Chris & Leah’s Bright Southern Space

published Oct 7, 2014
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(Image credit: Shifrah Combiths)
Name: Chris and Leah Jackson

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Location: 5 Points; Athens, Georgia
Size: 3,000 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years; Rented

When I stayed in Chris and Leah’s beautiful home a couple years ago, I was blown away by how effortless everything felt—how something so put-together and elegant could at the same time feel totally livable and at home with itself. Welcome to her gorgeous home.

(Image credit: Shifrah Combiths)

Leah, like me, is a California girl transplanted to the deep South, and I think some of the breezy calm and cool of the West Coast comes through in the feel of the home she shares with her husband and three small children. Leah’s inspiration is to create a space that people feel comfortable in and I can attest to the fact that she’s achieved this, tremendously.

(Image credit: Shifrah Combiths)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: A little bit of everything. I would say warm industrial, eclectic, transitional comfort… If that’s a style.

Inspiration: My inspiration always when I decorate is making a space that people want to be in and hang out in and are comfortable in, a place they don’t want to leave. I love neutrals, nothing too busy, but still interesting enough to not leave you bored.

Favorite Element: Location—we live in an adorable neighborhood, great for raising a family, in the heart of Five Points, which is a quaint part of town, close to the UGA campus where we can walk to baseball and football games.

Biggest Challenge: The house was built in the 1920s, so dealing with an old house, and all of its quirks! Drippy faucets, broken tiles, doorknobs, and creaky floors, but all of that adds to the charm, and I probably wouldn’t change it!

What Friends Say: They say, “How do you manage to keep your house clean with 3 kids 5 and under??!” I say, “The first thing I do every morning is make the beds, and karate chop the pillows.” For some reason, it is sort of calming to me to have the beds made, like I can tackle the rest of the day. Also, karate chopping pillows helps with aggression… And finally I tell my friends not to look in the closets, because my cover would be blown!

Biggest Embarrassment: The outdated kitchen, with linoleum floors. And my “junk drawer” — it’s a little out of control.

Proudest DIY: My daughter’s curtains! I had these basic white waffle textured curtains from Bed Bath and Beyond, and painted large horizontal pink stripes, only one coat, so when the light shines through, it gives a beautiful, funky tie die effect…. She likes ’em: They’re pink.

Biggest Indulgence: My dining room table. It’s a beautiful, rustic, round, thick wood table. Fits the space perfectly, pretty much a statement piece. The room doesn’t need much else.

Best Advice: Don’t take decorating too seriously! You are the only one that really notices every detail. And more than anything, people want to just feel comfortable in your home… Oh, and cinnamon candles — it always smells like you’re baking something.

(Image credit: Shifrah Combiths)

Resources of Note:


  • Bathroom: Martha Stewart Heavy Goose
  • Girl’s Bedroom: Sherwin Williams Contented


  • Lamp: TJ Maxx
  • Throw Pillows: Pottery Barn, Tuesday Morning
  • Rattan Chair: World Market


  • Chandelier: Ballard Designs
  • Chairs: Pebblehill Designs
  • Round Table: Weinbergers Furniture
  • Art: Steve Penley


  • Pendant: Ballard Designs
  • Chairs: Ballard Designs
  • Art: Steve Penley
  • Art: Leah Jackson


  • Bed: Pottery Barn
  • Bedding: Target
  • Curtains: Bed Bath and Beyond (with DIY paint)
  • Art: Leah Jackson


  • Curtains: Bed Bath and Beyond
  • Bedding: TJ Maxx
  • Table & Chairs: Pottery Barn
  • Art: Leah Jackson & TJ Maxx
(Image credit: Shifrah Combiths)

Thanks, Chris and Leah!

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