Tour a Classic Dutch Colonial With a Seamless Addition

Designers Carter Kay and Nancy Hooff of Carter Kay Interiors show how they integrated thoughtful new additions to a vintage, Twenties-era Atlanta home. Take a tour.

May 27, 2020

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followhill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Photo By: Emily Followill Jenkins

Staying True to Dutch Colonial Style

Decorating this 8,000-square-foot, Twenties-era Dutch Colonial in Atlanta held special signifiance for designer Carter Kay of Carter Kay Interiors, as the request came from her bookkeeper of 12 years. Together with partner Nancy Hooff, they created a continental and welcoming space for the five-bedroom, four-bath home. The homeowners' main goal? Maintaining the original Dutch Colonial feel in a home where extensive additions and renovations included a light-filled kitchen, a brick-walled wine cellar and a new entry. Along the way, Kay and Hooff were inspired by the client's unique fashion sense: classic, but with a twist.

The Entryway

By all appearances the entryway could be original to the home, but it's actually part of the updated additions. To create the effect, Kay and Hooff used the home's original wood boards, recovered from demolition, and added custom doors and a paneled coat closet. Some of the owner's favorite items personalize the space, like this antique child's chair, gallery artwork, Moattar rug and Formations lantern.

The Foyer

Kay and Hooff use foyers to create a great first impression, and here they conveyed the owners' preference for relaxed elegance and unusual combinations. They achieved this by angling a zebra rug on the dark oak floor, leaning a large painting on an antique chest, adding a French chair with an overstuffed cushion and choosing a sisal runner for the stairs. "A successful design depends on contrasts and textures while being adventurous in combination," Kay says.

A Custom Sculpture

At first glance this bronze sculpture looks like an antique, but it's really a contemporary bust of the owner's oldest daughter. The green ribbon can be changed thanks to a hidden hole in the sculpture.

The Living Room

Kay and Hooff chose a blonde color scheme for the living room but gave it depth and nuance by introducing a variety of textures. "Texture is the key ingredient in all schemes," Kay says. "But even more so when the color palette is limited: linen, suede, sisal and leather, along with hammered iron and warm wood tones, contribute to this airy look."

A Cozy Living Room Nook

Kay and Hooff created this cozy corner of the living room by placing an armchair between two windows, and adding a lumbar-support pillow made from African Kuba cloth. Next to it, a garden seat is repurposed as a side table. Both the chair and table are angled to take advantage of natural light and the fireplace. Kay finished the look with a lava stone planter containing a fiddle leaf fig tree as a way to add interest and bring the outdoors in.

The Dining Room

The home is a study in neutrals, and the designers' goal for the dining room involved creating an elegant but minimalist space in order to showcase the owners' artwork. Kay loves how light and airy the room feels as a result of its simplicity.

The Screened-In Porch

Just as Kay and Hooff wanted natural light to be the focus inside, they wanted the outside greenery to be the focus in the screened-in porch area. "To soften the hard elements, we used three similar shades of white," Kay says. Iron doors connect the porch to the dining room, allowing light to flow into the interior of the home.

The Breakfast Area

Natural light floods the breakfast nook as well, and Kay and Hooff used it to highlight the room's original plaster ceiling and moldings. "This is a wonderful, neutral space to connect the dining room, kitchen and family room," Kay notes.

The Kitchen

The transition to the spacious kitchen is seamless, as this space too is flooded with light and dominated by neutrals. "Designing this kitchen with my friend and client was one of the most fun times ever!" Kay enthuses. Practical touches abound, like a prep area that can be accessed from all four sides. "So while one [person] is stirring the pot, another can clean and chop on the stainless steel island, while another can be washing dishes or rolling out pastry for baking."

Highlighting the View

"Our clients wanted to have as little [of a] wall between them and the gardens, so the steel windows were installed as low as possible," Kay explains. She also points out the many textures used throughout the kitchen, such as hand-plastered walls, a wood plank ceiling, honed Calacatta Borghini (known for its elegant, honey-colored veining) marble counters, a stainless steel island, tabby lamps with linen shades and reclaimed French oak floors.

Perfect Contrast

"Our client knew she wanted Calacatta Borghini marble for its delicate and rich veining and soft creams and grays," Kay says. "The honed finish keeps it quiet, and as it ages, the wear and tear of use make it even more beautiful." To complement the marble, Kay also kept the kitchen light and airy. To achieve her desired mix of strong contrasts in home design, Kay juxtaposed black iron windows against white walls, the windows' vertical lines against floating horizontal shelves, dark stained oak against light counters, and the curves and mass of the custom range hood against the conical Italian pendants. "It's all about playing opposites and creating tension," Kay advises.

A Spotlit Collection

Here, Kay focused on balancing the owners' collection of delicate French and Wedgewood pottery, which nicely contrasts with a striking, substantial custom range hood.

Design Symmetry

This angle highlights the kitchen's Morgan Creek cabinets and side-by-side ovens, a welcome addition for families who love to cook.

Curves Ahead

Kay wanted the arched doors and hood to play against the horizontal shelves, counters and hardware; in turn, this highlights the handmade pottery's natural curves.

Blending Old and New

This wider perspective illustrates how Kay and Hooff seamlessly blended the kitchen addition with the home's existing features. To pull it off, the antique glass passage doorknobs on the arched double doors match the original ones elsewhere in the house. Visible through the door is a fireplace surrounded by reclaimed brick and a plaster mantle. The reclaimed French oak floors continue into the room as well. Above the fireplace, a custom mirror enlarges the space.

Store All

The kitchen is large enough to hold this antique French cabinet from Erika Reade, which Kay says is ideal for storing and displaying favorite serving items. "A large piece like this makes it easier to access these items, rather than storing them in a cabinet or shelf."

A Useful Wet Bar

The kitchen is also large enough to accommodate a dedicated wet bar. "We wanted to include a lot of storage in this area to accommodate the owners' glassware collection," Kay says. To best show it off, she and Hooff chose glass cabinets and an antique mirror backsplash. "[This] adds some sparkle and light to this area of the kitchen."

Wine Cellar

This new basement wine cellar also feels original to the home, thanks in part to the exposed brick. "We chose to use gravel as the flooring, so that any accidental wine spills would be dispersed and drained," Kay says. Like the home's floors, the French oak shelves are also reclaimed wood. The hanging track lighting is the main hint of modernity. But the lighting is subtle enough so as not to detract from the space, allowing one to imagine a temporary step back in time in this traditional home with smart, contemporary additions.

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