Punchy Color and Lots of Art Define This Atlanta Bungalow

Tour this charming home to a family of artists.

By: Michel Smith Boyd
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Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Retro Realness

Kitchens are everyone’s favorite gathering spot, and visual artists Whitney and Micah Stansell's home in Atlanta is no different. It’s full of personality and retro chic to boot. Mint green is rapidly becoming my personal fave for kitchen applications and I really love using artwork in kitchens too. Not only do the Stansells have two Jeff Guy portraits displayed on the windowsill, they’ve layered them with pieces that their children have created. Micah and Whitney are really conscious of continuity in their home’s design: the color teal is represented again on the kitchen island and the breadbox. Besides the nostalgic range and mixer, the counters are 4x4 tiles as opposed to one solid surface and were recently restored by Micah himself.

Meet the Stansells

Seated on the front steps of their 1920s home on a quiet street in Atlanta, Georgia, Whitney and Micah Stansell are artists and documentary producers. The Stansells are only the second owners of this home and share it with their three children. In the 14 years they’ve been there, Micah and Whitney have completed a number of renovations, but always with respect to the home’s original architecture. Both are inspired by the character of the older home and apply those values to a simple and happy life.

A Bold Intro

The turquoise painted front door with a stained glass inset is only a precursor to the joyful palette that awaits inside. Guests are immediately greeted by bright yellow walls inspired by a ginkgo leaf that Whitney found on a morning walk through the neighborhood. The wall color is a perfect backdrop for the Stansell’s vast art collection.

A Collected Space

The family room boasts a collection of vintage furniture, finds and artwork curated to reflect and meet the needs of this young, modern family. The triptych above the sofa, a product of one of the Stansell’s art installations, manages to bridge all of the room’s colors successfully. The 1970s settee was recovered from a barn and brought back to life with the brightly colored teal upholstery. Whitney’s current most prized possession is the Candice Greathouse photograph above the fireplace.

Family Heirlooms

This pristine pair of swivel chairs was passed down from Micah’s grandmother. They’re a perfect way to inject a little generational history into a young family’s home. Family heirlooms are always a good idea. You’ll notice that below the white painted crown molding is a white picture rail. In many older homes, the walls are plaster as opposed to drywall. Plaster is much harder and more difficult to repair; therefore, a piece of molding/rail is used as a surface to attach hardware and wire, and then your artwork to. Preservation is key in caring for older homes. The Stansells cleverly repeated the teal color on the drapery panels, but used white sheers on the window’s interior for semi-privacy while still allowing light in.

Always Greener

The Stansell family dining room is minimal in design but dramatic in hue. The gorgeous green is definitely a showstopper trimmed out in white and a perfect complement to the tulip-base white dining table. This room is an example of the fun you can have mixing furniture styles. The wood-stained chairs are more traditional, but they sit comfortably at a modern table, with an edgy chandelier and surrounded by contemporary art. The color green is associated with growth, harmony and safety: I’d say that’s a perfect fit for Stansell family dinners.

Built for Storage

Every home should be so well equipped as to have additional storage for the kitchen, plus a landing spot for coats, bags and to drop off wet shoes. This area is just off of the kitchen and adjacent to the back door, therefore in the perfect position for the way this family functions. The two shelves flanking the cased opening conceal pocket doors that lead to the kids’ play area and powder room. While the spaces are beautifully organized I can’t help but be captivated by the stunning area rugs in both spaces. They are definitely adding artful value in this zone of the house.

Boys Town

This space hosts the two Stansell boys, who share this bedroom that could also be described as their own little well-curated museum of interests. Their personalities and evidence of their adventures are proudly displayed around their room. If you look closely you’ll spy that at least one of the boys is a budding chef. They also have a small family of hamsters between them, and they love yellow tractors. The boys’ room is a really good example of how I approach kids' spaces: always go monochromatic with walls and bedding. Between their toys, books, art, rugs, etc. there will be plenty of opportunity for stimulation/adding interest without becoming too busy. My fave in the room? The drapes are perfectly appointed: they look fun and put an exclamation point on the entire space.

Oh the Places We’ll Go!

The Stansells are clearly a family of artists and at least two future world travelers. Maps are an easy and inexpensive tool for decoration in a child’s room. It’s amazing how the boys share the same wall color as their sister but the mood of the rooms is completely different solely based on decor. The boys were also lucky enough to have a rug woven for their room, which by the way successfully marries all the colors together harmoniously.

Sentimental Value

Everything in the young girl’s room has meaning. Here is a closer look at the quilt gifted to her from her mom and grandmother. Whitney and Micah bought this vintage bed, restored it, and lacquered it red especially for their daughter. It works perfectly with her well-organized red bookcase. Micah had the colorful rug woven specifically for her room when she was born. Lastly, the well-preserved hardwood floors are original to the house.

Girl Power

We’ve made it upstairs to the family’s private spaces and here’s a snapshot of Whitney and Micah’s daughter’s room. The design has not strayed far from the principles already established. This room boasts yet another lovely shade of green and promotes imagination and creativity. There’s a collage of the girl’s own art above her bed and a special piece above the bookcase created by Whitney reflecting her younger self with her own mother. The quilt was hand sewn by Whitney and her mom and the cute crochet animals were handmade by Whitney’s sister. How’s that for three generations of artists? The design is simple, the colors are bright and the mood is happy.

It’s Easy as 1-2-3

Personalization in kid room decor is another inexpensive way to make a room feel special. As designers the messages we are communicating to our younger clients have to be a little more literal. Where form meeting function is paramount for adult’s spaces, perhaps educational and functional decor take precedence with young children as it did here in the boys’ room. Once the room has a great foundation, it’s easily and inexpensively transformed as children’s interests evolve.

The Office Next Door

Micah Stansell’s office is actually in the house next door. The aesthetic is a complete departure from that of the family home, however it’s the perfect blank canvas for him to create and edit film and exhibitions. The upper level white space is flooded with brightness via skylights and character-rich with a vaulted ceiling, wood beams and original exposed brick columns. The entire left side of the room is decked with storage cabinets concealed by white glass doors that blend into the walls. This space is a super thoughtful minimalist dream and ideal for any creative.

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