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Home Chic Home
Kelsey Bjelland | Photo: Christina Wedge | November 28, 2012
A first-time condo owner marries high fashion with decor at her Buckhead digs.
Stepping into Atlanta-native Katie Brannen’s condo is a little like slipping on a vintage Chanel blazer: It’s warm and cozy, classically stylish and looks totally put together. It’s not a bad place to call your first home—in fact, for 23-year-old Brannen, it’s a dream come true. As a partner with Stockton Cousins Group in Buckhead (and her father the name behind NAI Brannen Goddard), the Auburn University grad knows her real estate. Last May, she scooped up the foreclosed two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath Peachtree Road condo for a steal. With the help of a local decorating power duo—Lance Jackson and David Ecton of interior-design firm Parker Kennedy Living—she completely gutted and redecorated the two-story, 1,850-square-foot space to make it her own.
Brannen first met Jackson and Ecton at their booth at Scott Antique Market, where she was idly browsing. The three had a bonding moment over a large mirror—identical to the one that Kyle Richards of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has in her foyer—that now lives front and center in Brannen’s sitting room. Brannen knew she had to have it—and the piece sparked a desire to find a home of her own. “I thought, ‘I don’t have a place to put it, but I’m going to find one,’” she explains.
A few short weeks later, after buying her condo, Brannen called Jackson. “I have a blank canvas,” she said. “You need to come over.” Before they could accessorize the unit, however, a major overhaul was in order. With the help of Atlanta contractor Wes Milner, Brannen ripped out everything from the carpet to the light fixtures to the iron railings, and replaced them with African black ebony floors (installed diagonally, “to expand the corners of the room,” says Brannen), abundant lamps and glass railings (“They reminded me of being at the mall!”).
From there, attention to detail was the name of the game. “Before I met them, I knew what I liked,” says Brannen, “but I just didn’t know how to put the whole look together.” With help from Jackson and Ecton, she honed in on the style vision for her condo. “I think of it as New York chic meets Palm Beach vintage meets Hollywood glam,” Brannen says. They started with the color palette—rich green, chocolate brown and Hermès orange are her favorites. It was all about a fresh approach to the classics: Take the dining room chairs, for example. The shield-back Lilly Pulitzer chairs are something you might find in your grandmother’s house—but these were updated by adding Hermès ribbon to the back, and covering the seats in pretty, yet durable, tweed vinyl. To complete the dining area, Brannen purchased a plain round table from IKEA, and made it totally fresh by draping it with luxe Schumacher fabric and covering it with a glass top.
Though the condo is small, but some standards, the 22-foot ceilings and double-level windows (complete with remote-controlled room-darkening shades, like those seen in The Holiday) keep things bright and airy. Jackson and Ecton also helped Brannen employ small techniques to open up the space—for example, they replaced nearly every door with half double-doors and changed the hinges so they would open out. They installed mirrors wherever possible—on the closet doors, the entire bathroom wall and the kitchen backsplash—as an inexpensive way to make the rooms appear larger. Brannen also used lots of chandeliers—“When you walk into a room, you should want to look up,” she says.
The result is a little bit Town & Country, a little bit Hollywood Regency, with a touch of Paris, where Brannen studied fashion for a semester in college. It’s her fashion background (and maybe the closet full of Chanel) that drives her classic design style, too. “I would rather wait and get what I really want, then get a lot of cheap things,” Brannen explains. “I don’t want to spend money on things that are trendy. I want to invest in the basics.”