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Gray Matters

With the help of designer Janie Hirsch, one couple’s vision of a Buckhead dream house becomes reality.

BESPOKE BEAUTY Many of the items in this Buckhead abode are custom-made, especially in this office—one of two in the home. Hirsch put custom judges paneling made of alderwood in the space because it didn’t have the red in it that cherry does. The desk was also custom-made by Abner Henry Fine Furniture in Ohio with only a slim pencil drawer, while the fireplace is Isokern, not a prefab box. “The rug is all cowhide, cut and made into a pattern from Moattar, Ltd,” says Hirsch. “There are lots of values of color in there.”

It’s not a new story. An old, rundown house in Buckhead somehow caught the couple’s eye from the street. The possibilities and promises of what could be the dream home—the one only they could see—spoke to them from somewhere deep inside. So they tore it down and built an entirely new house from the ground up with custom luxury homebuilder Matt Joel of Joel Construction Company. Now who could execute stunning interiors to match the perfect picture in their minds? Enter Janie Hirsch of J. Hirsch Interior Design, who had designed award-winning interiors all across the country.

“My husband had done business with one of the gentlemen,” recalls Hirsch. When the couple told him they were finally going to build their dream house, he said, “You’ve got to talk with my wife, Janie.”

“They interviewed me, along with some others, and quickly said, ‘You’re the one.’” More kismet—now the vision had its visionary.

For two years, Hirsch worked on the five-bedroom, 8,700-square-foot home with the clients, who, in the end, kept only one set of bedroom furniture, some lamps and a few accessories from their previous house. Otherwise, everything going into the home was new. “They didn’t want to use colors from their previous house, which had a lot of gold, yellows and tan neutrals.” Hirsch presented gray as the dominant shade with accents of blues, creams and yellows, and the rest fell into place.

COLOR WASH With gray as the dominant tone in the bedroom, Hirsch decided to accent the cool hue with blues, creams and yellows for a neutral yet modern feel.

The subdued hue was perfect for anchoring dramatic spaces such as the two-story foyer that welcomes guests after entering through custom arched solid mahogany front doors. The gray marble flooring, which they had honed locally and inlaid with distressed French oak to create the striking pattern, was ordered from Walker Zanger in one enormous piece from Italy.

From there, guests get the same feeling as they move into the formal living room with its 22-foot ceilings and exquisite François & Co. fireplace. The all-iron chandelier from Solária complements the balusters on the stairs nearby. Although the chandelier was new, it was distressed to appear antique—a move that is signature Hirsch. “We didn’t want everything to look brand-new and [we wanted] to have a nice mix of antiques with current pieces,” she explains.

The variety of alcoves, entertaining areas (there’s a man cave downstairs and wine cellar), dual offices (they both work out of the house) and four guest bedrooms (the couple has no children) provided numerous opportunities for Hirsch to change up the smoky palette. For instance, of the incredibly luxe master bathroom, she says, “We wanted white and gray, but not so much gray.”—an effect she achieved by mixing a basket weave pattern of venatino marble like a “rug” in the middle of larger slabs of white venatino on the floor. The kitchen is also more bright and airy than other rooms. Hirsch kept a silvery gray visible only in fixtures, veining in the marble backsplash, countertops and appliances. The effect is cohesiveness throughout the large manse, without everything being matchy-matchy.

“They really let me do what I do,” says Hirsch, who won an ASID award for the project in May. “It was a pleasure to hand it over and see how much they loved it. It was a dream job,” she adds. “The kind we all wish we could have.”


Single-family home


Interior Design
J. Hirsch Interior Design
Janie Hirsch

Joel Construction Company
Matt Joel

Solária Lighting
Living room chandelier

Walker Zanger
All marble and tile throughout house

Visual Comfort & Co.
Dining room chandeliers, kitchen chandeliers

Living room console table and two chests by fireplace

Hickory Chair Furniture Co.
Living room chairs, office chairs and ottoman, powder-room chest, kitchen bar stools

Moattar, Ltd
Rugs throughout the home

dk Gallery
Master bathroom painting

PDI Kitchen, Bath and Lighting Showroom
Kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures