Chris and Linda Clark downsized from an 8,500-square-foot home but still found room for meaningful and unexpected decorations in their 2,000-square-foot cottage in Stone Mountain.
One conversation starter is a handmade wooden harp in their living room. It’s a sculptural item, an instrument that Linda plays and an anniversary present.
“I surprised Linda with the gift,” Chris said.
In that room and others, the Asian influence is strong. The couple returned from a visit to China with items such as silk embroidery art and paintings, while Asian accessories, including framed woodcuts, are from Chris’ father, who worked in China for a United Nations agency in the 1940s.
Linda said those collections not only add a design element, but fill their home with memories and reminders of places that are important to them.
“That’s what your home should be,” Linda said.
Residents: Chris Clark, retired CEO of Northside Hospital, and his wife, Linda
Location: Stone Mountain
Size: 2,000 square feet, three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths
Year built/bought: 2005/2015
Architectural style: Traditional cottage
Favorite architectural elements: Wraparound front porch
Renovations: In 2015, new hardwood floors, kitchen cabinets, kitchen appliances and bathroom cabinets were installed. They also upgraded the blinds to wooden shutters and changed the stove from electric to gas. Last year, they added an awning over the back patio, and also finished adding three perennial beds.
Interior design: Traditional with Asian influences
Favorite room and decor items: Great room with gas log fireplace, a silk rug hanging they purchased in China that depicts a castle scene, new sofas selected with help from their friend and interior designer Linda Thomas, an early 1800s curio cabinet (previously was used as a shop display case in England and passed down from family members) and a 105-year-old baby grand piano.
Favorite artwork: A Japanese silk tapestry of red-headed cranes in the front hallway, which was a gift for Chris when he retired from Northside Hospital in 1988 after 17 years as CEO. “It’s a symbol of long life, and you can’t beat long life,” he said.
Decor tip: To downsize, Linda made full-sized templates of their furniture to bring into the home to gauge what would and would not work. Then the Christmas before they moved in, they asked family members to tag any furniture or items they wanted. If the Clarks wanted to bring that item to their home, the tag stayed underneath the furniture so it will go to the appropriate family member when they no longer need it, Linda said.