The old adage “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” instantly came to mind during today’s home tour. You may remember the beautiful 1920s Tudor home of Marsha Mason, a favorite of The Glam Pad who has also been featured in Victoria magazine. Today we are touring the 19th century home of Ansley Forsberg, Marsha’s daughter. Ansley and her family are moving from Columbus, Georgia to Atlanta, and we are delighted to feature this Southern charmer today as a final farewell. Renovated by Ansley and her family 10 years ago, the extraordinary architectural details and subtle elegance of this historic 4,500 square-foot home simply cannot be matched by today’s construction.
The moment you enter the gracious foyer, you are greeted by soaring 13-foot ceilings, large custom windows, rich hardwood floors, exquisite millwork, elegant period chandeliers, and a serene palette. Exterior amenities include a four-room guest cottage, outdoor living space with television, a separate enclosed lot with play area, and a coy pond. This is home is truly an oasis! Let’s take a look inside and enjoy a Q&A with Ansley.
Photography was provided by Eliza Morrill, another of Marsha’s talented daughters!
Q: I understand you restored your home in 2011. Can you tell me what was involved in the restoration?
A: The home is a Greek Revival built in 1838 named the ‘Bedell-Browne House’ by the National Register. We purchased this home in 2010 and spent over a year in full renovations. The house did not have central air-conditioning (which is saying something in Columbus, Georgia’s sweltering heat), and the most recent update had been a 1950’s a pink metal cabinet kitchen renovation. Plaster walls were crumbling, the ceiling was beginning to fall, and electric, plumbing, and HVAC all needed a full update. The kitchen and all baths needed a complete overhaul, floors needed refinishing, and everything that was standing still needed paint at a minimum. Due to the home’s age, storage space was minimal. So we added a butler’s pantry and half bath where the washer and dryer previously sat, some closets down the sides of an open back hallway, and enclosed a bi-level sleeping porch into a bright sunroom we could enjoy.
Q: Who did the interior design, and what was the inspiration? Do you have any formal training?
A: I did all of the interior design myself. I’ve always had an interest in interior design, and you could say it runs in the family. I was inspired by the historic architecture of the home and complimented it with traditional antique pieces as anchors for each room. Then I layered in unique and fun items such as a vignette of vintage tortoise shells, a new oil painting by a local artist, and family heirlooms with sentimental significance. I have always said that I have “champagne taste on a sweet tea budget,” and you can often find me at estate sales or online auctions hoping to snag a deal. I’m not afraid of a project piece either! This motto led me to start Haute Revival, an Instagram-based shop where I sell some of the finds that I love but just don’t have room for in our home. While I don’t have any formal training, I previously worked as an associate buyer for Macy’s corporate for years, which trained me in the art of buying and honed my eye for splurges and steals. Since then, I have had the honor of designing homes besides my own, and would love to continue to do so in the future!
Q: Where did you find inspiration?
A: I find inspiration all over. I adore design books and magazines, although keeping up with 3 children and a business doesn’t leave me much time for these. Anywhere I visit, be it a store or a travel destination, I love to look at color stories, vignettes, style mixes, and interesting pieces. I love to find new uses for decor items and furniture pieces, which can get me into trouble with an abundance of “projects.” If I really LOVE a piece, it can get stuck in my head for years. After graduating college, my family took a trip to London and Paris. While meandering around Portobello Road, I saw these antique grape hottes hanging in a booth down the side of a building. I adored them, but had no idea what I would do with one if I purchased one. But the thought stuck with me and I kept coming back to wanting to incorporate one in my decor. I finally purchased a hotte many years later and it currently hangs over the mantle in my den and is filled with dried hydrangeas and magnolia branches.
Q: What are your favorite things about the home, and what will you miss the most?
A: My favorite things about the home are primarily within its character, which I often show in my sales posts on @MyHauteRevival. The old adage “they don’t make it like they used to” is no joke. The home’s crown moldings and the details in the picture molding which were added in Victorian time cannot easily or affordably be replicated today because there are so few artisans left in these industries. Underneath the house by the old coal furnace, you can see a single, large, hand-hewn beam that runs the length of the house. The heart pine floors in many of the rooms are hard and durable, unlike their soft, delicate counterparts today. What I will probably miss most of all are the huge, numerous windows throughout the home. The rooms in the home are all oversized with 13 foot ceilings. These large windows pour light in throughout the day. You can’t help but be happy with that much sunlight shining in on you.
Q: Where are you heading for your next home adventure? I’m sure TGP readers will want to follow along! Will any images be on Instagram?
A: We are packing up and moving next week to Atlanta. Although I could not find a home with quite the age and character as this home, our new house has traditional architecture and a fabulous layout. We have started some of our preliminary updating projects, but have years worth ahead of us! I have started a new Instagram page to highlight the projects, updates, and blunders we make along the way, called @BecomingBuckhead. We have started by pulling up carpeting, sanding staircases, and playing with the texture on some fireplaces. There are many details to come to truly make it a home!
Q: Any advice for others who dream of restoring a historic home?
A: While restoring an historic home is not for the faint of heart, I say jump in and go for it!! I find it such a travesty to see these old beauties with amazing foundations and bones getting razed in so many cities. There is so much character and strength in these historic homes that today’s building supplies and many contractors cannot replicate. Use these homes and update them with modern conveniences. Often it’s really just baths and kitchens that need the most love. Find a good architect who can show you an amazing exterior or interior facelift if you don’t have the vision yourself. Many people are afraid older homes will be so much more work than newer homes. After living in both, I have realized they both need maintenance, but my 200 year old home will outlast any new build on the market.
Thank you so much for inviting us inside your beautiful home, Ansley! We cannot wait to follow along as your transform your new Atlanta home! And thank you Eliza for the gorgeous photography!
You can follow Ansley Forsberg on Instagram @MyHauteRevival and @BecomingBuckhead. Eliza is @elizamorrillphoto and Marsha Mason is @marshamason2. You can tour Marsha’s home here and here… And you will enjoy the Columbus home of Marsha’s friend, which was also featured in Victoria magazine.