It is always a thrill to see a favorite project published. This labor of love with longtime clients was recently published in one of my favorite publications, Atlanta Home & Lifestyles. The Atlanta design community is near and dear to my heart. Not only did I grow up there, but I also went to design school in Atlanta and began my design career there. Many of the items featured were sourced through the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center and made their way through previous homes for these dear clients before ultimately landing in Washington, D.C.

See below for the full feature along with other images from our photo shoot…

Sleek Scheme: In the kitchen, quartzite backsplash and countertops take center stage, acting like abstract art for the space. Pendant lights from the Urban Electric Co. lend an elegant feel while the Galbraith and Paul roman shade fabric sets a lively tone.


Cathy Austin transforms a 1930s Georgian home into a youthful retreat that reflects its stylish owners—without taking itself too seriously

Giving an old house a second act can be one of life’s greatest pursuits. This is especially true for Atlanta native Cathy Austin, whose educated eye and history with these homeowners made her a natural fit to revive their 1930s Georgian treasure in Washington, D.C. 

Austin’s clients, now busy executives with three active children, first called on the Charlotte-based designer nearly two decades ago to outfit the interiors of their first home, followed by two more projects to suit the needs of their growing family. “Watching my clients’ tastes evolve from wanting what their parents had to discovering their own design aesthetic has been a joy,” remarks Austin. “All of their design experiences have helped them define what they desired for this project.”

Architecture by Eric Binder of Meyer Greeson Paullin Benson, Construction by O’Neill Development

While the stately façade of the residence is decidedly traditional, the interiors are a well-mannered mix of classic and contemporary. A renovation sensitive to the historical integrity of the house allowed for the addition of modernized spaces, including “the kitchen and family room, the heart of the home, which center around the original brick fireplace,” Austin explains. 

Painting by Amanda Talley through Hidell Brooks Gallery

Fun & Games: A corner of the family room is transformed into an elevated nook fit for fun with a custom lacquered linen game table and comfortably chic chairs from Baker Furniture.

Calming hues—such as Farrow & Ball’s Light Blue in the family room—elevate the living quarters into a serene oasis where the couple unwinds from their demanding professional lives.

“We worked in the same way that a curator at a museum pulls colors from a painting for the background of the walls,” the designer says of selecting the soothing tones. Indeed, the family’s growing collection of commissioned pieces, acquired under the knowledgeable guidance of Austin, was the starting point for each room. Works by New Orleans-based Amanda Talley and Charleston artist Kate Long Stevenson hint at the home’s subtle Southern sensibilities. 

Easy Elegance: The lacquered library inspired by a pair of Jenny Nelson paintings (through Hidell Brooks Gallery) is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Puritan Grey. The upholstered desk chairs and ottoman are from Charles Stewart.

Much of the home’s textiles and furnishings were culled exclusively at ADAC—from porcelain Christopher Spitzmiller table lamps (through Ainsworth-Noah) gracing the living room to a kicky Lindsay Cowles wallpaper (through Bradley) bedecking the powder room. But Austin’s most gracious interpretation of her clients’ lifestyle shines in the library, a lacquered jewel box, where a pair of shagreen desks offers a serene spot for husband and wife to work from home.

Subtle Sensibilities: Antiques were used to elevate the space and we married them with a more contemporary style through art and accessories. Textiles from Cowtan and Tout, Clarence House, and Lee Jofa create a sophisticated layer while an ottoman from Highland House and watercolor groupings from Ruth Ava Lyons add youthful flair. The large collage is by Selena Beaudry through Hidell Brooks Gallery. Carpet by Stark and Chandelier through Ironware International.

Wallpaper and Fabric by Linsday Cowles, Collages by Geraldine Neuwirth through Hidell Brooks Gallery. Sconces by Urban Electric Co.

Warm welcome: Natural light floods the entry hall that runs the entire length of the home, offering ample wall space to display the family’s collection of art. Needlepoint pillows sit atop a settee by Julian Chichester.

Calming Character: The homeowners’ favorite hues French blue and cream envelope the master bedroom. Carpet by Stark. Fabrics by Hodsill McKenzie and Chelsea Textiles.

A collection of Terry Reitzel sketches and a mirrored dressing table lend an elegant flourish. Chair by Hickory Chair. Lamps by Vaughan Lighting.

Stone through Walker Zanger, Rogers and Goffingon sheer at the window, Mirrors from Mirror Image Home and Lighting by Visual Comfort

Feminine Charm: In a teenage girl’s bedroom suite, a scheme of lavender, cream and green will stand the test of time. A headboard upholstered in a custom Galbraith and Paul color way (through R. Hughes), bedding from Serena and Lily and table lamps from Bungalow 5 strike a playful chord.

Wallpaper by Manuel Canovas, Lighting by Visual Comfort, Mirror by Mirror Image Home

Artwork by Marlis Cornett, Blind and Pillow Fabric by Cowtan and Tout, Carpet by Stark, Quilts by Land of Nod

The home’s attic is reimagined as a colorful media room; children’ artwork and pillows from Jonathan Adler adorn the space.

At the end of each day, the family finds respite in the surroundings tailored just for them. “We brought the house to life in a youthful way that reflected how they live,” Austin says of penning a new, more modern, chapter for the storied home.

INTERIOR DESIGN Cathy Austin, Catherine M. Austin Interior Design,  (704) 517-8622; catherinemaustin.comARCHITECT Eric Binder, (704) 375-1001; BUILDER Brendan O’Neill, O’Neill Development, (301) 840-9310;

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