Chai Style: Gal Power Team Polishes Sophisticated Family Renovation
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Chai Style: Gal Power Team Polishes Sophisticated Family Renovation

Designer partners with Sandy Springs homeowner to transition a home into a multigenerational family retreat with secret passages, Sputnik lighting and entertaining kitchen.

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

  • Family room: Far left “Avant Apres Ski” by Millie Sims from Trinity School art fair. Photography “Pool” by Merrell Thompson. Right, Stephanie Jacob’s “A Little Bit of Everything.” Couch and swivel chair by Mitchell Gold.
    Family room: Far left “Avant Apres Ski” by Millie Sims from Trinity School art fair. Photography “Pool” by Merrell Thompson. Right, Stephanie Jacob’s “A Little Bit of Everything.” Couch and swivel chair by Mitchell Gold.
  • The study had a dramatic renovation with painted fireplace, tons of built-ins and cabinets painted a charcoal blue. Greenwald likes that her desk faces the street to watch the kids play. “Face” far right- Greenwald selected as fun pop art.
    The study had a dramatic renovation with painted fireplace, tons of built-ins and cabinets painted a charcoal blue. Greenwald likes that her desk faces the street to watch the kids play. “Face” far right- Greenwald selected as fun pop art.
  • In the living room is Peter Lik’s “Mystical Forest.” Keri wanted an architectural statement with swivel chairs from Mitchell Gold enhancing the view outside.
    In the living room is Peter Lik’s “Mystical Forest.” Keri wanted an architectural statement with swivel chairs from Mitchell Gold enhancing the view outside.
  • The unusual estate chess set is pewter and gold plated.
    The unusual estate chess set is pewter and gold plated.
  • The Greenwalds used window treatments and globe lighting to modernize the kitchen. The custom hood is copper. Matthew Quinn’s Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio was the original designer.
    The Greenwalds used window treatments and globe lighting to modernize the kitchen. The custom hood is copper. Matthew Quinn’s Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio was the original designer.
  • Keri and Keith Greenwald wanted the art to be the outdoor landscaping. The bed is Mitchell Gold.  The nightstands are Frontgate.
    Keri and Keith Greenwald wanted the art to be the outdoor landscaping. The bed is Mitchell Gold. The nightstands are Frontgate.
  • “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” cabinet with Harry Potter costumes completely hides the entrance to the playroom.
    “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” cabinet with Harry Potter costumes completely hides the entrance to the playroom.
  • The children’s playroom is one of the three hidden areas in the home. The walls and ceiling were painted with clouds, stars and birds.
    The children’s playroom is one of the three hidden areas in the home. The walls and ceiling were painted with clouds, stars and birds.

Keri Greenwald and Stephanie Jacobs put their heads together to reboot a meticulous renovation and craft a compelling family oasis. Greenwald said, “We undertook a six-week project that went off without a hitch! We remodeled and opened the space into a transitional wonderland in which to raise our family.”

Enter interior designer Jacobs. “It’s a huge compliment that Keri, a top-producing residential real estate agent, chose me to consult on her own home. After working together on several staging projects, we aligned to create her special space in Sandy Springs.” Bold, modern, and prioritizing comfort, the Greenwald “team” set about updating the home to a 2020 lifestyle.

Greenwald said, “Keith (husband) and I knew that the existing layout, where rooms wrap around a main level pool plus an in-law apartment, was exactly what we desired. The short renovation was about opening the home up and striving for entertaining ease.”

Learn how these two creative women cast their design magic.

Jaffe: How did you two work together wearing multiple hats?
Greenwald: From her professional staging projects, I knew that Stephanie is a pleasure to work with and has great taste. She is equally right- and left-brained, meaning she has a creative flair for color, fabrics and space, has great time-management skills, and comes in on budget.

Jaffe: How did you transition the home starting last July?
Greenwald: The house was originally designed 18 years ago by architects Spitzmiller & Norris and was featured in Traditional Home and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazines. We have 6,200 square feet on the two levels, excluding the basement. Approaching the transition, we knew the house had great “bones,” and just needed some modern cohesiveness and finishing touches.

The mustard-stained Asian chest is from Marjorie Weinstein, Keith’s late grandmother’s collection. The painting is by Mia Stone (2008).

Jacobs: We upgraded all of the lighting, which was instrumental in the alteration. A major structural change was taking out the wall, which opened the kitchen to the family room. We wanted to see out to the pool and not block views.

The previous floor was a shiny darker brown and we used a warm classic gray stain. We redid the fireplace by removing the traditional molding and adding grey stones. Painting the banisters a darker Sherwin-Williams Peppercorn semigloss got a nice punch.

Jaffe: What makes this a family home?
Greenwald: With children 15, 13 and 6, we took into account wear and tear with Sunbrella fabrics and scrubbable carpet. In my office, we added a conference table for client meetings and children’s work. New built-ins in the office and the back hall hide a busy working family’s “stuff.” One of three secret doors in the house, the playroom always delights. Upstairs, “Narnia” comes alive behind a real “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” cabinet.

There is room for mini labradoodle Prince who always has a tennis ball to fetch. Blue herons, koi, and two mating ducks are in the backyard. Our youngest likes to climb the trees in the front yard and race remote control cars around the cul-de-sac.
Multigenerationally, my parents visit frequently from Minnesota, thus the entire in-law apartment. We want them to be comfortable with accommodations like a mini kitchen, TV area, desk and make-up vanity.

Also they collect modern art and here we have their whimsical piece “Pop Warp” by Jonathan Fenske and a modern abstract by Walter Redondo in our foyer.

Jaffe: What is special about your kitchen?
Greenwald: Matthew Quinn of Atlanta-based Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio was the master designer in 2012. The only change we made was large modern pendants and bold Roman valances. An abundance of food preparation goes on here: Shabbas, nightly family dinners and entertaining. Keith is the master chef.

Jaffe: What rooms are total “glam?”
Jacobs: We had fun and went “all the way” with the guest powder room. We used matte black hardware, new sconces and a warm grey/green vanity. The funky wallpaper is York.

The black and white photograph is from a Barcelona street market (1997).

The “glam” office has charcoal blue walls, a Sputnik brushed gold chandelier, and a painted fireplace.

“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” cabinet with Harry Potter costumes completely hides the entrance to the playroom.

Jaffe: What are some unique art and furnishings?
Greenwald: We like Peter Lik photography (“Moon” and “Mystical Forest’) linked to our love of the outdoors.

Other pieces we bought at the IFF [Ian’s Friends Foundation] auction, “Aspen Trees” by Winston Wyatt, and at the Trinity School’s Spotlight on Art, ”Avant Apres Ski” by Millie Sims.

We treasure the original Marc Chagall lithograph “The Anemones” (1974).
In my office is an antique singing birdcage from Marjorie Weinstein (Keith’s late grandmother, owner of Ellman’s and Citizens Jewelry).

We mix things up. The sculpture wall art “Cowgirl Rodeo” was originally a British officer’s shaving mirror from India from an artist in Santa Fe.

“Musicians” in the living room is from the Li Brothers Gallery (2003).
We just commissioned a new Israeli themed piece for the family room by Aleksandra Rozenvain with her signature umbrella street scenes.

Furniture-wise we used Arteriors Home and Mitchell Gold (couch and swivel chairs in family room and architectural chairs in living room) to modernize. The marble table (in Keri’s office) is from West Elm, the oval kitchen table from Room & Board, and the onyx and pewter Italian chess set is from an estate sale.

Jaffe: Comment on your staging “hat.”
Jacobs: Homes that are staged sell at 73 percent higher sales prices, and 98 percent of buyers are looking at photos before stepping foot into a potential home. It’s similar to internet dating. You don’t want potential buyers to swipe to the next photo. You want them to “heart it” and tell their agent they want to see it with a real connection. We strive for a neutral palette and remove the emotion. It makes a world of difference.

Jacobs will become the 2021 president of the Atlanta chapter for the Real Estate Staging Association. Greenwald is a Realtor with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty.

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