Gracious and striking, the Georgetown Estates home of Julie and Brad Zara still manages to be warm and inviting.
Designed by the couple with architect Joe Petty 11 years ago, the home at 24 Georgetown Road in Sherman features impressive woodwork as well as a mix of French provincial and English Tudor styles that is both elegant and inviting.
The brick front has the classic Tudor-style windows and symmetry, but the decorative stone accents near the front door and the upstairs balcony show visitors that the Zaras have their own sense of style.
"Brad designed the balcony," relates Julie Zara. While she made much of the interior decisions with input from her husband, he was the force behind the balcony design, the music system and the matching Kirkwood staircases in the front and back of the house. If the balcony looks familiar, watch "Beauty and the Beast" - it's a takeoff from the home's balcony in the movie. The stone accents are reminiscent of homes the couple toured in Atlanta before building their house.
"They were done by stone mason Ted Galassi of Galassi Masonry Contractors," said Julie Zara. "We've had lots of builders stop and look at them because they are trying to duplicate them."
The stone accents also carry through to the rear of the house where Creative Concrete Resurfacing added matching faux brick and stonework around the pool.
The front foyer's sweeping Kirkwood staircase is accented by natural light as well as light from the gold chandelier. The light is a perfect foil for the faux gold ceiling, which means the entrance glows during any part of the day.
The formal dining room has wall scones that match the chandelier, and window treatments add a graceful touch.
Medium oak hardwood floors add a honey tone throughout the house and tie together the yellow in the kitchen as well as the darker yellow in the cozy sitting room off of the kitchen and in the breakfast nook.
There are cherry wood cabinets in the kitchen and nearby family room, which has a large, inviting leather couch. The refrigerator and the television are hidden by cherry wood panels. Lighted recessed cabinet areas are between the formal dining room and kitchen. They provide a nice transition from "formal" to "family" area as well as a place to store Julie Zara's favorite hand-painted plates and the family china.
Julie Zara's home office, also on the main floor, has a marble fireplace which fronts in the office as well as into the nearby master bedroom suite. The master bedroom has a country French flair and an interesting ceiling element as do other parts of the house. Ceiling treatments were done by Dana Pfeiffer, now of Pholishus.
The master bedroom wall treatments are inspirational stanzas of an Emerson poem, and Julie Zara said she finds them particularly soothing. Both she and Brad had a hand in the bathroom design.
The utility room on the main level also has a French flare with its white cabinets and stenciled ivy accents.
The girls' bedrooms are upstairs and downstairs. The playroom upstairs has a unique feature that Brad and Julie Zara fell in love with in Atlanta. A child-size door leads to a child-size play area. "We really wanted a unique area for the children, and this was just perfect," said Julie Zara.
The lower level, down the Kirkwood staircase at the back of the home, has a workout room and a bar area complete with wine racks and a pizza oven. "We wanted a place where the kids would be able to have their friends over and hang out," she said.
Story published Friday, September 5, 2008 ( Volume 3, Number 5 )