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What does it mean to be a Southerner? Obviously, I am not qualified to comment. Although I am from the South… South India, that is! However, living in Georgia the last eight years has given me a certain perspective of the South, its culture and traditions, symbols and markers. Actually, I live in Atlanta, and there will be many who say that Atlanta is hardly representative of the South. That may very well be true. However, even a city as diverse and metropolitan as Atlanta can show an outsider (like me) what the South is about. It comes across in the lilting accent of the cashier at the supermarket, the ‘honey’ tossed around casually in conversation, the omnipresent sweet tea dispensers, profusion of peach recipes in summer, the constant references to the civil rights movement, the reverent air that always accompanies the name ‘Dr. Martin Luther King,’ and more. I must admit, I am only starting to scratch the surface of what the South is all about, and my sources are primarily grad school readings, pop culture references, and a good deal of observation and introspection. Maybe the South is a state of mind, after all?

Anyway, even I could see that the South was on proud and resplendent display at the Decorators’ Show House & Gardens in Atlanta this year. This year’s event featured the Knollwood House, a magnificent estate and home designed by renowned architect Phillip Trammell Schutze. Twenty-seven designers styled the rooms and exteriors of the house in traditional Southern style combined with modern stylish elements. I came to know about this event from a dear friend who thought that it might make for an interesting post for the blog. I contacted one of the coordinators who kept aside a ticket for me. And that’s how I landed up at the Knollwood House on a lovely Thursday morning.

The house is truly beautiful! Each room flowing into the other, well-lit and airy spaces opening to the lawns and pool and gazebo, little secret alcoves hidden within each room, cute little touches scattered throughout, warm and homely yet cool and stylish… The kitchen is spectacular with shiny appliances, large windows, expansive counters and shelving. There is a wonderful solarium with stone floors, floor length windows, giant indoor plants and comfortable settees. My favorite room, I think. Then there is the intimate little butler’s pantry, the sprawling family room on the top level with wood floors and baseball paraphernalia, the teenager’s room in lilac bling, the cosy and comfortable library, powder room for the gentleman and the lady, the elegant guest retreat… and more.

I am not one for giant houses. Yet I fell in love with the homeliness, comfort, warmth and elegance that Knollwood conveyed. That, I think, is a tribute to the amazing designers and artists who truly understood the soul of the house and channeled it into their work. I heard that a family had purchased the estate and would move in shortly. Here’s wishing the future residents of Knollwood many happy days in their lovely new home!

Lakshmi Jagad is a communications consultant, writer and blogger. An ideal day for Lakshmi includes yoga, meditation, a steaming cup of masala chai tea and writing. She has a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Georgia State University. Find more of her work at The Rich Vegetarian.