Cosmopolitan ideal

It's old meets new at this clean-lined, Southern-style mansion, where traditionaldesign elements are married with modern furnishings and art-influenced colors

The curving staircase connects with a wide second-floor ceiling, home, interior design, living room, real estate, room, table, window, gray
The curving staircase connects with a wide second-floor hallway that leads down to the master bedroom. The hall doubles as a study and gallery space.

Something old, something new, but notnecessarily anything borrowed or anything blue. When it comes to designing interiors, rather than treading a path that relies on one particular style of expression, a mix of elements from a variety of sources can instead be used to create individual, and often completely eclectic, results.

When considering the design options for this traditional Southern mansion, the necessary conditions for a varied but cohesive interior composition were evident to interior designer Jill Vantosh.

"Originally, my client was looking for a contemporary home, something streamlined and modern that would allow her to best highlight an extensive collection of modern art and glassworks," says the designer. "However, she was captivated by the charm of this traditional style of house."

The home's two levels are connected by a winding central staircase. From the entrance foyer, this dramatic feature connects with the upper level's study and gallery space. Bedrooms are also on this story. The lower level features a number of living spaces each with a distinct personality. To create the desired effect in each room, many areas were completely stripped back, says Vantosh.

"Although the house had plenty of charm, the interior architecture wasn't that great. One of the first things we did was to accentuate the better traditional features of the home by introducing new paneling and moldings."

A view of the master ensuite, tiled floors bathroom, bathroom accessory, bathroom cabinet, floor, glass, interior design, plumbing fixture, room, gray
A view of the master ensuite, tiled floors and walls, white tub, wooden cabinetry, vanity, chrome faucetry, curtains.

Some of the spaces, including the master bedroom and kitchen, required complete reworking. In the master bedroom, Vantosh added new ceiling and wall moldings to emphasise the room's height and add architectural interest. The pink-painted master bathroom which almost convinced the homeowner not to buy the house in the first place was reworked into a classically elegant space, with flowing floor-to-ceiling drapes, four vanities and a centrepiece bathtub.

Throughout the home, Vantosh has applied a design philosophy that allows the numerous pieces of art glass and modern art to take pride of place.

"The client's collection was the basis for the overall color selection. For example, the formal living room is white for several reasons: to promote serenity, to showcase the interior architecture, and to draw attention to the outdoor environment."

In this room, soft, comfortable and low-slung sofas were chosen drawing attention to the high ceilings, rather than trying to obscure the room's volume. Other accents that add impact include a large, carved wood fireplace surround and an antique-finish, gold-framed mirror which, drawn aside, reveals a television.

In contrast to the living room, the dining room's graphite-colored walls provide a moodier backdrop. However, color and light are injected through the vibrant blue upholstery of the chairs, arranged with a semi-circular white sofa, around a modern dining table.

Graphite-coloured walls in the dining room are a ceiling, estate, home, interior design, living room, property, real estate, room, white
Graphite-coloured walls in the dining room are a contrast to the lighter space of the formal living room. The modern dining table is accented with vividly coloured, traditional-style chairs. Elaborate chandeliersfeature in many of the home's rooms.

Extensive reworking was also undertaken in the kitchen, and the adjacent library. The home's previous owner, a dedicated entertainer, preferred not to have guests in the kitchen while cooking, and as such, the kitchen was a closed off space, says kitchen designer Matthew Quinn.

"Before, the kitchen was dead-end. But by removing a wall and introducing pocket walls, we were able to open it up to the library."

To complete the kitchen's transformation, new alder cabinetry, with translucent glass fronts that allow pantry lighting to subtly illuminate the room, and a central island with a raised stainless steel top and quartz corner sink were installed.

Credit list

Kitchen designer
Matthew Quinn, Design Galleria (Atlanta, GA)
Lighting consultant
Gabler & Youngston
Tile contractor
Korit Williams
Gallery furniture
Chaise and ottoman from
Master bedroom furniture
Bed from Matteograssi; table from Knoll
Duravit from Renaissance Tile and Bath
Bathroom cabinetry
Downsview Tania in white high-gloss lacquer
Vanity sinks
Lavatory basin by Kohler, from Dickerson Supply; make-up vanity sink by Kallista
Blaylock Construction
Kitchen cabinetry
Design Galleria
Living room furniture
Sofa from Holly Hunt
Sofa by B&B Italia
Master bedroom wall treatment
Keith Fruitiger
White Calacutta marble from Holloway Tile
Shower stall and fittings
Kohler from
Bathroom chandelier
Space by Moooi

Story by: Trendsideas

01 Nov, 2007