Elizabeth Cooper Mansfield, Georgia House Tour
After a repeat client and dear friend reached out about taking on a new construction project on her family’s land in Mansfield, Georgia, the designer Elizabeth Cooper I couldn’t wait to put together a home that showcases more of the wife’s Southern heritage while still feeling right for the family’s artistic, contemporary lifestyle.
Although the couple wanted to stay in the Bay Area full-time, they envisioned a destination for vacations, long weekends, and long periods of summer with loved ones, so comfort and conviviality were high on the priority list. Guests should feel comfortable enough to sit on the couch after a morning spent hunting, fishing, or horseback riding on the property and sip a cup of coffee or a cocktail. However, Cooper says the client could be an architect or designer, and she had a strong vision for the place that drove them through the design, although Cooper pushed the clients to look more south on this property.
“They had a general vision of what they wanted the house to look like, and it should respect the nature and grounds surrounding it, as well as blend in with the other homes on the property,” Cooper says. “The wife spent a lot of time and created a lot of special memories at grandma’s house where there was wallpaper in every bedroom, so we wanted to replicate details like that, in our own way.”
Naturally, Cooper turned to traditional Southern design for a lot of inspiration, as the family owns a mid-century-style home in the Bay Area and wanted to go in a completely different direction.
Part of achieving that elegance and contextual continuity was a penchant for regional designers, e.g Lolly Wallacewhose botanical wallpaper adorns one of the daughter’s rooms, and shops at nearby Atlanta’s wonderful antique markets such as Scott, Madison Antiques and Interiors MarketAnd Fine furnishings for an English gentleman.
Cooper says one of her favorite memories of the project was going antique shopping with the client and her mother in Atlanta, which she says was when they found a number of essential items for the house.
“It was really a collaborative process with the client, and our starting point was to keep the palette really calm, but not neutral,” Cooper says.
“The front rooms are this warm ivory color that forms a subtle backdrop. I was envisioning more chintz or something for the living spaces in more neutral tones, but the client wanted to keep it simple, so we chose a pair of neutral sofas and layered on pattern and interest from there with a lot of From the mismatched cushions and curtain panels, this really sets the tone.
Although the house certainly looks like a proper Southern abode, it lends itself to a more accessible, liberating point of view that’s perfectly in keeping with the California-based family. The house is filled with a collection of artwork selected by the wife, who is an art consultant and involved in several non-profit arts organizations in Northern California.
“She really picked out most of the art for the house, and I think it adds so much to each space,” Cooper says. “Sometimes, placing more modern pieces side by side, like in the master bedroom, adds more interest to traditionally-leaning rooms, and also shows the breadth of her knowledge. Everything looks beautiful without feeling like it’s trying to work too hard.” “
But the wife is not the only one with an artistic touch. Cooper says many of the items in the house were handmade by family members on both sides, including their children. Mixed with Southern antiques, the wife’s curated artwork, and a variety of items from California destinations such as Nikki KehoeThis house simply cannot belong to anyone else.
It’s a standout representation of its owners throughout, while playing with Southern vernacular in clever ways that allowed them to step outside of their comfort zone aesthetically a bit. By the end of the project, they allowed Cooper to add a piece of cheesecloth in Bob Collins & Sons Fabric on antique Italian rattan chairs. This room eventually became one of Cooper’s favorite spaces in the house, along with the jewel-box study and the master bedroom.
“The primary bedroom is one of my favorite rooms because it mixes the rusty terracotta color with these mid-century modern pieces and Scandinavian wallpaper,” says Cooper. “Plus, this chest of drawers is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever owned with the marquetry detailing.”
The finished product is a property that any loved one can feel at home when they arrive. Cooper says architect Chris Hamilton and local builder and craftsman Jimmy Oglesby helped refine their vision to create a place that fit in with the area, and created beautiful plasterwork to make the house look older than it is.
Combined with Cooper’s wonderful mix of diverse, well-assembled elements representing the family’s various interests and iterations, they create a one-of-a-kind abode that is sure to serve as the perfect backdrop for Easter brunches, Christmas Eve feasts, and Christmas celebrations. For decades to come.
Lauren Weeks is a freelance writer and editor based in Birmingham, Alabama. Before striking out on her own, Lauren worked for brands such as VERANDA, eating well, And Cooking lightThey cover everything lifestyle from interior design and luxury travel to wine and wellness.