It’s been more than a decade since Mary and Mike Tallant fell in love with an area in northern Georgia near the Chattahoochee National Forest and Appalachian Mountains. When a scenic lot in a brand new residential development became available it was a temptation the couple couldn’t resist. They sat with their architect Tracey Marks for hours as she brought their vision to life. “But the real fun,” Mary says, “started about a year later, after the home was built and it was time to decorate.”
In the grand salon, Tracey’s name for the living room, designer Betty Lou Phillips’ own living room inspired the white paneling and trim work and yellow sofas. The antique French chandelier stays true to its period with only candles for light. The large painted china cabinet is a new piece that perfectly presents a collection of blue and white export china. Rather than choosing the pristine dishes for her collection, Mary selected chipped and broken pieces—some even nailed back together. Her artistic nature loved the history and personality of each piece.
The keeping room right off the kitchen is where Mary and Mike spend most of their time. The sunny yellows and warm red accents spoke of France to Mary. The breakfast room chandelier is from a Paris brocante, or second-hand market. The table and chairs were custom made for the Tallants in a French country-style based on photographs of an antique set. Nottingham Antiques of Marietta, Georgia, was able to replicate them, much to the Tallants’ delight.
In the upstairs hall sits the family’s latest acquisition, a French country clock. Mary found someone to adjust it so it actually tells time again. The hall bench is not an antique, but a
replica of a French daybed.
Just off the hall, sunny yellows decorate the master suite. A floral print of red, yellow, and blue flowers and a white matelassé dress the bed, and beyond the French doors of the sitting area is a small inviting balcony seemingly perched in the treetops.
Tucked away on the ground floor of the home is an inviting covered terrace. Since the Georgia temperatures are often mild, the cozy gathering spot is enjoyed by family and friends almost year-round.
Mary says that her love of French art and her collection of coffee table books presenting French décor greatly influence her decisions when decorating. Layering textures and colors,
and juxtaposing fine antiques and fabrics with more casual pieces became her formula for creating the inviting spaces throughout the home. But Mary admits over the 14 years in the home, many of the rooms remained empty until she could find just the right furnishings. Mary so enjoyed the process of building and decorating, she actually started her own design company, Tapestry Interiors.
With Mary’s passion for all things French, it’s surprising to find out the Tallants have not traveled to France. But all that may be about to change since they discovered there is a small French town named Tallant. It looks like a visit to France now tops their bucket list.