A 1928 Tudor makes a comeback—welcoming light, color, and a stream of kids from around the neighborhood
Lovely Living Room
Chinoiserie-inspired draperies that Caroline Millican inherited from her grandparents pretty much tell the story of how she and husband David approached the renovation of their Atlanta home. In short: Take the familiar and the cherished and make it new and now. “I always loved those draperies—they’d been in my grandparents’ home for years,” Caroline says. “I like traditional style, but with a younger look.
Another view of the living room is on the following slide.
Photography: Emily Jenkins Followill
Produced by Lisa Mowry
Architect: D. Stanley Dixon, D. Stanley Dixon Architect, 2300 Peachtree Road, Suite C-101, Atlanta, GA 30309; 404/574-1430, dsdixonarchitect.com .
Interior design: Lauren DeLoach, Lauren DeLoach Interiors, 4971 Lake Fjord Pass, Marietta Pass, GA 30068; 404/310-1579, laurendeloachinteriors.com .
Builder: Greg DeLoach, Cottage Industry Construction, 4971 Lake Fjord Pass, Marietta, GA 30068; 404/227-0621, cottageindustryconstruction.com .
Enter Atlanta designer Lauren DeLoach, who likes nothing better than putting some punch into traditional style. After refurbishing and rehanging Caroline’s family draperies in the living room, she used extra panels to upholster the backs of two armchairs and to fashion sofa pillows. Then, for a happy marriage of old and new, she covered the seats and inside backs of the chairs with a spicy coral fabric that energizes the whole room.
“Those draperies pretty much inspired the house’s entire palette,” DeLoach says. “The colors—brown, blue, orange, gold, and lime green—are so current.” An abstract painting in shades of orange and a gold starburst mirror further invigorate the classically styled room. “Caroline is very fashion-forward, but she is also traditional,” DeLoach says. “So we stayed in keeping with the house’s architectural style without making rooms feel stuffy or boring. We were always trying to find ways to pop them and make the spaces feel current.”
The fashion update was the result of a whole-house renovation the Millicans launched in 2010, several years after buying the 1928 Tudor-style house. Interiors were dark, the floor plan was choppy, and the small kitchen was isolated at the back of the house. As parents of four children ranging in age from 4 to 12, Caroline and David needed a modern floor plan with a large kitchen where family and friends could gather, as well as spaces for the children to play within earshot of their parents.
Caroline and David Millican on the porch with their four children, (from left) Ellie, 9, William, 4, John, 7, and Liza, 12.
“The house didn’t flow very well. We entertain a good bit, so we really wanted to open it up,” Caroline says. For that, they called on architect and neighbor D. Stanley Dixon. “Stan had been in our house, so he knew our needs,” Caroline says. Plus, the architect was attuned to the structure’s architectural integrity within the established Brookwood Hills historic neighborhood.
In the foyer, a round table is skirted with silk taffeta from Lewis & Sheron. Chocolate-colored draperies on the doorway to the breakfast room warm the space.
Heavily veined marble was used for countertops, on the large island, and for the backsplashes. “A lot of people complain about marble staining, but I actually like the way that ages it,” Caroline says. “The house doesn’t scream ‘new.’ Everything needs some history.”
“The kitchen is my favorite room. People can sit at the counter and no one feels crowded,” Caroline adds. A whole-house sound system allows the Millicans to listen to music while fixing meals and entertaining.
For easy cleanups, cushions on the barstools are covered with an indoor-outdoor “Bikini Stripe” fabric from Perennials.
DeLoach intentionally mismatched finishes—polished nickel faucets, antiqued nickel light fixtures, and hammered pewter pulls on cabinets. “I love for things to look collected, not like they all came out of the same store,” she says.
Antiqued nickel pendants above the island and wall sconces are from Circa Lighting.
Dixon bumped out the back of the house to enlarge the kitchen and added a south-facing bay with three large windows that flood the room with light. For an unexpected touch, DeLoach hung drapery panels at the kitchen windows rather than installing more predictable Roman shades. “The draperies make the room so much lighter and brighter,” she says.
The existing kitchen was converted into an inviting breakfast room with board walls and pantry doors with iron hardware that speak to the house’s Tudor styling. “That detailing was all Stan,” Caroline says. “We wanted to stay with that English look, and the board walls and iron hardware add to that feel,” she adds.
Not so “old English” is the television mounted at one end of the breakfast room, but that was a reality DeLoach gamely dealt with. “They really wanted a TV in there,” she says, “I figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, so I hung the pewter plates on the wall around the television to make it look better—more like an arrangement.”
Dixon added a gallery hall along the back side of the dining room that connects the kitchen to the family room. Old basement stairs at the front of the house were sealed, and a new open staircase was incorporated into the gallery, creating easy access to the lower-level playroom. Windows across the back wall of the gallery bring light into the dining room, as well as into the downstairs playroom. “Now the kids will actually go down there and play,” Dixon says. “Adding the gallery and stairs made a huge difference in how the house functions and lives for them.”
Delightful Dining Room
The alterations put the dining room in the center of the house, and DeLoach made it central to her color scheme as well. “The dining room is the unifying space. So I had the wallpaper custom colored, pulling colors from each of the other rooms,” she says. “Caroline loves blue, so we used that in the living room and kitchen. In the family room we went with green. We married all the colors—the blue, the green, and brown—in the dining room.”
Furniture and fabrics were chosen for their easy-to-clean features—a priority with four youngsters and a constant flow of neighbor kids—as well as for their flexibility. “What’s good about this house is that all the fabrics work in every single room,” the designer says. “They can move furniture to suit their needs.”
The custom-colored wallcovering from Designer Classics Wallpaper was inspired by palettes in adjoining rooms. The sideboard, dining table, and mirror are antiques.
The family room, which was not original to the house, had a face-lift, too. Working within the same footprint, the room was rebuilt with beamed ceilings and custom mahogany French doors that have solid recessed panels on the lower portion—more nods to the Tudor styling. DeLoach furnished the room with multiple seating areas and a game table in one corner. Another chair is tucked to the side by bookshelves for quiet reading. “This is a large family, so we needed to serve different functions and groups,” DeLoach says.
A classic check pattern from Schumacher takes on a young attitude in a fresh lime-green colorway. A pair of upholstered antique stools offer extra seating. Wrought-iron curtain rods, an antique iron table lamp, and high-back William and Mary dining chairs reinforce the Tudor style.
A custom white cabinet in the family room serves both as a bar and extra storage space.
Family room doors open to a new screened porch with a wood-burning fireplace that allows the family to use the space much of the year. Screens are sandwiched between decorative wood railings on the lower walls. “We embraced the Tudor style with a diamond cutout motif on the wood railings. They give the porch a sense of enclosure and add character and charm,” Dixon says.
Serene Master Bedroom
After the family room was renovated, the master bedroom and bath above it were updated. The bed headboard is upholstered with “Savannah Linen Stripe,” from Schumacher, which was also used to make the bed skirt and duvet cover. An antique bench at the foot of the bed is upholstered in Kravet’s “Floralina.” Walls are Benjamin Moore’s “Gray Cashmere.”
Antique prints hang above the bed. Floral pillow shams are “Marble Hill” fabric by Nina Campbell for Osborne & Little.
Books and a vase of fresh hydrangeas on the tray coffee table from Joseph Konrad invite relaxing on the nearby sofa.
A quatrefoil-back “Alexandra” chair by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair cozies up to the built-in vanity. Polished nickel “Bryant” sconces were designed by Thomas O’Brien.
“Stylistically, we played true to original 1920s Tudor Revival, but we created more casual rooms, and we connected spaces so that the flow is easier,” says architect Dixon. “We simply designed a home that works for the way the family actually lives.”
The original red brick was stained with a diluted taupe-colored paint for a more subdued and harmonious palette.