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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A beautiful Atlanta house


Last year, while running an errand, I missed a turn and traveled along a section of road that I had not been on in a long time. It was a serendipitous error, for I spotted a house that has become one of my favorites. It happened to be near the 4th of July when I saw this house, and I was charmed to see that the house had an enormous American flag hung across the front. It so inspired me that I went back at the crack of dawn the next day to capture a picture for my blog, and I dubbed the house ‘The 4th of July House’. A few months after this post, the architect who was in charge of the renovation emailed me and thanked me for the kind words in my post; the architect’s name is Bradley Heppner.

The name immediately rang a bell, as he was the architect who designed the charming house of the author of Whitehaven; I met her many years ago through a mutual friend, and was able to tour her house when I was trying to decide whether I should renovate or custom build.

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The house I dubbed ‘the 4th of July house’

Since the time I first saw the 4th of July house, my path has crossed with Brad Heppner’s several times, although sometimes it was through one degree of separation. When I first met the amazing designer Amy Morris, she had a set of plans spread out on her desk, for a house designed by none other than Brad Heppner (not the house pictured above). More recently, my blog friend Architecture Tourist arranged for a tour of a house that was recently built in his neck of the woods, a contemporary masterpiece designed by – you guessed it – Brad Heppner (the interiors were by Amy Morris). I was delighted to finally meet Brad in person; he led the tour of the home, and it was spectacular.

Since the tour, Brad has become a ‘friend of the blog’. I recently asked Brad if I could feature the 4th of July house in a special guest post I was writing, and not only did he provide me with some excellent pictures, but he also told me the story of the house and how the new owners found it. This was clearly a special project for Brad, and now that I have seen the ‘before’ pictures of the house, I am in awe of the transformation that took place.

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Here is the house in a ‘before’ picture, from an undated tax record. The house was originally built in 1967, and Brad calls it a ‘pseudo Greek Revival’ style so popular during that era.


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This picture comes from the 2007 real estate brochure (before the current owners purchased the house). The color scheme of the house was softened by painting the brick, door, and shutters a lighter tone. Still, this was far from Brad’s clients’ dream home; in fact, they were reluctant to even show Brad this property because the house itself was so far from their style. The property was one of a kind, though; over 5 acres of usable land, and just a stone’s throw from their children’s school. Even after purchasing the property, the clients still weren't convinced they could ever get their ‘silk purse from a sow's ear’ from this house and contemplated tearing it down at several points during the project.


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Here is a picture of the ‘after’ – quite a stunning transformation. Greek Revival was not the favored architectural style of Brad’s clients, so Brad recommended to "move in a direction that reflected a region interpretation of the Greek Revival style rather then adhering to the purity of the style itself”. The cedar roof was selected with this in mind; cedar is used as a roof material on some Greek Revival plantation homes in Mississippi and Louisiana, particularly in more agrarian settings. Brad used this as his precedent to begin to loosen up the formality of the Greek Revival and portray a feeling more closely related to a low country Natchez farmhouse. (Photo credit: Brad Heppner)

The formality of the Greek Revival style was also relaxed by adding a balcony between the front four columns of the house, breaking up what had been the rigid horizontal structure of the six columns. It wasn't until the interior functional changes began to develop (the entire floor plan was gutted and rearranged) and some of the formality of the Greek Revival style was relaxed that the clients began to realize that the house was becoming more then they ever thought it could be.


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I asked Brad whether they had planted mature trees along the driveway, and he told me that the oak allée (a path lined with trees) was actually part of the original landscape, however no one ever seemed to notice them prior to the renovation. As Brad said, ‘they are one of those priceless assets that made this lot special no matter what we decided to do”. I also find the urns on the entrance pediments to be charming – the owners put different flowers or plants in them, according to the season. (Photo credit: Brad Heppner)

For more information on Atlanta based architect Brad Heppner, please visit his website - http://bradleyeheppner.com/. It is always inspiring to see how a talented architect and a client who is willing to trust the vision of the architect can transform a house and give it a whole new story for the next generation!


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35 comments:

  1. I loved this post for so many different reasons. I live in a Greek revival with a cedar roof, but the New England interpretation is a bit different up North. The entrance here is spectacular with the trees as you pointed out and the dramatic driveway. Now dying to see the inside of this beauty. The outside transformation is perfection! (on a side note, secretly thrilled that the newspapers are on the driveway...as we are guilty of the same thing here!)

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  2. It's amazing how the colour scheme and the balcony transformed the exterior of the home. Would love to see the home's interior, especially if he teamed up with Amy Morris.

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  3. I can only imagine that the inside is as beautiful as the outside!

    I don't think that Amy Morris was the designer on this project - I know that Brad and Amy have teamed up on several projects, though.

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  4. Such a stunning exterior, and that porch adds so much to the exterior of the home. I will admit, the driveway flanked by the trees is what really makes me love it!

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  5. The gardens are amazing--true Southern splendor. Thanks.

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  6. Oh my stars (and stripes!) This Fourth of July house, I can imagine how that huge American Flag captured you, and then the house! It must have stopped you in your tracks. I am so happy you posted this,I love this home it is situated wonderfully, and what a transformation so gorgeous. All I think about is holidays there, each season, how fabulous they must be.

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  7. I seem to recall that the columns were decorated like candy canes in December, with a wide stripe of ribbon. I should have taken a picture!

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  8. The approach to the house, with those sentinels of oaks, really sells it for me.

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  9. I usually don't comment so much on my own posts - I wish that blogger had that feature that wordpress has, where you can reply to each comment.

    It is not the most common thing on a Buckhead lot to have a flat approach - more often than not, there is a incline in the front. Or else, there is a flat lot and an incline in the back! I think this lot is fairly flat in front and back, which is truly rare in Buckhead.

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  10. I'm always glad to see more of Brad's work - thanks for this post.

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  11. Oh how stunning, I love Brad's design and will visit his site!

    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  12. I like the level lot after those steep hikes this weekend. It's more inviting even if you don't actually get invited in. Painting the entrance wall white made a big difference; now the wall is part of the whole composition. The black shutters pull color from the shady side of the tree trunks and help me see everything better. Congratulations to Brad thanks to TTI.

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  13. Drive by this house every time I come to town to visit my parents and it really is shocking when you look at the before . . . I forgot what it used to look like because it was so forgettable.

    Who would have known that beautiful allee was there? Great post!

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  14. Thank goodness for that missed turn or you would have missed out on such a visual delight.

    Bravo to Mr. Heppner. The Greek Revival has been revived into a beauty of a home.

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  15. Wow, what an amazing transformation. Thank you for sharing this beautiful home. Would love to see the inside!

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  16. Brad Heppner is very talented. Love the house and your eloquent commentary.

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  17. I LOVE all these beautiful Atlanta homes you give us a glimpse of! Every post of yours is eye candy for me!

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  18. Love the painted brick and shutters. What a great makeover. Thanks for sharing this beautiful home.

    xo,
    cristin

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  19. This is a beautiful home! I lived in Atlanta for many years and loved to ride around this area and just look at homes.

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  20. I can't get enough of this type of architecture! I love the romantic qualities that southern antebellum architecture exudes. But this house has a special quality, it is graciously modern while still harkening Gone with the Wind. My favorite part of the landscaping is the how the driveway is very informal with its inset grass, yet it is edged with very formal boxwoods. Thank you!

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  21. being from louisiana, this home really strikes a chord with me! Its like a mini Oak Alley or Destrehan, for those who don't know, those are louisiana plantations, many of which are very similar to this home in architecture.

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  22. TTI-Thanks for showing another of Brad's houses. It is remarkable how much his subtle changes upped the ante on this house; it has such a presence now. Getting to meet Brad and hearing him discuss his work while on tour with you and Terry remains one of the highlights of my blogging experience. As a matter of fact,I am still kicking myself for not taking pictures! I hope you'll feature his work often.

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  23. Kudos to Brad Heppner for transforming this home to one that his clients love. What a wonderful story of how this house came to be. Just lovely! I will check out his website. Thanks for sharing!

    ~Angela

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  24. I wonder if I've seen this house, as I believe I recall the Flag. Gorgeous after photos- does so much for the house. I kept studying to see if the roofline was raised/expanded or the front door widenened. I can't tell for sure, but the change of the house gives it such a more open look and feel. I love it!!

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  25. This transformation was so inspiring. I love to look at houses especially older ones. The vision this architect and homeowners were able to see is a true gift. This post was a pleasure to see, thanks for sharing.

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  26. Here's to hoping you get lost....more often!!!
    I love the grand statement it makes from the location of your photo. It also for some reason reminds me of the house from Interview with a Vampire?

    Just a really wonderful transformation!

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  27. Lucky girl to meet him! I'm so impressed with the work here- it is just lovely. Fresh and classic at the same time. And so perfectly balanced! I adore architecture in the Southern Style. This home will be a beauty for many, many years.

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  28. Adore this home - the trees are so critical to it's appeal. We are currently really struggling with our landscaping so this is inspiring in so many ways! And I always love a Greek Revival - especially when the formality is paired with modern sensibilities...

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  29. Brad said they'd be taking some pictures this spring. That would be right now.

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  30. I have kitchen photos of this house on my blog today!
    http://whitehaveninteriors.blogspot.com/2010/04/beautiful-atlanta-houseplease-come.html

    Enjoy!

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  31. What a great post. I LOVE that house - who could ever believe how it started out??

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  32. The house is so pretty to look at, but made even more so with all the history you've given behind it! What a great find.

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  33. What is the exterior? Painted white brick?

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  34. Awesome post. I love the design of Brad's Houses. He always show unique and fabulous designs.

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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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