For the clients of Atlanta-based designer Leah Atkins, creating a sense of welcome in their homes is key. Much of that is rooted in Southern culture, with its emphasis on large gatherings of family and friends. “My clients tend to call this a homey feeling,” Leah says, “but that typically doesn’t mean patchwork quilts and weather vanes and barnyard decor. Atlanta is cosmopolitan.”
Welcoming certainly describes this home Leah reimagined in the Hamilton Mill community outside Atlanta. The clients, a family with teenagers, wanted to update their traditional ’90s home, albeit with a few constraints. They didn’t want to replace or make over the floors, the millwork, or the kitchen cabinets. “There were several things we had to work around,” Leah says, “but in the end we are so happy with how it turned out!”
The home’s design ethos is best illustrated in the open kitchen, breakfast nook, and keeping room—a room adjacent to the kitchen where people can keep the cook and host company without crowding the kitchen. “We wanted to keep these three spaces cohesive but also make the keeping room the focal point of the space,” Leah says. Painting the frame of that room’s arched window black certainly helped. So did adding beams, boards, and battens to the room’s ceiling. “It gives the room a wow factor and draws your eye upward.”
The mix of colors and textures makes the keeping room one of Leah’s favorites in the home. The dining room, with its dark gray-green walls and dramatic purple upholstery, is another. “I’m a firm believer that dining rooms should stand out instead of blend in with the rest of the home,” Leah says. “They are most often used to entertain on special occasions, so why not make them feel special?”
Then again, thanks to eye-catching art, flowing draperies, and Leah’s judicious layering of timeless motifs and luxe materials, just about every space in this home feels special—and of course, warmly welcoming.
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