Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Favorite Showhouse

I am a huge fan of the holidays, and the way that I start to get into the spirit of the holiday season is with the Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Christmas House. Every year, a beautiful home is selected, the Southeast's most talented designers are enlisted to create spectacular spaces, and a showhouse is created that combines four of my favorite elements: beautiful interiors, amazing architecture, stunning art, and elegant holiday decor. I have been following the progress of the Christmas House through AH&L editor Clint Smith's tweets; I have also been reading the profiles of the designers on the AH&L newsletter and magazine. Finally, after months of preparation, the 2009 Christmas House is ready to open its doors on Saturday, November 14.
This week I had the great honor of getting a sneak preview of the 2009 Christmas House, located at 1795 West Wesley (in Atlanta). Bill Baker (whom I interviewed on the blog this summer) was the architectural designer behind the home, Mark Stevens of Southwick Real Estate was the builder, and over two dozen of the Southeast's finest designers were responsible for the interiors. Virtually everything was in place, in preparation for the opening night party. Like any home ready to open its doors to honored guests, there was a buzz of activity and last minute fluffing. It was a bit surreal to see some of the nations most revered designers doing last minute checks on their spaces; AH&L editor Clint Smith was on site making sure that everything was picture perfect for the home's premiere.
The 2009 Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Christmas House. There were many busy people on site, preparing for opening day on Saturday, November 14.
I had heard buzz that this year's Christmas House is the most spectacular one yet, so my expectations were high. Without a doubt, my expectations were exceeded. My overall impression was of the beautiful flow of the spaces, which is both in part because of the architecture and the skill of the designers, who were hand picked by Clint Smith for the Christmas House.
The interiors of the home have a definite transitional flair; there were certainly elements of the traditional in every room, but the openness of the architecture and the beautiful quality of the light in the home lent itself to a neutral color palette (with quite a bit of soft gray), striking contemporary art, and a fresh interpretation of design that really reflects what people are liking now. Walking through the home was like walking through the pages of a magazine.
I always think that entries define the first impression of a home. Barbara Howard's entry (of Marshall Howard) set the perfect introduction to this home, with the branch arrangements adorned with green, gold and cream glass ornaments. A hint of the room can be seen in the mirrors lining the wall - note the antique lighting feature in the reflection. To see the space in its entirety is a marvel to behold...you can get a hint of the beauty in the first picture in this post. (All photos were taken by me).
Beyond the entry is the spectacular living room, with interior design by John Oetgen. As luck would have it, John was there when I arrived. He said the inspiration for the room was a house in the Hamptons, as the connection between the interiors and the garden is so strong in this home (there are three French doors in the living room that open to the back yard entertainment area and pool). John's intent was to create a space that is both elegant and casual; a four season room that would be enjoyed every day of the year. Here is a little peek at my favorite vignette in the room. I have a soft spot for a piano in a home; John Oetgen incorporated a piano into the living room with a beautiful gallery wall as the background. Most of the artwork is from John's personal collection, and the blue piece in the center was painted by John himself.
Next to the piano sits a clamshell perched on a garden seat, loaded with gifts; in the room of John's imagination, guests who play the piano at holiday gatherings will receive a special gift for their efforts.
A charming cherub sculpture with a whimsical Etro velvet cap. John is known for his touches of whimsy in every room he creates, and this scene made me smile.
Another highlight of the home is the master bathroom created by noted designer Susan Ferrier of McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors (she also designed the elegant and peaceful master bedroom). There was so much stunning light streaming into this space that I actually had a hard time capturing the room's beauty on camera.
The dining room, created by Sara Steinfeld, had a chic Hermès place setting on the table. Hermès of Paris is one of the sponsors of the Christmas House, and designed a room on the second floor of the house.
I found Barbara Heath's room (owner of Mercantile Atlanta) to be particularly beautiful. Barbara was putting last minute touches on the room when I saw it, and we had a difficult time picking out which vignette to feature from the room - there were so many beautiful elements in the space. Ultimately, we picked the 'magazine perspective' of the side table, and the mirrored bed. Barbara's store, Mercantile Atlanta, is well known for its one of a kind Murano glass lamps, as seen in this picture. (Make sure to peek into the closet in this room!)
Beth Webb did the design for the 'Artist Atelier', which really captured my imagination. In this small vignette from the space, I felt completely transported into the world of an artist refining his craft (and enjoying himself too - you will know what I mean if you have the opportunity to see the rest of the room!).
This is just a small glimpse into a few of the many amazing rooms in this year's Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Christmas House. The roster of design talent reads like a 'who's who' in design:

Susan Ferrier, McAlpine, Booth & Ferrier Interiors
Barbara Heath, The Mercantile

Barbara Howard, Marshall Howard
Bill Hudgins, Lush Life Home & Garden
Suzanne Kasler, Suzanne Kasler Interiors
John Oetgen, John Oetgen Design
Jared Paul, Jared Paul Interiors
Jimmy Stanton, Stanton Home Furnishings
Sara Steinfeld, Sara Steinfeld Ltd.
Courtney & Randy Tilinski, Bungalow Classic
Beth Webb, Beth Webb Interiors
Mark Williams and Niki Papadopoulos, Mark Williams Design Associates
Mimi Williams, Mimi Williams Interiors

For those of you who do not live in Atlanta, you can subscribe to Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine, which will feature some of the rooms from the showhouse in a springtime edition of the magazine. For those of you who live in Atlanta - or within driving distance - I highly recommend a visit to the showhouse. It is a great weekend to come to Atlanta - Scott's Antique Market is going on, the weather is supposed to be beautiful, and the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Christmas House opens this Saturday, November 14, at 10 am. The Christmas House benefits the Alliance Children's Theater.
Where: 1795 West Wesley Road Atlanta, GA 30327
Dates: Open for public tours Saturday, November 14 through Sunday, December 6.
Wednesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 – 5 p.m.
The House is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thanksgiving Day

Tickets: $20 at the door, $18 in advance through woodruffcenter.org or alliancetheatre.org
Food & Gifts: Soups, salads, sandwiches and seasonal desserts will be for sale on site at Café Noel. Holiday gifts at the special shop by Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts, Inc.
Parking: Parking is not allowed at the Christmas House. However, there will be a continuous courtesy shuttle to and from the house from the IBM Office Complex at 4111 Northside Parkway NW, Atlanta 30327.
More information:
Finally, for an insiders perspective on the inspiration behind a room at the showhouse, check out designer Niki Papadopoulos' blog post on the room she designed with Mark Williams.


  1. Wow, incredible in every way. I can't wait to see it. What did the Bob Brown room look like? He is my favorite designer.

  2. Ohhh lucky you to get to see all those designers running around giving the final touches to the rooms! A gorgeous house,and I can't keep my eyes off that beatutiful master bathroom, so simple, so lovely!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you for the comments! Bob Brown designed the home's library/office, which was beautiful - rich and warm and cozy. It had the prettiest tree in the house. Bob was there yesterday putting in the finishing touches; I wish I had introduced myself to him.

  4. I was planning to do a post after I visited this weekend, but now it's not going to happen. I've been looking forward to it since I saw the first sneak peek in AHL months ago!! So glad to get this glimpse. I knew exactly who had done the "Artist Atelier" before the text had loaded, just from the photo! So very 'Beth'! This looks like the best Christmas house to date...and that Hermes flatware is unbelievable!!!

  5. What a gorgeous house! I love to visit showhouses especially around the holidays. Lots of great ideas!

  6. That was a good tease! The light in the bathroom, wow. Barbara Heath's rug. Something bugged me: the chair instead of a piano bench. But I'm sure Mr. Oetgen couldn't resist the look.

  7. Oh I am so excited to see this house. I've been waiting for months. Unfortunately, thousands of miles seperate us. I do hope after the house opens photos show up on the blogs. What an amazing mix of talent! Since Smith announced the 'cast' I knew it would be something spectacular!

  8. Absolutely gorgeous! I love that master bathroom - parfait pour moi!


  9. LOVE IT! Everything is grand, your photos served very well! Of course one of my fives was the Artist Atelier - and I can't wait to go in person. Thank you for the sneak peak of the great work from all the designers!

  10. TTI,
    Thanks for the fabulous preview....I cannot wait to go.

  11. I am so excited to get a glimpse! Your photo of the master bath is AMAZING! I loved all the vignettes you featured. Beacham&Company is hosting the Atlanta Holiday House, which is actually just up the road... so I have been passing the Christmas house for months. It is always so busy! You can tell by all the bustle how many people were working together to get this finished, and it looks like a total success. Congrats on a great post, and congrats to AH&L for what promises to be a sight to behold.

  12. Can't wait to see it in person. Glad to see some Carolyn Carr prints on the walls!

  13. This house is breath-taking. I can't seem to find any other words.

  14. An amazing post! I so enjoyed it! You were so lucky to have been able to visit this beautiful house!
    I looovvveeeddd that bathroom! Gorgeous!

    Have a nice weekend!

  15. I love that bathroom too! On my iPhone, the bathroom picture is getting cut off, but it looked fine on my laptop.

    I am curious, are bathtubs like that comfortable? They seem to be 'what is done' in bathrooms these days. They certainly are beautiful.

  16. TTI-Thank you for linking over to Yummy Scrumptious! The house really is beautiful and all of this years designers have done a fantastic job. The house feels very cohesive, as if everyone worked together to create a delicious interior. It doesn't fee disjointed like show houses sometimes do. I hope everyone enjoys it!

  17. OOO, Ahh, these are great photos - what a gorgeous home!


  18. The exterior of this home is absolutely beautiful!

  19. Well, I was no more planning on driving to Atlanta this weekend [I am still working like crazy making wreaths for Christmas!], BUT, because of your post, that is exactly what I am going to do. Actually, I am really excited. One of my daughters is going with me, and we are making a little girl trip out of it. I have a very understanding husband!! Wish you could be there on sunday with us!

  20. What a lovely treat. Thank you for the tour!


  21. What a tremendous amalgamation of the not only the city's talent, but talented designers in general! Looking forward to seeing all the rooms in person!

  22. Gorgeous, I especially loved the plants stands in the bathroom (not sure why). I can see why you love it!

  23. so lovely! piqued my interest but this chicago gal will have to wait via blogs, yours i hope!
    5th and state

  24. I love every image shown, especially the artist's atelier. Very soft throughout yet stunning!

  25. I so wish I could see this house in person! It's amazing!

  26. Wow, thanks for taking the time to do such an in'depth post!! I loved each photo more than the next! We don't have showhome like that here; in Toronto they have some nice ones.

    That Hermes place setting is so amazing...love the shape of the flatware!


  27. How I would love to see these rooms! Thank you for sharing. For the first time in years, my family will be spending Christmas at home, you have inspired me to create something very special for the holidays...

  28. to. die. for. What a great Christmas House, Atlanta does design perfectly. Thank you so much for the preview. If I could, I'd fly down just to see it, it looks fabulous.

  29. I am in love with this house! Thanks for showing it.

  30. I toured the house yesterday and it was gorgeous from head to toe!

    The builder was in the kitchen when I went.

    It was hard to choose a favorite room, but if I had to it would be the master bath, and a close second would be the Artist Atelier.
    The lighting in there was perfect.
    Loved the daily reminders and confirmations scattered about.

    Oh, the media room was great too!

    I loved the design of the house. Although it was big, with lots of rooms, none of the rooms felt huge and impersonal. The bedrooms were actually quite modest in size.

    The designers did a marvelous job.
    The rooms really flowed together nicely.

    My husband was spared from being dragged along, so it was great to refer to this post to show him the pctures. Unfortunately there wasn't a single picture in the "ticket/magazine" they gave out at the house. That seems odd to me.

    Thanks for sharing this post. I may have missed out on this otherwise.

    Any more tours I need to see?!

    Kristen W. in Atlanta

  31. Don't worry, all of the pictures of the rooms will be in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles in the spring, but nothing beats seeing them in person! The AJC had an article on the house with pics, but I think the pictures really distorted the look of the rooms - sorry, hate to be critical, but the pictures did not do the rooms justice.

  32. My favorite tours/showhouses are this one; the Atlanta Symphony Showhouse, which is usually in the late spring; the Peachtree Battle Friends tour of homes, which is usually in early May; and the Cathedral Tour of Homes, which is on January 24 and January 25. I am writing the home profiles for the Cathedral Tour of Homes, and have already seen all of the homes. There are 5 homes; they are gracious, beautiful Buckhead homes, most of which have been renovated within the past few years. They are all one of a kind, and I think my readers will love them! One was in Southern Living recently, one was photographed for Southern Accents and was set for a future issue, but of course Southern Accents closed its doors. One of the homes is a dramatic transformation, another is an unbelievable renovation by Norman Askins and Michelle Moody. The final home is a charming Buckhead manor that has been redone by the interior designer daughter of the homeowner.

    More to come in January....

  33. Those photos is a great masterpiece. What a beautiful world when you have a beautiful house.

    Deirdre G



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