Atomic Furnishings Megan and Todd Walsh Make a Mid-Century Home in the Mountains
“This is our dream home,” Megan Walsh, her hand grazing the worn wood of the stair rail, pauses, turns to look behind her, and laughs. “I know everyone says that, but we’d definitely like to pass this on to our kids.”
It’s an open display of the genuineness that marks all that the Walshes do, an almost old-fashioned authenticity that defines their relationship, their business, and the house they call home. Their business—mid-century mecca Atomic Furnishings—and home—a unique dwelling bursting with brass fixtures and fabrics in colors like burnt orange and umber—and even the Walshes themselves harken back to a simpler time, a time when furniture, and love, were built to last.
Which makes the fact that they met through the distinctly contemporary vehicle of Craigslist all the more compelling.
Despite the internet’s hand in their partnership, it was their shared passion for mod design that ultimately brought them together. A white, vinyl, tufted bench caught Megan’s eye on the site back in 2013. When the gruff seller rebuffed her request to buy the bench (a buyer had already claimed it), Megan asked him to let her know if the deal fell through. Which it did. The rest, as they say, is history.
Well, a history with a hand set squarely in the realm of fate. “We tell people you have to have a lot of faith to be in this business,” Megan says. “It’s almost spiritual,” Todd adds with a nod and a smile. It’s a sentiment that pervades their life; from their personal relationship, which bloomed from their business partnership, which in turn emerged from that initial Craigslist encounter, it’s fate who seems to have guided their twined paths.
Married since 2014, the Walshes have grown their local business into the Southeast’s preeminent home for authentic mid-century furnishings, meticulously refinished to their groovy glory. Like any small business, Atomic has faced its fair share of challenges—fruitless buying trips, a saturated market—but it seems that faithful fate always steps in, and those challenging buying trips end with a final trove of flawless finds.
They don’t leave it all to fate, of course; the Walshes have also adapted to a shifting, growing market in innovative, authentic ways. When they began Atomic Furnishings, what’s now a mid-century craze was merely a modest trend, and over the years they’ve grown with it, or even around it. As it becomes more and more difficult to track down authentic mid-century furnishings, the Walshes are considering alternatives. “We’re shifting into manufacturing,” Todd explains of Atomic’s upcoming projects. “We want to make mid-century looking pieces that are still built to last.”
Their storefront is also shifting with the times, from a warehouse bulging with antiques into a true gallery in which each piece is displayed as the piece of art that it is. It’s a concept that’s being implemented in their new showroom, a cavernous space off Merrimon in Woodfin. It’s big enough to hide a woodshop in the back (for that new manufacturing endeavor), a gallery for goods, plus“This is our dream home,” Megan Walsh, her hand grazing the worn wood of the stair rail, pauses, turns to look behind her, and laughs. “I know everyone says that, but we’d definitely like to pass this on to our kids.” mini-shops for peddling locally-made wares and specialty products.
The heart of the business remains the same: mid-century furnishings lovingly restored for the 21st century. The customers who come to the Walshes for both furniture and design consultations span a spectrum, from younger folks looking to furnish their first homes, to retirees who want to outfit their houses in the style of their childhoods. With credenzas and coffee tables, in rattan and teak and warm, worn walnut, the Walshes help turn houses into homes.
Much as they did with their own property, a unique house set high on a hill in Burnsville. “When we say we live in a Hap House, local Burnsville residents kind of raise their eyebrows,” Megan says of the small community she and Todd call home, an intentional amalgamation of unique homes that provide an enclave for artists of all types, from potters to weavers.
The exterior—dark-veined concrete and muted wood—blends into the mountainside scenery, but the interior does anything but. It’s an homage to the goods that brought (and now keep) them together, a patchwork of mid-century color and design: fawn-tinged leather, bold teal and burnt orange, brass and glass and tufted, wooled wall hangings. Lived-in and well-loved, the mid-century treasures all blend together into a house that is distinctly, authentically home.