amy azzaritointerior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: john & vivian of square feet studio

by Amy Azzarito

When Grace and I were in Atlanta for Lavish, Wendy Hanson and Lucy Allen Gillis took us to Star Provisions for lunch (yummy!), and then insisted we check out Sid Mashburn. I’ve seen a lot of stores, but I seriously wanted to move right into this one! (I’m determined to find someone to paint a huge horse for me like the one in the shop!) We were so taken with the store that we had to find out who was responsible for its Southern-gentleman look, so we tracked down architects John and Vivian Bencich to see if we could get a peek into their personal home. When John and Vivian purchased their house, it had barely been touched for 70 years and was in desperate need of a refresh. So the couple worked t0 bring in more light, add smart storage and workspaces and open up the kitchen and den to create a spot for family gathering. It’s now a bright, modern and welcoming home! Thanks, John & Vivian! And thanks to Jeff Herr Photography for the images. — Amy A.

We’d been looking for a small home for our family of three. We found it within four miles of our office and walking distance to our daughter’s school. And close to other things we love about in-town Atlanta: museums, parks, bike trails, restaurants and shopping. The home was designed in 1939 by architect Clement Ford, was built as a one-story brick cottage and with the exception of one modest interior renovation, it remained unchanged until our purchase in 2008.

Image above: In our daughter’s room, we took off the closet doors and had bright and sturdy drapes made by Drape 98 Express with Hable Construction’s Magenta Beads canvas. The big bolster pillow on the bed is from John Robshaw.

Image above: The niche in the dining room was existing, and it was exactly the right width for the Oly Studio Elizabeth buffet that I’d been considering for years; it works well for stylish storage in a small space. We painted the dining chairs white and recovered them; they’re hand-me-downs from my parents.

Image above: My favorite new piece in the living room is the Maguire Laura Kirar chair; it’s really comfortable. We roll over the oval ottoman from the fireplace (it’s on casters), and it’s even more comfortable. The chair’s covered in a Perennials dark brown outdoor fabric. It was a floor model — a great find. And it complements the traditional camel-back sofa, which belonged to my grandmother. We recovered it in a Dogwood Fabric cotton velvet.

CLICK HERE for more of John and Vivian’s Atlanta home!

Image above: We designed the master bath to include the same white oak cabinets as the kitchen and an Ann Saks bronze penny-round floor tile, but I was feeling it was a bit blah. I was showing a sample of the bold Osborne & Little chinoiserie wallpaper to a friend when I realized it could work as an accent wall in our bathroom.

Image above: The master bath shower has a little square opening that allows for a view of the back yard.

Image above: Master bedroom where classic Artemide Tolomeo adjustable table lamps sit on Thomas O’Brien nightstands from Bungalow Classic. The painting is by Su Abbott, an Atlanta artist.

Image above: We replaced old rotted-wood French doors with new custom steel doors (they were made in Smyrna, Georgia, by Rod Gibson) that open up the den to the back porch and turn it into one big room when the weather’s nice.

Image above: View of the kitchen. Georgia Cherokee marble countertops quarried in N. Georgia.

Image above: Late afternoon sun coming though the steel doors into the den and kitchen while kids play chess with handmade wood pieces that belonged to my dad.

Image above: Up close view of the kitchen cabinets with the wax finish that our friend Skylar Morgan helped us with.

Image above: We love our “cement pond” and so do our daughter and her friends! The pool area needs a good bit of renovating, but in the meantime, we really enjoy it during the summer.

Suggested For You


  • GORGEOUS home- I hope that mine is half this lovely one day.

    I especially love the shelves above the television and also the custom steel doors. We have 2 sets of brand new sliding doors from the previous owners of our home that both go to our back deck. I wish they didn’t put them in! They aren’t my style and we really want French doors, but can’t justify replacing ours just yet since they are brand new. ONE day. ;)

    And PS: Kaitlyn & anybody else looking for a nice grey that’s similar to this: I have my living room and hallway painted in Glidden’s Canyon Echo Grey. I searched for a good grey for a very long time and couldn’t be happier with this airy color! Pinkish undertones and looks great against white trim.

  • beautiful spaces. tight, cohesive, unfussy and realistic.

    i especially love the bathroom and den. thanks for the inspiration!

  • Wow!! Every room co-ordinates with every other but it does not have that matchy-matchy, Giranimals feel to it that you see in design magazines. Love the punch on the re-done chairs and the quiet walls and wood everywhere! Even the grout on the kitchen tiles is worth talking about …is it brown or warm grey?

  • Hi there, I must say we are thrilled to be part of Design*Sponge, many thanks to Amy A. for her interest in our work and thanks to all of you for the nice comments!

    Here are answers to your questions, plus I think I covered the emailed questions here too:

    Barstools in the kitchen are from Vitro Seating.

    Paint color in dining room is Benjamin Moore smoke embers.

    Paint color in living room is Benjamin Moore grey tint.

    Artwork on the mantel is by me with lots of help from my daughter!
    It is based upon a Peter Dunham (my design hero) drawing, but we tweaked it some.

    The living room ottoman fabric is one of Celerie Kemble’s lovely fabric designs for Schumacher called Betwixt. Bungalow Classic made the ottoman based upon a sketch I did.

    The spool bed in our daughter’s room belonged to my grandmother.

    Coffee table in living room is from Room & Board and the one in the den is from my dear friend Liza, she didn’t want it any more and that was 20 years ago.

    All sisal rugs (living room, den, master bedroom) from Bungalow Classic.

    The paint on the trim throughout is Benjamin Moore decorator white.

    Striped fabric for living room curtains is by Dedar and they were made by Drape 98 Express.

    Pendants over kitchen island are from Bungalow Classic.

    Yes, carpet tiles in daughter’s room are Interface FLOR, one of the all-time greatest Georgia companies.

    Dining room ceiling wallpaper is from Schumacher and I must thank my smart friend Laura who encouraged me to put it on the dining room ceiling and not the walls of our half bath as I was planning to do. (moral of the story: listen to your friends if they are brilliant like Laura!)

  • Love the use of of simple lines, as in the kitchen. The island, the stools, the tiles all come together so nicely. And with the subtle pops of color, the spaces really come to life. Overall, a beautiful and tasteful home. Thanks for sharing.

  • I love the finish on the kitchen and bath cabinets. It’s white oak, similar to mine, but the “waxed finish” you mentioned is exactly what I want. Anyway to describe where and how to get this finish. Thanks for a great post.

  • love the kitchen and bathrooms! could you please tell me where the pendants in the kitchen are from? I am in the need for something exactly like that.

  • Wow! What a great house – so well done. One small correction – I believe the Sid Mashburn space was designed by architect Mark Blair, who works at Square Feet Studio with John and Vivian.

  • Vivian,

    I often visit Design Sponge for inspiration and ideas, and came across Square Feet Studio’s posting. What a small world it truly is! :) Your home is absolutely stunning. I hope you, John and Lily are doing wonderful. Stay in touch, it’s amazing how quickly time goes by.

  • As a native New Yorker in beautiful Atlanta now for four years, I am proud to call this beautiful city home and even prouder when I see such beautiful homes featured! This city has so much to offer and kudos to you for featuring a work of art!

  • I would love a contact number for Rod Gibson that created your doors. I have tried to locate a way to contact him, but to no avail. Please provide a number, website what ever you may have for me to reach him.
    Thank you so much,

  • Decide the breed of dog you want to cultivate. s behavioral problem.
    Somehow having their owwn space eases the separation anxiety that most dogs experience.

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.