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FOR MORE THAN

a decade, Andrea and Jerry Freeman lived in a Craftsman-style bungalow in town, but they decided it was time for a change—both geographic and architectural. School and sports opportunities for their two children, Jordan and Jerry Jr., were luring them to the suburbs. Then, there was their growing interest in the modern houses they’d seen going up around Atlanta, featuring clean lines and efficient space-planning. “We’re not modern purists, but we like the general aesthetic,” says Jerry.

When they found an empty lot in Roswell overlooking the Chattahoochee River, the Freemans got their opportunity to give suburban living their own twist. The goal: build a modern but warm sanctuary embracing the wooded surroundings. The couple gathered together a team of interior designer Stephanie Andrews with Balance Design Atlanta, with whom they’d worked on houses past, architect Nathan Kirkman with DNK development, and Anthony Bondhus of Principle Builders Group.

The sloping, pie-shaped property provided challenges and opportunities. “The emphasis for the design was to minimally impact the topography, maintain as much of the existing tree canopy as possible, and maximize the view of the Chattahoochee River below,” says Nathan. He achieved this by shrinking the footprint of the drive way to bring the house to the edge of the hill, minimizing the use of retaining walls. A sloping roofline helped define the main living area and open views to the river, he adds.

Wood was embraced inside and out, echoing the trees all around. The exterior combines limestone, fiber-cement panels, and ipe, chosen for warmth and durability. Inside, white oak was used for the floors as well as accents like the floating bench in the living room and the cantilevered kitchen island. Stephanie found art and furniture that likewise celebrate the out doors. The result is a house that’s both dynamic and soothing—and a big hit with visitors. Says Andrea, “People always comment that they feel like we live in a treehouse.”

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Since their inception in 2002, the Balance Design team prides themselves on careful listening and teamwork with clients who value innovative design and the positive lifestyle impact that accompanies it. Utilizing environmentally sustainable materials, local artists and craftspeople, hand knotted rugs, and unique furnishings, a Balance Design space is one-of-a-kind!


Balance Design is more than just a group of designers. They are a collaborative team of creatives and analysts working to provide not just beautiful design, but also a memorable and enjoyable experience. Fostering client's confidence in their point of view while gently expanding design horizons is their calling, and they form relationships that last for years.


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The dining room’s dark green walls, coral accents and touches of gold and brass took their cues from the room’s tile-work. Balance Design created a high-contrast space with massive elements like vertical panels painted by Steve McKenzie and an oversize gold chandelier. “We’re not afraid of bold and a little bit over the top,” says Stephanie Andrews, the firm’s founder. The serpent motif in the tile, which was designed by the homeowner, pushed the design toward Asian, with dragon ginger jars and chinoiserie napkins. Farrow & Ball’s Studio Green added to the intrigue as showhouse visitors questioned whether the walls were black, blue or green. The five- person team delivered a dining room experience with a focus on opposites, such as juxtaposing the antique table with modern chairs. “We love to collaborate, and so there’s more richness there than one note,” she says.