The cocktail room features cognac swivel chairs by CR Laine, hanging pendants by Visual Comfort and the designer’s own collection of cheeky German clocks. Photographed by Lauren Rubinstein
After 30 years as residents of Alpharetta’s Windward community, Kat Nelson and her husband used their empty nester status to bring to life their dream forever home on the lake for family and friends to venerate and celebrate.
Downsizing, at times, gives a negative connotation that perhaps the abode will never be as glamorous as the original. However, today, the venture is one of a second chance at curating the perfect home. Designer Kat Nelson took on such a project at her and her husband’s new home in Alpharetta. The fact that Nelson is a designer made this a higher-stakes interior renovation. How does a designer design for themselves? In this case, a new space on the lake became an exercise in striking details and personal collection. Room by room, the space takes on bold prints, custom pieces and intentionally placed objects to add personal touches reflective of Nelson’s design sensibilities. Although each room is different, there is a sense of cohesion and fluidity underlying bold decisions. You just have to take this home space by space.
Inside the transitional European exterior was an interior stuck in the ’90s, throwing them back to dark cabinetry, shag carpets, and golden granite and floors. (Yikes.) However, Nelson was not intimidated in the slightest, except when made patient by the obstacle of COVID-19. Nonetheless, the time spent waiting for parts and pieces made each space a more meditative endeavor. The only way to appropriately capture the transformation from the humorously nostalgic ’90s style to a European classic mixed with vocal eclecticism is to dissect each inspired accent.
The kitchen features custom cabinetry again by Renew Properties, white oak islands topped with quartz in Broadway Black. The bar stools are by Noir and the range is by French brand Lacanche. Photographed by Lauren Rubinstein
If cabinets could talk, the custom-designed kitchen additions would tell a tale of color. Acting as the star of the mixed materials space, a dark-green hue with raised diamond panels tangos with a white enclosed brick range and white oak islands and countertops of quartz in Broadway Black. The green highlights the white oak, which is accentuated by unique black island chairs tucked beneath their surfaces. With the brick range acting as the classic element, each contrasting design decision complements the other. From there, the new homeowners enter a softer sensibility in the scullery continuing the same dark colors and a charming baking station, harboring coffee necessities and a breakfast bar. While the kitchen boasts a more classic feel, the home office acts as a more contemporary and elevated space with Kelly Wearstler geometric wallpaper in black and white, an alabaster chandelier, and the center of attention, a Dawne Raulet commission. However, collected antiques maintain the eclectic aesthetic in the antique-inspired central desk.
The scullery features a custom dark-green paint color by Kat Nelson Designs on the cabinets to match the kitchen with iron open shelving units by Renew Properties. Photographed by Lauren Rubinstein
Not to forget that this forever home also doubles as their entertainment hub, the former living room was turned into a speakeasy-esque conversation room. Each piece is vibrant, almost speaking to you and inviting you into the conversation. Consistent with the kitchen and scullery, the dark-green favorite is found in the walls and drapery contrasted with five linked chandeliers, cognac swivel chairs and a custom animal-print ottoman. The playful pieces are accompanied by the impressive collection of German clocks, family heirlooms and pieces deemed to showcase a sense of humor. From the conversation room, the lines and shapes come into the equation through the black slate hexagonal tiling in the foyer, which then transitions into more pattern play in the powder room’s Talavera Birch by Brunschwig & Fils wallpaper. This sense of eclecticism is then grounded by European classical additions of double doors, a found oyster mirror, a custom wood vanity and comfort sconces. There is a surprise at every turn.
The home office features a commissioned piece by artist Dawne Raulet that perfectly complements the black and white geometric Kelly Wearstler wallpaper. Photographed by Lauren Rubinstein
Nelson’s forever home is an example of transition from the maintenance of European sensibilities, novel touches that showcase her own, to the physical renovation that tried and tested the ultimate vision. There was no plumbing in the former dining room and the weight of the concrete pavers, double islands and brick range wall exceeded the weight of the original structure. By having an architectural engineer, they advised us to install a 40-foot beam in the basement to support the weight of the kitchen. Along with staffing and labor shortages, there were definitely some bumps in the road.” It is all the while charming, exciting and intimate through each creative decision and impressive in nature by sheer methodical approach to a perfect forever home nestled on the lake.
The powder room features Brunschwig & Fils’ Talavera Birch paired with sconces by Visual Comfort. Plumbing is Chesterfield wall mount by Newport Brass. Photographed by Lauren Rubinstein
The breakfast room features a found chandelier and a custom-made table. Photographed by Lauren Rubinstein
Type: Single-family home
** Kat Nelson,
Kat Nelson Designs Inc.,
** Sitting room chairs
Kravet x Kelly Wearstler
Office wall paper
**Brunschwig & Fils
** Powder room wallpaper
** Office chandelier, sitting room chandelier, powder room sconces