“Where do I even start?”
So muses renowned artist Sally King Benedict when she starts to reminisce about her childhood in Buckhead—and what she loved about the neighborhood growing up. The daughter of parents who spent much of her youth working in real estate and renovating houses, Benedict had the unusual treat of living in several different pockets of Buckhead as a child, learning to appreciate the special parts of each one. “I loved going with my mom to visit all the shops that were in the heart of Buckhead—all the businesses, stores, and salons that were very quaint and in those bungalow-style homes,” she recalls. “I especially loved having lunch at Neiman’s in Lenox. I’d go with my mom and grandma, and it just felt so grown up. It was such a fantasy land.”
It’s no wonder, then, that when Benedict and her family decided to move back to Atlanta from Charleston in 2012, they settled on the neighborhood where she’d grown up: Buckhead. After first purchasing and renovating a French-style house on Rilman Road, which included structural improvements in addition to new flooring, electrical, and plumbing work, Benedict and her husband, George Read, bought a French Normandy-style home a few miles away by Northside Drive earlier this year. For the last six months, Benedict and her husband have been working on renovations to make it their own. “When we bought it, I knew it would be our forever home,” she says. “It’s charming and really private—like a little jewel box up the street. Now we’re working on making it a place where people want to come hang out with their kids—or without their kids. We want to have family gatherings. We want to entertain a lot. We’re really trying to make it a special place that we can share with everybody we love.”
Glad to be home in Atlanta 🍑 one of the reasons we had to call this home ours was the beautiful view from the front doors of the house to the back garden… #skbathome A photo posted by Sally King Benedict (@sallykingbenedict) on
Today consisted of streaming GIANTS football, naps with Riv, grilling ribeye steaks⭐️ #skbathome A photo posted by Sally King Benedict (@sallykingbenedict) on
As if it weren’t enough to undertake one major renovation, Benedict is also working on a new art studio which will serve as both a workspace and a gallery to display her colorful, abstract paintings. Located in the Galleries of Peachtree Hills, the white and airy studio is situated alongside another giant in the city’s art world: the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC). “It’s the perfect location because it’s a mecca for where my clients are typically coming to shop or design for their home or whatever space they’re working on,” Benedict says. “The design is mostly streamlined and minimal, but it’s also a working studio so there’s paint everywhere. It’s a good mess.”
When she’s not working on perfecting both her new home and studio, the College of Charleston graduate is busy honing her craft: this month, Benedict will debut nearly 20 new works, from abstract paintings to figure studies on paper, at Spalding Nix Fine Art. Called “New Work” by Sally King Benedict, the exhibition opens November 10 and runs through January 6, 2017.
And while both personal and professional passions keep her life full, Benedict still makes time to explore the neighborhood she fell in love with more than 30 years ago. Whether it’s weekends with her family at the Atlanta History Center (“I love walking around there and the gardens in the back”) or shopping on Roswell Road at shops like B.D. Jeffries and Mitylene (“my friend’s store that has the cutest stuff for kids”), Benedict can’t imagine making a life—or home—anywhere else. “Buckhead is home—it’s where my family is and has a lot of potential for us in raising our own family,” she says. “I love being around the energy of everybody wanting to be successful, getting to know each other, and giving a lot back to the community.” Visit Benedict’s current show “New Work” until January 6, 2017 at Spalding Nix Fine Art (425 Peachtree Hills Avenue NE, Suite 30-A Atlanta, Georgia 30305)
This charming home on Buckhead’s famed Habersham Road was inspired by the pastoral country homes of Normandy.
“Not one detail was overlooked,” says Courtney Downs of her French country-inspired home. Located in the heart of Buckhead, the Habersham Road house was a labor of love for the late interior designer Peggy Stone and her son, architect Duane Stone, that spanned more than 20 years.
After purchasing the lot in the mid-1980s, Peggy and her husband, Norman, sat on the property for nearly two decades. Finally, inspired by a masterful 18th-century French oak armoire, Peggy, with the help of her son, broke ground in 2002. “In its early stage, the house was a much more formal French house,” Duane explains of the design. “However, as her taste evolved and became less formal so did the house.”
At completion, a classic French country home that seamlessly blended Peggy’s growing collection of antiques and unique design aesthetic with Duane’s architectural style was revealed. “Growing up around design made the marriage of architecture and interior design almost intuitive,” explains Duane. “For a project to be truly successful, it requires beautiful architecture, well-designed interiors and also great landscaping. One cannot exist without the other or the whole of the design is not complete,” he adds.
The resulting masterpiece, which was featured in Veranda’s April 2011 article “Continental Charm,” was a labor of love for both mother and son. “The intent was to create a house that lived on past my parents and would become a beautiful setting for the future owners,” says Duane. “Careful attention was given to each space so that the placements of furniture would be effortless both for my mother and for future homeowners.”
For Downs, who moved in in 2012, it was that impeccable attention to detail that drew her to the home. “We just loved the home,” she says, “its French Normandy-style exterior, the very high quality craftsmanship and materials used, and Peggy Stone’s incredible attention to detail.” Although her style tends toward the more traditional, Downs attests that her decor blends beautifully with the original design features, including standouts such as the miniature antique Delft tiles imbedded in the reclaimed terra cotta floor at the back entrance, the 17th-century walnut mantle in the keeping area of the kitchen, the painted ceiling in the library, the starburst floor pattern in the octagonal entry hall and the ironwork on the floating staircase.
When asked to describe the home, Downs again points to the remarkable craftsmanship and the exquisite design details. “I never stop noticing the incredible detail in this home and feeling the love and excitements that the Stones felt building Peggy’s final and ultimate work. We have often felt like we have been looking after Peggy’s home,” she explains. Now on the market for only the second time, Downs is ready to pass the patronage of “Peggy’s home” onto its new owner.
This home is for sale! To see the listing with more photos, CLICK HERE