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Manning Up

Designer Bryan Kirkland counterbalances city views with a softly textured sophistication, making for a decidedly masculine space with penthouse sensibilities.

Designer Bryan Kirkland stands next to a painting by Karen Schwartz from Bill Lowe Gallery in Pedro Diego’s modern, yet masculine, condo.

Rugs from Moattar Ltd. and furnishings by BAK Designs soften the space.

Sweeping skyline views offer a backdrop to Bryan Kirkland’s sophisticated styling

A triptych by artist Tom Brydelsky from Bill Lowe Gallery hangs on wood veneer wallpaper in the master bedroom


Metallic woven wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries LTD adorns the walls of the master bathroom

A man cave with sleek, modern styling and sweeping skyline views sounds counterintuitive, unless you’re designer Bryan Kirkland. The native Atlantan and owner of BAK Designs, a full-service architectural, design and build firm, relished the challenge of creating an upscale urban bachelor space suited for entertaining. That was his original intent, but when Kirkland finally laid eyes on Pedro Diego’s new condominium space in Brookwood (Diego is the vice president of Euramex, an apartment development and management company), he knew the design would “have to be masculine, but also revolve around the amazing city view,” explains Kirkland.

Framing the view was Kirkland’s first objective. Known for his expertise with color, his choice of muted grays and taupes create a sense of texture and sophistication, setting the space up as a backdrop for the view. “Everything from the walls to the floors, as well as the furniture and cabinets, are in these tones,” he says. “They work together to enhance shapes, details and textures.” Monochromatic shades are also superior at letting the exquisite details pop, such as a quilted silver aluminum wallpaper in the powder room or the intricacies of a hand-carved frame on a Christopher Guy sofa. “Softening comes from wall art and other decorative aspects,” notes Kirkland.

Kirkland also managed to squeeze in seating for 18 people without causing the space to appear cramped. “We sought pieces of furniture that had the dual qualities of simplicity and beauty—quality furnishings have longevity and everlasting value,” he explains. “It is easy to change artwork and pillows or lighting, but the tables and chairs in this home will still be relevant 10 years from now.”

Setting the unit up as an entertainment space, Kirkland wanted to maximize seating. “Using unusual pieces that complement each other is always a challenge, but the 10-foot sofa was our biggest wrinkle,” he recalls. During the planning stages, the large piece fit nicely in the open-roofed elevators. Once the property was finished, the elevators were sealed off and would not allow anything taller than 9 feet. Stairwells weren’t navigable, either, because of piping. “We spent hours wrangling with that sofa, only to send it back. The new sofa was cut in half and assembled on-site. In this business, you never know what’s going to come up.”

Split sofas aside, the final product is a masculine masterpiece with views to thrill.