Nancy Conrad puts her artistic stamp on a Peachtree Hills condo.
Nancy Conrad has lived a fascinating life. Born in Denver, she attended boarding school in Darien, Connecticut. In 1990, she married Charles “Pete” Conrad, the commander of Apollo 12 and the third man to walk on the moon. The couple, who met on a blind date, settled in Huntington Beach, California. Pete passed away in 1999, and in 2007, Conrad moved to San Francisco then to Washington, D.C. a year later. She spent much of her time traveling the globe as an author, publisher, entrepreneur and public speaker.
Today, Conrad is a resident of Peachtree Hills Place, an upscale continuing care retirement community for ages 55-plus in Buckhead. What brought her to Atlanta, Conrad unabashedly says, was “My ‘exit strategy’ because you have to think about it. I’ve seen two parents off the planet, and it’s not a pleasant experience for parents or children, so I said, ‘I’m going to figure out my own exit strategy.’”
Conrad came across the development when a cousin and his wife, Charlotte Margolin, residency counselor at Peachtree Hills Place, attended a dinner party she hosted in D.C. to honor a book about their aunt. Conrad later visited Atlanta, and Margolin showed her around. “Charlotte introduced me to people she thought I would vibe with, and right she was,” Conrad says. “Wherever I go, I need to find my vibe and my tribe. Otherwise, why be there?”
Conrad closed on her fourth-floor condo in July 2020, but before relocating, she customized the residence’s interior. Instead of Peachtree Hills Place’s traditional two bedroom layout with a formal dining room, Conrad skipped the extra bedroom to create an open, loft-style one bedroom. “I love the openness,” says Conrad, who spent 15 years as an interior designer.
Conrad worked with her friend, designer and architect Rahman Seraj of Seraj Associates, to create an interior that fit her style and needs, from an oversized dressing room to a kitchen office. She also designed the home to accommodate many of the furnishings from her former apartment at The Watergate in D.C.
“[Seraj] guided me and did all the working drawings, and then I hired a local contractor, MJR Construction,” Conrad says. “Due to the pandemic, Rahman and I guided the work on Zoom.”
Conrad finally moved in on Nov. 1, 2020, to a completely transformed abode filled with her global mementos, curated artworks and one-of-a-kind furnishings. From the outside of the home, the single doorway matches all the others in the hallway. On the inside, however, a faux double-door creates a grand entry. To the right is the open living space where the modern kitchen features quartz countertops, lacquered white cabinets and painted taupe glass.
“I couldn’t find a marble that worked for the overall color scheme. Rahman suggested a backsplash of glass tiles that are painted on one side as they have the appearance of lacquer but are easy to clean and adaptable to use in the kitchen. I am delighted with it,” Conrad says.
Atop the countertops, pops of color come from the Zulu baskets made of recycled telephone wire and three glass cherry sculptures purchased in Denver.
Nearby, the living room is furnished in Holly Hunt sofas, a Chinese opium coffee table and a Louis XIV desk. The dining room features a round table surrounded by burl and brass trimmed chairs that Conrad purchased on 1stDibs.com and recovered in a regal gold and black damask fabric. Below the table sits a 10-by-10 rug from Westside Market. Suspended above is a crystal chandelier, inspired by a 2019 visit to the Baccarat Museum in Paris, that further elevates the room’s glamorous feel.
Adorning the entire living space are artistic treasures, from a Wedgwood Philadelphia Bowl and collection of spears to an antique Chinese chest and taupe and black throw from Indonesia. The eclectic and modern interior also includes art that runs the gamut from a Picasso that belonged to her mother to an oversized painting by Conrad’s son.
On the other side of the condo is the master bedroom where a custom bed is dressed in “a happy” orange comforter and flanked by nightstands of Macassar ebonywood. In addition to the swoon worthy master bathroom—designed with glass enclosures, a stand-alone tub and handpicked art—the lady of the house has a dressing room, converted from a would-be sitting room or office. More of a private hangout, the dressing room is outfitted with custom storage and a window sofa that creates a “great place to read.” Atop the center dresser are family photos, and on Conrad’s makeup table is a collection of lacquered boxes and a decorative comb from Bali. One of the boxes was a gift from Pete on her birthday; another was given to her in Moscow by a cosmonaut’s wife who shares her birthday.
Although Conrad didn’t know “a single soul” when she moved into Peachtree Hills Place, she’s met many friends and even hosted a few dinner parties for neighbors. “I enjoy having friends at home. Wherever I live, it is something I have always enjoyed doing,” she says.
Moving to Atlanta was a leap of faith, but it was not Conrad’s first. Like her late husband, she is not afraid of new adventures.
NANCY CONRAD’S TOP 5 DESIGN TIPS:
1. Know your aesthetic: “When I was actively working as a designer, I encouraged my clients to pull pictures [from magazines] of things they liked without worrying if it fell into a category of decor. Your home is a place to reflect your personal style. I would call my style eclectic.”
2. Surround yourself with colors you like: “I choose colors that are calming: neutrals like beige, white and gray. However, I also incorporate small pops of color like a red accent wall or an orange comforter.”
3. Reflect your life, interests and passion: “Sometimes these are subtle references. For example, the floral photography of Susan Middleton in the powder room. Susan uses a Hasselblad camera—the camera that was used to take the first pictures on the moon. Others are more straightforward, like a collection of books about Apollo and lunar exploration in my bookcase.”
4. Incorporate items that bring you happy memories: “I have been fortunate to have traveled the world and have collected many items along the way. They are displayed in my home. Where some people may not pair an inexpensive piece of folk art with the work of a wellknown artist, I prefer to place the value on what the piece means to me and the memories of a wonderful trip or fun experience.”
5. Add a touch of whimsy: “I absolutely love the larger-than life glass art cherries that I bought on one of my travels. Recently, I purchased a fun rocket-shaped pencil holder I found at the High Museum of Art. It sits on my desk and makes me smile every day.”
Founded by Nancy Conrad in 2008, The Conrad Foundation honors the legacy of her late husband, Charles “Pete” Conrad, the commander of Apollo 12 and the third man to walk on the moon. Nancy and the Foundation were recently honored by the Fulton County Commission for their work that combines science and technology-based education, innovation and entrepreneurship in an annual competition that invites students ages 13 to 18 to collaborate to develop solutions focused on challenges in sustainability. conradchallenge.org
PHOTOS: Patrick Heagney
Contributing home editor and design columnist at Simply Buckhead. Travel & Business Writer. Mother of Two.