embellished classic detailing by playing with scale and proportion. “I was able to take a language of traditional millwork profiles—casings, baseboards, cornices—and animate them a bit,” notes the residential designer, who also mimicked the dining room’s mirrored wainscotting in the stair balusters. “There’s a dance between buttoned up and playful: Moments of exuberance keep things grounded on one side of the spectrum, but fanciful on the other. That’s the magic of this house.”
The kitchen—originally tucked away near the garage and newly relocated to the heart of the home—features “one of the largest islands I’ve ever done,” says Ingram. For a tongue-in-cheek choice, he added overscale corbels to frame the arched view toward the adjoining morning room (a space created partly by walling off what was once a screened porch) and onward to the pool.
Outdoors, he opted to retain the charms of the existing pool house, though his clients added a copper golden retriever weather vane. “The area is such a quiet respite of colors; Mallory and I liked it being a little more mellow,” says Ingram, who also praises landscape architect Alec Michaelides’ complementary efforts. “Alec and his team understand detail and when to be respectful of the architecture.”
Because her clients adore green, Glenn anchored the residence with verdant shades ranging from emerald and teal to peacock and celadon—incorporating pops of pink, coral, rust and crimson for contrast. One of the family’s favorite motifs, the four-leaf clover, appears on everything from the quatrefoil cutouts in the mudroom to hand-painted dining room wallpaper further personalized with vestiges of the owners: from the couple’s initials to the flowers of their respective birth states. Glenn, likewise, created jewel-box moments throughout: from majolica displays in the library-like keeping room to bathrooms that each feature a different boldly patterned wallpaper. “It’s a grounded maximalism,” the designer notes.
Despite the constraints of the transformation, in the idyll of this setting, the design team was able to personalize the home at great lengths. At the same time, they honored that which came before. “What I love most about renovations is that you have the opportunity to be part of an evolution,” Ingram says. “It’s nice to know you’re integral to that ongoing story.”
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