The Howards bought the apartment several years ago, in a building that just celebrated its 40th anniversary. Their primary residence is in Florida, but with the success of their Atlanta stores and a thriving design business in Atlanta, they felt it would be ideal to have a 'pied-à-terre' in Atlanta. The apartment is in an area that is often called 'the jewel box of Atlanta' as it is in the very heart of Buckhead. Phoebe adores the location of apartment, and appreciates the solid construction of the building as well as the sweeping views of downtown to the south (for the sparkle at night), and Buckhead to the north and west (for the sheer beauty of the green canopy of trees and the view of the local landmark, Stone Mountain, on the horizon).
When Phoebe and Jim purchased the apartment, it was fairly nondescript. They loved the light filled rooms, the high ceilings, and the views, but knew that the interiors needed a major overhaul. So, they gutted the entire apartment and remade the space with the best in architectural details and definition in rooms that were previously featureless. They also added beautiful dark stained chevron floors, a new kitchen, and top of the line bathrooms. The architectural details are truly exquisite. Of course, the interiors are amazing as well: English antiques; one of a kind accessories; Vaughan and Charles Edward lighting fixtures; Van Morris hardware; luxurious fabrics for the upholstery, pillows, and curtains; fine rugs and unique artwork all make the apartment a luxurious retreat. This is particularly important to note, because the apartment can be purchased fully furnished! A lucky buyer can not only get a one of a kind city apartment, but also the expertise and trained eye that went into the design of the home. So, without further ado, let's start the tour of the Howards' pied-à-terre in Atlanta.
When entering the home, this is the first view of the apartment: a nice vignette is in front, with a view to the living room and the incredible panorama of Atlanta through the wall of windows in the living room. The first impression is incredible architectural detail; I immediately noticed the intricate pattern in the floors and the millwork of the opening to the foyer. The wall has a antique Regency chest, and I love how Phoebe placed two small paintings over the chest. A larger painting would have overwhelmed the space; this is a very pleasing first impression. The hanging light fixture is by Vaughan.
I asked Phoebe about the wallpaper pattern, and she told me that the walls in the foyer are actually hand painted by one of the most talented decorative artists in the Southeast. I have a weakness for a beautiful shade of blue, and the combination of the soft color and the design of branches and birds was so pretty.
Every room in the apartment was incredible, but my favorite room was the living room. It was filled with light (despite the gray and rainy day) and the peaceful tones in the room made it a very serene space. I am a big fan of mirrors in general, and specifically mirrors over sofas. Phoebe said that she felt that a mirror was the perfect piece to put over the sofa in this room; on the opposite wall is a large painting, and the mirror serves to both open up the room and provide a little bit of sparkle.
A view from the living room into the foyer. I admire the way that Phoebe arranged the books - one night, she emptied every shelf and rearranged by color. It took her hours, but she loved the effect. Sometimes Jim Howard will throw things off a bit by taking a blue book out and putting it with another 'color family'; after Phoebe said this, I immediately noticed the blue book mixed in with the black books on the left.
A few of the magnificent views from the balcony. Unfortunately, it was a gray and rainy day in Atlanta, and the entire city was covered with a layer of pollen from the pine trees. However, even these drawbacks couldn't detract from the sweeping views.
The dining room was also quite striking. I love the contrast between the small and large squares of the framed series of line drawings and the oval shape of the mirror.
On the other side of the dining room, the table is positioned in the corner to allow for an open path to the kitchen. I asked Phoebe about her thought process behind putting two framed arrangements in the same room. She said that there are no hard and fast rules; framed groupings really appeal to her, and in this room the eye generally does not take in both the wall with the buffet and the wall next to the dining table at the same time. She likes the balance of the framed grouping seen in this picture, and the larger oil painting on the wall. The light fixture is an antique.
A detailed look at the incredible floors. Jim Howard is known for his expertise in architectural design, and it was clearly evident in this apartment.
The kitchen was designed in galley style appropriate for the size of the apartment. As with the rest of the apartment, the details were incredible: marble backsplash, high end appliances, cabinetry custom made and finished on site by a furniture maker. All of the hardware, knobs, and hinges in the kitchen and throughout the house are by Van Morris.
Here is the other side of the kitchen, which also serves as a bar. I thought it was a brilliant use of space. Phoebe said that it is liberating to have such an efficiently designed kitchen; all of the extra 'stuff' that is only used on rare occasions was eliminated, which creates a refreshing lack of clutter. There are no overhead cabinets, and there is a specific place for everything.
A detail of the kitchen floor, which I loved. It is the details like these that makes this apartment exceptional.
Now onto the private spaces of the apartment. There are two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, on opposite sides of the apartment in order to maximize privacy. This is the entrance to the guest room - a room that will be very familiar to design blog readers.
Seeing this room in person was like seeing an old friend; I have both posted this picture on my blog, and have seen it in countless other blogs. The bed is a custom iron and upholstered design by Phoebe, available at Mrs. Howard.
One of my favorite posts on the Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper blog was about Phoebe's guidelines about pillow arrangements on beds (I must look at that post once a week). I thought of it when admiring this pillow arrangement.
I love soft contemporary art combined with traditional furnishings.
The closets in the guest room, as in the rest of the apartment, were of the highest quality construction with custom Van Morris hardware.
This was my favorite detail in the room - one of the closets had a mirror and built in dresser, and the drawers and walls were lined in a Robert Kime paper. Click on the picture to see a bigger view for the details. It is stunning!
Or maybe this was my favorite detail in the room - the double row of Greek key trim on the curtains.
The bathroom was designed with an open sink, and the storage is in the built in cabinets; the towels are stored in the open shelving, and closed section is designed for the 'stuff' that often clutters a bathroom.
The master bedroom is also iconic in the design blog world. Phoebe is truly a master at creating beautiful bedrooms! I was pleased to confirm that the sheets, shams, and duvet cover are by Matouk, as I had guessed. The headboard was custom designed by Phoebe, and the headboard, bedskirt, and accent pillow fabric are by Fortuny.
I love this arrangement on the bedside table, and the wool carpet is perfect in the room.
A charming Charles Edwards light.
The trim detail on the curtains in the master bedroom.
The entrance to the master bathroom; closets are on either side of the hall, and Jim put a light fixture big enough for three bulbs to ensure ample lighting in what serves as a dressing area.
Here is the same area, but the pocket door is closed - and there is a full length beveled mirror on both sides (the reflection of the bed is seen in the mirror)! This is a well thought out detail, one of many that make this space so exceptional.
The master bathroom is quite luxurious, and features marble mosaic floors, countertops, and shower. The bathroom fittings are Lefroy Brooks; the vanity and medicine cabinets are Urban Archaeology, and the sconces are by Charles Edwards. Phoebe swears by the lighted makeup mirrors by Waterworks.
As in the guest bathroom, the master bath features cabinets with open shelving on top and a closed section on the bottom. Look at the marble trim at the base of the wall - such great details in this home.
The detail of the floor in the master bathroom; this is true to the real color.
As I was preparing to leave the apartment, I took a quick picture of the entry; I was so focused on seeing the apartment that I had neglected to study this lovely space when I arrived. Note the walls - they are hand painted in a geometric pattern by one of the same artist who painted the foyer. I love how the vertical mirror and horizontal paintings balance each other out.
Having the opportunity to see this beautiful apartment, and getting a personal tour from Phoebe Howard herself, was one of the most interesting things I have ever done as a result of blogging! Chatting with Phoebe about the meaning and motivation behind her design decisions for the apartment was like talking to an artist about the inspiration behind their paintings. The apartment reminded me of a lovely flat in London; the layout is wonderful, and every square foot of the space is used and is very efficiently designed. More and more, I see the beauty in residential spaces that are of wonderful proportion and size, and whose rooms are truly used every day; I would rather have a small home that is of great quality and architectural detail than a large home with featureless rooms that are only used for special occasions. Phoebe and Jim's apartment truly exemplified the ultimate in architectural quality and design in a space that is the perfect size for the people who live there.
The Howards' city apartment is currently for sale, but it is a private sale and not listed with a realtor. For more information, please contact Leah Kennelly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
All pictures in this post (with the exception of the first and second pictures) were taken by me. Please visit Phoebe's website to see professional pictures of the apartment. Many thanks to Leah Kennelly (author of the Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper blog) for arranging this wonderful visit with Phoebe!
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