Thursday, April 2, 2009

New on the Market in Atlanta: the Home of Designers Phoebe and Jim Howard

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I love real estate listings. My absolute favorite listings are those that have been in magazines, as well as those that belong to designers. You can imagine my delight when I learned that a home that meets both of these criteria was just put on the market: it is the city apartment of two of my favorite designers, Phoebe and Jim Howard. Jim was in charge of all of the architectural design, and Phoebe was in charge of the decor, so you can imagine that the apartment is spectacular. The Howards' Atlanta apartment has been featured in both House Beautiful and Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, and I had the distinct honor of being invited for a private tour of the home by Phoebe Howard herself.

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.


In the entry to the living room, I was mesmerized by the beautiful architectural detail in the floor.


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 close-up of the mirror. This was one of my favorite furniture pieces in the apartment. The mirror is perfectly positioned to reflect the art on the opposite wall.


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.


Look at this architectural detail - the moldings in the apartment are simply beautiful.


In a perfect example of a room being used to its fullest extent, there is a glass top desk in the living room, with a Mac perched on top. I like the idea of using a voluptuous wing chair at a desk.




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 detail of the curtains in the dining room. It is a beautiful wool sateen, which worked so well in this space; it is luxurious, but more subtle than silk.


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 view of the casual eating area, the perfect place to sit and enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea.


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 guest bathroom was luxurious with a Kallista vanity, Lefroy Brooks rainhead shower, an antique mirror, and marble floors and shower.


A detail of the guest bathroom floor. This is more true to color than the previous picture.


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.


On the other side of the apartment is the entrance to the master bedroom. I paused to admire the vertical grouping of paintings.


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 (lkennelly@jmhoward.net).

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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  1. WOW! What an amazing post!! You are a lucky gal - getting a home tour from Mrs. Howard herself!!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a stunning apartment! I love the living room, too. I also love the choice of linens in both bedrooms. Thank you so much for sharing all these photographs and for taking the time to describe this lovely home. ~Arleen

  3. Love,love,love the details on the draperies, bedding and the bathrooms, a wonderful home!

  4. It's all in the life of Things that Inspire. . . at Christmas you are in the White House, now you're here with the Howards. No surprise here :)

    Great post, thanks for showing us all the details!

    ps. Come over to mine soon, I need your opinion!

  5. This will go down as one of my all time favorite posts! You did such a beautiful job describing everything. How fortunate you were to have a personal invitation as well!

    I've got to reread all of this in the morning with my coffee. It may be a two cup post!

    Love it!

  6. Wow, GREAT apartment! Lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Thank you for the comments, everyone! I try not to do really, really long posts, but as soon as I walked into the apartment I knew that this was destined to be a 'two cup' kind of a post. I took 99 pictures!!!!! I took a set with flash and a set without - it was such a gray day in Atlanta yesterday, the photography was a bit tricky. Please make sure to look at the professional photographs in order to see the another view of the apartment.

  8. Wow! My favorites are the wonderful floors and the marble baths!! Such great quality craftsmanship!

    Great Post!!!

  9. Fabulous! I would like to move in tomorrow!

  10. What a great home...design IS in the details! Thanks for the great post! It's lovely.

  11. How wonderful...you are so lucky to have a tour giving by Phoebe! Her attention to detail is priceless. Great post!!

  12. I must say: I love your blog!
    My favorites in this post were the soft blue (hand-painted!!) entry walls, and that gorgeous blue bedroom.

  13. There are always condos for sale in these buildings. They are quite reasonable for the location and the view. Looks like this one is on the SE corner?, the very best location. Believe it or not it overlooks a small lake - the duck pond - one block from Peachtree. But from the floor plans and listings, I never imagined how great these could be.

  14. The Blue bedroom is my very favorite, the wood chevron floors are also georgeous!

  15. Oh, wow! I can't tell you how excited I am about this post. Phoebe Howard is one of my favorite designers--my inspiration files are filled with photos of her rooms. That's amazing that you got to take a personal tour of the apartment with the designer herself!

    Those handpainted walls in the entry are gorgeous. Everything is. Great post! :-)

  16. What a fabulous treat! Thank you, thank you! Why are they selling?

  17. So many wonderful details. I love the built-ins, beatuiful yet functional for storage which is usually lacking in hi-rises. The light over the kitchen sink is a real winner for me!

  18. Incredible detail!
    The tilework and millwork is stunning!

  19. Tremendous! How terrific to a have a private tour and to share it with us. Better than a magazine issue!

  20. Their apartment is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing it and thanks to them also :)


  21. I really love this decor so much, every single photo! Its so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your home with us! I Love Your Place! :)

  22. i love that you took such detailed pics.
    it made it quite easy to put it all together in my head.

    it was sheer perfection.
    just beautiful.
    the floors were eye poppers !!

    thank you,

  23. What a post (must have taken you forever to get that loaded). Such a stunning apartment and lucky you to have such a good look. Have a wonderful weekend, xv.

  24. Phoebe and Jim have created a beautiful home. Thanks for showing it to us :-)

    I just LOVE the hardwood flooring. It's so unique. And the tiled floor in the guest bathroom is stunning.

    I'm happy to see I'm following most of Phoebe's suggestions for dressing a bed :-)

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  25. What a spectacular apartment. I love the attention to detail - especially the flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms. There is so much inspiration to be drawn from each photo you took. Thanks for the tour!

  26. Sigh. Perfect. Just perfection in the clouds ..... I keep hoping that the Howards will write their own decor books someday! :)

    Jan at the very very shabby Rosemary Cottage

  27. Beautiful Property ! - Thank you very much for the post. I really enjoyed the text and the images along.

    I love the respect to the architectural details in the house and the attention to flow is incredible.

  28. What a nice tour! Thanks for sharing, -susan

  29. What a great tour!
    You should get a commission on the sale!
    xo xo

  30. Oh, the devil is in the details, the drapery details, the floor details, the closet details! What an amazing pair.
    Those Howards are an incredible team. Thank you for all of the close up details!
    It's great to be home and to see what you have been up to.


  31. Imagine my surprise when looking at the photos I realized this is a place I have viewed in person as well, as this beautiful apartment was on a home tour a couple of years ago. How delightful for you that you got a home tour from Phoebe Howard herself!

  32. that is the most AMAZING living room and I love that kitchen and especially the little eating nook by the window! I could move in TODAY!

  33. Simply Stunning. That is some place.
    I love the soft pales and the rich darks.
    I think I would never leave.

  34. What a lucky duck you are!!!! Thanks for the great tour & some more insight!!! Such amazing designers & it's wonderful to see them feautured on a more personal level. :)

  35. I am dying to see your bedroom after that comment you just left on my blog!!! I love the accent pillows you are doing (just do both!) I can't decide!

  36. So stunning! Thank you for posting all the lovely detailed images. Very inspiring. x

  37. What A gorgeous gorgeous apartment! The floors are absolutely amazing! The dark chevron floors and the floor of the guest bathroom really had me "floored." I agree with you that the mirror is one of my favorite pieces in their apartment. The bathrooms and kitchens are so elegant and luxurious. You must have had a blast touring the apartment with Mrs. Howard.

    Karen Olivia

  38. Wow that is so cool. I love that you got a guide tour by Ms Phoebe herself. How amazing. I'm sure someone is going to snatch up that home quickly. My favorite room was the kitchen. Thanks for the tour!

  39. Incredible post - I love their apartment and have since I saw it in House Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your wonderful fortune with us and for snapping all these marvellous pics! You are such a dedicated blogger!

    Hope she was nice as pie.

    xo Terri

  40. Holy Phoebe post! I love it. Thank you for giving us the inside look at her city digs! She is the MASTER at bedrooms. And thank you for your sweet comment. Did you post pics of your bedroom? I would love to see it! I'm new to your blog, I love it, I'm going to search for your BR. :)


  42. Hey I really like your blog…!
    I am regular visitor of your blog..
    Sir i would request to write more about green architecture...
    architects as architecural know more about Green eco architectural designs are reusable materials, green designs etc.. ..… Create an Eco friendly Green design… Save Earth.. interior designers Bangalore as of natural materials interior designers in Bangalore with almost modern concepts architects bangalore

  43. Thank you for the beautiful tour. Loved everything. Do you know where I can purchase the kitchen tiles or what brand it is? Is it marble, tumbled marble or limestone? I would love to use it in my bathroom. Thanks. Love your blog!


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