Get a sneak peek into the Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse

Interior designer Michel Boyd is bathing the master bedroom of the 2014 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse in black, white and a bit of rich brown. It may seem as if he missed the fact that the new Buckhead home, designed by Harrison Design, is a seasonal attraction.

“I’m not the green and red guy when it comes to Christmas,” he said. “It’s going to look like a starry night.”

If anyone’s going to be edgy during the holidays, it will be the more than 20 Atlanta interior designers who are decorating rooms open to the public from Nov. 19-Dec. 7. For example, a piece of abstract art – not a holiday tale, visions of sugarplums or a ghost of Christmas past – launched Boyd’s concept for an moody master suite with a bit of sex appeal.

“A showhouse is an opportunity to stretch, an opportunity to really explore some ideas,” said Boyd, owner of Smith Boyd Interiors in Atlanta.

The 7,200-square-foot home, which is on the market for more than $3.5 million, also could inspire home design, architecture and interior design decisions well past the 2014 holidays.

Merry manor home

Exterior elements were chosen to create an aged look for the home, which was built among century-old homes on Habersham Road in Buckhead. A slate roof, ivory-colored handmade brick from Ohio and two types of stone – Cherokee fieldstone and limestone – accentuate the home’s English manor style, said Patrick Sheehan, owner of Sheehan Built Homes.

“We tried to make the house feel it’s established and part of the fabric of the older neighborhood,” said architect William H. Harrison, principal and founder of Harrison Design.

The use of those exterior materials is typical in British homes from around the turn of the century, said Harrison, who is known for his classical designs. Harrison was inspired by the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens, a British architect who created Arts-and-Craft-style homes in the 1890s-1920 and was knighted in 1918. The steep roof, with large windows and cut stone quoins and headers, is reminiscent of Lutyens designs.

From the exterior, the English-style manor home goes against the expectations of dark brick and stone.

“What’s interesting about this house is we chose to do something a little more light and modern,” Harrison said. “It has the feel of an older painted brick house in Atlanta. But it’s actually natural materials. That’s pretty different.”

Off the master – Boyd’s room – there’s a stone and timbered porch, which joins another porch off the first floor, both with fireplaces. Tall doors and windows allow natural light to penetrate deeper into the house, Harrison said.

Home for all seasons

The floor plan of the home, which has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a study and a sitting room, was created for what buyers want today: openness and entertaining. The first floor has 12-foot ceilings, with 10-foot ceilings on the second floor. In the foyer, a staircase wraps over visitors’ heads, with custom wrought iron handrails.

Harrison also tried to solve some of the complications that arise in today’s kitchens, with the mass of appliances, large and small, and need for storage and meal preparation areas. The kitchen spills into an oversized pantry, which is more than a closet for canned and boxed goods, but an area to prep food and use small appliances, Sheehan said.

A home of this size has room for bonus spaces such as a gentleman’s study, designed by new firm Rollins Ingram. Like Boyd, designer Danielle Rollins avoided traditional reds and greens, instead bringing in an abstract by John Matthew Moore that she said is a study of greens and whites, and pine needles and magnolia leaves. She and design partner Bill Ingram enveloped the room with dark bittersweet brown painted paneling and brought in velvet, leather, plaid prints and antiques including a chinoiserie clock on top of an English oyster wood chest.

“When people think holiday, they think silver, gold, red and green. My houses have never had those colors,” said Rollins, author of “Soirée Entertaining with Style”. “I urge people to decorate in the color scheme you have. You don’t have to stick within the colors of what is traditional. You can do bold or rich or pastel and have it fit in the house that you have.”

If You Go

What: 2014 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse

When: Nov. 19-Dec. 7 (closed Thanksgiving Day), 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays

Cost: Advance tickets purchased before Nov. 19 are $20 per person; $25 at the door or online beginning Nov. 19. Groups of 10 or more are $15 per person; children 10 and under are free. Benefits the Southeastern Horticultural Society’s Children’s Learning Gardens and Farms.

Info: For details about the showhouse and other events,

Ways to Deck the Halls

The Holiday Showhouse will have a selection of full-size Fraser fir Christmas trees in many of its rooms along with wreaths, roping and other greenery from Tradition Trees (, which opened in 2006 and has multiple locations in Atlanta. The company also provides residential and commercial decorating, which includes stringing lights, and hanging garlands and wreaths.

Jeff Bowman, who owns the company with his brother, Matt, provided three tips for decorating with trees and lights.

1. Size it up.

Before you head out to buy a tree, measure your ceiling. Consider how you will be topping the tree, to determine the size tree that you need. Tree sizes sometimes are misjudged on the lot, Bowman said.

Can be simple little swags or greenery just stylishly gathered together and put in places.

2. Avoid brittle branches

Make sure the tree vendor puts a fresh cut on the tree before you strap it onto your car or have it delivered. Keep watering the tree, especially the first 48 hours. Bowman adds that a live tree will drink a lot of water in the first couple of days and taper off.

3. Give LEDs another chance.

If you have tried white or multicolored LED lights and have been unhappy with the harshness, Bowman said more options are available and the LED lights can be easier to connect. Plus, your power bill may not skyrocket as high as past holidays.

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