This Luxe Townhome Features a Design Team's Best Decor Tips

Designers Carter Kay and Nancy Hooff of Carter Kay Interiors give HGTV a tour of their client's Atlanta townhome.

May 20, 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 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

An Atlanta Townhome With Innovative Style

Designers Carter Kay and Nancy Hooff of Carter Kay Interiors applied an innovative and layered approach to this 4,600-square-foot townhome in Atlanta, whose owners wanted to live within walking distance of restaurants and shopping. "We have been neighbors and friends for years, and we have worked together on five Atlanta homes and two in Colorado," Kay says. "We really do appreciate each other's ideas." The homeowners' main goal for this space involved incorporating their favorite pieces in new arrangements, which the designers executed throughout the 3-bedroom, 4.5-bath townhome. "We flipped it all around!" Kay says.

Neutral Color Blocking

"Color blocking using the countertops as the horizon line brings calm to this riotous combination of paint and marble," Kay says of the kitchen. She also suggests keeping exposed dishes and accessories in a consistent color palette. A custom hood seamlessly blends into the color scheme, while the red stove knobs add a fun, unexpected use of color. Just as color blocking provides a calming balance, so do modern lines, as evidenced by this sleek counter stool from Design Within Reach and minimalist hardware from Matthew Quinn.

Play With Lines

Speaking of lines, "Texture and color combined with horizontal, vertical and random lines keep the dance alive," Kay says. Lined marble is one way to bring more visual interest to a room when adhering to a neutral color scheme. Even though many of the design elements are white, the overall result is anything but boring.

Smart Storage Solutions

Kay notes how the pantry doors allow the homeowners to hide large appliances, along with dishware and kitchen gadgets. For items that can't be hidden, consider organizing similar objects together, like these trays above the dual Wolf ovens.

Find a Focal Point

As seen in the kitchen, red is the accent color of choice, and the dining room goes all in with red silk-and-cotton draperies and a Portuguese needlepoint rug. French accents, like this chandelier, make an appearance as well. Since Kay has worked with the homeowners before, she knows that those three items have always been used in the dining room. "Drama is achieved with the hanging of a theater prop as a focal point," Kay says, referrring to the oversized urn hung on the wall. She actually bought two of the wooden wallpapered urns in New Orleans, and kept the other one for herself. It's also in her dining room.

Mix Disparate Furniture and Objects

Focusing on this dining room vignette, Kay points out that pairing disparate objects and furniture brings strength to the space. Recreate this look by visiting local art galleries, flea markets and antique stores to source an interesting mix of modern and traditional pieces of art and furniture.

Symmetry and Balance

"Symmetry and balance are key when floating furniture, and the diagonal accent is important," says Kay of the living room. Flank an acrylic coffee table with leather chairs, being mindful to choose a neutral color scheme in order to focus attention on the lightest piece of furniture. A sunny space such as this one also helps when opting for acrylic furniture.

Salon-Style Inspiration

In another corner of the living room, "using classic furniture in a soothing color palette inspired us to take those colors up the wall in a salon-style art installation," Kay notes. The art comes from TEW Galleries, but you can create your own gallery wall by framing prints and hanging them in symmetrical arrangements.

Connecting Furniture and Art

A game table occupies this snug living room corner, where the eye is drawn to this contemporary artwork. "As the painting demonstrates, playing games in a beautiful corner is inviting," Kay says. "It’s all about creating a conversation between furniture and art." Contributing to the conversation is this stylish gold lamp.

Layered Approach

A living room isn't complete without books, and here Kay and Hooff layered this bookcase with art and antiques. The homeowners found the ladder and antiques in Paris, but you can discover similar items closer to home. The key is to place the art deliberately without obscuring the majority of books.

Color Blast

Flowers are an easy way to add colorful accents: Elevate them by choosing a statement vase and placing it on a stack of coffee table books.

Balance Soft and Strong

Kay points out how the strong piece of artwork in the family room is balanced by softer textures, including leather, rattan, iron and velvet, all in neutral colors.

Have Fun With Decorating

Kay highlights the musical quality of the foyer's features, from the harmonious custom iron railings and gilt ram's head lamps to the Directoire antique chest with Egyptian heads and paw legs. "Have fun with the mix!" she says. As elsewhere in the house, the designers balanced whimsical elements with more serious pieces, like this landscape painting and prayer chair.

Create Drama

Heading upstairs, the dramatic custom iron railing staircase and mirrored lighting — spanning three flghts — is on full display here, illuminated by ironclad skylights. Kay likens the combined effect to creating a magical space: "At night when the bulbs are glowing, it's like having stars all around."

Combine Playful and Serious

The master bedroom is a neutral oasis, complete with a decorative fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows unencumbered by curtains. For the unexpected, Kay suggests creating your own art and mixing it up with serious French antiques. Here, she hung oyster sticks at angles above the fireplace. "We did a similar installation at their home in Colorado and wanted to have it here," Kay says.

Keep It Light

The real oasis in this gorgeous townhome may be the bathroom, where Kay used sheer drapes to provide privacy while allowing light to flood the space. Above the deep soaking tub, the large sputnik chandelier adds a bold, whimsical touch in contrast to the muted elements. Neutrals prevail here too, creating a serene space for starting and ending the day.

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