Perfect English

January 14, 2010 | 16 comments

At first glance you might think I'm about to show you a house from somewhere in England. The architecture and landscaping as well as the selection of building materials so adeptly reflect that. Don't be fooled, however; this house is situated just outside of the city proper in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood. The visual deception is made possible because of the skillful collaboration between a few of Atlanta's most talented and revered in the housing industry.

I became aware of the house sometime early last year while it was under construction. I passed by it on one of my regular bicycling routes and knew something special was brewing when I saw the big red b on the white sign situated near the street. In Atlanta, the b sign of Benecki Fine Homes is synonymous with awe-inspiring architecture, luxury, and style. If you see the sign, you know the house is going to be amazing.

Fully intrigued, I faithfully rode past the house every week in anticipation, watching as the house came to fruition over the course of the next year.

As you approach the house it's immediately apparent that attention was paid to every detail. The driveway meets the street with a cobblestone section that turns to pea gravel bordered by cobblestone. Progressing forward, you enter the house's motor court inside a stone fence capped with limestone. Before entering the motor court, though, you cross under the most elaborate iron arch. It's a work of art unto itself. Enlarge the picture (and all of the others in this post) to really enjoy the detail.

The motor court itself is nothing short of spectacular - I could write an entire post about it alone. The landscaping and hardscaping are simply stunning. All of my favorites are accounted for: cobblestone, pea gravel, boxwoods, white hydrangeas, pachysandra - the list goes on. Landscape architecture by the esteemed firm: Land Plus.

Don't worry, the beauty doesn't stop with the motor court - we're just getting started! The entrance to the house is brilliant in all its detail. The limestone entry, the lanterns, the leaded glass windows, the door. Even the palette of all of the materials is in complete harmony. The slate roof has perfect grey, green tones that compliment the field stone facade of the home. The windows and garage doors are painted in a dark grey, green shade that matches to-a-T.

I particularly like the lanterns that flank the entry. The detail in the iron work is sublime. Often times these are gas-powered, but these are electrified. I revel in the fact that these are just as alluring and don't require the steady flow of gas. As much as I love the look of a gas flame at night, I can't help but think it's so wasteful resource-wise.

As you enter the house, to the left is the study. On the right is the dining room. Notice anything familiar here? The pecky cypress walls and the zodiac pendant in the study and the crystal chandelier in the dining room should be good clues. The interior of this house was clearly inspired by the interior of a home featured on Things That Inspire. It's no coincidence. The incredible talent, Melanie Turner, was responsible for both exquisite creations.

Three rooms line the back of the house. From left to right you have the master suite, a paneled living room and the great room. We'll start with the master suite. Notice the Suzanne Kasler chandelier. It's large scale complements the room nicely. The shiplap walls add enough texture to soften their white hue.

The master bath is showered (pun semi-intended) in travertine. The floors and the entire shower are lined with the beautiful stone. Notice the chevron pattern on the shower's floor - a great detail. The pewter tub from Waterworks speaks for itself.

Moving right, the next room is what I'll call a living room. The irregular-width, v-grooved paneling in the room is extraordinary. Again, the texture makes white the perfect hue. Though I love the paneling, my favorite part of the room is the fireplace. It is hands down my favorite fireplace in any house I've seen. The color of the stone and how it juxtaposes with the white walls and the silhouette of the surround are plain majestic. All of the stone used for the house is from Materials Marketing, a resource best known by architects and designers, but also open to the general public. And if that wasn't enough, the arched steel window seals the deal.

The right-most room is the great room. The round-arched steel windows are carried into this room yielding the perfect view of the backyard and it's beautiful landscaping. The ceiling is an eye-full too. The beams were limed to keep the room light and airy.

Connected to the great room is the kitchen. This kitchen is nothing short of amazing! The grand scale of the Lacanche range and the industrial chic Sub-Zero refrigerator really make a statement. The wall of windows over the sink along with the large island in the center is my preferred configuration for a kitchen. I'll take it!

The rear facade of the home really underscores the astonishing architecture of D. Stanley Dixon, one of Atlanta's most preeminent architects. Land Plus' deft selection of plants also carries over to the rear facade.

And that's the view from the steel windows. Pure perfection. The only thing missing is a rectangular pool running the length of the trees. I'm sure one will be added, though, if it hasn't been already.

Going back through my photos to create this post has reinvigorated my passion for architecture and design.  This house is just so inspiring. A true testament to the immense talent of husband and wife team Stan and Melanie (Turner) Benecki. This house has mastered the language of timeless beauty.

I can only imagine what this house is like now that its first owners have moved in and furnished it. With any luck they had the assistance of Melanie to guide them in their selections.


erin said...

simply stunning! i had the great fortune of seeing this house in person and can attest to it's utter perfection. it is properly drool worthy!

Things That Inspire said...

It's funny, I always interpreted this house as French, but the door surround is certainly more English than French.

I remember the house that stood on this lot, before Benecki Fine Homes purchased the lot and tore the house down - it was a horrible 60s sprawling modern mess. This house sits so much better on Harris Trail, which is one of my favorite streets.

The back yard is amazing! LandPlus did a great job.

There are so many things in this house that remind me of the Chatham house - the kitchen, some of the lighting (the SK chandelier was in the master of the 22 Chatham, and the crystal chandelier looks very much like the one in the dining room at 22 Chatham - plus, the wall in the back looks very similar to the one at 22 Chatham).

Great post!

Tina Steele Lindsey said...

James, I absolutely faint and fall over. This home is magnificent. Thank you for this post.

Terry said...

Good grief, thanks for the picture. I'll have to study. Chevrons in the shower - I like. A 6-car garage would house most of my favorites. Is it a Cotswold in style and color?

James said...

@the sweet life with olives: Agreed. Drool worthy is an excellent description. I too saw the house in person, both during and after construction. It's truly in a league of its own.

@Things That Inspire: I don't recall ever noticing the previous home even though I rode past it for the last 15 or so years. The backyard is amazing. I love the stone wall with the limestone balls that frames it in. There is indeed a lot of continuity between the Chatham house and this house. The interior doors, which I didn't show, are also the same dark gray as the ones at Chatham. No problem by me. If you find something amazing, use it over and over.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

what a magnificent house -no detail has been missed and no expense spared. A pool's construction would begin before the houses- so perhaps it is elsewhere on the property or there isn't one?

Anonymous said...

WOW! Great find! What an exquisite house.... And I have to agree with you the fireplace is perfection. I want to know who makes those steel windows/doors! They look a lot like the ones in Jill Brinson's home, don't you think? I'm sure they are custom made but I'd love to know the source.

Blayne Macauley said...

Really great post James. I really like how your voice comes through... I can tell how excited you are about the house, as you should be. It looks as if a fantastic team was assembled indeed. I love the fixtures, and I am a sucker for those arched windows/doors. I also learned the term shiplap from you. I had always wondered what that type of wall was called. Thanks again for a wonderful post. great job on the photography!

James said...

@ArchitectDesign: You're right that generally the pool goes in before the house, but this was a speculative house and didn't have a pool installed.

@nestegg: I've been told who makes the windows and doors, but don't recall the name. I know that it is a custom shop in Georgia that mostly does work for architects and builders. I'm fairly certain it's the same company that did Jill Brinson's. They do alot of work in Atlanta. I will see what I can dig up and will email you if I find out.

@This Photographer's Life: Glad you enjoyed the post. Some of the photography was from the MLS listing and some I took. I'd like to take a class on photography to learn how to actually operate a camera the right way. I just took mine from the package and started using it with the default settings

Jill Sharp Brinson said...

Hello! - Jill Sharp Brinson here!
Had to chime in about the steel windows - my contractor, the uber-cool MIKE HAMMERSMITH/404-351-5227, supplies me with those - we have several fabricators who produce them for the jobs we work on together. I have lived with them for over 11 years and they have worn beautifully - my only suggestion: splurge for insulated glass -
The post on this Benecki house was great - it is an AMAZING property - I rented it several times and had photo shoots there - it was such a treat to see the beautiful detailing - one of my all time fave properties anywhere ~~~

James said...

@Jill Sharp Brinson: I must say I'm quite flattered to have you stop by my blog. I really enjoyed seeing your home in House Beautiful. I'm still kicking myself that I missed the Duck Pond garden tour last year.

I've got to meet Mike Hammersmith. I know of him and his projects, but have yet to meet him. I've actually been "house stalking" a new project by him in Brookhaven. Great stuff.

Agreed - the house is one of my all time favorite properties anywhere too. That's why my post came across so passionately. Anyone that has seen the house in person can attest to just how amazing it is.

ZoeB said...

Lovely house which does have an air of being English but up close it seems very American to me. Its the metal looking window frames and the particular style of the centrally placed front door. Maybe its a little Belgian looking? You may have to refer to Greets Belgian Pearl blog for more examples.

James said...

@ZoeB: You're right, there are Belgian influences. I remember seeing an inspiration photo taped to the wall in the great room during construction that was from one of the BetaPlus books. I didn't show a photo, but the back hall that connects the garage to the house has a very Belgian-esque tile floor. The tile in the foyer also reminds me of things I've seen in the BetaPlus books. I'm certainly no expert in architecture or in properly identifying the source of particular elements. The MLS listing for the house did mention it was an English Manor though.

ZoeB said...

Living in an ares with many large old homes in the UK I feel that it could only be described as English with a large dose of artistic license !! It is a lovely house though.

Doug Davis said...

received a new copy of the Ballard Design catalog today and noticed it was photographed in this home...recognized it instantly thanks to your blog! you should find a copy if you don't have one, interesting to see the rooms furnished.

James said...

@doug: Thank you for the heads up! I know they have done photo shoots at some of my other favorite Atlanta houses. I will definitely get myself a copy.

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