Arlene and Jay Gould decided that life was too short for just ordinary. They created a fashion vault with tons of personality and fiery focal points atop primo views overlooking Buckhead and beyond. Arlene, who likes to go off script to make a splash, is a self-taught tastemaker who gave up a career as a human resources executive at The Coca-Cola Co., Merck, GE and the Southern Company to manage the care of her mom in Savannah. She recalls, “I used to support c-suite executives, but now am focusing on the needs of the people that I love is what’s most important. It is definitely a transition to pivot off the corporate ladder.”
Jay Gould is CEO of Interface, which is the second largest employer in Troup County, though the newly renovated corporate office is in Midtown. Most recently, he took on the highly publicized challenge to raise millions to build the much needed Hub404 park.
The couple’s condo is bathed in natural transforming light with laid-back splendor. Make no mistake that the one with the best spot on the couch is miniature rat terrier Moxie.
Marcia: You look out the floor-to-ceiling window and what do you see?
Jay: I am now actively heading the private-public partnership to raise $250 million for the Hub404 park over Georgia 400 right here to our northeast. It’s a very exciting component in the Atlanta system which will connect to the BeltLine and is planned to be fully functional by 2025. It will cross over the highway and span nine acres on top of MARTA.
We will have an amphitheater park and a world-class city green space.
In terms of Buckhead living, we love the convenience of walking to dinner, and I commute to work on MARTA.
Marcia: What did you envision when you bought this unit?
Arlene: We started by stripping the beige walls, heavy brown doors and outdated kitchen to utilize the natural light to create a modern chic backdrop with light textured gray walls to give voice to Asian and Parisian furnishings. Actually, some of my favorite furniture and ivory carvings are recovered from my Aunt Sophie (Bodzner). My uncle Milton Bradley was an accomplished artist, and I am so grateful to have many of his works. His still life oil painting of flowers in an antique silver vase (1939) was all from his creative imagination. My mom sat next to him while he painted most of it, and all he had in front of him was an empty Peter Pan jar with one artificial flower.
Jay: Arlene did quite a decorating job. The walls are hand painted and textured in metallics and silver leaf . She found 300 yards of Italian silk for the curtains. The lighting is hand blown from Italy, Poland and mainly from the Lighting Loft.
Marcia: What’s your credo where art is concerned?
Arlene: Growing up as a ‘Savannah gal’ near SCAD, art is in the eye of the beholder. It doesn’t have to be the Mona Lisa to be meaningful in our home. If I see it and like it, I don’t care who did it. I also enjoy commissioning artists to create our visions. Art comes through living life, like the [Steve] Penley “Abe Lincoln” in the hall, which relates to when he slept on my couch during college at UGA. We got it at an auction at the American Heart Association ball.
By the window is my mother’s Japanese woman woodcarving. The tangerine-hued painting is “Healing Palm” by Jim Draper. Next to it is a cactus that I groomed from 5 inches high to the giant is it now. Jay liked the “Ballerina” oil in the master bedroom for its simple beauty.
I have a variety by Octavio because I like his bold use of texture and color. In the bedroom we have a butterfly painting over which I had him repaint to add texture.
Marcia: How would you describe your decor?
Arlene: We gave up our entire dining room to create an area for conversation and relaxing. The dining set by the window is Panther chairs by Victoria Hagan. The table base was gold and I decided to paint it a flat black and changed out the glass top with a custom-made painted wooden top.
Kravet Couture fabric was used on my favorite sofas from Aunt Sophie. My mom saw the sofas in a furniture store when she was 16 years old and promised them to me. They are over 90 years old and are 9 feet long each and curved.
In the foyer we have her bronze sunburst; and on a whim, I saw these 30 round mirrors and had to have all of them to hang in a cool design.
Marcia: What are your favorites?
Jay: On our honeymoon in Capetown, I bought the wedding canopy painting “Bright Sunny Day” by Mabote (2011). Across from it in the guest powder room is an energetic mixed media by Laura Esposito I had commissioned depicting the Eagles band for Arlene’s birthday.
The original Japanese warrior on paper in the den appealed to me along with the huge lemon-hued hall abstract that I acquired as another surprise for Arlene.
Marcia: So how do you describe a good day?
Jay: I like to grill halibut and veggies on the balcony and watch the sunset with Arlene. Then drink some good wine. Maybe a Château Margaux.
Arlene: Visiting our Savannah home on the Intracoastal Waterway that is painted in hues of white, which has a Hollywood coastal theme … envision Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra trysting there.
Jay: Since I am in the flooring business, I want to try out new products in here [as he peels up the actual flooring]. See, these charcoal slats aren’t even real wood. Let’s replace it with a cork product. Our carpets are recyclable and sustainable.
Arlene: What I’d really like is more closet space, forever sunsets and another dog. Dogs are all about love.