Modern Antebellum House

Location Atlanta, Georgia
Design Principal Jim Olson

This new house in an historic Atlanta neighborhood uses modern materials to express the mystique of the old South. Traditional elements found in historic Southern mansions—front columns, a portico, Palladian spatial arrangement and an emphasis on the staircase—were reinterpreted to subtly connect the house to the region’s strong architectural heritage. Space flows freely from inside to outside, and vistas amplify the sense of space on this relatively narrow urban lot.

Palladian villas inspired the columns and pediments of the traditional houses and plantations that define the Southern states.  A steel I-beam braces a tall portico of precast concrete columns; climbing vines soften the structure’s raw quality. The side walls are blank—the lot is narrow—and red sandstone cladding evokes the traditional brick. In contrast, the street and garden facades are fully glazed to open the house to lush landscaping.

The plan draws on the symmetry and linear sequences of traditional models. A three-story ovoid staircase, inspired by that of the landmark Isaiah Davenport house in Savannah, links the basement parking level to the upstairs bedrooms. The coved ceiling over the staircase is haint blue—a color traditionally used to scare away ghosts. Hidden clerestory windows pull in natural light and can be opened to evacuate hot air. The subtle palette and sensuous textures of interior designer Terry Hunziger enrich the simple materials and soaring great room.

Information

Team

Design Principal

Jim Olson

Project Manager

Bob Jakubik

Publications

2007

Beaver, Robyn. A Pocketful of Houses, Feb. 2007, 32-35, 104-107. Print.

Flanders, Danny C. “Nature’s Canvas.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3 May 2007, E1. Print.

2005

Lerner, Jonathan. “A House of Glass with Southern Roots.” PaperCity: Houston, July 2005, 10-13. Print.

2004

“Spiraling into 2004.” Williams-Sonoma, Inc. To the Trade, 2004, 27-28. Print.

2003

Saunders, Tinah. “A contemporary Tara in Ansley Park.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10 Oct. 2003. Print.

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