Wealth does not equal class, and one way to see this clearly is to gaze upon houses in certain upscale Atlanta neighborhoods that don’t need to be named at the moment.
For now, let’s focus on the 2020 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Designer Showhouse, which masterfully displays style over shine, but undeniably stunts for the camera—and whoever might end up paying the $3.75 million asking price.
Produced by Atlanta magazine, this year’s ASO Showhouse seems to make a statement on how, in Atlanta, you can spend big money on lifestyle without showing off to anybody that doesn’t need to see how you’re living.
But to be clear, the living is quite good.
The Showhouse is located at 2716 Ridgewood Road NW, one approximate street address number from the Standing Peachtree Park greenspace, just up the hill from Publix at Moores Mill Center.
Without a sharp eye, one might easily miss the street-facing clues of what the Showhouse is hiding while driving past the Paces Neighborhood sign on Ridgewood Road.
The sleek, dark gray, brick-patterned gable above the oversized glass front door almost seems to float between two lighter brick rectangles, giving the Showhouse an almost-LEGO-like, strangely welcoming appearance.
Approach the door, and you’ll immediately feel tricked, because the front exterior is hiding a 6,995-square-foot interior with lots of natural light and loads of smart-home technology, while balancing creative energy, whimsical sophistication, and modern-classic appeal. At least that’s how it felt.
The Showhouse indeed has what kids these days call “drip,” from the translucent glass droplets of the foyer’s chandelier, to the bronze, corona-shaped mirror (talk about current!) on the textured gray wall covering in the powder room. Both areas were created by Karen Ferguson of architecture firm Harrison Design.
If you don’t notice those elements, it’s probably because you’re consumed by the astounding views throughout the house. They’re available around the central staircase, which zig-zags through an atrium that provides a gloriously tall ceiling all the way to the lower floor.
You can quickly see the incorporation of nature throughout the Showhouse. The surrounding 1-acre plot connects to the interior through floor-to-ceiling windows facing the backyard. The metal railing around the central stairs also encloses the covered outdoor porch, and resembles random-leaning sticks of bamboo.
A thick, pine dining-room table, sourced from a monastery, puts a bit of humble subtlety in the mix, along with its six cream-colored wool seats.
The area is to the left of the family room, where an oversized purple and gray linen sectional couch sits in front of a marble-framed fireplace, next to brass drum tables.
Both areas are designed by Westbrook Interiors, mixing rustic with cozy without seeming to have forced it.
The outdoors keep coming indoors both on the upper and lower floors.
You’ll see a regal peacock whose shiny metallic feathers are perfectly paired with the green and fuschia paint and fabric covering the walls and furniture upholstery.
The taxidermied bird almost steals the show, but nothing competes with the view of the 65-foot rectangular pool outside. The terrace room, a guest bedroom, and a music room all open up to the exterior pool deck, which was designed by William Stear of Tonic Design Studio to integrate with the interior.
That music room, by the way, is moody blue and was inspired by Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. It has a grand piano, a velvet sofa, and photos of contemporary musicians, including ASO conductors Robert Spano and Robert Shaw.
You’ll also find a game room and a lounge bar designed by Michael Habachy, for guests prefering downstairs revelry and poolside action.
The two upstairs bedrooms offer more serenity and muted tones than the floors beneath. One bedroom, designed by West Midtown’s Dixon Rye, features a taxidermied goose in flight and a sliced round from a tree truck that almost resembles an oyster shell mounted above the bed.
The other bedroom, from Loren Taylor Interior Design, offers similar softness. It adds elements of the African diaspora, including a wooden statue near a meditation/prayer room, where guests are intended to sit on an ornate rug and unwind.
Its large window looks out to the front entrance from the center of the gable.
Even the more scene-stealing elements of the house aren’t aggressive.
That includes photographs of naked women, in the master bedroom and the feminine lounge (the master has his and hers lounges), which only the sort of guests that might see the owner’s nudity might discover anyway, so that works.
If there’s any part of the house that seems a bit underwhelming, it’s the room most folks say is most important in a home’s design: the kitchen.
Not that it isn’t impressive — the huge marble island and the expansive view of the outdoors through a wide window would make most kitchens feel insecure if they had feelings.
Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio clearly intended it to focus on actual cooking and minimal distraction. But it does leave you wondering if something even a bit funkier could have been done to add spice.
But collectively, it’s a pretty astounding property. And the ASO, which has been doing the Showhouse since 1971 but put it on hiatus after 2016, clearly wanted to come back with a bang for its 75th anniversary.
Will it raise an insane amount of money for the orchestra? Supporters certainly hope so. In the meantime, we’ll be trying to raise an insane amount of money to buy this thing. So what if that sounds like a dream—so does the symphony.
Public tours end March 22. Get tickets at Eventbrite, and see more photos of the study, laundry/mudroom, covered patio, bedrooms, closets, and the pool below.