An Atlanta Treasure by Huff-Dewberry

An unabashedly formal house in Buckhead gets a fresh look in keeping with its classic bones.

Text: Lydia Somerville
Photography: Jeff Herr

When clients approached design firm Huff-Dewberry to decorate a new home for them, it was as if their careers had come full circle. The designers had worked for decades with the late Dan Carithers, another design luminary, who these same clients had used for decades. When Carithers retired, the clients made the natural progression to the young firm steeped in Carithers’s fresh take on traditional style.

“Our clients were moving homes within Atlanta and wanted a master bedroom on the main floor,” says Heather Dewberry (@heatherdewberry). “Our mission was to incorporate their collected antiques and treasures into their new house with a fresh perspective.” Designed in the late 1980s by legendary Atlanta architect Norman Askins, the house is proof that Southern style, comfortable with antiques and a certain degree of formality, is enduring. “It was a dream to inherit a home with such gorgeous architecture and interior detail,” she says. “Those great bones and the interior integrity left us open to just decorate.”

Throughout the house, Dewberry strove to balance the formality of the antiques collected over 30 years with fabrics that lend a relaxed tone. “In the dining room and living room, we incorporated sophisticated checked fabrics to make the rooms feel more casual,” she says. “We find that using checks and plaids relaxes other patterns.” The floral print on the bergères was a serendipitous find.

“I had seen the gorgeous faded blue-and-yellow hand-blocked linen at Robert Kime in London a few years ago. It remained on my inspiration board waiting for the perfect project, and this was it.” The bound wool carpet was another casual touch, rather than a more formal antique rug.

Atlanta Treasure

Atlanta Treasure

Atlanta Treasure

Atlanta Treasure

Atlanta Treasure

In the ethereal blue dining room, the furniture’s rich mahogany tones stand in high relief. “The clients bought the longcase clock by John Elliott in England,” says the designer. “We love to use antique clocks in dining rooms, as they add character to the room. Plus, they keep meals running on time.” The creamware collection in the niches was a nod to their former boss. “It was a great way to add soothing, quiet elegance to the room.” says Dewberry. “We smiled knowing Dan would love it, since creamware was one of his favorite things to collect.”

In the family room, splashes of leaf green provide crisp contrast to predominant blue. “We were inspired by the beautiful painted consoles that we moved from their former living room to this space,” says the designer. “The room overlooks their gorgeous back garden, and we decided that green was an excellent choice to bring the outdoors in.”

The husband is an avid wing shooter, and the couple travels often to England and Scotland, frequently shopping for antiques in the Cotswolds. The antique landscape hanging over the mantel is a reminder of one of their favorite places. The master bedroom is a luxurious oasis, with lavish window treatments and a classic wool carpet. “We decided to use the same Travers relaxed linen damask en suite on the windows and the bed,” says Dewberry. “It’s a traditional technique to use the same fabric throughout the room, and it always gives great results.”