There are small towns, and then there are itty-bitty ones. With a population of 3,748, West Point, Georgia, falls into the latter category. “Wanting to be an architect, I knew pretty much every house in town,” says designer David Frazier, who grew up in West Point. One house in particular—a sleek midcentury number—had always intrigued him. “The majority of homes in West Point are more traditional, faux-Georgian, so I was always really curious about this 1960s one. It was a mystery—I had never gone inside.”
In 2020, when a childhood friend bought the place, Frazier finally had the chance not just to peer inside but to work his design wizardry on it. A renovation by previous owners had turned the four-bedroom home into a somewhat chilly white box, and Frazier made it his mission to cozy things up. “It took a little bit of convincing my friend that it could feel warm and be a place that she wanted to live,” the designer recalls of their initial meeting. “I also really wanted it to reflect her personality. She’s like no one you’ve ever met: interesting and even a little eccentric, but in the best way.”
Out went the lifeless wall-to-wall carpet, allowing Frazier to paint the concrete slab below with a durable white paint “so it really felt like this airy, light-filled gallery,” he says—a natural fit for a home with soaring original clerestory windows. “I wanted all the surfaces to be really bright, because for a house that had so many windows, it felt dark before,” he adds. Other swaps included replacing the hollowcore doors with solid ones with a lacquer finish, and installing a series of statement-making light fixtures, including Ingo Maurer’s Floatation Pendant—designed in 1980 and made from wrinkled Japanese paper—and an oversize Noguchi paper lantern.
Frazier expanded the living space by turning the house’s central courtyard into an extension of its interior, with bluestone pavers softened by potted boxwoods placed over cutout stones for drainage. “The first inspiration was Luis Barragán’s house in Mexico City, with its hardscape, but punctuated with boxwood because the client is definitely not a gardener!” he laughs. Sculptural Faye Toogood chairs, which surround the custom blackened-steel fire pit, add clean-lined, comfortable modernity. “The courtyard is such a prominent part of the house and gets sight lines from every room, so I felt the furnishings needed to be just as tailored as indoors,” he explains.
When it came to warming things up throughout the interior, layering textures was all but required. “There’s not a lot of architectural detail, which was typical of the ‘60s,” the designer says, “so we layered in drapery and patinaed antiques to make it feel more collected and curated. I wanted to keep things fairly minimal, but each piece needed to bring interest.” Among his most head-turning installations of choice: a circa-1970 burl wood and brass dining table, a 19th-century gilt Italian mirror, and a parade of spears from the Maasai peoples of Kenya and Tanzania, which nod to his clients’ background. “Her grandparents traveled there and she always loved that connection,” Frazier says. “As objects, they’re beautiful, but they also have deeper meaning, which I always try to consider.”
One lone departure from the luminescent, MoMA-esque interior is the primary bedroom, where Frazier blanketed the walls and ceiling in inky black paint. “We wanted something very warm, very enveloping, that really felt like a strong contrast from the rest of the house—a retreat from the super-bright airiness,” he says. “It’s almost like this little den—a place where you go and hibernate.” Southern comfort, redux.
THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN VOLUME 10 OF FREDERIC MAGAZINE. CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE!