Taking on this project was a full-circle moment for designer Lanier Gupton, as the family was her first-ever client when she launched her firm in 2008. Over the years, Gupton has watched the family go from a cozy cottage in Atlanta and start a new life in Athens, Georgia. The family designed their dream home in Athens from the ground up several years ago—even before fleeing the big city was considered en vogue.
“By the time I’d gotten involved, the client had already been working with architect Amanda Orr, and we’d all gone to college together at UGA, so it was really wonderful,” says Gupton. “They created this amazing exterior point of view, as the husband was set on having a red brick house like his childhood home back in Atlanta.”
Sourcing the brick was one of many eclectic expeditions Gupton took throughout this project to ensure she was creating a home that only looked like it had been there forever. She and the clients traveled to a “spooky old cotton mill” in Alabama to source historic bricks that had just the right amount of patina while Orr tracked down a show-stopping bright brass door from Architectural Accents in Atlanta that further added to the home’s luxurious yet laid-back feel. Plus, the exterior’s brick and wood lap siding, limestone moldings around the windows and doors, and a slate roof give the house a deeply rooted feel, creating the illusion that it has been added onto over decades or more—a nod to the remarkable work of Tyler Davis and Athens Building Company.
While the clients left Atlanta in search of a slower pace of life, they still wanted their doors to be wide open for entertaining, especially during football season in one of the country’s top college towns. Gupton designed a property that offers enviable indoor-outdoor living spaces that are perfect for savoring autumn in Athens—as well as any other time of year.
“The clients are the most fun family to ever hang out with and people love to be around them, so they are always welcoming their home to everyone,” says Gupton. “The house was built to accommodate being outside and around the pool with friends.”
The living room has a stunning floor-to-ceiling glass and iron door that opens up to the backyard and pool deck, while the kitchen has a clever accordion window that allows the hosts to feel part of a gathering at all times, even when prepping a new batch of cocktails or game day goodies. But while the home is built for sharing with others, Gupton says the actual design is truly a reflection of the clients themselves: their personalities, passions, and most beloved possessions from over the years.
“The hardest part about designing the house was making sure it was fluid,” says Gupton. “The family had moved four times at this point and there were so many things they wanted to keep. But in the long run, that challenge was really canceled out. When it came time to photograph the house, we didn’t need to do all this extra accessorizing because the wife is really sentimental and has filled the home with family pieces that they’ve collected their whole lives. All of these pieces really needed to work well with all the new that we were bringing in.”
Many of those beloved heirlooms were the launching points for various rooms in the house. The husband’s inherited African art collection from his grandmother’s travels, for example, inspired the family room’s earthy, elegant vibe, while the wife’s Texan roots set the scene for a punchy powder room complete with her childhood cowboy vest and cheeky bath linens. The daughters’ rooms, on the other hand, are personifications of their personalities: A hot pink and orange bedroom represents one’s spunk and sass, while the pastel green and cherry print room matches the other’s soft sweetness.
“There was a lot of stuff coming in from the other houses, and it was all in really good shape, but there is a much bigger scale to the house this time around and making a home here was all about ensuring these pieces would all work together with taller ceilings and a grander space,” Gupton says.
Thankfully, there was a lot of trust in Gupton after more than a decade of working together, and she was more than up to the task of creating a new home for a new chapter that still reflected the family’s history and style. From reupholstering Pottery Barn counter stools in the kitchen that the couple bought for their first home to hunting down the perfect bronze artisan to create a stunning home for a copper pot collection, Gupton has turned this new-construction house into a forever home that reflects the family and more than a lifetime of memories at every turn.
Home styled by: Thea Beasley
Lauren Wicks is a Birmingham-based writer covering design trends, must-have products, travel inspiration, and entertaining. She’s obsessed with globally inspired textiles, hosting dinner parties, and French cocktails.