I have always been a fan of houses, from the time I was a small child. Pretty much any house can captivate my interest – there is always a story, whether it be a story of the house, the inhabitants, the architects, the designers, or the setting. Now that I am in the process of building my own house, I have extended my love of houses into an absolute fascination (obsession) with the renovation or building of a house. I specifically plan my dog walks so I can check on the houses that are under construction all over Atlanta.
This charming Atlanta house was on my favorite dog walk, and it was on the market for quite a while. When it sold, I assumed that the new owners would move right in; after all, there is a classic beauty to the facade, and the inside was quite beautiful too (alas, I did not save the FMLS pictures).
Not too long after the house sold, a Spitzmiller & Norris sign went up. Spitzmiller & Norris is one of the premier architectural firms in Atlanta, so I knew that something interesting and special was going to take place. Luckily, it did not take too long until some significant changes became apparent. The house was restored to the original brick cladding (not sure if the paint was removed from the original brick, or if it was entirely re-bricked), which somehow brought the house back to a more pure state - a blank slate in many ways. It’s hard to believe that this is the same house! The two story portico was removed (it was not original to the house), but the dormers were always part of the roofline, they were just hidden by the fretwork on the portico.
A beautiful entrance to the motor court was added, as was a winding stair approach with bluestone treads. The limestone finial on the entrance gate sets the tone for the elegance of the renovation. This picture captures the beginning of the limewash that was applied to the house. It seems as if quite a few Atlanta renovations, as well as new builds, are using a limewash instead of painting the brick, as it is a finish that ages beautifully and gives an instant feel of patina and age.
Another in progress picture – the addition of a limestone portico and limewash on the brick completely transform the facade of the house.
A detail shot of the side entry to the house. The beauty of the limewash detail can be seen quite clearly here. I love how they varied the effect on the brick arch and on the tops of the brick walls. Update: after posting about this house, I learned that San Marco lime wash paint was used on the exterior. Click here to go to the website for San Marco, which offers a full range of interior and exterior mineral based paints.
A quick iphone picture taken a few weeks ago; it looks like a shutter color decision was being made. On the left, a deep tone that appears to be black or possibly a very deep green or gray. On the right, a soft taupe that blends with the color of the limewash. Which do you like better? (My photo)
And the winner: the tone on tone shutters, which only seem to be on the bottom windows. The landscaping is slowly being installed (this picture was taken a few days ago), which always makes a house look and feel more finished. The intent was to landscape during the cooler weather of September, but we have been in the grip of a heat wave with record breaking temperatures (plus, a strange caterpillar has invaded Atlanta and is has destoyed many of the beautiful lush lawns in Buckhead). But, the look and feel of the house in its new setting is largely formed. I love the retaining wall used in the front, which protects a grand magnolia tree. My quick iphone picture in suboptimal light does not do the house justice. (My photo)
It has been fascinating to watch the progress on this house over the past year, and it really shows how an existing lot and house can be transformed under the direction of a talented team of architects and landscape designers.
For more information on Spitzmiller & Norris, please visit their website: http://spitzmillerandnorris.com. They also have a facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitzmiller-and-Norris-Inc/65106894098 (All images, except where noted, from the Spitzmiller & Norris Facebook page)
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