Monday, May 11, 2009

The Beautiful Home of a Designer

Every year in May, a volunteer arm of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has a tour of homes in the Peachtree Battle section of Buckhead, where there are many beautiful houses built in the 1920s-1940s. The homes on the tour are usually newly renovated and decorated, and are real family homes, not staged showhouses (although I do love these too!). This year there were several homes that were just outside of the Peachtree Battle area, in the Peachtree Heights section of Buckhead (often called 'the jewel box of Atlanta'). One of them was my favorite kind of new home: a 'new old house', designed in such a classic style that it looks as if it has been there for years. It was evident from the moment I stepped into the house that the decor was done by an experienced and well trained eye; as it turns out, the home is owned and decorated by Lori Tippins, a talented young interior designer who used to work with a very well known Southern gentleman designer.

Lori and and her husband Clay originally lived in a 1950s ranch house on this site, but soon found that it was too small for their growing family. They considered renovating the original house, but ultimately decided to build a new house on the site with the help of architect Holly Johnson. Lori's goal was a house that was classic, but highly livable. She had long admired the work of Lutyens (considered one of the greatest British architects of all time), as well as the beautiful classic Atlanta homes found in her Buckhead neighborhood. With these as her inspiration, the home was designed and built over an 18 month period, and was completed in January 2009. The result is both classic and unique, and looks right at home in the neighborhood.

(Note: all pictures were taken by me. To see a larger view click on the picture to expand)

The home employs many English Tudor forms, while remaining simple and clean in detail. The front is symmetrical and features a pair of gables; copper awnings crown the French doors that flank the arched entry. Much reclaimed material and antique architectural elements were incorporated into the design of the home.


One of the first things I noticed about the house was the open air garage, which I had never seen before. Lori said that she has a personal preference for not looking at a garage on the front elevation of a home, and the slope of the lot did not allow for the garage to be placed out of sight. So the garage is open, which allows for the kitchen to have more windows, and also provides a great outdoor entertainment area. If you look closely, you can see a table set up in the middle bay of the garage. Each bay also has a lantern, a charming touch.


When entering through the front door, the eye is immediately drawn to the charcoal sketches by famed Atlanta artist Steve Penley. The rich color on the wall is a charcoal tone that was custom blended. Lori knew that she wanted a dramatic entry, and had to repaint several times before she got the right tone of charcoal.


Looking down from the stairs, the antique arched front door can be seen, as well as a pair of contemporary abstracts by Atlanta artist Leanne West. Lori used quite a few antique doors in the design of this home, which can be done when custom building; the door openings were created to suit the shape and style of the antique doors. I love the juxtaposition of the antique and the contemporary art - one of my favorite looks.


A charming bench makes for a nice vignette in the entry. When Lori worked with architect Holly Johnson to design her home, they made sure that there was a good balance of wall space, windows, and doors as Lori wanted her home to have good light, but also have space for beautiful vignettes like this.


On the left, off the entry, is the elegant dining room. There are three sets of French doors, which make it a light and airy space during the day. Because the entry is so richly colored and dramatic, Lori wanted the dining room to have a sense of lightness to it. The charcoal tone is carried through to the curtains (which also have a blue tone to them), but the overall feel is light. The chandelier is an antique from one of Atlanta's finest stores, Jacqueline Adams. Lori is a self-professed lighting aficionado, and all of the lighting in the home is either antique or custom designed by Lori.


A different view of the dining room. The door on the left connects through a small wet bar to the kitchen. The flow in this house is very good - every room connects to another, and every room is truly used. On the right the antique doors to the dining room can be seen, just one of the many details that gives this house character.


Lori fondly pointed out the 'marble man' that she and her husband bought at an estate sale in San Francisco; it has a pedestal, but there are so many young children in and out of the house that Lori feared the marble man would fall and hurt someone. So, the marble man stays in the corner for now!


The living room is to the right of the foyer, and it too has antique doors. The living room also has three sets of French doors, creating a space that is filled with light.


For her own home, Lori likes high tables instead of coffee tables. The antique trumeau was one of her first purchases, and set the tone for the room. Although it is hard to see in these pictures, the wall color is a beautiful tone called appaloosa by Pratt & Lambert. It is readily apparent when seeing the home in person that Lori is masterful with color.


The antique sketches and etchings combined with the crystal lamps and the flowering dogwood branches makes such a beautiful vignette, one of my favorites in the house. To the right of the antique etchings is the opening to the family room. The house really flowed so well, and Lori said she wanted an easy transition from one room to another.


The family room spans much of the back of the house, and the doors flanking the fireplace lead to a covered porch. The room to the right of the sconce is the powder room (more on that later).


When Lori and architect Holly Johnson designed the house, they carefully considered the balance of wall space to windows and doors; so many homes today sacrifice wall space for openness, and end up with few wall spaces to anchor furniture or hang art. Lori particularly wanted to have this wall space in the family room (the stairs are on the other side), and the arrangement here is the focal point of the room.


Lori's mother is also a talented artist, and hand turns wood to make beautiful lamps. The lamps on the antique console were made by Lori's mother, and look great with Lori's collection of Chinese blue and white. When I toured the home last week, I found this vignette to be so striking with its elegant symmetry. I could not put a tablescape together to save my life, so I have such an appreciation for the artistic eye it takes to put together such a beautiful arrangement!


A close up of an antique piece circa 1870, which belonged to an attorney in Belgium and is the home to much of Lori's Chinese blue and white collection. The sconces were custom designed by Lori.


The chandelier in the family room was one of my favorite lighting fixtures in the house.


The French doors flanking the fireplace lead out to the covered terrace, which is a highly desirable feature in an Atlanta home. I should have taken a wider shot of the terrace as the fireplace can't be seen.


The kitchen and the family room span the back of the house, and an antique French table is centered in the middle of the two (in lieu of a separate breakfast area). Lori says that this is one of the best decisions she made in designing the home; the table is a real gathering place for friends and family, and keeps the kitchen and family room very open.


Overhead cabinet space was kept to a minimum in the kitchen in order to make it feel more like a comfortable room; the kitchen was designed with extra drawer space for storage. Lori used crema delacato marble on the countertops, in keeping with the European feel of the house, and looks forward to the patina that the counters will gain with age and use. The lanterns over the island were custom designed by Lori, and the barstools are antique.


A space was custom made for Lori's prized antique French vaisselier. Lori said that when she pulls into her driveway at night, she can see through the French doors of the dining room to the vaisselier in the back of the kitchen, a view that she enjoys every time.


There is a small wing off the family room that contains the powder room and the guest bedroom and bathroom. Since the powder room is visible from the family room, Lori wanted to give the sense that it is a decorated room. She used an antique chest for the sink, a Louis Philippe mirror, and two Simon Pearce lamps with silk shades. On the right wall, not seen in this picture, is an antique painting that hung in the Royal Academy of Arts, and the small chandelier was designed by Lori.


At the end of the small hall next to the powder room is the guest bedroom. It is quite light and airy because of the windows and the soft tones used in the decor, and is possibly the most beautiful guest room I have ever seen! The color on the walls is Farrow & Ball light blue. This color is also used in the master bathroom, and it translates more as green upstairs. Lori enjoys using Farrow & Ball colors as they change colors based on the light and the environment they are in.


A view of the room from the other side - the antique panels were too pretty not to show.


Another beautiful vignette, and the bedside table is so unique.


The guest bathroom. Lori used Restoration Hardware sconces in the guest bathroom and her daughter's bathroom; she loved them, and once she found them, felt no need to look any further. Farrow and Ball light blue is also used in the bathroom, and it is interesting to see how the green comes through in this room.


A close-up of the honed marble tiles used on the floor.


Back to the entry, and up the stairs. Lori uses a lot of sisal in her house, which has a natural beauty and is quite durable.


The upstairs is comprised of three bedrooms and a laundry room. A small hall connects one side of the upstairs to the other; the master/master bathroom/master closet spans the back of the house, and the children's rooms are on either side of the front. A sisal runner is in the hall, and the art above the bench is by the same artist who painted the abstracts in the entry, Leanne West. Look at the reflection of the lanterns on the ceiling - it is small details like this that make a home interesting.


As a mother of girls, I have full appreciation for the beauty of this room! The bed was Lori's as a child, and she had it repaired and refinished for her daughter. The color on the walls is half strength pewter mug by Porter Paints; Lori's daughter wanted purple, and Lori wanted gray, so pewter mug was the perfect middle ground. The pink and white of the fabric and the light in the room cast quite a bit of a pink hue on the wall, making the purple tone in the paint come through. I had mentioned earlier that Lori has a wonderful way with color; usually I like walls that are neutral, but after seeing Lori's house I was tempted to go home and paint several rooms in my house!


The side of the room, which has an antique bureau and a pair of Queen Anne mirrors. The beauty of this room is that it is ageless; it is as suitable for a young child as it is for a teenager (and beyond).


The daughter's bathroom is a vision in pink and white.


The room of Lori's son is classic and timeless as well. At Scott's antique market, Lori found a series of soldier engravings from an antique book, and the theme for the room was determined. This is particularly meaningful given Lori's husband's years of military service.


The lamps on the bedside table were hand crafted by Lori's mother, and the antique sabers were found at Scott's antique market. Notice the beautiful Greek key trim on the curtains.


The bathroom is painted in Ralph Lauren true blue. This blue took a while to select, as so many blues are either too purple or too gray.


The master bedroom is a lovely oasis.


Another view of the bedroom. The lamps on the bedside table were also made by Lori's mother, and custom painted.


The master bathroom, painted in the same Farrow and Ball light blue as the guest bedroom, yet the color reads in its own unique way in this room. Lori selected polished marble for the floor of the master bathroom. The antique chair is a charming touch.

The vanity area of the master bathroom. I found this master bathroom to be the perfect size and scale - not too big, not too small.


The office on the third floor - called 'the man's room' by Lori. The home also has a full basement that can be finished in a few years when the children grow older.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of Clay and Lori Tippins' beautiful home! When I asked Lori about her design philosophy, her first thought was 'soulful, livable elegance', and she acknowledged that she prefers fresh and carefully edited, classic and timeless. Although the decor reflects her own personal taste and love for antiques and the patina that only time and age can give, for her clients she believes in fiercely personal design that truly reflects a person's style.

What struck me about Lori was that she seemed to be very in touch with the varied needs and requirements of her clients, particularly in these challenging economic times. Although Lori has a trained eye for fine antiques, beautiful lighting, and elegant materials, she can also mix it up with well selected items from places like Restoration Hardware and little known secret sources that cut out the middleman and save her clients time and money.

For more information on Lori Tippins Interiors, you can contact her at lori@loritippinsinteriors.com. Her website, www.loritippinsinteriors.com, is being launched in the near future, so check it soon for updates.


  1. i am in love love love. !
    great post !

  2. So much to like. I need to see it in person, at least from the street. So much art that's so neutral, until the one over the master fireplace.

    Best I can tell the bath isn't one of those huge ones you expect in a new Buckhead house. (Does anybody feel good in a warehouse sized bathroom?) That's the most inviting place in the house to me. I love the master bath floor. Great picture of tub, chair, floor, and amazing windows.

  3. The blue and white collection is beautiful;I love the grey carried throughout, the staircase in that color is fab!

  4. What a wonderful guided tour of this lovely home. Thank you very much.

    I love the incredible attention to every detail. The colors are amazing, the lighting is perfection, and the use of antiques with contemporary art is fabulous. I especially love that Swedish bench used on the patio out by the fire place.

    The guest room is divine and no one will want to leave...hummm...maybe not such a good idea :-)

    Love it all!
    Tricia - Avolli

  5. * Designer Lori & architect Holly work together, seemingly effortlessly as "one", mutually creating a beautiful, understated & classic elegance. I'm looking forward to following young Lori's years of upcoming growth, creative expressions of beauty & timeless elegance... what a treat to see in someone so young... how fun to follow along!!!

    WONDERFULLY written, too ~ (I was enjoying it so much I even forgot to finish my coffee, & the dog is STILL sitting ON my foot, watching n' waiting for her "pool time" this warm AZ morning!!!)~

    Thanks again~ a true delight, all the way around!!!

    Linda in AZ *

  6. There are so many elements in this home that I'm inspired by - I wouldn't even know where to begin! Wonderful post and walk-through!

  7. Wonderful tour. What a beautiful classic home. I love it when people build to suit the neighborhood rather than overbuilding the ostentatious McMansions we see so much of in older parts of cities these days. Lori is obviously very talented and has great taste!

  8. Beautiful house! Thanks for sharing it with us, you certainly get to see a lot of amazing homes where you live!

  9. Love this beautiful, peaceful house. Although I also love modern design, a return to traditional design makes my heart sing.

  10. What a gorgeous, calm, yet inspiring home. I have added it to my dream house list!

  11. What a lovely home. Her use of color is amazing! I really love all the gray tones - they are warm which is often difficult with gray! Kudos to her and her architect - clearly a perfect match!!

  12. Thanks for the tour, this home is FABULOUS!!!

  13. I absoluteyly loved the tour of this home! Thank you for sharing the paint colors. Would you happen to know the other colors that weren't mentioned? My husband and I are currently building a farmhouse in Ks and I really want it to look like it has always been here. Unfortunatley it's all me because I can't afford an architect, designer etc. But I absolutely love desing so I'm having a ball.

  14. Thank you for the comments, everyone. I am sure that Lori will be so pleased to read the positive response to her beautiful home! Some of your said that it is a very peaceful place, and I think that assessment is so correct.

  15. How charming to be able to use one's own childhood bed! Lovely.

  16. What a beautiful home. Thanks for sharing it with us. She is such a talented designer.

  17. Just beautiful! Another example of great Atlanta style! Thanks for sharing.

  18. Thank you for posting. I saw this house on the tour last week-- it was gorgeous but also such an inviting family home ... glad to be able to tour it again through your photos. It was the first house we visited and we were tempted to drive back for a second walk through! She is very talented.

  19. Gosh, what a glorious home! Thanks for your wonderful photos and the tour. I agree, that guest room is pure perfection...I will definitely try the Skylight, if that Light Blue is any indication of the beauty of F&B paints. The colours of the home are exquisite...and what a wonderful tour guide!

    I also love the bathroom honed marble floors!

    xo and hope you are well as can be!

    xo Terri

  20. Beautiful! I can see why you liked this so much - I loved the doors to the formal rooms and that guest room!!!! the master is really beautiful too. what a house - loved this!!!

  21. Thank you so much for sharing! Great pictures, great angles- lots to see and be inspired from. I was sad to have missed the tour- especially since this is my favorite neighborhood area in Atlanta!

  22. What a stunning home. I remember visiting this neighborhood when I was in Atlanta a long time ago. I thought it was gorgeous. So thanks for the tour inside one of its houses.

  23. What a beautiful home...the wood floors, the classic elements and design of the home...gorgeous. Thank you for the visual tour.

  24. Wow, what an absolutely stunning home. I love seeing real people's homes... the details that evolve over time are so interesting, and not always there in showhomes. Beautiful pictures!

  25. What a lovely home! I really love the wall color in the foyer, I'm a big fan of any shade of gray. The master bedroom is such a fantasy room; I would love love love to wake up in that cocoon of luxury every morning!
    xo Katherine aka. Urban Flea :)

  26. Drolling...
    I would loooove to have such a pretty pretty house.
    Thanks for sharing it with us all.

  27. The Home and its interior are awesome.. you can also use 3d softwares for designing home..
    My Virtual Home is an easy to use software which will allow you to make 3D home plans easily. For more information on My Virtual Home and free download, visit
    Virtual Home

  28. Ditto - great post. What a fabulous collection of Blue and White.

  29. Just beautiful - I love the use of white in so many of these spaces. Very serene, but the over all effect creates a lot of visual interest.

  30. I saw this in person on the tour and was IN LOVE with the kitchen! The whole house was just beautiful, but the kitchen and the master bath were my favs. I'm thrilled to get to re-live it through your photos! She is a VERY talented decorator and has a stunning home to prove it!

  31. Breathtakingly stunning! I want to go back to the beginning of this post and inhale each and every room again. Thank you for both taking and sharing these beautiful photographs with us! ~Arleen

  32. Love the blue and white!! It is a favorite of ours for our silk arrangements. In fact it is the one type of container we are always on the lookout for. Check sophiedahydesigns.com and our recently opened ETSY shop!

  33. Such a charming and beautiful home - thank you for the wonderful tour. You are an excellent guide, xv.

  34. What a beautiful home! I think I could move in and not change a thing. I love, love, love the open garage concept! Brilliant!!!
    What an awesome party space on a raining or sunny day!

  35. Serene, tranquil & a pure delight.
    Thank you for the post & to Lisa for the inspirations.

  36. What a lovely and delightful post! The outside is breathtaking! I love the car port! Oooo...The guest room really captured my eye! So beautiful! I Love it!

    May you have a nice weekend!
    ~Miss Kris~

  37. Gorgeous. Wish I had been there!

    I especially love the doors, the bathroom floors and the monochromatic palette. She is not afraid of color, but uses it sparingly. The building details all look to be of great quality.

    Beautiful post and great photos!

  38. What a great tour! From the exterior to the interior - flawless.

  39. I'm looking through all of your photos and realize I am looking for something in particular so thought maybe i could just ask you...it has got to be a growing market...we recently broke down and bought one of those large over stuffed (ugly) four lazy boy type sectional sofas with a (horrid) drink holder in fake burl. Don't die. We have teens and their friends. plus i must admit it is so comfy i never want to leave it.. But...now I am desperately trying to undo the visual damage. I tried a sunburst mirror over the flat screen but not working.. took it back. Do you have ANY examples of someone who manged to pull off one of these montsrosities with any hint of style?!?! I at least can go inot my living room for relief but the comfort inevitably draws me back into stuffed land. Is there any hope of salvage?

  40. This house is even more amazing in person. She is a great friend and a very talented designer!

  41. ohh I love this home!! I love the idea of an open air garage --- how interesting!

  42. Neat collection of Chinese blue and whites.. did Lori's mum actually make those Chinese lamps herself, too? They go so wonderfully well with the porcelain pieces, as would a nice piece or two of contemporary Chinese painting.

  43. I love LOVE LOVE LOVE the greys she used in her home!! I am searching for greys to use in my new house and this home is now my color inspiration!


Thank you for your comments! I strive to make my blog positive in tone, and appreciate the same courtesy when comments are made. Thank you!


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