Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Southern Accents Series - In the Beginning

Southern Accents magazine made it's debut in the Fall of 1977. Jimmy Carter was president, Star Wars hit the movie theaters, Elvis died in August, Apple introduced the Apple II computer, red dye number two was banned (as carcinogenic), and Southern Nights by Glen Campbell was at the top of the music charts. The country was paying attention to the South in a new and positive way - perhaps we were considered to be more urbane and cultured, less provincial - since we had in fact produced a president.

Into this hip, fast paced "new reality" of the late 70's, stepped Southern Accents magazine, published by a small Atlanta trade publishing house. Founded in 1904 by WRC Smith, the firm originally focused on magazines such as Cotton and Textile Industries.

Southern Accents was the brainchild of one man - James Hooton. In 1976 Hooton worked at WRC Smith Publishing as an editor of Southern Engineering. He was an avid collector and decorator, and as such admired Architectural Digest magazine. However, he felt there was a void in the magazine's content - a lack of focus on the South. Jim was known for his good taste, decorating style, and for being a fabulous host. At a party at Jim's home, Walter Mitchell, president of WRC Smith Publishing Company, admired Jim's decorating style, and so Jim presented his idea of a "Southern Architectural Digest."

Jim Hooton said:
"I felt that the South was being neglected by the national design magazines. There's so much that's good and beautiful in this section of the country, I believed that Southerners would be receptive to this type of publication. And having worked at WRC Smith for many years, I knew the company had the skills and financial resources to produce a quality magazine."

WRC Smith Publishing Company needed something new at that time, according to Walter Mitchell. Their previous bread and butter publications were not as lucrative because of the changing environment of the hardware stores (where they sold most of their magazines) due to the new Big Box stores. So Walter, who professes that he knew nothing about interiors (to quote him: "I don't know the difference between a Chippendale and an Airedale"), decided to take a gamble and give the interiors magazine a whirl. At the time, Architectural Digest had 400,000 subscribers, Mitchell hoped to reach 100,000 of those with Southern Accents.

Milburne, in Virginia, from the Spring 1982 Southern Accents- photography by Paul Beswick

Although it was modeled after Architectural Digest, Southern Accents was not exactly like the original. One of the main differences between the two magazines was that Architectural Digest focused on homes of celebrities, Southern Accents did not. Southern Accents also focused more on historic residences and their preservation. Mitchell said: "You'll probably never see a movie star's or prince's house in Southern Accents. But readers will be treated to a continuing tour of fine Southern residences and gardens." A promotional piece used a few years after the magazine's creation, emphasized the difference:
"The Old-Confederacy--the New South--is our editorial domain, and there are not a whole lot of princes down South. Taste, not costs, sets our standard."

Next up in our Southern Accents series: seed money, developing the format, advertising and hiring new editors.

All information and quotes obtained from an interview with Walter Mitchell, Sallie Smith and Helen C. Griffith, and also from Starting a New Magazine, Two Case Studies, by Martha Faye Melton.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Antiques and Beyond Finds

Interesting pieces from Antiques and Beyondthis weekend.
This is really hard to see in picture, but it is a beechwood, glasstop console is GREAT LOOKING!
This is a marble container that I think is gorgeous!
Love this cozy lamp above - the white lamp below is part of a pair and the price is a STEAL!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dinner with All the Best blogger Ronda Carman

Last night we were the guests of blogger and branding consultant Ronda Carman of All the Best at Craftbar in Atlanta. Ronda invited local design bloggers to dinner in advance of her Sferra event at Mrs. Howard on Tuesday evening. We were delighted to meet and dine with bubbly, effusive and knowledgeable Ronda as well as, Holly of Things that Inspire, Niki of Yummy Scrumptious, Shameeka of The Broke Socialite, Brian Patrick Flynn of Decor Demon, Millie of Brilliant Asylum, Ally of From the Right Bank, and Jill Sharp Brinson of Jill Sharp Style. It's always fun to meet the bloggers behind the blogs and there was terrific energy in the room. The conversation was rapid fire and entertaining, and the food delicious. We loved hearing about the creative endeavors of all of these fascinating, energetic bloggers, and we felt privileged to be included in this dynamic group. Thank you Ronda for a wonderful evening!

Here we are at Craftbar with Ronda

If you would like to be our guests at the Sferra event at Mrs. Howard, hosted by Ronda Carman, please let us know by email:

PS - For those of you in Atlanta, tune in to Fox 5's Good Day Atlanta this morning from 7:45 to 9:45, to see Brian Patrick Flynn of Decor Demon on a live installation.

Photo of Craftbar is from their website.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

14th Street Antiques Market - Spring Fling Sale

The 14th Street Antiques Market is having a sale through this weekend (through Sunday, March 28 at 5pm). 20-50% off everything. We headed down there this morning to check out the goods. We had lamps, pedestals, and mirrored things on our minds. What we saw:

A few other goodies:

Deal of the Day - this pair of chairs is $275 less 20%.

Fun weekend plans!

It's going to be a busy weekend for us. We have plans to do some antique/furniture scouting on Saturday, as well as a few creative endeavors - we'll report back later on both of those. And we have a fabulous opportunity on Sunday evening which we'll post about on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Artwork by Itzchak Tarkay

Friday, March 26, 2010

Seen Around Town

At Homegoods today - $599


Evidence that Spring is coming!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


What do you think of this chair? It's from the Oscar de la Renta home collection available from Century Furniture. I wonder if it might at some point be like the Elkins chair. What's your opinion, is this the Yang to Elkins' Yin? Iconic or not?

The iconic Elkins chair from Todd Merrill:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Save the date - Druid Hills Tour of Homes April 16-18

For those of you who missed the Neel Reid house tour last week, here's another great opportunity. And you get to see the interiors of these houses. The Druid Hills Tour of Homes is called Only on Oakdale this year - as the houses are only on Oakdale Road. The tour will be held on April 16, 17 and 18. For more information please visit their website: Druid Hills Tour of Homes. Don't miss this house tour!

Image is from the Druid Hills House Tour website, artist is Rod Pittam. To see more of his work visit Pittam Associates. For many years Rod has illustrated the houses on the Druid Hills House Tour. From previous years:


992 Lullwater


1308 Fairview


2126 North Ponce de Leon

Do you recognize 1308 Fairview from my previous post?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Field Trip Report - Neel Reid Guided Walking Tour

I have a secret. I am a Neel Reid junkie. I love almost everything he ever drew - and I grew up in a Neel Reid house. I feel a strong connection to these houses. House on the right is the Neel Reid house my great grandfather, Samuel Weyman, built in 1918.

So, when I read about the Phoenix Flies Druid Hills and Neel Reid Guided Walking Tour on the Architecture Tourist blog I knew I had to go.

We had beautiful weather on Friday night. A group of about twenty of us set off on a walking tour in Druid Hills guided by our amazing tour guide Barbara Vogel. Barbara lives in Druid Hills and is extremely knowledgeable about the neighborhood and Neel Reid. We met in the parking lot of St. John's Lutheran church on Ponce De Leon. (That's Barbara in the white shirt.)

The first house we saw was on Oakdale Road. It was built in 1911 when Neel Reid was 26 years old. Reid liked to situate the house on the highest point of the lot, all of the houses on the tour were situated that way.

Next, we walked south, crossing Ponce, and headed towards Paideia School. Their nursery school is housed in the house that Neel Reid designed for Frank Adair. It was built in 1909-10. This house is a treat for the eyes - I took a lot of photos of the architectural details. There is a ballroom on the third floor of the house.

Detail of the dormers

Front door detail

Dining room window with Neel Reid signature lattice work

Stair landing window with a Westerly view to the park

Adair carriage house

We spent a good bit of time at the Adair house and I was getting worried about the light fading (then another photographer on the tour reminded me that I could come back and retake the photos if we lost the light - good point). We again walked to the South, heading towards Fairview, Neel Reid's favorite street. We stopped at 1308 Fairview, home of Bobby Jones' lawyer. Barbara told us that the 2004 Bobby Jones' movie Stroke of Genius was filmed here.

I have this same detail on my screened porch.

A late Spring photo of the house by AJC staffer Elissa Eubanks

Then we turned around and right across the street (1315 Fairview) was this Neel Reid cottage. Totally different from what we had seen so far. Apparently it has a detached 16 car garage in the back.

Front door detail

Next up was 1337 Fairview, a Neel Reid spec house built in 1913. The delightful owner came out to tell us about the house. He believes the house is haunted and has experienced some strange phenonmenon while living there.

1337 Fairview

Front door detail

Ghost Stories

We continued our tour heading east on Fairview to the Walter Rich house built in 1917. Walter Rich was the founder of Rich's department stores (Neel Reid also designed the Rich's store for Rich). This is one of my all time favorite houses in Atlanta. When I was a teenager (ages ago!) I used to ride my bicycle down this street just to see this house. Barbara told us that it had the first swimming pool built in Atlanta.

Two houses down from the Rich house is the Strauss House built in 1917. It is Tudor, Bavarian and a few other things thrown in for good measure - eclectic architecture. Here again Reid designed a ballroom on the third floor and there is an elevator.

At last we came to Neel Reid's own house - 1436 Fairview, built in 1913-14. The house features large, overhanging eaves, lattice work, a palladian window, and a cedar shake roof - all favorites of Reid's. He lived here less than a year before selling the house in 1915 and moving into another house on the street. He then sold that house and moved to Roswell, GA with his mother and sister.

Next door to Reid's house (to the East) are two spec houses he built in 1913-14.

Another photo of the last house by AJC staffer Elissa Eubanks

That was the end of our fabulous tour. We headed home via the park ...

Thank you Barbara Vogel and Phoenix Flies for a great tour. Here's what I wrote in October 2007 about Neel Reid on my blog about building our house - Redo 2589. There's more about Neel Reid Here.

My favorite Neel Reid book is J Neel Reid Architect, by William R. Mitchell, Jr.

Unless noted otherwise, photos taken by Helen Young