Jewelry designer Mark Edge adds a historic Atlanta bungalow to his portfolio of polished, one-of-a-kind gems
Produced, written, directed and styled by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Mali Azima
“If you can’t say something nice, come sit by me.” – Olympia Dukakis, Steel Magnolias. Decor Demon’s own mantra is somewhat similar; however, YOU is swapped with THEY in reference to thanks-but-no-thanks publications who’ve scouted, then passed up homes with unapologetic styles. So what if said publication ran out of room for you at their brand-specific table? Even more reason for you to, well, come sit by me. Much like co-star Shirley MacLaine’s red velvet armadillo cake, dark and eclectic interiors are often labeled too “edgy” or, in some cases, considered “too difficult to photograph”. ENTER Mark Edge, a jewelry-making man about town whose elegant, masculine home was passed up for national consideration when, dubiously, the only “edgy” thing about it is its owner’s last name. Mark’s stunning Midtown Atlanta project came Decor Demon’s way when our editor friend, Lisa Mowry, passed it along knowing its overall dark aesthetic would never fly with her affiliated brands. Two things [a] Lisa is pretty, tall and generous [b] finders keepers.
A soft-spoken, exquisitely dressed Southern gentlemen, the talented Mr. Edge purchased his dream home, a historic bungalow in Midtown Atlanta, with plans to reinvent it as a showstopper fit for a man’s man. Much like the raw stones in his jewelry design studio, Mark stripped all 4,000 square feet of house to the core before busting out the polish, then adding his magic touch. With some help from designer/friend Amy Wikman and her studio, Bjork Antikt, Mr. Edge would spend the next 18 months invading flea markets, estate sales and thrift stores in search of one-of-a-kind pieces from which to create something unique and easy-on-the-checkbook. Modern? Sure. Traditional? Hell yeah! Dark colors? Y-E-S. Photo shoot nightmare? Um, no. Like, not AT ALL. Two lighting kits, three buckets of flowers and one brilliant photographer later, the same home deemed too dark and edgy for others became an editorial gold mine for us.
Entry level position
One part Elle DECOR, one part Goodwill and all parts well-curated, Marky Mark and his funky, vintage living room bunch greet guests with background stories galore. A friend bestowed the crushed velvet art deco sofa to Edge after discovering it at a Salvation Army Thrift Store in Macon, Ga. After years of wear-and-tear, the handsome homeowner turned over his sassy, second-hand six-seater to designer Amy Wikman’s upholstery magic shop, Bjork Studio, where some serious stitch craft restored the piece to its original 1930′s/1940′s state. Artemide was Edge’s source for the 1960′s era “Nesso” Giancarlo Mattioli Table Lamp [available to the trade only through Illuminations Contract]. Wikman brought her antique savvy to the table, literally, with a Swedish modern coffee table of wood, brass and glass. Friends and family assume the role of Armchair Warrior thanks to the comfy, black patent leather one-seater found at Scott Antique Market. Every room needs a splurge; client and designer both agreed that the bold, red abstract by David Huff was the perfect, high price-point fit.
This subject is dead
Not much to talk about in reference to the living room fireplace…and I mean that in a good way. While much of the house was in major need of some serious gutting, the sitting area’s focal point remained in pristine condition; a combination of red brick and limestone complete the masonic DNA of Edge’s fire-starter. Wikman brought in the Swedish once again, this time in the form of elk antlers straight out of Sweden, a housewarming gift for her crafty client.
From the reflective metallic ceiling above to the brand-spanking-new chairs below, touches of amber wave their way up, down and all around the dining room. Mark’s bulky oak conference table [rumored to have previously belonged to Ted Turner] was nabbed from a used office furniture store, then revitalized with a new finish. Both Edge and Wikman thought outside the box for the space’s lighting. To create something cost-effective AND custom, the dynamic duo rewired aged mirror pendants, then grouped them together for wow factor/razzle-dazzle from above. Although the room can seat up to 14 guests, for the most part, eight is enough. Designer and client agreed on moderately priced plastic “Ice” chairs from Calligaris in “Transparent Orange”. Food on the table isn’t the dining room’s only organic element; the block pattern of the Tibetan rug under foot was created by artisans with vegetable dye. Thinking locally and acting globally, Mark turned to Buford, Ga. sculptor Margaret Von Keiser for the stone bust which the designer dude himself embellished with leftover chain from his kitchen pendants. Lastly, I’d like to point out that this “hard to shoot” space was photographed using ONLY natural light. Mrrrkay?
Knife in the back
Since Mark’s kitchen is situated in the rear of the house, a knife in the back simply refers to the location of his cutlery. Speaking of things that slice, the sharply dressed man’s mason painstakingly cut hundreds of Verde Chipolino marble tiles to achieve the staggered pattern created with each 6 x 18. To keep costs down, Edge picked up the solid surface showstoppers from the close-out section of Stone Locator. Wikman and Edge, both fans of Thomas O’Brien, chose the superdesigner’s antique globe pendants from Visual Comfort to illuminate the kitchen from above the island. Dishes and vegetables enjoy soaking in the MTI farmhouse sink with plumbing fixtures from Chicago Faucets. Perhaps next time, when styling a kitchen, I’ll be sure to buy vegetables and soft drinks you don’t have to squint to see. #selftaughtstylist
Speaking on a panel
The main event of Mark’s bedroom design is its custom ebony-stained wall paneling. SIDENOTE: Notice the “lived in” styling of the bed? Although I am kinda happy with it, it would have been smart to have found out beforehand that Mark is famous for always having a meticulously MADE bed…any given day at any given hour. G-dammit! But I digress…while custom bedroom design elements such as the millwork, metallic Ultra Leather headboard and a plush shag from Underfoot Design were splurges, Thomas O’Brien bedding from Target kept the budget in check. Just steps away from the bed sits a comfy lounge area comprised of art deco and midcentury antiques [from Bjork Antikt and Scott Antique Market].
Wikman’s custom paneling continues throughout the entire master suite, uniting bed, bath and beyond. The high contrast of the white Arabescato Marble in tandem with the shiny platinum finishes [such as the Restoration Hardware sconces] help bounce sparkling light throughout the otherwise dark space. In keeping with the platinum motif, Edge brought in chart-topping, framed Beatles album covers to introduce touches of color and pattern. This room must have been a total @$%#& to shoot, right? Nope, in and out in 35 minutes.
Orange you glad
Hermes makes a strong appearance in the library…well, kinda. Designer and client fell in love with the luxury brand’s signature orange tone as an accent for the well-read, 14 x 12 literary retreat; Wikman mixed custom paint to match the color exactly, then used it solely on the bookshelf back panels. The jewerly man kicks back with books comfortably on a slipcovered sofa from Cisco Brothers and an upholstered armchair from Donghia. A repurposed coffee table made from antique gate and a glass top finish off the room’s lounge area. Wikman managed to pack fine art into the space by taking advantage of dead space along the bookshelf’s facia. As our shoot came to an end, Mr. Edge informed me that the entire project, start to finish, only took him 18 short months—the same amount of time it’s taken me to choose a damn wallpaper for my living room.
Win this piece of Mark Edge jewelry crafted from recycled coins and antique chains by [a] leaving a comment on his feature [b] becoming our friend on Facebook [c] following us on Twitter. A week from now, you can show it off to your jealous friends who, unlike you, were too busy to leave a comment.