Above: The Nemos’ master bedroom has an alabaster paper sculpture by Ohio artist Frank Gallo to supplement the breathtaking view of Atlanta.
Carol and Bob Nemo found their dream flat fully furnished with glamorous lighting, lots of built-ins, pristine flooring, gourmet kitchen and chic furniture reminiscent of Architectural Digest.
“I knew when I first walked in that this was IT,” Carol said. “The beautiful chocolate and taupe tones would provide a majestic backdrop for our art and Judaica collection. … It even came with eight TVs, one in every room!”
Bob, former owner of the upscale Smith Ace Hardware on West Paces Ferry Road, said: “When we shopped at the gift shows, it was one for the store and one for Carol. She has quite the eye for treasure and art.”
Carol, daughter of benefactors and collectors Sylvia and William Breman, is gracious and animated as she explains that their 4,040-square-foot condo has views from all sides and is surrounded by balconies where grandchildren can watch the Peachtree Road Race and Fourth of July fireworks at Nonny and Poppy’s place.
Bob, a young 80, is an expert needlepointer, while Carol employed interior designer Bo Waddell of Bo Unlimited to organize their galleries and reframe and position objects in just the right spot.
Photos by Duane Stork
Jaffe: So you walked into this fabulous space already decorated?
Carol: We had looked high and low for 18 months. My daughter grew weary of me complaining and found this online. … Talk about love at first sight. Every thread, all the furniture, the counters, the open-spaced floor plan — all 4,040 square feet were just perfect for us. We did bring over our art, Judaica, my childhood piano and a few family pieces.
Jaffe: What are the special things you brought from your Breman family antiquities?
Carol: My grandmother’s oil lamp (circa 1880) illuminates the master bedroom by my mother’s small glass dish that she served nuts in every Friday night when our kids were little and we had Shabbat dinner together. Our dining room set and china cabinet belonged to my parents and are a sentimental part of my childhood. Waddell re-covered the chairs in a fabric that would be snazzy but still stand up well with grandchildren.
Two of our favorite oils from my folks are “Girl at the Opera” by Pal Fried, which is very Degas-like, originally framed in a nondescript whitish frame. See how Bo’s new, sleek frame really brings the young girl to life. And the other in the hall is the “Accordion Player” by Paul LaCour.
Waddell: What an honor it was to help Carol and Robert create their exciting glass home overlooking the city. The Nemos have spent many years collecting art that reflects their wonderful sense of humor along with an air of whimsy that permeates their new home. As well as enjoying their humorous side, the very dedicated and deeply spiritual side of their lives is beautifully displayed in their Judaica collection. The highlight of my experience working with this gracious family was installing a custom display case that I designed to solely feature Judaica. It is in the heart of the home for all to admire.
Jaffe: Your collection is splendid and organized so artistically. Fill in the memories.
Carol: We have a large and wonderful dreidel collection, many of which are still in storage. One of our most unusual is this spinning one which stands alone that we got in Caesarea, Israel. The menorahs are quite special too. This multicolored glass one by William Goldhagen is from “Art Works,” a fine art show at the Breman Jewish Home, that my father surprised me with as a birthday gift one year.
Bob: We gave half of our Judaica collection to the Weber School before we moved from Sandy Springs. We like to participate in charitable auctions … like the intensely vivid Peter Max in the dining room and the Alvar in the kitchen.
Jaffe: Do you have any unusual sculpture?
Carol: I fell in love with “Jezebel” at a SoHo gallery in New York and had it shipped here. Janet Beerman, a friend and carpenter, built the base and lighted case it is housed in.
My other favorite is from the Great American Gallery, titled “No Protection,” by Indian artist Indira Johnson, a very spiritual piece to me. Note the individual removable body parts in her lap.
Jaffe: How do you use the Garden Room?
Carol: It’s rather wild in here. … All the doors open to the outside. The folk grandfather clock by Sticks is from a gallery in Asheville, N.C. What’s really special to me is the totem pole made by a North Georgia mountain man, painted with soulful messages all over: “Your feet walk in many directions, but only your heart can tell you the right path to follow.” And “Walk as a turtle, so as not to outrun your thoughts.”
Jaffe: Bob, I’ve heard of professional football players doing needlepoint for relaxation. How did you get into that?
Bob: It’s been decades. My late mother-in-law, Sylvia, was a wonderful needle crafter. … That was my initial exposure. You can see her Unicorn Tapestries in the front entrance. I usually have several canvasses going at the same time: hot-air balloons, intricate patterns, Bargello. I give many away as gifts and also take orders for custom pieces for family members and friends.
Jaffe: I see your farm animals in progress look amazingly detailed. Your Old City of Jerusalem is very moving and must have taken many hours. … You are a man of many hobbies.
Bob: Maybe that relates to my love of jigsaw puzzles. Sadly, there’s no room here for my 3,000-plus beer bottle collection that we had to give away.
Carol: I just had to have a big working kitchen. I thought the glass countertops were unique and love the cherrywood cabinets. My favorite painting in here is by Spanish artist Alvar, known for his intricate borders. I was fortunate to meet him at a gallery. He didn’t speak a word of English, nor I Spanish, but we communicated through smiles and hand gestures and totally understood each other.
Bob: Carol loves cooking for the family and friends. Her best dishes are turkey chili and mini-chocolate-chip cookies.
Carol: My secret is lots of chips and pecans and not too much dough.
Bob: My secret is sometimes I slip over to Willy’s across the street and eat a burrito (laughing). But I still love Carol’s home cooking.