It sounds like a daydream: live and work in buzzing Atlanta, but retire to Old-World Europe every single night to R&R in storied style. And yet that’s exactly what designer Anna Booth achieved for her 30-something, antiques-loving clients—no passport or jet lag required—in their four-bedroom home in the city’s historic Peachtree Hills neighborhood.
“What makes it relatable is that if you take everything out of the home, the bones are really simple,” Booth says: It’s actually a former ranch house that was renovated in 2019. While it came with some eco-friendly perks (solar panels, a Tesla battery pack, EV chargers), it was otherwise a fairly basic, modern farmhouse–style structure. “There’s no fancy molding—it’s just a blank box, which so many people can relate to,” notes Booth. “Everyone doesn’t have the advantage of a 200-year-old home with all this incredible molding and history and windows. The renovation really shows you how, through layering and furnishing, you can totally transform a space to feel Old World.”
Booth began in the same way a 17th-century Dutch master might: with a blank slate. She painted every surface in Benjamin Moore Soft Chamois, a warm white, in an eggshell finish; “I didn’t want anything on the walls, knowing that we’d be layering everything,” explains the designer. The next step? Sussing out the right colors for furnishings and accents. “We looked through European paint decks—Fine Paints of Europe and Farrow & Ball—to study how they’re different than the colors here, and very period-specific. Farrow & Ball’s colors are a little muddied and grayed out, which adds depth,” she recalls.
The resulting color palette—chartreuse, ochre, chocolate brown—seems to embody early autumn on the Rhine. Layers of antiques add to the bewitching feeling, and range from a circa-1830 oak, brass and copper-handled pitcher to a mid-18th-century Italian rococo walnut and mixed-veneer console, while contemporary art adds modern balance.
Because the couple has a pair of aging rescue dogs, they wanted to limit rugs as much as possible (all the better to show off the beautiful white oak floors). “Without rugs, you’re losing some of that warmth, so for every room, the goal was how do we get as much fabric in as possible? So instead of hard glass or wood, it was, ‘Let’s bring in something upholstered,’” says the designer. Sheer draperies—in a wool Holland & Sherry fabric—create the feeling of a serene retreat despite the house’s location on a corner lot. “With the street right beyond the windows, it was important to shield the view and provide privacy without darkening the room,” Booth says. “It filters in this beautiful, soft light.”
The bedrooms are especially transportive. In the primary, Booth wanted to give her clients “something amazing and dreamy, but it has to be functional.” She landed on the perfect bedding: silk velvet by Bella Notte, which is machine washable. “It’s hand-dyed with vegetable dyes and the most beautiful, pure color,” she says. For their child’s nursery, “We wanted something that would be not too sweet, that felt cocooning and cozy.” They combed through European wallpaper lines and were besotted with Zoffany’s forest-like Richmond Park, which reflects the client’s love of nature and the outdoors.
Now, walking through the home is most definitely—to borrow bit of internet parlance—“a mood,” as evocative as an evening stroll through the 16th arrondissement in Paris. For Booth, stepping through the house’s front door “makes me curious,” she says. “Like you’re walking into a story, or a novel.” Or even a real-life fairytale.