Finding a home with instant character usually means taking on a custom build or buying an older, updated home imbued with layers of history and patina. And finding that home in the neighborhood you want to live in can be as challenging as uncovering the proverbial needle in a haystack. Such was the case for these longtime, Atlanta-based clients of interior designer Jan Ware. “My friend and her husband had been wanting to build a house in Buckhead for years,” Jan says. But when a spec home became available on a desirable street, the couple nixed the idea of starting from scratch and decided to massage the finishes to suit themselves and their four sons.
“The house was still in the very early stages of construction,” Jan says of the cottage-style plan designed by Amanda Orr Architects. Fortunately, that gave the couple plenty of time to step in and add their own touches. It also helped that Jan was willing to make the trek down I-20 from her Birmingham headquarters.
Still in the framing stages with David Siegel Design and Construction, the house was set to take on the classic, cottage architecture exhibited by the other homes on the street, but the owners wanted to move it in a more contemporary direction. With a few smart tweaks, Jan pushed the structure across the line by adding some striking appointments and dramatic finishes to create a California contemporary feel while still allowing the house to harmonize with its neighbors.
Architecturally, the designer introduced custom floor-to-ceiling, steel windows and doors across the front and rear of the house to open it up to the outdoors. She withheld ornate mouldings, opting instead for wide casings. Sheetrocked walls became canvases for color and drama.
Jan also wasn’t shy about swapping rooms around. For instance, the dining room was much better suited as a sitting room thanks to its adjacency to the glass-paned wine cellar. “My clients host a lot of events, so I really concentrated on how all the rooms were going to flow when they entertained,” says Jan. With the exchange, the formal living room became the dining room, a welcoming space just inside the entry.
Certain upholstered items offer transitional style while other pieces, such as the dining chairs and tables, lean midcentury modern. Contrasts and black accents play to the edgy look, giving the interiors depth while also emphasizing the gleam of metallic accents in the light fixtures, art, accessories, and furniture. As Jan explains, it’s that level of attention to every detail that made this spec house feel extra special.
A new collection for the home by Jan Ware
Designer Jan Ware is committed to turning homes into havens—those personal, private sanctuaries where owners can find respite yet also graciously welcome friends and family. She knows that it’s the curated mix of antiques, one-of-a-kind accessories, and classic comforts that truly bring warmth to a home. With Clever Haven, her new homes line, Jan’s favorite things can now become yours.
1. Candles create a transformative experience. Try the Cereria Molla Bois de Santal 4 Wick Candle. It’s spicy, earthy, and sensual with a hint of patchouli and vanilla.
2. One-of-a-kind finds such as this antique Louis Philippe Commode with black marble top create storied rooms with individual style.
3. This rattan mirror is equally at home at the lake or the beach. Try a pair above bedside tables for extra punch.
4. Vintage European bike tags offer color and invoke curiosity.
5. A finial-shaped sculpture (or two or three) is always a statement maker on tabletops or mantels. The top of this 10-inch tall onyx piece lifts off so it can double as a container.