House on the Hill

A serendipitous call from a friend brings a family to its forever home.

Krissa Gaston and her husband, Glenn, thought they’d found their forever home. After renovating their four-bedroom home in Eastover for their family of four, they were certain that this was where they’d raise their children and eventually retire. However, when the couple had their third child, they knew that they needed more space. “We never wanted to move,” Gaston says, who reluctantly started looking at homes in the same neighborhood.

But one home in particular always caught the Gastons’ attention. A stunning whitebrick Colonial sitting atop a hill caught their eyes every time they drove by or went for a walk. “I never really thought anything about it, though,” Gaston says of the house, which was, at the time, not for sale. It was a phone call from a close friend, however, saying she’d found the perfect “Krissa and Glenn home” that was about to hit the market that changed everything. “I got the address and drove over that day, and when I pulled up to the house, I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “It was as if it was meant to be.”

A quick tour inside the circa-1990s home and Gaston was smitten. “I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the home the minute I walked in,” she explains, noting the layout, which put the master bedroom on the first floor and the additional bedrooms on the second. High on the priority list: updating the ‘90s-style design details such as outdated brass hardware and all-white ceiling fans in lieu of light fixtures. “The bones of the house were perfect; it just needed updating,” Gaston says, who worked with Todd Carter of Sonoma Builders to design the new plans for the home. It also needed a touch more space, which resulted in an addition off the back of the house and moved the existing den—which became the formal living room—to the new portion of the home. The expansion also gave the Gastons a sixth bedroom, which they transformed into an at-home gym.

While Gaston has a keen eye for design, she knew she couldn’t tackle the project on her own. So the Gastons enlisted designer Patrick Lewis to help bring their vision to fruition. “Most clients don’t really know what they want; they just know what they like or don’t like,” Lewis says. “Krissa was refreshing in that she knew exactly what she wanted. While most people were skewing towards a soft modern look, the Gastons really loved a more traditional, Southern aesthetic.”

“We’ve always been drawn to older homes,” Gaston says. “We’ve always lived in homes built in the 1920s and just love the craftsmanship put into them.” To replicate that level of detail, heavy crown molding and detailed fireplace mantles were added while all of the eight-foot doors were replaced with heavier, thicker nine-foot doors to help heighten each room. Brand new casement was added to each window to make each one more prominent. With its dark cabinetry and exposed brick, the kitchen was completely gutted, and in its place brighter, lighter finishes such as a quartzite counter coupled with a walnut-top island were added. Lewis incorporated a color palette of creams and whites, which further brightens each of the rooms and take advantage of the home’s surplus of natural sunlight throughout.

The Gastons’ love for traditional architecture and detailing inspired their love of antiques and vintage items, which Lewis wove throughout the interior design. “I love adding a little something—like a tiny silver bowl or another accent—that might seem insignificant alone but really helps create a cohesive look,” Gaston says. The couple’s travels have led them to various antique markets and collectibles stores where the Gastons are constantly scouring for the next item to layer into the design Gaston and Lewis have created together. One such find are the circa-1890 Louis XVI-style antique doors to the bar, which Glenn Gaston found at Architectural Accents in Atlanta. “We wanted something old that would really stand out,” she says of the find. “The doors are works of art themselves.”

Though Lewis was the designer on the project, he is quick to add that this project was a partnership between him and Gaston. “She has impeccable style and a great eye for design,” he says. “She knew what she wanted, and we worked so well together.” Adds Gaston: “What I love is that Patrick really took what we wanted in the home and helped us pull it all together. He was such a pleasure to work with.”

For the Gastons, finding this home and eventually making it the place they’d raise their family was a dream come to fruition.“It was really important to me that my kids had a childhood home,” Gaston says. “So that when they come back from college, they can come back to the place where they grew up.”