Monday, September 13, 2010
Picking a house of the week each week is a fun process. Sometimes we pick a house when it catches our attention while we are out and about in various parts of Atlanta, sometimes we pick one that is an old favorite, sometimes we pick a historic landmark, like Fallingwater or the Swan House. This week's house of the week caught my eye while running errands last week. It is located up on a hill on a well traveled street in Buckhead, and it also sits on a curve. Usually, I don't notice it because if you are headed North on the street you don't see it. You only see it if you slowly drive South on the street as you head up and around the curve. It is worth slowing down for - as I passed it, my head swung around and I had to go around the block twice to admire it. I drove my children by it and my daughter exclaimed: "It's gorgeous Mom - that would be a great house of the week!" You know it's a good house when my children aren't complaining that we are slowing down to look at houses.
In a recent post , Holly over at Things That Inspire mentioned her three favorite architecture books. There was one I had not heard of and I picked it up at the bookstore that week. I have been pouring over it since - it's Get your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use and Avoid. As I was looking at the house of the week this week, I realized that it highlights many of the "do's" in the book.
The most important thing to keep in mind according to the authors is that the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, the details should not overwhelm the eye, but instead the total effect should be pleasing.
They also emphasize the importance of using architectural elements to draw the eye to the central element of the house - the entrance.
A few more "do's" from the book: Do use a stringcourse of brick to highlight the main floor of the house by placing the stringcourse at a higher point on the house than midpoint. And do scale the upper windows smaller than the main floor windows, but make them proportionate to each other. Do use working shutters.
I love the attention to detail on this house. Everything is done well - they slouched on nothing. Which brings us to another "do" in the Get Your House Right book, do the architectural elements as well as you can within your budget, but better to go simple and use fewer elements than to use more "cheap and junkie" elements. Obviously the original owners of this house could afford the best: slate roof, copper gutters and copper roofs on the dormers and porch, finely detailed trim elements at the cornice and front door surround, well proportioned windows.
Overall, this house is architecturally consistent without being boring - there is plenty for the eye to enjoy, but it's not too busy. This house is elegant and beautiful and is very well situated on the lot.