It had history aplenty, but “it needed new energy,” says Jacqueline Horvath of the 1919 Italianate estate she and her husband purchased early last year in Atlanta’s Druid Hills neighborhood (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted). The couple had been in the market for a house with more space for their young family. When the listing came up while they were on vacation in Argentina, they toured the 8,000-square-foot residence via FaceTime with their realtor—and they fell in love. “We wanted to honor the architecture of the home,” Horvath continues, but “we immediately knew it would need updates.” Even before closing documents were signed, she called AD PRO Directory designer Bradley Odom.
Horvath was first acquainted with Atlanta-based Odom as a patron of his design shop, Dixon Rye, and later hired the creative to decorate her previous home. For this storied manse by late architect Arthur Neal Robinson Senior, she wanted interiors that “did not feel too precious,” she explains. “It was vital to us that every room was inviting, but unexpected and livable at the same time.”
Her designer took the message to heart. After a fair amount of research into the house’s past, Odom launched its next chapter with a bold concept for the existing butler’s pantry: Lacquer the cubic room that contains the china cabinet, a bar, workspace, and floral sink in Benjamin Moore’s deep Lafayette Green paint. The moody, glossy space inspired adjacent rooms “like tentacles,” he says.
Take the formal dining room, wrapped in de Gournay’s Namban wallcovering—a silver leaf design featuring cranes in flight that marks the first time the pattern has been used in the Atlanta market. A chandelier with blown glass links by Brooklyn-based duo Trueing hangs over the receiving room, where a black-and-white colorway of Dedar’s iconic Tiger Mountain jacquard velvet upholsters a sofa. A rotating disco ball from the iconic New York nightclub Studio 54 casts rainbow sparkles across the sunroom’s vintage rattan furniture set. Deploying this mix of color, pattern, and whimsy, Odom’s design maintains the five-bedroom, six-bathroom home’s Art Deco feel, while shedding any pretension. Now, within its historically preserved architectural bones, it fits the contemporary lifestyle of a fun-loving family and their penchant for frequent parties.
“One of the project’s biggest design challenges was figuring out how to keep the house approachable,” says Odom. “The homeowners wanted to incorporate elevated, sophisticated design pieces” without a buttoned-up vibe. It became an exercise in contrasts. For example, saturated hues and sculptural Brutalist-style furniture add new personality to the elegant wainscoted drawing room—sunlit by lunette windows over original French doors that open onto the extensive landscaped grounds. A Cloud Chandelier by Apparatus hangs over a pair of vintage Claude Terrell side chairs, a stepped-arm sofa upholstered in an orange mohair, and a bespoke burled maple daybed with a cushion covered in Pierre Frey’s graphic diamond-pattern blue velvet. The seating gathers around two resin-and-chrome cocktail tables.
Like many of the quirky, vintage pieces in the house, this pair was sourced during a trip to the Paris Flea Market, where Odom and his clients shopped together. The experience was a hands-on opportunity for the owners to further their home’s collected yet curated aesthetic. For example, a stellular pendant hangs over the handsome wood dining table by Fern, and the four-foot-tall bronze heron sculptures and perforated concrete drinks table now live in the cocktail party–ready solarium.
In the public-facing rooms, these one-offs start conversations during the indoor-outdoor gatherings that the family loves to host; but in the private spaces, the design becomes more cocoon-like. Colors and patterns are just as bold, but the overall effect of the Inchyra Blue Farrow and Ball paint in the primary bedroom, or the McLaurin & Piercy grasscloth in the office, hearken back to the jewel-box feel of the pantry that kicked off the project. “There’s a procession that now naturally happens in this house,” says Odom. “It was important that all the spaces felt inviting, so that everyone wouldn’t just congregate in the kitchen.”