Anna Booth had no intention of building a house in Roswell from scratch. Roswell is a charming time capsule of a town with an abundance of buildings dating back to its founding as a cotton mill village in the late 1830s. As it turned out, she bought a ranch-style home in a historic area surrounded by oak trees, and it had everything she wanted in a home. That means a layout suitable for entertaining and a location within walking distance of shops and restaurants. After Booth asked local architect Lou Oliver to draft a renovation plan, the team discovered some unforeseen problems that required rebuilding from the ground up. “When you build in a place as historic and unique as Roswell, you want to create something that is soulful and in harmony with the area,” says Booth, an interior designer from Roswell.
Oliver changed course and incorporated the best elements of local architectural tradition, including a modest footprint, high ceilings and doorways, a large porch with twin columns, and a symmetrical composition with three French doors in the front. We have started working on a new design to incorporate it. Something with a modern twist. He traded his previously closed, narrow rooms for an open-plan kitchen and dining room (for more fluid entertaining) and larger rooms than his old home in Roswell to let in more natural light. I chose the window. (In the age of air conditioning, having an abundance of sunlight is no longer such a negative.)
What was the inspiration for architect Lou Oliver’s 2,500-square-foot design? The property’s classic white barn (seen in the background above) is currently being used as a potting shed. Check out a similar home plan by Oliver (with a fourth bedroom!) here.
Booth sees the porch as an extension of the indoor space. With that in mind, architect Lou Oliver designed the front and back porch with generous dimensions. Both are 10 feet deep. “This size creates a completely different space: a room to sit and relax, rather than a pass-through area,” Booth says.
light and open
Open floor plans that connect the kitchen, dining area, and living room have become a staple of modern living. “We wanted to create a harmonious movement throughout the space and allow us to use the whole house, not just parts of it,” says Booth. A vaulted beamed ceiling forms the dining area. Rather than sourcing reclaimed beams, she used new cedar beams to achieve the same look more easily and less expensively.
keep things simple
“When you work with a palette of beautiful raw materials, they speak for themselves. You don’t need a lot of color,” says Oliver, who used wood floors and soapstone countertops.
Open-plan homes require a holistic approach to decoration. “Just as we repeat certain colors in a room to create continuity, we repeated certain design elements throughout the house to create a sense of unity,” Booth explains. Most notably, she carried over the kitchen’s walnut shelving into the living room, and the low-maintenance plaster finish above the kitchen’s ventilation hood mimics the style and texture of the fireplace surround. . Benjamin Her Moore’s Swiss Coffee (OC-45) covers nearly all of the booth’s interior walls.
play up personal
The decor is centered around personal touches and realistic materials. “I’m drawn to things that feel real, straightforward and honest. I don’t like to make too much of a fuss,” Booth says. “All the qualities I admire in people, I look for in things as well. We should surround ourselves with things that reflect our values.” Fittingly, the art on display in her home All pieces were created by close friends and are highlighted by a sentimental collection of family heirlooms. The wicker dining chairs around her table are the same ones she grew up sitting in at her parents’ house as a child.
In homes with small floor plans and no basements, it’s important to maximize storage space. “I read a lot, so I put built-in shelves in every nook and cranny I could,” Booth says. What’s a particularly novel application of this idea? A “secret” door to the crawl space under the stairs doubles as a movable bookshelf.
Downsizing the bedroom
“I love a small bedroom. I see it like a cocoon,” Booth explains. High ceilings, high windows, and white walls create a comfortable rather than claustrophobic effect. She also follows the rule that in small spaces, less decoration is more effective.
Even if you’re a designer, you can’t have everything you want in your home. The question becomes how to get something unique within your budget. This is where Booth had great success and where she saved money.
Make room for family heirlooms
Instead of custom built-in furniture, she installed her great-grandfather’s old chest of drawers as a butler’s pantry in the hallway.
enjoy the thrill of the hunt
Although she longed for expensive lacquered brass, she found more affordable alternatives from Home Depot, such as Delta’s Champagne Bronze Faucet and Martha Stewart Living’s Bedford Brass Awning Cup Pulls ($4.49 each) I chose.
make it simple
Simple white linen Roman shades provide privacy without as much fabric (or a hefty price tag) as curtains.
add an unexpected surprise
For her powder room to make a big impression on guests, Booth chose antique mirrors and sconces. “You can always take special lighting with you when you move,” she says.
“I wanted walnut shelves in my kitchen, but solid walnut shelves were very expensive,” she says. “We used veneers instead, which gave us warmth and saved us a lot of money.”