Southern Living Idea House

I jumped at the chance on our outing to the outlets in Dawsonville, Georgia over the Fourth of July weekend to swing up to Dahlonega and view the Southern Living Idea house. The cost was $5 per person with a portion of the proceeds going to the local United Way of Dahlonega/Lumpkin County. The designer is young and her selection definitely reflects the younger edge the magazine is trying to convey lately.

Very easy to get to and very close to the really cute and historic downtown Dahlonega, this house would be a dream getaway destination for solitude, reflection and family time. 
The approach to the house is impressive. I love the crushed blue stone in the driveway and walkway up to the front door. 

Here's a little landscaping (gorgeous blue spruces up there), and you can see the detached 3-car garage a little better in this picture. Problem: 3-bedroom house with a 3-car garage. A problem for me with a growing family, but my mother-in-law pointed out that maybe the kind of person who buys this house is an empty nester who doesn't need all those rooms. All I know is it wouldn't work for our family who loves to get together. All of us. Together.

Just saying that with all the cool entertaining spaces, you might want a few more than one couple and their one child as a guest. 

In defense, there is more unfinished space in the HUGE basement that I think you could put two more bedrooms in. Just add that cost to the unfurnished price of $1.3 million.

Back to the beauty...

These planters are perfect and simple. No fuss!

First thing I noticed when we came in, the wallpaper. You can see it in the entry in a later picture. It seemed like all the bathrooms, hallways and smaller spaces had wallpaper. Even the guest suite in the basement had wallpaper. More on that later...

Master Suite:

Pretty, pretty blue, but I love the cherry red POPS of color! Even better, the chandelier. We'll never have one in our master though. The Daddy needs his cool breeze from the ceiling fan while we sleep.

Here's the sitting area with two comfy, comfy chairs. You can see how the windows go almost to the baseboards to give you the biggest view of the mountain setting.

The wall facing the back of the property has a writing desk and chair in front of similar windows and there is also a door leading to the porch. 

I did not take any pictures of the bathroom and closets; it was madly crowded when we were in there. To sum it up: lots of mirrors, free-standing tub, tiled-to-the-ceiling shower like the one in the guest suite. 

Living Room:

More of those pops of color, but kinda all over the place for me. The shelves need a LOT of editing, I think. My mother-in-law wasn't impressed by the fabric on the pair of upholstered chairs. It was REALLY bold in person, but for the record I liked it. 

I really don't like the upholstered ottoman you can see in the bottom left. It isn't needed and makes the space really cramped. It is butted right up to the fireplace (1 of 4!). 

LOVE the coffee table and sofa.

Better view of all the craziness going on on the bookshelves. You can see the stairs in the back left of the photo and the dining room just beyond the lady in the blue shirt. The house has a nice open flow to the floor plan. 

GREAT sofa table, lamps and sculpture. I saw some similar lamps for over $300 apiece later that weekend in Blue Ridge at an antiques store. Their scale makes them really impressive. You can see grasscloth on the wall in the background with a local artist's painting.

One of my favorite things about the house:
These lanterns are on all of the exterior spaces up, down and at the front and side entrances. I wonder why they didn't use natural gas to light those beauties???

View from the kitchen end of back porch:
You can see how the deck is staggered in relation to how far it juts out from the house. That sentence might make more sense if you look at the floor plans!


So from the previous picture, you turn around and see a wall full of doors that can remotely slide into the walls and disappear, leaving the kitchen wide open to the outdoors. Well, then that part of the porch would HAVE to be screened in. Right?

It is very cool, especially for entertaining purposes when your man is out there grilling and you're inside fulfilling your hostess duties. 

This picture is dark, but it's from inside the kitchen looking out to the pretty view. USE CRAZY CERAMIC PARROT AS A GUIDEPOST. (I actually like it, but in the mountains?)

Pretty apron-front sink. Love the backsplash. Love the fabric on the window valance. I think the treatment kinda looks like one of The Nester's Mistreatments!

So I said in the small spaces, there is wallpaper. Here's more in the mud room. Imagine coming in from the covered breezeway that connects the house to the detached garage. Love this vignette!

Walking through the mud room, you can turn left to the kitchen or turn right into a multi-purpose room. Work space/office/butler's pantry/gardening/potting room/laundry room kind of space. Pretty colors. Again sorry for the dark photos.

I like front loaders, but we've got ours on the "boosters" so you don't have to bend over to put clothes in and take them out. See pretty floors? YES!
Opposite the washer/dyers is the sink area they staged like a gardening area. I would love to soak my whites or delicates in that sweet sink!

Dining Room:

I looked most forward to seeing this room because of the dining room chairs. Love the red. Don't care for the fabric on the seat IN PERSON. I've been considering that rug from Ballards, so it was nice to take my shoes off and walk on it with bare feet to see if it felt nice see it in person before I make a decision.

LOVE, LOVE LOVE the chandelier.  Note the flame stitch going on with the parsons chair at the head of the table! (Makes me think of that show Who's the Boss, remember that?)

The dining room has a pass-through from the kitchen (on left in the above photo) and is open somewhat to the living room.

Up The Stairs:

Love this detail on the railing! That same diamond shape is repeated throughout the house: on the pantry doors, on the built-ins around the living room fireplace, etc.


Staged like a study/reading room, this room was disappointing. Kinda surprising that there isn't a bedroom or two up here. There is another deck with fabulous views, though and you can peek through down to the living room from up there.

See diamonds? Another pretty chandelier! Do you agree with me on the upholstered ottoman? Disrupts the flow for me!

Here you can see the foyer with some more wallpaper. The hallway on the left leads to a half-bath (more wallpaper!) and the master suite. I love the dark floors. 

You can see out to the outdoor space off the living room. Another fireplace is out there. The decks are well done with comfy furniture. I can imagine making s'mores at one of the outdoor fireplaces with my kids!

Back up in the loft: the ceiling is done in the same wood as the flooring. Guess what? MORE beautiful lighting!

Going down the stairs, I love this chandelier!

The carpet on the stairs is really pretty. You can see on the landing where the corner is "mitered". Nice detail. The staircase is open all the way down to the basement.

Family room/Game room/Wet bar:
More living space downstairs.

This is the deck off the guest suite in the basement. I like how the colors on the mantel reflect the colors in the GORGEOUS bedroom.

Guest Bedroom:

Wallpaper! Another beautiful chandelier. Pretty Swedish(?) influenced furniture.

I love this bookcase and all the furniture in this room.

So I would NEVER have put the pattern of these curtains against the wallpaper, but I LOVE it! That sweet little chair doesn't hurt the look either! LOVE it!

The guest bathroom isn't as homey (had to use the flash), but the shower opposite the vanities here is great! Those same tiles line the walls, floor and ceiling.

Back out to the living space downstairs. These chairs really speak my language. I also like the herringbone pattern on the tiled floor. Same rug as up in the dining room!

Overall I really like the floor plan and decor of the house, but it's a mountain retreat. Not very casual like a weekender/vacation home should be to me. The exterior is, but the interiors struck me as more of a primary home (a beautiful one at that!)

If this post didn't quench your design thirst, maybe these links will help:

  • See a local news story with video: WSBTV  (There is also a slideshow with GREAT photos!)
  • She basically took all the pictures I didn't on a less crowded day! Great pics of the master bath and the built-ins around the fireplace and ceiling in the living room in Part I. Part II has pictures of the kid's bedroom that I took ZERO photos of? Crazy. I know.
  • Mallory Mathison, the interior designer, has some more beautiful work in her portfolio online.


Beth Edwards said...

We did this a few years back at one that was located in between Destin and PCB FL. I know you enjoyed it!!

Audra said...

How fun! Gorgeous house.

Tara G. said...

Very pretty! So what about the rug?!

Jennifer Poppy said...

1. The mountain view was my fave part.

2. The shelves were way too busy, like ya said. I'd get claustrophobic with all that stuff everywhere.

3. The lighting was my 2nd fave.

4. We have to have a fan in our master bedroom, too.

5. I liked the staircase detail.

Catholic Runner said...

Thanks for sharing all the pictures. I agree with you on the ottoman.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thanks for the tour. Book shelves way to cluttered, and did not care for some of the fabric used, take the ottoman out. Just to much "stuff" and did not like some of the combinations. But then what do I know - I am not a decorator. :-)
Thanks for stopping by.

Blue Creek Home said...

I enjoyed the Southern Living House tour. Thanks! And thanks for visiting me.
I still have two flamestich Queen Anne chairs from the 80's!!! They are up on the third floor in a sitting area. I still like them.

blondebeth said...

I am dying to see this house in person. Thanks for the pictures. They were a great preview. I still can't believe a house this fancy is in Dahlonega. It has changed so much over the past 20 years and is really coming into it's own. The pictures with the mountain views in the background made me a little homesick. Thanks again for posting them.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Oh, what fun! I always love the SL idea houses & have been through quite a few of them. That looks like a beautiful setting. I probably wouldn't have mixed all those fabrics together, but see some pretty bold choices in there. Very eclectic for sure, but lots of fun to look at. So glad you got to go.

Oh, so you were at Queen of Hearts too?? I just saw someone mention there is one in Alpharetta too, I was at the Canton Hwy. location. Didn't know there were 2. Too bad we didn't run into each other. I'll def. keep the other one in mind for next time that you mentioned.

Kelli said...

Thanks for the tour. What a lovely home!

Sue said...

Wow, just got back from a long weekend and loved seeing your post w/the tour. I loved all of the decorating and fabric choices- as someone who deals w/fabric on a regular basis- I love mixing what most people would not even conceive as patterns that would go together. It is usually quite difficult for the lay person to imagine- same goes for "chotkies" in bookcases and on tops of furniture. I need to see more pics of this home! Thanks for coming over to sullivan and murphy for a visit and a comment! :-) Sue

sweetteaandlemon said...

We visited this summer, too, and I must agree with the ottoman comment. It was pretty, but with all the people in the house, the flow issue was very obvious. I was shocked by the fact that I loved the use of wallpaper....I've ALWAYS hated wall paper. Go figure!

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