When Alli and Will Lewis were first married, they lived in Old Shandon. It was convenient to restaurants and shops and was a great setting for them. Alli would go running while training for a half marathon and find herself on Abelia Road. She dreamt of living there and started incorporating the road into all her long runs. “I told Will, ‘I want to live on Abelia one day!’”
When Alli became pregnant, a move was necessary. In addition to needing more space, the couple wanted to move farther away from the hustle and bustle of Five Points. Also, Will wanted a swimming pool. The house search began and soon ended, happily, on Abelia Road just as Alli wanted, in a house with a pool, which Will wanted. “The pool sealed the deal,” Alli says. Cam, their son, was born in April 2020, and the couple moved in November 2020.
Alli and Will’s new home was practically perfect when they bought it. After painting inside and out and adding new furnishings, all chosen by Rossi Green of Rossi Home Design, the Lewises could call the home theirs. The four-bedroom home has curb appeal galore. A wide front porch overlooks the garden and circle drive. When inflated, Cam’s bouncy house fits nicely in the front yard, entertaining him and all his neighborhood friends. “I told Rossi I wanted an elevated casual look, one that doesn’t say a 2-year-old runs the place,” Alli says. “I showed her two photographs, and she nailed it.”
Just to the left at the house’s entrance from the front porch is the Lewises’ spacious living room, painted Benjamin Moore White Dove. A console that belonged to the late Cam Lewis, Will’s father, perches underneath the front windows, anchored on each end by dark round lamps with fun rectangular shades. All the windows are dressed with Champagne-colored drapes in a small geometric pattern repurposed from Alli and Will’s previous home. A natural grass rug frames the comfortable conversation area. Against the right wall is a sofa covered in light linen and sporting matching zebra print throw pillows. Each end of the sofa has a round end table and black geode-shaped novelty lamp topped by tall white shades. Two cane-framed armchairs sit perpendicular to the sofa with black cube ottomans rounding out the grouping. The earth toned abstract painting above the sofa was a gift from Aimee Schraibman, Will’s sister.
“When our friends are here, this is where the guys gather,” Alli says. It is a fitting room for men. Across from the seating area is the Lewises’ fireplace, and in one corner is the cabinet housing the Lewises’ bar. The cabinet once belonged to Bill Geiger, Will’s maternal grandfather. The opposite corner houses another antique wooden cabinet holding glassware that was inherited from Will’s father. A grouping of framed crystals adds a final unique and elegant touch. “The room is a perfect blend of old and new,” says Alli.
Just through glass double doors is the Lewises’ large family room and kitchen. To the left, the family room makes a dramatic statement with wall-to-wall bookshelves painted dark, Benjamin Moore Cheating Heart. The bookcases frame two windows and their window seats. Shelves are filled with books, photographs, and art objects, as well as a television where little Cam can watch his cartoons. The sofa is large and white. “I told Rossi I wanted rugs and fabrics that are kid-proof,” Alli says of her bold color choice. “It was nice to have a designer like Rossi who knows the damage a toddler can do.”
On the left end of the room sits the pair of black boomerang chairs that is one of Alli’s favorite aspects of the house. The chairs hold black and white checked pillows that add a touch of whimsy. Hanging just above them are three large, framed photographs of a cute face. “Those are the many personalities of Cam,” Alli says with a laugh. At the other end of the room, glass windows and doors look out over the porch and backyard.
Separating the family room from the kitchen is a large island. On the family room side, cane-framed bar stools echo the armchairs in the living room and provide comfortable seating for anyone who might want to watch Alli in action. “I love to cook,” says Alli. She has the right kitchen for it. Facing the living room is the sink, dishwasher, and custom cabinetry that houses anything Alli might need, such as a pull-up shelf for her mixer.
Centering the kitchen is a butcher block-topped island, with a base painted the same color as the family room. Opposite the island is a large wall of cabinets Rossi painted Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. The color difference between the kitchen and the family room makes for a casual yet upscale-chic juxtaposition. “They let me take their ideas and run with them,” says Rossi of working with Alli and Will. “It was a lot of fun for me as a designer.”
The light cabinets surround a huge gas range and oven any chef would be proud to own. It is backed by a dramatic black tile backsplash. At the far end of the kitchen is the Lewises’ dining table, an artsy oblong maple creation that overlooks the backyard and pool. The opposite end of the kitchen boasts a large stainless refrigerator, with a microwave to the right. To the left are floor-to-ceiling double cabinet doors … or so one might think. Pulling on the handles reveals a huge walk-in pantry, complete with a coffee bar.
A hallway trails around behind the dream kitchen, lined with abstract and botanical prints. To the right is a large master bedroom suite with a king-sized bed, a wall of built-in bookcases, and a seating area for two. Alli and Will’s master bathroom features his-and-hers sinks and a large walk-in shower. On the other side of the kitchen hallway is the powder room papered with Phillip Jeffries Vinyl Zebrawood wallpaper hung horizontally. A dark cabinet base is topped with granite and a framed mirror in antique gold. Past the powder room, the family’s spacious laundry room can be found on the right.
At the front door animal print-carpeted stairs lead the way up to the rest of the home. Cam’s nursery is a celebration of animals in muted earth tones. The cream glider is accessorized by a black, rust, mint, yellow, and cream quilt hand-stitched by family friend Brenda Moore. Stuffed zebras, lions, and elephants stand watch on the wall above the chair and a giraffe basket holds books on the floor.
Across the room, an animal-themed mobile hangs over Cam’s changing table. “He’s big enough now to reach up and grab them,” says Alli with a laugh as she frees a lion from its twisted position. Round woven baskets in rust, green, blue, and cream decorate the walls, as do shelves for books. Cam’s crib sits below a gilt-framed map of the world he will likely rule one day, along with starburst mirrors.
Next to Cam’s nursery is his completely kid-friendly playroom. The walls are all painted with chalk paint, which Cam spends a lot of time decorating if one look is any indication. Large bean bags dot the floor, while a rainbow of colorful dots decorate the upper walls. “Will comes home from work, and he and Cam play up here,” Alli says. “They hang out and wrestle and have fun.” This room and the nursery attract a large number of rhinoceroses, a nod to Will’s father. Alli says, “I’m not sure of the origin, whether it was a joke about his size or the size of his personality, but now we have lots of rhinos in his honor.”
The home has two more bedrooms and two full bathrooms upstairs. “We love having the extra space to host people,” Alli says. Sally and Mike Foster, Alli’s parents whom Cam calls Gigi and Poppy, visit frequently from Wilmington, North Carolina. Will’s mother, Mary Geiger (aka MiMi), lives a mile away and babysits every Friday. “Cam is the only one who can boss MiMi around and get away with it,” says Alli of her mother-in-law, who is a U.S. District Court judge. “We get him up in the mornings and he says, ‘MiMi? MiMi?’”
Downstairs and out the back door, the Lewis family’s oasis awaits. A gated patio surrounds comfortable seating, a grill, and a long dining table and chairs for entertaining with family and friends. Skylights let in light from above. On the other side of the gate romp the Lewises’ other two family members, Gibbes and Lucy. “They are so good with Cam,” says Alli of their rescue dogs.
A freeform pool centers the yard. In the back left corner is a hammock under a huge oak tree. Whimsical lights are strung from the tree to the patio, providing festive lighting in the evenings. In the right corner is a lovely, large blue urn fountain surrounded by a low stone wall. The pool patio extends down to the far right where a fire pit invites company when the weather is cool. As with the house itself, Alli and Will had little landscaping work to do. “The backyard was planted with intention, with plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds,” Alli says. “We only added some hydrangeas in the front yard.” Jennifer Glass of Fine Gardening came over and showed Alli how to care for the various plants. “I was so afraid I would kill something.”
No matter the season, Alli and Will can entertain family and friends inside or out. “We love to entertain outdoors, whether its weekend pool parties, Friday afternoon happy hours, or supper club,” Alli says.
The Lewises love their home on Abelia Road. They love the neighborhood feel and the proximity to Heathwood Park. “The neighbors are so amazing,” says Alli. “It’s been a great place as a new mom. The neighbors with older kids are really helpful.” Even the home’s previous owner, Stephanie Kimbrough, pitches in through her container planting business. “She’s done my planters in front and in back, and they are beautiful,” she says. The home’s layout, Rossi’s thoughtful decorating skills, the pool, and, of course, the home’s location on Abelia Road, all combine to make a perfect new home.