A couple’s polished Dunwoody townhouse becomes a launching pad for a new creative endeavor.
Ashan Perera and Jessica Clear loved the model townhome they saw in Dunwoody’s Townsend at Perimeter development, but when they moved into their corner unit in May 2020, they found it lacking personality and style.
“We walked in here, and it was completely blank and nothing like the model,” Perera recalls. “It had all the basic light fixtures. We knew we had to fix it up. Luckily, we were working from home, and we [decided to] try some DIY projects with some accent walls.”
Four accent walls later—in the dining room, guestroom, master and downstairs media room—they had not only breathed new life into the new construction but also built the foundation for their company. They officially launched The Boardroom Accent Walls in January 2021. In April, Perera left his job in corporate hospitality to devote himself to the once side gig full-time. Although Clear continues her full-time job as a financial analyst at Boston Consulting Group, the couple has been working nonstop to grow their new venture.
“This opportunity was one we didn’t want to look back on and regret not doing,” Perera says. “We love the reactions we get from the clients, that sense of satisfaction. We truly enjoy what we are doing.”
Their home, which was decorated by stylist Divya Vaswani, Perera’s childhood friend, has become a showcase for their creativity. It was Vaswani who pushed the couple to share their accent walls on social media in the first place, resulting in a “wild fire” of interest in their design work.
The dining room was the couples’ first DIY wall—a pattern of large white squares to contrast the black linear chandelier above the World Market wood table. The room’s subdued tones flow seamlessly into the open kitchen with white Shaker cabinets, white quartz countertops and a large island that fits up to five barstools.
“The island is great for hosting neighbors and friends, setting up all the food, typically a taco or sushi bar for friends to come eat and enjoy,” Clear says. “I love cooking, so a large island was a must to be able to entertain while cooking up something delicious.”
The entertaining spirit spills into the adjacent living area where a 5-by-5-foot coffee table from Restoration Hardware anchors the room and is surrounded by a soft gray Bassett sofa and two tufted armchairs from Modway. The game night-worthy center table features curated decor items, including a rock shaped like the state of Ohio (where the couple met) that they found on a hike. The homeowners punched up the living room even further by painting the fireplace in Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore and adding wide-plank shiplap on the wall. They also had built-ins installed on either side of the fireplace, one side hiding a pull-out bar.
“We love having people over and want everything to be functional and convenient,” Perera says.
Perera and Clear also host guests in their downstairs basement flex room that features a dark gray accent wall with a combination of diagonal and horizontal lines complimenting the herringbone fur rug. Add in the Restoration Hardware sofa, and it’s the ideal spot for movie nights.
Two more Boardroom accent walls are found upstairs. The guest room, the second wall they completed, features a design of vertical columns painted white. They also dressed up the tray ceiling with peel and stick herringbone pattern.
“We wanted to keep it clean and simple, so when our guests come they feel like it’s a hotel,” Perera says.
The master bedroom is a bit moodier with a charcoal wall in a square and rectangular design. The dark backdrop offers a contrast against the white upholstered headboard from Wayfair, glass lamps from HomeGoods and neutral bedding. “It gives the perfect amount of ambience in the evenings to sit and read,” Clear says.
In other small spaces of the home are more added-on touches, from the gold and gray wall paper in the powder room to the black and white gallery wall in the entry, that speak to the homeowners’ penchant for sophisticated design. They also have more plans to come, including accent walls in the stairwell and entryway, and “fun” wallpaper in the master bathroom.
“I feel like our home is always ‘inprogress,’” Clear says. “We fell in love with how accent walls change the look and feel. Now we want to add them in every space to not only elevate it, but to really customize it to us and what we like.
ASHAN AND JESSICA’S TOP TIPS FOR DRESSING UP A BLAND INTERIOR:
1. Accent walls are a great way to elevate a room without needing too many other decor items. It’s art in and of itself.
2. Start with neutral colors as your base, layering on fun patterns. We even like to add some color with pillows and throws for different seasons.
3. Swap out basic builder light fixtures with a simple or fun fixture to change the mood and ambience of the space.
4. Add statement pieces. We love large elements that fill the space, similar to accent walls or our large coffee table. These statement items are conversation pieces, giving you a great foundation.
5. When accessorizing, use items from around your home. You can easily change up styling and create a fresh new look just by moving around pieces you already have. Don’t feel like you have to use them all at once. Sometimes opening our decor closet is like going shopping!
PHOTOS: David Parham
Giannina S. Bedford is multi-faceted writer and editor. Her work covers design, travel, food and business. She’s penned Simply Buckhead’s home feature since inception and held a variety of editorial roles at the magazine. Her freelance work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, USA Today, Virtuoso Life, Hemispheres and TravelandLeisure.com. She also contributes regularly Atlanta Business Chronicle. Fluent in Spanish, Giannina was born in Miami and grew up in Brazil, Chile, Hawaii and Australia. She currently lives in Dunwoody with her two kids and husband.