Talk of the Town - Revamping the 'burbs August 12 2004

Vamp replaces camp in Sandy Springs

From nine to five, Leigh Tyson is a corporate lawyer for a Buckhead firm. While her days are filled with lengthy legal briefs and court cases, the twentysomething passes her nights cross-stitching, snuggling with her four dachshunds and dining with S&M photos. Tyson recently took pity on a Sandy Springs house and has since gone all "Queer Eye" on its ass. By putting in a few distinctly naughty, Fab-Five-approved decor twists, and lighting a funeral pyre for the previous owners' decorating missteps, she has added a bit of taste to the OTP 'hood, even if it is a smidge off-color.

Creative Loafing: So, what's with all the porno pin-ups peppered about?

Tyson: It's not really porn. Most of my pictures are of people with their clothes on, I just have a few who seem to have misplaced theirs.

She points to a photo of a woman covering herself with only a hand mirror revealing the reflection of her suitor.

While I like the contrast of these pieces compared to my other art, I really have the photos hanging around exclusively for horrifying my mother. Well, her and my republican friends.

It took you a year to revamp this house — why did you choose it in the first place?

I don't know why — it was the ugliest one I saw. There was wallpaper on every possible surface, a hateful teal trim and it was where pink carpet came to die. But it had good bones, so I figured it could be a cool house.

How did you turn such a train wreck of a house into your home?

We knocked out a bunch of unnecessary walls to open the space up, laid new floors and extended the staircase — now that was a bitch. Three different teams had to come in for that one. And of course we repainted the inside. The place has come an exceedingly long way.

What was your motive behind the decor?

I wanted to keep things minimal and clean. The idea behind the house was to create a backdrop for all of the art I've been collecting. I chose neutral wall colors so the art could be the focal point of each room.

Do you have a favorite piece?

Probably Robert Hekes' web-banner painting hanging over the fireplace in my family room. I like how unusual it is and it adds to the contemporary feel of the room.

Which room is your favorite?

The family room is the most comfortable but I like the dining room the best. It fits the theme of the house perfectly — neutral walls and tons of art. It's where I keep most of my black and whites. And yeah, there's porn in there too.

She alludes to the bondage photo that proudly hangs in the room. Nothing says good eatin' like S&M.