Lara Carter traded her family-friendly Brookhaven residence for a modern, art-inspired Buckhead townhome.
At heart, Lara Carter has always been a city girl. When she became an empty-nester and was contemplating a move, she knew she wanted a home in the middle of the action. In May 2017, after spending 12 years in a 1963 split ranch house in historic Brookhaven, she relocated to a new Monte Hewett Homes development on East Andrews in the heart of Buckhead.
The three-level townhome—with a gourmet kitchen, garage, master walk-in closet and soaking tub—had all the perks missing from her previous abode. The 3,175-square-foot residence also offered an open layout to accommodate Carter’s frequent entertaining and clean white walls to showcase her growing art collection. Add to that three outdoor spaces (a fire pit patio, al fresco dining porch and outdoor perch off the master) with views of The St. Regis, and the residence was the much-awaited upgrade Carter needed. Plus, her college best friends, who lived three blocks away in Brookhaven, also relocated, selecting a home just three houses from hers.
When it came to decorating her new digs, Carter called on talented friends for their input. Misty Moss of MCM Design Company worked with her to create a neutral palette of basic furniture pieces from Bernhardt, Bradley USA and Lee Industries. Carter, who loves decorating and renovation, then filled in the gaps, mixing high-end designer wares with items from places such as HomeGoods and Scott Antique Markets.
“It’s special to have memorable pieces from world travels, but I’m starting to appreciate the global marketplace available in Atlanta’s backyard,” says Carter, a client relationship executive at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Next time I might not awkwardly carry a 3-foot [tall] African mask across London when I can zip down to Scott’s for something similar.”
For art placement, Carter collaborated with Huff Harrington’s Meg Harrington and Sam Jones. The team helped select placement for large works and created a gallery wall in the living room. The eye-catching showcase includes Carter’s original family art (her mother, father and grandfather taught college art over the years) and pieces by well-known local artists (Todd Murphy, Steve Penley and Todd Alexander, to name a few). Her son, Chase, also got a spot on the eclectic gallery display with a bear he painted in an art class several years ago at The Lovett School.
One of Carter’s most prized pieces is a painting of a mother and son by her friend, Felice Sharp, that hangs in the living room above an antique chest of drawers from Huff Harrington Home & Design. Titled Pathways to New Beginnings, Carter commissioned the piece in 2000 after going through a divorce.
“I’ve collected art that speaks to me as a reflection and reminder of where I am in life,” Carter says. “The pieces from mom and dad tell stories from my childhood; I think of my son’s middle school milestone when I look at a portrait by Tracy Sharp [Felice’s daughter] and will always relate moving to this house with Lily Harrington’s aptly titled Rosé All Day.”
Carter’s artistic taste extends to her furnishings as well. In the living room, a “Louis Goes to Sparta” wingback chair designed by Maurizio Galante and Tal Lancman is covered in fabric with a photographic print of white Carrara marble.
“I was flipping through Architectural Digest and ran across this amazing chair that looked like a piece of art made of marble and had to splurge,” says Carter, who tracked the piece down at ADAC’s Context Gallery. “It’s the only place in the house where red wine is off limits.”
The rest of the open living space features a white, L-shaped sofa from CR Laine, a black root coffee table from South of Market and a Bradley USA concrete console table with a hand-forged iron stretcher. The adjacent dining room with a Tritter Feefer table and the open kitchen with Cambria countertops are made for Carter’s many social events.
From a Masters Tournament viewing party and Valentine’s dinner celebration to impromptu happy hours, the lady of the house hosts gatherings at least once a month. Parties often spill out onto the patio where an antique French farm table from Huff Harrington beckons guests to sip cocktails and take in the Buckhead city view. “The view of The St. Regis, especially at night, is incredible,” she says. “I still get excited every time I look out. I’m so grateful that I get to live here.”
When the crowd has gone home, Carter retreats upstairs to her serene master suite. The room’s signature art is the aforementioned Rosé All Day, a rose-hued abstract painting Carter commissioned from Lily Harrington (Meg Harrington’s daughter and Chase’s close friend for 15 years). The spa-like master bathroom is just as sumptuous, with a soaking tub, large shower and walk-in closet. “My entire bathroom in my last house was probably as big as my shower now,” Carter says.
The upstairs also houses Carter’s home office with a Lee Industries double chaise and art by Todd Murphy and Archie Scott Gobber. While Carter has run of the third level, Chase’s domain is downstairs. Through the first-level entry foyer, where a Lee Industries trundle is reserved for Chase’s friends, is a sports-themed bedroom showcasing jerseys and memorabilia signed by Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Allen Iverson and Mike Tyson. His room won’t remain the same much longer, however. The recent college graduate is on the hunt for his own place.
“I want Chase to always feel at home in his room here,” Carter says. “But when I stumble across that next amazing piece of art and need to free up some wall space, it might be time to send his sports memorabilia to his new place.”
LARA CARTER’S FAVORITE LOCAL SPOTS TO HUNT FOR ART
1. Maune Contemporary. “Atlanta has been lacking in contemporary and modern art options, especially compared to what you might find in New York, Miami or L.A. To help fill this gap, my friends Heidi and Ramsey Maune opened their gallery in 2019. It’s a great place to purchase art ranging from the renowned Alex Katz to local artist DL Warfield.”
2. Huff Harrington. “It offers a wide range of artists and home furnishing with a French flair. They even curate amazing trips to France, whether your interest is to paint Paris yourself, shop the markets for original paintings or just drink rosé all day in Provence with fellow art enthusiasts.”
3. The Drawing Room ATL. “The duo behind this architectural and interior design services firm are branching out and finding unique international artists, one-of-a-kind custom pieces and even classical antique works that add a modern twist to any collection. A few of my neighbors have worked with their team, and the results are spectacular.”
Interior photos: Courtesy of Tom & Lori Hicks, Atlanta Fine Homes
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.