Worldly, eclectic accents in new Atlanta cottage

Getting outbid on a new Chamblee home took a positive turn for Will and Jennifer Franklin.

The builder of that home, Stanton Jacobs of Georgian Fine Properties, told them he planned to build a house in another DeKalb County neighborhood. The Franklins decided to take a look at the property. A windowless 1950s bungalow had been gutted several years ago and was filled with asbestos.

“The actual structure was atrocious,” Jennifer said. “But the lot was great.”

The couple built a new home on that site, commissioned custom furniture, and selected every finish and wall color to complement global art and finds that Jennifer has collected as a travel writer.


Residents: Jennifer and Will Franklin and dogs Elle, a Shih Tzu, and Kaiser, a Belgian Malinois.

Location: Atlanta, unincorporated DeKalb County

Size: About 1,850 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths

Year built/bought: 2014

Architect: Adrian Scott Cutchshaw

Builder: Stanton Jacobs, Georgian Fine Properties. "Every time I would see one of their houses, I would drive by it and think, 'Man, I just love their style,'" Jennifer said. "They would make them look like they belonged there, even among houses that were decades older."

Architectural style: Traditional cottage with a bit of Craftsman

Interior design style: Global and eclectic. Accessories include items sourced from Jennifer's trips as a travel writer, including a tea jar from Shanghai, art from Kenya, a silk lantern from Vietnam and a tiny teapot from Hong Kong.

Favorite pieces of furniture: Toss-up between a custom-made, reclaimed wood farm table and the early 1900s Bessarabian rug in Jennifer's office. She and her mom, interior decorator Debra Simpkins of Athens, found the rug at Scott Antique Markets. "I saw it out of the corner of my eye and it was kind of wadded up. We spread it out. It's like a rug in Technicolor. There's neon orange, bright fuchsia, teal, electric blue. Just something about it called to me," said Jennifer, co-author of the book, "Make it ZERO: The Movement to Safeguard Every Child" (Moody Publishers, January 2016).

Favorite outdoor feature: The DIY fire pit. Will Franklin dug out a previously rocky corner to create an area framed by terraced wood, filled with pea gravel and surrounded by leafy plants.

Decor tip: Use neutral walls to display bright art and accessories. They painted the walls Sherwin-Williams' Alpaca (a pale gray) and the ceilings one shade lighter (Sherwin-Williams' Simple White).

Resources: Furniture from West Elm, Antiques & Beyond, American Signature, Ikea, Thomasville, Havertys, Scott Antique Markets and Classic City Consignment in Athens. Tables commissioned by a craftsman through Home Deals in Jefferson. Rugs from Joss & Main and Safavieh. Lighting from Progressive Lighting, Lowe's, Celerie by Celerie Kemble and Destinations by Regina Andrew.