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Pastel Palette in an Historic Home

A modern renovation relaxes an historic home

Written by Amy Elbert
  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Call her sentimental—she won’t mind. Catherine Fleetwood wasn’t about to box up and hide her grandmother’s delicate porcelain bird sculptures, hand-painted urns, and English antique furniture. The dyed-in-the-wool Southerner admits the treasures might seem old-fashioned to some (even many of her own family members have said, “No thanks”), but she adores them.

    “I know they look like old-lady things to some people, but I’ve grown up with and love them,” says Catherine, who, with husband Thomas, tapped architect Norman Askins and interior designers Heather Dewberry and Will Huff to weave family treasures and character into their home in the Buckhead district of Atlanta.

    When the Fleetwoods bought the 1930s, early-Federal-style home, it was sorely in need of updating (the kitchen was original to the house), but tearing it down was not an option. “We wanted to save the integrity of the old house,” Catherine says.

    Built on a flat plot of land (a rarity in Atlanta) on top of a hill, the house “had a lot going for it,” the architect agreed. “It had an unusually nice entrance hall and good-sized living and dining rooms. The rooms were not big but well-proportioned, with nice windows,” Askins says. “Catherine’s mantra was keep the charm. She wanted charming and old-fashioned, but not old lady.”

    Askins punched up the house’s street appeal, adding a columned portico on the front and three arched dormers on the slate roof. Inside, the house was torn down to the studs so wiring, heating and cooling, plumbing, and other mechanicals could be updated. Rooms basically stayed in the same configuration, but some door ways were shifted or eliminated to create better flow, and Askins beefed up the trim, adding deep baseboards, crown moldings, and other details in keeping with the original architecture. New walnut plank floors were installed on the main level and second-level oak floors were refinished.

    A two-story brick addition on the back of the house gave the Fleetwoods a new kitchen, family room, office, laundry room, powder room, and improved back entry. A new master suite with separate his-and-her baths was installed above the family room-kitchen.

    Rooms in the original second story were reconfigured to add new bathrooms. (Old ones were turned into walk-in closets.) “We were able to make the house flow a bit better and be more spacious. Nothing in the house is huge. It just feels generous,” Askins says. 

    Meanwhile, Dewberry and Huff took the charm mantra and ran with it. Catherine and the designers selected fabrics and wallcoverings in classic patterns—toiles, checks, florals, and trellises—but in fresh and lively color combos. A blue-and-celadon toile “gave an extra kick” to the master suite, Dewberry says, especially when mixed with two sizes of blue-checked fabric on chairs and the bed’s upholstered headboard. “We thought about solid fabrics for chairs but then said, let’s go for it,” Dewberry recalls. “I think the room is more welcoming and charming with the patterns.”

    At Catherine’s behest, Dewberry drew on her experience with  legendary Atlanta decorator Dan Carithers. “I told Heather that she’d have to replicate Dan’s best work in my house,” says Catherine, who has long admired the now-retired designer. Dewberry, who worked for Carithers early in her career, relished the oppor-tunity. “I pulled out all my best Dan tricks,” she laughs, including lush draperies with goblet- and inverted Empire-pleated valances. “Dan was wonderful with window treatments, and we loved that we were able to do so many in this house.” 

    Dewberry also credits Carithers for the subtle tone-on-tone yellow-striped wallcovering in the living room. “In a room with a lot of openings, the wallcovering grounds the space and ties things together,” she explains. “I saw Dan do this all the time.”

    The living and dining rooms’ gentle blue, yellow, and green color palette came directly from Catherine’s antique porcelain pieces, many of them birds designed by Dorothy Doughty and produced by Royal Worcester in the mid-1900s.

    “We loved that she wanted to use these family pieces,” says Dewberry, who admits to her own fondness for antique porcelain. “The colors are so beautiful and vivid.”

    Noting that curating is the key to keeping a collection from becoming clutter, the designers selected only a handful of the porcelains. Platters and plates are hung on walls throughout the house, including those of bedrooms and hallways, and the sculptures are showcased on simple painted brackets mounted at eye level (better for appreciating the intricate details).

    Two of the Doughty birds are set off by the delicate floral-and-vine wallcovering in the dining room. Brackets were painted ivory and not gilded, Dewberry says, to make them seem less formal.

    “Catherine and Thomas didn’t want the house to feel hands-off. They wanted it to be very warm and welcoming,” she says. “Most of the floor coverings are simple with not a lot of pattern, and that helps to keep things relaxed.” The designers purposely brought in robust-scaled Italian and French furnishings in a variety of painted and stained finishes to “loosen up” the dainty and more formal English antiques.

    In the living room, two modern sofas covered in a soft chenille keep the room from feeling overly formal or serious—especially with the addition of pillows in a big yellow check. “We thought the room could use a little kick,” says Dewberry.

    A custom-designed coffee table was topped with quartz surfacing rather than a stone slab. “They really use this living room for entertaining and family, and we didn’t want them to have to worry about coffee or wine stains on a stone table,” the designer explains.

    Making friends and family comfortable was always part of the plan. “The Fleetwoods are effortless entertainers. They don’t sweat the small stuff,” Dewberry says. Multiple French doors open to the bluestone patio and courtyard gardens, and when they entertain, doors stand open and people spill outside. “This is such a relaxed and comfortable home,” she says. “No one ever wants to leave.”

    Architect: Norman Askins, Norman Davenport Askins Architect, 2995 Lookout Place N.E., Atlanta, GA 30305; 404/233-6565,
    Interior design: Will Huff and Heather Zarrett Dewberry, Huff-Dewberry Inc., 2300 Peachtree Road N.W., Suite B-201, Atlanta, GA 30309; 404/355-7600, 
    Kitchen and bath design: Beth Barfield, Beth Barfield Designs, 3055 Westminster Circle N.W., Atlanta, GA 30327; 404/867-1725, 

    Produced by Lisa Mowry
    Photography: Emily Jenkins Followill

    Wallpaper (“Hurstwood Stripe”/Beige #7934-04, by Colefax and Fowler): Cowtan & Tout,
    Drapery (“Stanton” #18); Taffard Fabrics, 212/213-4670,
    Drapery trim (“Le Musee Silk Scallop Braid”): Samuel & Sons,
    Upholstered sofas: Baker,
    Yellow-checked pillows (“Chequers” #NCF3641-03, by Nina Campbell): Osborne & Little,
    Coffee table (custom): Huff-Dewberry,
    Area rug (Oushak): Moattar Ltd.,
    Tables flanking mantel; mirror over mantel; art flanking mantel: (antique): owner’s collection.
    Table lamps; yellow table lamp: for similar, Edgar-Reeves Lighting & Antiques,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill


    A wall at the end of the center hall was eliminated to allow for views through the house. Black-painted baseboards and a Circa chandelier add a bit of drama. 

    Paint: custom mixed on site.
    Hanging lantern: owner’s collection.
    Carpet on stairs:  Myers Carpet,
    Sconce on stairs (“Chandler” #TOB2110, by Thomas O’Brien): Circa Lighting,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Dining Room

    An arrangement of framed intaglios complements the blue-and-white wallcovering. The Fleetwoods inherited the antique crystal chandelier and hung it above the pedestal dining table from Baker. Striped Carlton V silk draperies with goblet pleats hang from hand-painted rods. 

    Wallpaper (#ZNTP06002, discontinued): Zoffany,
    Ceiling and trim paint (“White Dove” #OC-17): Benjamin Moore & Co.,
    Drapery (“Aladdin”/Celadon #IS131-4): Carleton V Ltd.,
    Drapery hardware (custom): through Huff-Dewberry,
    Framed intaglios: for similar, The Stalls Antiques,
    Sisal rug: Myers Carpet,
    Dining table: Baker,
    Chairs; chandelier (antique): owner’s collection. 

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Dining Room Credenza

    Porcelain birds perch on brackets above an Italian table. 

    Console table; mirror (antique); benches under console: owner’s collection.
    Lamps on console: Edgar-Reeves Lighting & Antiques,
    Wall brackets: Fabulous Things Ltd., 404/350-0916.   

  • Emily Jenkins Followill


    A pair of bouillotte lamps were wired into the walnut-topped island. The Wolf range is tucked into a marble-lined niche. Rustic beams above the range and on the ceiling add a sense of age.

    Cabinets (custom): Morgan Creek Cabinet Co.,
    Countertops and backsplash: Crema Delicato marble.
    Island countertops: Black Walnut.
    Bouillotte lamps on counter (custom); hanging lanterns: Edgar-Reeves Lighting & Antiques,
    Sink; faucet; pot-filler faucet: Rohl,
    Range (by Wolf); refrigerator (by Sub-Zero): Sub-Zero/Wolf,
    Window treatment (“Vanessa’s Folly”/Brown #79746-874, colorway discontinued): Brunschwig & Fils,
    Valance trim (“Warwick Picot Braid”/Denim): Samuel & Sons,
    Paint: custom mixed on site.
    Bar stools: owner’s collection. 

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Butler's Pantry

    Wooden cabinetry is tucked into an alcove outside the kitchen for extra prep and storage space.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill


    Large windows flood the kitchen with light.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Family Room Dining Area

    Antique side chairs are covered in a Cowtan & Tout check. The chest, painting, and plates on the wall are family antiques. 

    Table (antique); dining chairs (antique); chest (antique); lamps on chest (antique): owner’s collection.
    Dining-chair fabric (“Lidgate Check”/Blue #F3210-01, by Colefax and Fowler) Cowtan & Tout,
    Paint: custom mixed on site.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Family Room

    In the new family room addition, matched seating groups face off in front of the limestone fireplace. The custom coffee table was inspired by Italian trestle tables. The chandelier is by Edgar-Reeves.

    Sofa (#540, Travis Upholstery): Travis & Co.,
    Sofa fabric (“Oakdale”/Blue Smoke #PW54071, by Old World Weavers, discontinued): Stark,
    Sofa pillows (“Du Midi”/Bleu #33310-5, colorway discontinued): Clarence House,
    Lounge chairs (#766, Travis Upholstery): Travis & Co.,
    Leather chairs by mantel (antique): owner’s collection.
    Lounge-chair fabric (“Treillage”/Pecan #10888-06), plaid fabric on leather chairs (“Lidgate Check”/Blue #F3210-01, by Colefax and Fowler): Cowtan & Tout,
    Benches (antique); tables flanking sofa; table lamps: owner’s collection.
    Bench fabric (“Livingstone”/Blue #F1406/07, by Colefax and Fowler): Cowtan & Tout,
    Art over mantel (by Tracey Lane): Pryor Fine Art,
    Bookshelf sconces (“Dorchester 18-inch Picture Light” #CHD5137): Circa Lighting,
    Drapery (“Vanessa’s Folly”/Brown #BR-79746.874, colorway discontinued): Brunschwig & Fils,
    Drapery trim (“Warwick Picot Braid”/Denim): Samuel & Sons,
    Area rug (sisal): Myers Carpet,
    Coffee tables (custom): Holland & Co,
    Chandelier: Edgar-Reeves Lighting & Antiques,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill


    The home's brick exterior and black shutters reinforces the interior's classic charm.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Family Portrait

    Thomas and Catherine Fleetwood with their daughters, Caroline, 12, and Elizabeth, 9. 

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Master Bedroom Sitting Area

    The master bedroom's fireplace boasts a herringbone-patterned hearth, which complements the lines on the wallcovering and checked fabrics.

    See more of this room on the following slides.

    Chaise: owner’s collection. Fauteuil; settee at end of bed: antique. 
    Celadon garden stool by chaise; mirror over mantel: owner’s collection. 
    Celadon chargers and Asian accessories: Hill Street Warehouse,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Master Bedroom

    A fresh celadon-and-blue toile from Vervain and two sizes of Schumacher checks mix with a trellis wallcovering from Thibaut. Tassel trim is from Fabricut. 

    Wallpaper (“Molinia Trellis”/Aqua #T1925W-006): Thibaut,
    Bed (custom): through Huff-Dewberry,
    Drapery, bed drapery and settee-front fabric (“Charlene”/Lagoon): Vervain,
    Large checked fabric on headboard, bed skirt, and chaise (“Camden Cotton Check”/Aqua #63037); small checked fabric on bed-skirt and chaise trim, bed-drapery lining, settee back, and fauteuil (“Elton Cotton Check”/Aqua #63057): Schumacher,
    Drapery and bed-drapery tassel trim (“Pansy 01”): Fabricut,
    Armoire (antique); bedside chest (antique); chandelier (antique): owner’s collection.
    Table lamps: Mrs. Howard,
    Area rug (“Corsica” #92501-0004): Eve & Staron Studio,
    Bed linens (“Embroidered Scallop,” Classic Collection): Jane Wilner Designs,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Master Bedroom Details

    Dainty details, like monogrammed chair backs, lend charm to the bedroom.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Master Bath

    Draperies made of Fabricut linen skim the tub deck, adding to the luxurious feel of the bath. The tub faucet is by Rohl; wallcovering is from Farrow & Ball.

    See more of the master bath on the following slide.

    Wallpaper (“Ringwold” #BP 1637): Farrow & Ball,
    Drapery (“Fellas”/Mist #2423718): Fabricut,
    Chandelier (antique): owner’s collection.
    Towels: Jane Wilner Designs,
    Bath faucets: Rohl,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Dressing Area

    Creamy marble and a tall gilt mirror lend glamour to the dressing area.


    Dressing table (custom): Morgan Creek Cabinet Co.,
    Dressing-table top, flooring: Crema Delicato marble.
    Bench (antique): owner’s collection.
    Bench fabric (“Elton Cotton Check”/Aqua #63057): Schumacher,
    Sconces flanking mirror (“Arlington” #381-PN): Hudson Valley Lighting,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Pink Bedroom

    A bedroom with twin beds and a perfectly pink palette is accented with girly floral prints and a pretty chandelier.

    Beds (custom): M. Southern Design Concepts,
    Headboard and bed-skirt fabric; drapery; bed linens: Jane Wilner Designs,
    Drapery trim: Samuel & Sons,
    Table between beds (antique); table lamp; chandelier; botanical prints; accessories: owner’s collection.  

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Stair Landing

    The Fleetwoods inherited the shield-back settee, which sits in front of a window draped in “Acanthus Vine” fabric from Jane Shelton.

    Paint: custom mixed on site.
    Drapery (“Acanthus Vine”/Aqua #6217-2): Jane Shelton,
    Settee (antique): owner’s collection.
    Settee fabric (“Dart Stripe”/Aqua #F3514-04, by Colefax and Fowler): Cowtan & Tout,
    Wall sconce (“Chandler Single Sconce” #TOB2110, by Thomas O’Brien): Circa Lighting,  

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Guest Suite Bed

    The new garage has an upstairs guest suite with a masculine attitude. Built-in shelves create a bed niche with an acrylic-backed Kravet fabric wallcovering. Noir’s “Bourbon” bench is upholstered in a robust Vervain fabric. 

    See more of this suite on the following slides.

    Bed (“Isabelle Headboard”): Noir,
    Bed linens Jane Wilner Designs,
    Wall fabric behind bed, bed pillow fabric (“Latika Delta” #Latika.516): Kravet,
    Mirror above bed: owner’s collection.
    Built-in shelves: custom.
    Table lamps on shelves: Edgar-Reeves Lighting & Antiques,
    Bench (“Bourbon Bench”/Hand-Rubbed Black #GBEN114-2HB): Noir,
    Bench fabric; bed-skirt (“Beaucastel”/Indigo): Vervain,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Guest Suite Alcove

    The slanted walls and ceilings created space for a cozy window seat. The blue-checked cushion and drapery fabric is from Thibaut. 

    Checked fabric for drapery and window-seat cushion (“Netherlands Check”/Blue #W8307): Thibaut,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Guest Suite Bath

    Walls are covered in an exuberant ikat paper from Thibaut. “Using something so patterned camouflaged the angles and eaves more than if we’d painted,” notes designer Heather Dewberry. 

    Wallpaper (“Island Ikat”/Blue #T9169): Thibaut,
    Window treatment (discontinued): Fabricut,
    Faucets: Rohl,
    Candle sconce (“Large Kate Wall Sconce”#SP2005): Circa Lighting,
    Flooring: Materials Marketing,