Hillary and Cb Miles spent a year renovating their one level, crisp Buckhead oasis. The open expanse is much like a couture gown: not overly complicated, but replete with punctuation marks like Cb’s floral arrangements and the use of a Chrysler car part incorporated into the kitchen backsplash. He met his match decades ago while Hillary was performing in a supper club. She uses her on- and off-air television experience to round out their designing duo.
Cb, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Design, hails from Manchester, England, where he studied art and design. He was an industrial designer before he established Miles Design in 1986. His boutique design firm has perfected commercial and residential spaces from Paris to Miami, including the Post Apartment Group locally. Under his watchful eyes, it’s hard to discern if the furniture is art, or if the art is the furniture. “If it has no need, it has no purpose,” he said.
“Only a few of the original walls remain,” Hillary said. “The new walls now function as furniture. Cb’s clients also appreciate his clever hidden storage areas and floating closets.”
Come tour their genius – pure and simple:
Jaffe: Describe the evolution of your condo.
Cb: The original unit was incredibly dark, so our initial challenge was to open up the space to allow natural light to flow into all areas. The individual walls became modules, each with their own artistic character. I call it a “functional sculpture.” Adding custom lighting and furniture was next. My relationship with The Lighting Loft and And How Furniture made it easy for me to create my vision.
Jaffe: What are some of the artists that you collect and value?
Hillary: Many local artists: Jeffrey Lange, Chris Burk, Calvin Jones, Steven Seinberg, and the late Paul Chelko, who was a wonderful friend.
We have an unusual zodiac textile by Israeli artist Kopel Gurwin.
I have some very special pieces from my late aunt Sylvia Gould who did the marble sculptures on the dining table.
One of our favorites is Steffen Thomas who designed the Trilon sculpture at Colony Square. We like the color and movement in his work CityScape ’82, which is in the kitchen. To quote Thomas, “I am Welsh by ancestry, German by birth, American by adoption, and Southern by choice.”
Jaffe: How do you direct your creative process?
Cb: Designs live in my head. I think out of the box and lean towards European modern, classical furniture. The only antique we have in here is Hillary’s mother’s distressed mirrored credenza in the great room.
I like function and form and have built-ins that slide, often with a pop of color, creating an unexpected space-saving storage component. My Yamaha piano keyboard is hidden this way in my office. The front guest bath has chartreuse glides that hide supplies. Fun with no fuss.
I don’t go for what’s “in.” I’m a detail freak who likes function.
Jaffe: You two collaborate by composing dramatic mixed media pieces.
Hillary: Several of Cb’s works are displayed here: “Dead at Sea” and “Map of Atlanta” are so unique. You can even see Hartsfield in his design. In the front guest bathroom, we have “Mount St. Helens.” Basically, he uses concrete, wood and glue and I add the copper. The large charcoal hued one in the master bedroom is “Hide and Seek.” They have mass and are very substantial.
Jaffe: You’re a cross between muse and business manager.
Hillary: I do handle the billing and purchasing for Cb’s design firm. I wear many hats. I am a sounding board as he visualizes a project and sees it through. After all, I was a television producer. What we do here mirrors that. Our jobs have to come together on time and within budget.
Jaffe: What’s behind the design of your master bathroom dressing area?
Hillary: It’s really my personal space for my purse collection as art. See my mother’s 1950 vintage Koret. I am partial to these resin ones by Angela Frascone. I like the Anka painting that accents them. Nearby is whimsical “Butterfly Jar” by C. Antieau.
Jaffe: The kitchen is a chef’s dream.
Cb: We both really like to cook. I make pastas, ribs, cookies, muffins and bread sticks.
Hillary specializes in Indian and Hungarian cuisine.
We enjoy our casual European coffee station. Note that the paintings at its top are original Paul Chelko coasters.
The perfectly spaced buttons you see on the backsplash behind the stove are actually Chrysler car panel parts. Artist Chris Burk and I used them several years ago as part of our art project for Post Properties. We installed over 60 metal and concrete works of art in the breezeways of their loft apartments.
Jaffe: What’s the story behind the graceful croton plant and your affinity for fresh flowers?
Cb: Throughout the condo, you will see several areas of my structured, yet simple floral compositions: Gerbera daisies and jonquils today. I might use rocks or repetitive patterns like you see in the entrance.
Hillary: “Plantie,” as we call him, has been with us for 36 years. He has defied all odds and just last week bloomed for the first time. I guess you could call him a “late bloomer” (laughing). Since he has this huge offshoot, we may have to construct some type of sculpture to hold him up.
Jaffe: How would you describe your husband’s talent and expertise?
Hillary: Well, he is certainly a perfectionist, but I also wound up with the “perfect” husband and business partner!
Cb: (In his crisp British accent) Yes, being a perfectionist has its drawbacks. I was a very difficult client!