Sean Belnick’s story is the stuff of legends. While attending Pope High School, the 14-year-old entrepreneur developed a web-based office furniture distribution business that grew to a national footprint with four facilities totaling 1.9 million square feet selling chairs to churches, schools and medical facilities.
In 2017 he sold BizChair and now serves on its board. In between, he was featured in U.S. News and World Report, Inc. magazine’s 30 Under 30, CNN’s Young & Rich and as an Emory alum, “From Pokeman Play to Millionaire CEO.”
To wife Sabrina, two young sons, corgi Sam and rescue cat Scarlet, he’s just a fun dad.
Sabrina, who taught health education at Kennesaw State University, co-piloted the construction of the Belnick’s new family home in the land of a “happy ever after” fairytale. Her closet would make a Kardashian envious.
“I wanted a neutral palette throughout yet strove to make each room unique with different textures and fabrics,” Sabrina said. “My vision was for a Napa-style farmhouse, so you see the details of expansive black iron windows, white shiplap walls and the handcrafted ceiling details.”
Tour one of Atlanta’s most majestic family homes.
Marcia: What happened during construction?
Sean: I was totally involved in the process starting at once-a-week inspections escalating to three times a week, checking the new studs, electrical wiring, seeing the spaces transformed until the end process.
Sabrina: We knocked down the entire old house here in 2017. The construction took 2 1/2 years once we got the permits. Every tile, piece of hardware, speaker, integrated lighting down to the electrical outlets, were considered. I got ideas from Pinterest and just driving around. We knew we wanted a modern farmhouse style, white with a barn roofline, as much wine country as farmhouse. We sat down with our team and worked seamlessly. Linda MacArthur was the architect and Michael Ladisic was the builder. Kelly Anthony, Wolf Design Group, was the interior decorator. Matthew Quinn, Design Galleria, did the bathrooms, closets, kitchen, bars and scullery. Many of the fixtures were custom-made by Jonathan Browning, Avrett, Urban Electric, and John Pomp through R. Hughes at ADAC. The installation was an engineering project in itself to accommodate the special proportions and sizes needed in here.
Marcia: What are the special touches and decor that you wanted in the finished home?
Sean: We worked with the team on every level of detail from floor to ceiling, magnificent windows, lighting and doors. The essence was in having the right natural light, so we don’t need to always have the lights on. We knew what we wanted for function and design. What would the view be looking down the hall, out to the loggia, or from the master bedroom to the outdoor space? The master is a three-sided “glass box” looking out onto the backyard.
I actually like a very simple sentimental space: the hall outside the master where we feature 36 family photos showing the happy faces of our growing family.
Sabrina: We don’t “collect” art. It’s what we see and love. My favorite is the 3D butterfly installation “Infinity Butterflies” outside the master, which has the stunning effect of mirrors in the style of Yayoi Kusama, formerly exploding at the Atlanta High Museum. Each real butterfly wing is stained in a lustrous range of beige to copper. The artist is Jocelyn Mara, Coup Studio.
Sabrina: As a young family, we wanted a house that we could grow with, tailored to our lifestyle, like a small playroom off the kitchen and lots of storage for toys. In our old house, we had toys everywhere (laughing). Upstairs we have the main playroom with the children’s rooms and now the new nursery.
The house is symmetrical as you enter, a mirror image on both wings. We each have our own study on each side of the home. The ombre-shadowed staircases are a unique feature and balance the house.
Sean: The lower level has an entirely different look with an industrial style recreational game area with the Belnick Bowling Alley, pingpong, expansive retro bar, media room and arcade games. Sixteen TVs keep us “cartoon savvy”!
Marcia: Do you do a lot of entertaining? The long dining room table seats 14!
Sabrina: We care mostly about family occasions –Thanksgiving and the holidays. The 14 plus another 30 with some folding tables in the loggia allow us all to be together. The outdoor space is also great for entertaining. At night it is very peaceful out there, and just think of how close we are to the city.
Marcia: Elaborate on the outdoor space.
Sean: The year-round heated Pebble Tec pool has a Lautner edge so it looks flush with the surrounding stone. The giant bonsai tree is unique, and we are awaiting a copper tree sculpture fountain. The landscape architect Richard Anderson placed the mature Japanese maple as a perfect focal point.
The playground is by CedarWorks and the pool cabana has a full kitchenette and bathroom.
Sabrina: We wanted the covered porch and outdoor space to flow. It’s livable and feels comfortable for small children.
They love to pick produce from the garden: watermelon, green beans, strawberries, squash. Right now they are observing caterpillars’ metamorphosis in a handmade box.
Marcia: What advice would you give to young couples building a new home?
Sabrina: Live in another home first before you build your dream home. I had no clue what I wanted until I lived somewhere else.
Sean: It will take more time and cost than you anticipate. No such thing is a budget!