On a large wooded lot in Atlanta's exclusive Tuxedo Park neighborhood sits this architectural gem. I discovered the house last year when it was close to completing construction and was quite intrigued by it. It is grand in scale, but no architectural integrity was sacrificed in making it so. Quite the opposite, in fact. There is much to enjoy about this house designed by rising talent William B. Litchfield in collaboration with esteemed Atlanta landscape architect John Howard.
From the street the house is somewhat private due to its maturely landscaped lot. Instead of cutting all of the trees down (which unfortunately happens all too often in Atlanta), they were preserved in what I consider to be an optimal design. An architect friend shared with me that it's desirable to have a house reveal itself slowly as you approach it. I immediately got it when he told me this and definitely appreciate that sentiment more and more.
The next few photos (click any of them to enlarge) allow us to study the architecture a bit. At least as much as is possible with the limited sight through the trees. We'll start with the driveway.
As is typical with many Atlanta estates, the driveway is lined with a cobblestone border. Instead of loose pea gravel for the core of the driveway, they used concrete impregnated with pea gravel which yields a similar effect with less mess and maintenance. I like a driveway in either of these configurations. They are so much nicer in appearance than plain concrete.
There is one break in the trees where I was able to get this somewhat clear shot from the street. Excepting the bay window, the house's entire facade is made up of some type of fieldstone (Tennessee perhaps). I'm noticing a proliferation of new stone houses in Atlanta lately, especially the Texas limestone variant. I appreciate the divergence in stone type here. The gray with subtle tan tones is excellent - kind of dark and moody, especially on the overcast day that I took this photo. The brown tile roof compliments the stone well too.
I find the tall steel window and Juliette balcony to the left of the entrance interesting. It presumably is placed between the first and second floors given the placement of the entrance and the surrounding windows. I suspect it provides a view from a halfway point in the stairs leading to the second floor. If you look closely, you'll notice there is also a window below the steel window. That confuses me a little. The stairs must go all the way from the basement to the second floor and each window is positioned at a landing point.
Here are a number of other things I enjoy about the front elevation:
- The dormers (are they called that when there is no window?). I always like this diminutive style of dormer. They add just the right amount of architectural interest.
- This roof style where it has a cut in the center section instead spanning the entire elevation. I've seen this a couple times and find it interesting on a hipped roof.
- The finely cut stone details above the entrance and windows.
- The dental molding below the eaves in the center section of the house. Again, not sure if that's what you call that detail in that location, but it looks similar to dental molding you'd see on the inside of a house.
- The subtle banding on the chimneys.
- The landscaping and the hardscaping, especially the low wall on either side of the walkway to the entrance.
Moving to the right we see there are more steel windows, a perennial favorite of mine. I just can't get enough of the steel windows. Thankfully they're rampant in high-end homes in Atlanta and I can regularly indulge myself.
Here I also enjoy the transition of the stone wall's height. To great effect, the wall stays low just long enough for the house to reveal itself. It's difficult to tell from my disadvantaged street view, but I would suspect that is pachysandra covering the ground inside the wall. Another favorite detail of mine in landscapes.
This final photo affords a view of yet more of the right side of the house. I must say that's quite a porte-cochere. It reminds me of some Keith Summerour mountain house designs I've seen with the rounded arch. Can someone tell me the name (and purpose - even if only historical precedent) of the tower at the top of the roof there?
I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse of an architectural gem as much as I have. I don't have much information about William B. Litchfield other than that he has worked with or for Norman Askins, one of Atlant's preeminent classical architects. I do know he did a renovation project that was recently on a home tour in Atlanta. You can find more details on the Things That Inspire blog. At any rate, I'm looking forward to seeing much more of his masterful work.
This post is part of a series titled Ride-by Architecture that is dedicated to interesting architecture that I find while riding my bicycle throughout Atlanta. Visit the original post for more information on the series. You can also view all posts in the series by following this link.