Imagine Gertrude Stein entertaining in her grand salon, convening a clutch of insiders initiating the Age of Conversation. The Waldorf Astoria residence of Alison and Jeff Kaufman, in the heart of Buckhead, echoes gilded vignettes where art meets style. Stories told and keepsakes collected by them would amuse Coco Chanel herself.
In 2015 the Kaufmans downsized from a large Buckhead home to a Buckhead condo at the Waldorf Astoria tower across from Lenox Square.
As is the custom in salons, much space is dedicated to art. They collect Kimo Minton, who combines Hawaiian, Japanese and Native American influences to synthesize ancient and modern meditative practices. Other artists are Jean-Pierre Bourquin, Deedra Ludwig, Diane Arbus, Jonathan Sobol and Stephanus Heidacker (“The Stroll”). Then there’s Georgia State University graduate Steve Seinberg’s playful painting style and Heidi Becker’s “White Lilies Blue,” which lights up the master hallway. In Jeff’s office is local artist Zoe Hersey Zelby’s trompe l’oeil [optical illusion]. Rocio Rodriguez did the vertical rose triptych.
“We took several months after closing before moving in,” Alison recalled. “We wanted custom shades, curtains, closets, paint and wallpaper in a modern classic French ambiance. Nothing trendy. I love so many styles. With a lot of magic, we mixed family keepsakes, paintings, luxurious cut velvets, a Louis XVI commode (circa) 1780, and, voila!”
Her attorney husband Jeff added, “I liked this condo right away because it functioned well for living and entertaining. The long kitchen counters and the well positioned bar create a nice flow for guests.”
Daughter Marisa Green was the real estate agent who found and closed the deal. She recalled, “We viewed the Waldorf Astoria due to its convenient location, top level security, privacy and amenities. They knew the minute they walked in that they wanted this home. The walkability of the neighborhood and access to restaurants and shops played a role in their decision. They created a home that allows for an easy lifestyle and is safe and fun. It has an open floor plan and is a perfect size for entertaining. The sun-filled windows and art walls gives them a touch of Paris.”
Come away to France:
Marcia: You grew up with a family who valued art.
Alison: My parents were collectors, so we sprinkled in some of their pieces with my grandmother’s crystal and my mother’s Lalique Bacchantes vase. When we went to camp, my parents went to Europe.
We had a Fletcher Martin painting that fit perfectly. Martin became a painter after he was initially known as a photographer for Life magazine during World War II.
Jeff: I like the carved wooden Chinese figures originally purchased by Alison’s parents in a quaint New York shop. I also like the hand-wound wooden grandmother clock from Jeff Littrell Antiques.
Marcia: What art do you collect?
Alison: A variety. Moses Soyer was known for his Rembrandt warmth and expressionism. He painted dancers in the 1940s with a touch of melancholy. His work is in the LACMA [Los Angeles County Museum of Art], Met and Whitney museums. His “The Ballet Dancer” is displayed in a gilded frame by Herbert Benevy.
In contrast, the guest powder room features a candy-colored Lucite geometric by Leonard Janklow, and the 7-by-6-foot encaustic on the wall near the entrance is by Mark Perlman (Bill Lowe Gallery).
Jeff: The bronze sculpture is by Tom Corbin (ADAC). The Kelly Wearstler “Stone Lips” sculptures are very cool. The Paul Tamanian horn “Large White Tusk” is from Fay Gold Gallery. We were crushed during our move when we damaged some of our favorite sculpture, created by our daughter, Nicole Kaufman, a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Marcia: Do you stay in the French realm for furnishings?
Alison: “Well, yes and no. The Louis XVI, blue antique commode from William Word gallery on Miami Circle, circa 1790, (Directoire) is the central decorative piece. The Ron Arad lamp is from England (circa 1980). I was lucky to hire the late L. Benjamin Jones as our interior designer. He had flawless taste in color and fabrics. The cut velvet high back chair fabric is Scalamandre from the Ovation collection.
The coffee table is by Rose Tarlow and chairs are Holly Hunt.
Jeff: Alison loves interesting sofas and lighting. She installed a custom velvet linen J. Robert Scott sofa in the living room, a buff bronze Liaigre sofa in my office and a black leather Coach sofa in the den. She polished the look by adding Porta Romana sconces. Lamps in the master suite are also Liaigre and add interest. The L’Hermitage chandelier in the dining room (Dennis & Leen) is surrounded by matching chandeliers in the den and living rooms by Ironies. Much of the lighting came from Jerry Pair (ADAC).
Marcia: How is the stage set in the master bedroom?
Alison: Our favorite painting in the master suite is by Sherri Mignonne from Aspen. The signed Picasso lithograph in that bedroom and the Louis Field ink drawing all add color and dimension. Field was an illustrator and art director for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1938 who produced many famous movie posters. We really like the Michael Taylor mirror and the vintage factices from the Andy Warhol collection.
Marcia: What about the kitchen decor?
Alison: Our cooktop and oven are Wolf. Before moving in, we changed the backsplash to Calacatta Gold marble. We installed unique mercury glass pendants over the island; but we’re not very fussy about cooking. The Jennifer Cawley encaustic on canvas adds depth here too.
Marcia: Last word?
Alison: I love the inspiring views, especially the colorful sunrise and sunsets. I am just thankful and enjoy being here in my home.
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Chai Style
- home design
- Alison and Jeff Kaufman
- Waldorf Astoria
- Coco Chanel
- Jean-Pierre Bourquin
- Deedra Ludwig
- Diane Arbus
- Jonathan Sobol
- Stephanus Heidacker
- Georgia state university
- Lenox Square
- Steve Seinberg
- Heidi Becker
- Marisa Green
- Jeff Littrell Antiques
- The Ballet Dancer'
- Tom Corbin