Thursday, January 21, 2010

Five Beautiful Houses

This fall, I was invited to write up the profiles for the 2010 Cathedral Tour of Homes. Featured on the tour this year are five exquisite homes, each of which has been transformed in some way or another. For architecture and design fans within driving distance of Atlanta, this is an event you can’t miss! The Cathedral Antiques Show and Tour of Homes is one of the biggest fundraisers for the Cathedral of St. Philip; this year’s beneficiary is Cool Girls, a program designed as an early intervention program dedicated to the empowerment of low income girls.
Over the course of a month, I interviewed the designers, architects, and homeowners involved with each home on the tour. When seeing the beautiful homes, and meeting the homeowners, it became clear that each house had its own story. It was fascinating to uncover the story and relay it in the descriptions that I wrote – I enjoyed every minute of my assignment!
My favorite interior and garden photographer, Emily Followill, documented the homes with her camera; Emily’s work has appeared in numerous publications (including Veranda, Southern Living, and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles). I have always wanted to see a photo shoot in action, and I had the opportunity to do this when Emily and I overlapped at several of the houses. Emily donated her time and talents to this wonderful fundraising event, and the pictures are breathtaking. She graciously allowed me to use some of her pictures for this post; please visit her website (click here) for wonderful examples in her interior, garden, and lifestyle photography portfolio.
And so, without further ado, a sneak peek into the homes that will be on the Cathedral Tour of Homes this weekend! This is the order in which I saw the houses, and it makes sense from a location perspective; I recommend either using this order, or reversing.
The Bishop House
Many of you will recognize this beautiful home, as it was featured in Southern Living this fall and was widely covered in the blogs. Photo credit: Emily Followill
‘The Bishop House’ was built in 1940, and was home to the Right Reverend C. Judson Child, Jr., the 7th bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta, for almost 50 years. When the Bishop moved, his neighbor (Michael Ladisic, a prominent builder in Atlanta) saw the potential in the home; noted Atlanta architect Linda MacArthur was hired to shape the vision for the renovation. It was Linda’s idea to honor the Bishop’s legacy by paying homage to both the Bishop and his church with subtle ecclesiastical details in the home. The double doors with beveled glass and fleur-de-lis strap hinges were designed to echo the doors to the Cathedral of St. Philip; other elements include a spectacular groined ceiling in the entry, quatrefoil elements found in architectural details and furnishings; pointed arches in doors and windows; and a beautiful stained glass window in the family room. The result of the renovation is a family home that is truly one of a kind, cozy, charming, and welcoming.
Seeing this house is like taking a great journey, with fascinating details in every room. The picture above is the family room, which is open to the kitchen; the kitchen is one of the warmest and most charming kitchens I have ever seen! Photo credit: Emily Followill
Be sure to notice these ‘inspired details’ from the home:
  • The unique ceiling treatments in virtually every room all but demand that visitors look towards the heavens to appreciate the inspired design; especially interesting is the ceiling in the front hall, which was created out of salvaged wood found on a trip to the Highlands
  • Pointed arches throughout the home, culminating in a charming stained glass window in the family room
  • The richly colored kitchen that serves as the warm heart of the house (kitchen design by Jane Hollman with Studio Entourage)
  • The finials on the back staircase, carved to resemble chess pieces
  • The subtle repeated element of the quatrefoil, which is also found in the soaring towers of St. Philip
  • The pool house that Linda MacArthur based on the entry harbor to Christ Church on St. Simons Island

A Fresh Perspective
This house sits on a gentle crest rising above one of the most charming streets in Buckhead, and it has been home to the owners for almost 40 years. It is a home full of memories, where the owners raised their children, where they have celebrated all of the milestones in life. When the owners purchased the home in the 1960s, they enlisted legendary Atlanta antique dealer and designer Jane Marsden to help them decorate and find many of the wonderful antiques in their impressive collection. In recent years, the owners’ daughter Jessica Walmsley, owner of JJ Interiors, has brought fresh perspective to the rooms by reconfiguring the arrangement of her parents’ favorite furniture and accessories throughout the home, and adding new ‘traditional with a twist’ treasures that seamlessly marry the old with the new. Photo credit: Emily Followill
The mother and daughter story of this home was quite endearing. Both the homeowner and her daughter (the designer) Jessica gave me a tour, and it is clear that they love to collaborate with one other. Jessica loves to use texture, fabric and cherished furnishings to give her clients a sense of comfort and ease, and succeeded admirably on this project. The owners could not be happier with the results of their home’s decorative update, and marvel at the transformation of the interiors in the home where Jessica grew up. The home is now the perfect environment for the Jordans’ lives, a colorful and fresh sanctuary that is truly a place of comfort. Photo credit: Emily Followill
Inspired details:
  • A beautiful collection of antiques, including an exquisite English sideboard in the front hall; a richly colored antique rug in the den; an antique secretary in the living room.
  • The charming and cheerful sunroom, which is the wife’s favorite spot from April through October; the beautiful painted ceiling is the perfect touch.
  • The dining room, which has the greatest concentration of antiques in the home, and is so timeless that it has been relatively unchanged over the past 40 years
  • Antique cache pots in the living room transformed into lamps by Jessica
  • The powder room tucked under the stairs, a chic little jewel box of a space decorated in a Chippendale inspired lattice pattern (a repeated element that can be seen around the home)
  • The fine contemporary piece in the den, painted by Dennis Campay before he rose to fame – juxtaposed with an ancient Peshwa painting that hangs on the wall between the French doors (this is one of the owners’ favorite antiques).
  • Blue porcelain pieces that were purchased for the den, and beautifully bring out the blue in the rug
  • The backsplash to the kitchen sink – lovingly designed and created by a local artist to reflect the persona of of the homeowners
A Charleston Inspired Beauty
The architect for this gracious home was Francis Palmer Smith (1886-1971); he is regarded as one of the most prominent architects of his generation in Atlanta, and was the architect of the Cathedral of St. Philip. After the home was purchased, architect Bill Litchfield purified the architectural details of the newly purchased home and moved it into the direction of Charleston’s historical architecture. Building on the wonderful architectural foundation established by Bill, designer Carolyn Malone succeeded in creating much more than a beautiful interior; she created a place where every room elicits an emotional response. Carolyn perfectly balanced the owners extensive collection of serious antiques with current day fabrics and accessories; it is the balance that makes the home feel like a family home rather than a museum of antiques. Photo credit: Emily Followill
This home is being submitted for a magazine spread, so I am only showing a tiny vignette of the breakfast room, which was modeled after the breakfast room of the Charleston home where the owner grew up. It is a room that is filled with light (with windows on three sides), and contains the original Audubons that belonged to the homeowner’s Great-Great Grandfather. Take my word, this house is amazing! It is so elegant, yet it is also a family home. For those in the know, Carolyn Malone is one of the greatest interior design talents in Atlanta– this is a name to remember. Her work is breathtaking! (Image cropped from an original picture by Emily Followill).
Inspired details:
  • The wide and gracious front hall with mirror image doors
  • The beautiful and elegant moldings found throughout the home, inspired by historical Charleston architecture
  • The ‘best view in the house’ – a window in the pantry, which overlooks the Shutze masterpiece across the street
  • The charming painted floors in the kitchen, designed by Ray Goins
  • The transom window in the powder room off the kitchen that lets light into this interior room
  • The chandelier in the dining room, which is an antique from an old home in Charleston
  • The fretwork on the library fireplace designed by architect Bill Litchfield
  • The secret storage closets between the library and the hall
  • The Gothic style swing on the sun porch, hand crafted for the space by Ray Goins
A Dramatic Transformation
When this home was purchased 2002, the owners knew that they were taking on a major renovation project; the exterior of the house had exaggerated proportions that were a reference to Georgian architecture, but not in pure form, and both the interior of the house and property needed a tremendous amount of work. With a leap of faith and the talent of Greg Palmer of Harrison Design Associates, the house underwent a dramatic transformation and is now a classically proportioned brick Georgian home that fits in beautifully on one of Buckhead’s most prestigious streets. Some of the most dramatic transformations occurred on the front exterior of the home; on the interior, most of the rooms and key architectural elements in the home were modified or enhanced to create better proportion and more refined details. The owner has had a lifelong love for beautiful interiors, and decorated the home herself with a combination of cherished furniture (much of which was found while traveling) as well as special antiques and new furniture finds that were purchased just for this home. Photo credit: Emily Followill
The homeowner’s passion for flowers and art can be seen throughout this lovely home. Despite its elegance, no room is off limits for the homeowner’s grandchildren and dogs – it is truly a comfortable family home. Photo credit: Emily Followill
Inspired details:
  • The stunning palladian window on the front elevation of the house, created with perfect Georgian proportions, inspired by the window of the John Brown House of Providence, Rhode Island (1786)
  • The intricate ceiling details in the living room, which is the owner’s favorite room in the house, and a place where the family gathers most frequently
  • The owner’s passion for flowers that is clearly seen in the colors, furniture, and art in the home
  • The antique secretary in the living room, picked out by the owners when they were newly married
  • The tranquil and airy master bedroom, which feels like being in a cloud
  • The hummingbird sink and mirror in the master bathroom
  • The ‘secret’ door in the dining room that connects to the butler’s pantry
  • The paneled family room that was based on a beautiful room created by interior designer Charles Faudree, and is filled with beautiful Swedish antiques
Greek Revival Masterpiece
This majestic Greek Revival style house is believed to have been designed by Clem Ford, and has a gracious Southern charm that immediately appealed to homeowners. Architects Norman Askins and Michelle Moody orchestrated the extensive renovation, and virtually every room in the house was changed in some way; in addition, the home was expanded with a new back hall and wing. The architects incorporated many authentic Greek Revival details into the renovation. However, the owners also feel a strong connection to France, Louisiana, and the Lowcountry of South Carolina, all places where they have lived, and elements from these special places are reflected in the home. Although the owners already had an impressive collection of art and antiques acquired over the course of a lifetime, interior designer Karen Menge, of Pulliam Morris Interiors, was able to blend the old treasures with newly purchased fabrics, antique furniture, and accessories that were found all over the world. Photo credit: Emily Followill
The homeowner and designer told me that the beautiful aquamarine Zuber wallpaper in the dining room was the inspiration for the color scheme of the entire first floor. Visitors to the house this weekend are in for quite a treat!
Given that this lovely home might be in a magazine, I am only including a picture that features the stunning architectural detail in the home. Notice the incredible detail in the moldings and trim on the stairs, the baseboards, and the door surrounds. Truly no detail was overlooked when renovating this spectacular home. The door opens to a paneled library inspired by a Louisiana library designed by A. Hays Town. Photo credit: Emily Followill
Inspired details:
  • The stunning beauty of the home reveals itself in the details; a recent guest commented that there seems to be a hidden surprise in every room.
  • The Greek key pattern found in the architectural details throughout the house
  • The custom, fully functioning shutters on the exterior – created just like shutters in the 1800s
  • The aqua blue Zuber wallpaper, hand crafted in France by one of the oldest wallpaper makers in the world; it inspired the color scheme for the entire first floor
  • The Fortuny fabric upholstered walls in the entry
  • The moldings and trim in the living room, which was custom designed by the architects for this room
  • The bench and arched bridge from the wallpaper were charmingly recreated in the garden by landscape architect Richard Anderson.
  • The baby grand piano in the living room, which belonged to the owner’s mother
  • A classic Greek Revival element, the anthemion (honeysuckle) motif, was used in the corners of the living room ceiling.
  • The lovely curved stairs and the stained glass skylight at the top of the stairs
  • The owner’s most cherished possessions, the portraits of her children which hand on the stairwell
  • The lovely porch, with ceiling painted blue in typical Charleston fashion
  • The private sunroom off the master bedroom in the new back wing of the house
  • The plaster walls and ceilings in the basement – reminiscent of the amorphous plaster walls in ancient French homes
I highly encourage anyone in the Atlanta area to go on this tour of homes either Sunday, January 24 from 12:30 – 5:00 pm, or Monday, January 25 from 10 am – 3 pm. If you do see the homes, print out this blog post as a handy guide for the details to look for. The write ups that I worked on last fall are included in the Cathedral Antiques Show magazine, which is included with your ticket.
Tickets can be purchased in one of four ways:
1) Online - http://www.cathedralantiques.org/onlineTickets.html (note: tickets purchased online must be picked up at the Cathedral of St. Philip)
2) At the Cathedral Bookstore or Information Desk – 2744 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, Georgia
3) By phone: Call Sherri Musgrove at (404) 641-9657

QD collage

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  1. Wow, what a great read to enjoy with my morning coffee. The houses are all amazing, the descriptions had me aching for more. I wish I could be there to see them all in person and look for all the beautiful and many meaningful elements of each house. xo

  2. What a nice thing to say! I must admit, I felt a twinge of guilt posting this as many of my readers won't be able to see the house in person.

    I did take lots of photos, and there is always a chance that they may turn up on the blog in the future.

  3. Thank you so much for this wonderful post .What an amazing house tour! We want to go on it. Any more images?

  4. After you announced this tour in your blog, I made plans with my younger daughter to make a trip to see the homes on Sunday. I'm so pleased you have written about them so we can study before we go. We went to the Christmas house on your advice and loved it.

  5. Anxiously anticipating the tour on Sunday...

  6. Beautiful homes--nothing compares to the graciousness of southern design. Thank you so much.

  7. Beautifully chosen homes!! I do hope to see more of these in the future after they are publishes!!

  8. Looks like a wonderful tour of homes. Thank you for sharing an in depth feature about the homes. I always find it interesting to know the story behind the pictures.

  9. Oh I certainly hope I have a chance to get over there this weekend! The mantle surround in one of the first images of the Bishop house caught my eye. So charming in raw wood and not something we see very often. What a preview!

  10. Wonderful introduction to one of Atlanta's best tours!

  11. Stunning photos! While all of the homes are beautiful, the first is my favourite.
    xoxo, B

  12. Finally, I have been anticipating this post, and you certainly delivered (as always)! Too much beauty.

  13. Incredible! I wish I was a lot closer to Atlanta.

    My sister-in-law is your biggest fan!

  14. I agree with you - The Bishop House is my favorite too. Can you post more pictures after the tour? Clicked over to Emily Followill's site and it is breathtaking!


  15. Such beautiful homes. the Bishop house is my favorite.
    It has a refreshing Mediterranean feel.

  16. Lovely homes...Great Inspiration.

  17. Thank you so much for the beautiful commentary, both here and in the Cathedral Antiques Show and Tour of Homes Magazine! Thank you as well for giving props to Emily Followill, a fellow parishioner and personal friend. The show and home tour are personal passions of so many of us at the Cathedral of St. Philip and we are thrilled to offer it each year as a way to give back to the Atlanta community!

    Susan Graham
    2011 Cathedral Antiques Show and Tour of Homes Co-Chair

  18. So nicely done. In a perfect world, I'd be booking my flight to Atlanta right now! Looking forward to additional pics down the road. TWO Greek Revivals? I'm in heaven...

  19. So nicely done. In a perfect world, I'd be booking my flight to Atlanta right now! Looking forward to additional pics down the road. TWO Greek Revivals? I'm in heaven...

  20. I have been waiting for this post!
    I wish I lived closer. This event combines my two favorite things: beautiful homes and a very worthy cause.
    Any chance that your readers will have an opportunity to see that Zuber wallpaper at a later date? I'm sure it's just gorgeous.

    xo Brooke

  21. the kitchen that has taken a photo in the family house picture, in my opinion, is very warm. that's all i want for my future kitchen.
    backless counter stools

  22. Wow, beautiful houses! And you are such a great writer! Thank you for taking the time to put together this post. I wish I was in Atlanta so I could tour these homes with your helpful guide in hand! For now I'll just enjoy the pictures and daydream about what the interiors look like. :) xoRH

  23. Thank you for this great post. I feel like I've been on at least a modified tour. My college roommate, Hillary Inglis, has been begging me for years to come to the tour and antiques show. She is really involved with the show. Maybe next year I will make it. You've inspired me.

  24. Wish I lived closer to take a tour of these homes in person {for a good cause too}.

    Based on the photos in your post, the Bishop's home is my favorite -love that arched doorway.

    Very nice post, as always.


  25. What a fantastic post. I haven't been able to go on the tour in about 5 years, so this was most definitely a treat.

    I so love learning the history behind some of Atlanta's masterpieces.

  26. Oh how I wish I could fly to Atlanta on Sunday for the tour! Please do post more photos when you can! I'll be back to visit often. You're a great writer and have such an eye for design!

  27. I love this kind of house. Classic and charm.. It's really an awesome investment

  28. What a fantastic assignment and lovely post! Can't make it to Atlantic but you have given us a delightful tour right here in blogland. I especailly like the foyer in the last image.
    Bon weekend!

  29. Wow! This is such a wonderful post. Each home had such amazing attributes. For me personally it often comes down to the staircases. They always seem to express the soul of the house. And the two featured were breathtaking.

  30. I keep returning to the Georgian house's stair: the green walls, the rose colored rug, the palladian window really push my buttons. Anyway, I get to your picture of it and I just stop right there.

  31. These homes are beautiful. Thanks for posting this house tour, I love looking at homes, and the inside of these are truly amazing.

  32. Those houses took my breath away. You got so many great inspirations here in your blog. I'm looking forward for more.

    by:Building brokers

  33. Absolutely beautiful and truly inspirational! Thank you!

    Cindy Woodland, Bainsville, Ontario, Canada


Thank you for your comments! I strive to make my blog positive in tone, and appreciate the same courtesy when comments are made. Thank you!


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