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She Took A Chance And Nailed It

I was so thrilled to open up the November issue of Veranda magazine and spy my friend Danielle Rollins and a gorgeous feature on her newly completed home.  Although I pass the home quite often our schedules have never worked out to pop in for a drink and a tour of the home.  I have watched the renovation from the time she purchased the home and I can tell you the before and after are drastically different.  Having the beautiful issue and seeing the home was more than a treat.  I am honored to be able to share these images with you today along with an interview with Danielle on renovating her home, the journey and this amazing new chapter in her life.

For those of you that don't know Danielle Rollins let me introduce you.  Danielle is a lifestyle expert and author of SoirĂ©e: Entertaining With Style.  She is an incredible hostess, interior designer and newly minted fashion designer.  She is known for her amazing parties, her eye for incredible details and most of all for her one of a kind, unmatched entertaining skills.  She hosts parties everyone wants to attend and her tips on cocktail hours and dinner parties are truly second to none. As a contributor to Veranda, she writes about travel, fashion, gardening and food.  Her zest for life can be seen in every single thing she does.

Her website describes her best as ...

Mixing a dash of glamour with an approachable flair, Danielle sets the standard for Gracious Living and Stylish Entertaining™. Channeling the style of Grace Kelly, the wit of Lucille Ball, and the decorating and entertaining approach of Dorothy Draper (mixed with a little fantasy from the ever-imaginative, flamboyant Elsie de Wolfe), she inspires and encourages others to celebrate any and every opportunity to create a memory. 

We met a few years ago when I found myself locked out of a holiday showhouse on a cold winter day and quite chilly and windblown when I finally found my way back in.  She invited me into the space she was working on, wrapped me in a throw and we immediately bonded over our love for layered spaces, funny children, pets and, of course, a good bourbon.

If you have followed Danielle Rollins on Instagram for any length of time you know she purchased a 1970s Georgian home in Atlanta and renovated it from top to bottom resulting in a home of her dreams for herself, her children and her precious pets following her divorce.  The home is now complete (and truly stunning) and she is enjoying every inch of it along with her new clothing and accessories line (coming soon) which has taken the industry by storm. Starting over is never easy but Danielle not only made it work, she blew it out of the water.

When she first saw the home she knew immediately it was meant for her and with the help of friend and architect Bill Ingram she set out on the year long renovation resulting in the stunning home you see on the pages of the magazine.  With a commitment to a palate of blues, she layered all of her favorite patterns and colors to create a space that was completely and truly her.  She shared that her youngest cried when he first saw the property but she knew it was the perfect canvas for her new life and her journey.  " I bought truly the ugliest house, but it was on a great street for a price I could afford,” she says. “I resolved to turn it into a show-case for everything I wanted to do.”

My friend ... you did that and more!

The result is truly breathtaking and I could stare at the images all day long.  Her bold use of the color blue is so inspiring and grounds the home's bold palate of color and pattern.  The floors are stunning, each of the patterns such a gamble and yet work so well together.  Danielle has such a way of choosing what she loves and not only making it work, but taking its success to the next level. 

When I reached out to Bill Ingram for his thoughts on the house he graciously agreed. Danielle shared she drew out her vision for the house on a cocktail napkin over drinks with Bill and he took her vision and turned it into reality. 

"We decided in addition to making the plan right and adding on to the house, to work on correcting the proportions of the exterior such as adding properly sized windows and exterior French doors.  The house didn’t fit the land so we made the land fit the house by bringing up the grade and filling in a ravine that ran under it. So many useful property enhancements were made available by changing the grade.  She was able to have a front motor court and a rear first floor level garden and a swimming pool."

As you enjoy the sneak peek of images of the home, you must check out the full article for the rest!!,  I also have an interview with Danielle where she shares some insight on the transformation of the home, her vision and the journey. 

First of all, the house is stunning, but I knew it would be. What has this journey to create the home of your dreams been like?

Thank you! I wish I could say it was all dreamlike, but there were plenty of nightmares to get through before getting to here. I was heartbroken following my divorce, which had one sad, country song worthy verse after another. I had many of my personal items taken from me after losing my beloved house, and then being charged with vandalism of it, but it was just the normal wear and tear of a house. When I purchased this house from an estate, it was unoccupied, run down and horribly outdated, but it was in my budget. From the minute I walked in I just knew it was my project! My youngest cried upon seeing it and my oldest nervously reassured him I would make it much nicer. I drew out what I wanted to do on the back of a napkin, while having dinner with one of my best friends and architect Bill Ingram. I think Bill was speechless for a few minutes because I’d drawn the holy grail of architecture, “a figure 8”. I have always had a gift for spatial design and I knew how I wanted to live in this home and what that flow needed to be. I love homes from 1950-75 because they are usually well built with classical proportions but have a treasure trove of spaces that can be accessed and repurposed, especially butlers, closet storage spaces and kitchens. Bill and I had a ball working on this project together and it was a joy because we had the design outline before we even started the renovation work. It was a large renovation, which is always painful, but just like childbirth, looking back that part isn’t what you think about. I think in many ways I was emotionally much like the house during the renovation, and we both built and brought each other back to new life. I truly love the house and it’s everything I dreamed of.

How do you start with a project this large?

I always start projects by what the house needs to be, how it needs to function, and the needs of the occupant’s future needs. In this case, I knew I needed space for my three children and goddaughter, a space for my parents who live with me, and myself. I needed ample parking, and wanted to have gardens and a pool. Having the colors and feel of the house I wanted to have and I always think about the color and pattern flow of the decorating in the architectural planning of a home.

Did you have inspiration for the house as a whole or room by room?

I think about the house as a whole and how each room fits and flows within the entire house. I think it’s important to think about the way a home relates from the inside to the outside, and the views from the house to the farthest vista.

Do you have a favorite space in the house?

I think it changes depending on the season, but I love my master wing with my grown up princess bed.

What was the hardest part of the renovation? Did you have a space that was the toughest to tackle?

The hardest part was what should have been the simplest---the contractors were a nightmare. I learned a lot in that process, and it has made me a better advocate for my own clients now, so I suppose there is a silver lining. The toughest part to tackle was adding a master wing that required a sizable structural wall because living on a corner required that I have a building blocking a pool from the street view and access.

Tell me about your passion for blue, I know it’s a love affair for you.

I am Pisces, and I am naturally drawn to the watery hues of blues. I think blue is a naturally joyful color that has an endless range of tonalities that mix so well with so many other colors.

Anything you wish you would have done differently?

I don’t think there is anything I would have done differently really. Everything is a learning lesson and sometimes that means you have to take being called a bitch as a compliment. I had to do a lot of toughening up, retraining my emotional response of feeling hurt or guilty for standing up or leaving my children (wording here is confusing -does this mean hurt for standing up/guilty for leaving my children?), to no longer accept being shamed by the manipulation of others, and to be much more forceful than I am comfortable being. It’s still a struggle for me but running my own business has built a don’t "mess with this mama bear,” type confidence that I didn’t know I had. I can have an authoritative voice now based on confidence and competence.

Any advice for others taking on a similar project?

I would advise anyone to engage an architect that represents their vision.

What’s next for you?

I’m still figuring a lot of that out. The most challenging aspects of running my own business and being able to accomplish what I’d like to do have been the funding. I haven’t wanted to give up control so decided to self fund - this has meant growing the business slowly while focusing on keeping my overhead low, service and quality high so that I would have long term consumer loyalty. I've been teaching myself the necessary aspects of product licensing, as it's where I'd like to take the brand. I have a collection of china and fabrics and wallpaper in the works, so hopefully supporting products will continue to follow. I would love to eventually do TV that could be entertaining without conflict and have substance that's not dumbed down. I’m passionate about attainable style and would love to do collaborations that focused on craftsmanship to revive that industry, and I'd love to continue to share the tips, tricks, shortcuts and solutions for having a stylish life.

Thank you Danielle for sharing your home with me.  It is everything I knew it would be and so much more.  Your style is impeccable, your hostess skills unmatched.  I know you are enjoying every second of and square inch of the home as you should be.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your precious family.

Images courtesy of Veranda Magazine and the talented photographer, Melanie Acevedo. 

Happy Tuesday!

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