An enchanting Peachtree Hills cottage mixes salvaged materials, modern industrial flair and romantic European touches…
Since Michigan native Blair Cohen moved to Atlanta in 1985, he’s lived in a variety of different homes, from a contemporary Morningside bungalow to a sprawling estate on Tuxedo Road. But his current Peachtree Hills dwelling might be his favorite yet.
“I just fell in love when I first saw it and ended up paying full price,” says Cohen, a technology entrepreneur who purchased his 2,291-square-foot home near the Duck Pond in 2016. “I’ve had bigger homes and didn’t utilize a lot of them, and I utilize 100% of this house.”
Built in the 1930s, the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath cottage has gone through various transformations, including the previous owners’ outfitting it in salvaged materials— many of the items sourced by Wyatt “Bo” Childs of Childs Millwork in Barnesville, Georgia. Beneath its soaring 22-foot ceilings, it showcases oak beams from barns in Ohio, antique limestone floors in the entry and handmade iron and glass French doors. When Cohen moved in, he enlisted designer and friend Edwin Rabine to decorate and make minor aesthetic changes. He refinished the wood floors, added some wallpaper and stained the yellowish oak in the bathrooms and on the living room mantle.
Many of Cohen’s furnishings brought from his previous home fit right in, from the large custom coffee table made of two bookmatched slabs of old walnut to a 19th century Italian giltwood and iron chandelier.
The living room also features a Verellan sofa and club chairs slipcovered in Belgian linen, a Dennis & Leen Italian credenza and intriguing decor objects—vintage white opium pipes from Vietnam, ivory clamshell bangles used as currency in Papua New Guinea and a large tridacna shell. The art on the walls ranges from a triptych horse portrait and a shadow boxframed, traditional Tahitian wedding skirt to smaller midcentury vintage art pieces found at estate sales and New York’s BK Antiques.
“Edwin won’t let me buy anything that isn’t unique,” Cohen says.
Off the centrally located living space is a cozy dining room with an 18th century table from R HUGHES and chairs by Gregorius|Pineo and Formations bought at Jerry Pair. In the background, a cabinet in a white-gray finish shows off Hermès plates through chicken wire. The hanging lights are vintage iron garden pendants that Rabine painted and rewired.
The area next to the dining room and entryway leads to the kitchen that looks plucked from a French chateau with pickled white oak cabinetry and a two-tier vintage chandelier. The room’s centerpiece is a reclaimed wood and iron work table flanked by antique cane bistro chairs with pale yellow accents. The ochre-glazed ceramic industrial chemical sink is one of the homeowner’s favorite touches.
Cohen added the kitchen’s French “crèche” hood, handmade by Atlanta-based Francois & Co., which hangs above the Viking oven. Across the room, a 12-foot-high arched iron window with a door faces an alfresco space with an antique limestone table and stone fireplace. “My big family has decided this is the place we are going to have every holiday,” Cohen says. “You can fit 30 people out there easily.”
The master bedroom also exudes European flair. Below its 20-foot-tall, vaulted ceiling, a 14-foot iron window frames the four-poster bed by Paul Ferrante that features a Belgian linen headboard. The bed has a klismos bench at the foot and, on each side, custom ebonized wood cabinets by Ironies designed with inlaid ivory sunbursts.
Nearby, a painted 1880s rosewood English bobbin chair, octagonal faux-ivory inlay table from Dennis & Leen and iron lamp from Gregorious|Pineo create a comfortable, yet regal, place to read. The majestic ambiance is punctuated by the photo-worthy master bathroom where the trough-like tub faces a wood-burning fireplace. “It’s pretty nice to be in the bathtub and have a fireplace going,” Cohen says.
Through another full bathroom outfitted in a tech-savvy Japanese toilet, the master bedroom connects to a sitting-meets-television room. Admittedly not a big TV watcher, Cohen enjoys relaxing and listening to the various vinyl records displayed on the ivory lacquer and iron étagère made by Bradley USA for his previous residence but cut to fit the room.
Cohen’s home is also his workplace. His office is in the basement, but he tends to spend most of his time on the entry patio where thick York stone pavers repurposed from a cathedral in England and 19th century Belgian copper lanterns redesigned with steel bases and fitted for gas create a charming, historic ambiance.
The patio overlooks the newest addition to Cohen’s property: a 900-squarefoot stone “garden pavilion” that doubles as an extravagant garage. Remove the luxury cars and you have a stunning venue for a party. “The architect wanted it to look like this was the first building on the property, and the house was an afterthought,” Cohen says. “It has an oldworld feeling.”
Completed in 2020, the pavilion features concrete floors made to look like pieces of stone and a door that opens horizontally as to not block the view of the raw cedar ceiling and elliptical French gothic “eyebrow” windows that ultimately determined the majority of the design.
“The whole building was designed around the windows. When you have a ceiling that is a masterpiece, you couldn’t ruin it with doors that were going up into it, so this door was a must,” Cohen says.
Rabine was happy to supply the windows. “I bought [the windows] for Blair years ago, and we finally got to use them with great impact on the roof of his beautiful new ‘garden garage pavilion’ to illuminate the ceiling of that structure.”
It has taken a real appreciation for beautiful things to make this Buckhead abode shine at its full potential. As an entrepreneur, Cohen is accustomed to developing and selling off his best projects, but this home will be hard to let go.
Edwin Rabine shares eight favorite places to source furnishings and art for designing a one-of-a-kind home.
1. Delray & Associates Antiques @delrayandassociates
2. Pryor Fine Art pryorfineart.com
3. Tew Galleries tewgalleries.com
4. Foxglove Antiques & Galleries foxgloveantiques.com/antiques
5. Interiors Market interiorsmarket.com
6. 14th Street Modern & Vintage Home 14thstreetantiques.com
7. Parc Monceau Antiques parcmonceauatl.com
8. MK Antiques NYC mkantiquesarts.com
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.