Transitioning to a new style

Zack Bernato admits the Southern style of the brick Alpharetta home wasn’t appealing to him, but he and his family desired to move to a larger community in north Fulton County. The home — at first — didn’t need excessive renovations, compared to other stone, stucco and brick homes they found on the market.

“Some were extremely dated and needed a lot of work,” he said. “It didn’t need as much work as we had anticipated for the other homes we had seen. So we decided to buy it. We just gradually started adding to different parts of the house.”

Since then, the home’s interior has gravitated to a transitional style with neutral walls and strong accent pieces, including contemporary botanical sculptures, mirrors and artwork.


Residents: Zack and Jodi Bernato and their children, Max, 14, and Sydney, 11

Location: Alpharetta's The Falls of Autry Mill neighborhood

Size: About 6,200 square feet (including the finished basement), six bedrooms, five full baths

Year built: 1997

Year bought: 2007

Cost of renovations: About $150,000

Renovations: A kitchen renovation took up most of the budget with about $105,000 spent on that room, Bernato said. In the kitchen, they added a kitchen island with pullout refrigerator drawers, Cambria countertops, a microwave drawer, a double oven and plenty of storage, using MasterBrand Cabinets. A kitchen organization center, with space for a laptop, is concealed by the maple cabinets.

Other changes were to the living room, dining room and laundry room, and their daughter’s room also was redone. Bernato previously added a tongue-and-groove ceiling to the screened-in deck and a fireplace with a built-in grill (replacing the fire pit added prior to their purchase of the home). Now, the pool is under renovation, he said.

Contractor: Guy Affeldt

Design consultants: Mariano Montealegre of Atlanta-based Urbana Designs; Sarah Price of Founders Kitchen & Bath in Alpharetta

Architectural style: Traditional

Interior design style: Transitional. "Once we hired the decorator, he realized that the style of the home was not our style. He pulled out of us what we liked," said Bernato, who is from Los Angeles. Wive Jodi is from New York. "It definitely was a more older Southern traditional look and it's not my style. We changed color tones and changed different things in the house that really accentuated more of our style." The main interior color is Sherwin-Williams' Collonade Gray.

Favorite artwork: Paintings by the late Atlanta artist T.L. Lange and celebrity portraits by New York-based photographer Len Prince are on display in the home. Zack Bernato, who used to be general manager of Atlanta nightclub Tongue & Groove, became familiar with Lange's work then, when the club displayed his artwork. The walls also feature Prince's black-and-white photos of Jack Lemmon and Drew Barrymore.

Favorite stores: Restoration Hardware, Horchow and Little World Design (in Los Angeles). The contemporary botanical sculptures, including an orange tree in the foyer and a butterfly bowl in the living room, were custom ordered from Little World Design.

Renovation tip: Hire an outside source to help you, unless you completely agree with your spouse 100 percent, Zack said.