Thursday, May 10, 2012

Architectre Tourists should visit Atlanta Symphony Show House It's "Knollwood" by Philip Shutze, 1929

#1: I love soffits more than sofas, stairways more than settees, bricks more than banquettes. I love sofas, settees, and banquettes too. But I think great buildings are great even when they are empty. When designers start with great structure, it's irresistible.

(If you are a brick expert, please stick with me 'til the end.)

#2: I want our best buildings to be public or open to the public once in a while. Above: A great house is great even in hard rain.


Attention Architecture Tourists: Get yourself out to Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's 2012 Decorators' Show House & Gardens benefit, the last day is May 13, Click this link to find out everything you need to know.

I mean it, I'm taking names and this WILL go on your permanent record. The house is great, the decor is great. This will probably our only opportunity to see it.

I went yesterday as a blogger courtesy of Atlanta Symphony Associates. Thanks to Allison Ford for thinking of me.

P1080124-Atlanta-Symphony-Decorators-Show-House-Knollwood-the KiserHouse-by-Shutze-1929-driveway-approach

It's the Kriser House next door to the Governor's Mansion by Hentz, Alder, and Shutze, Architects. From Betty' Dowling's American Classicist:
"One of his earliest fully developed American works is the W. H. Kriser house of 1929 known as Knollwood. Shutze developed this house from his study of Chatham in Stratford County, Virginia (1765). He translated the orginal stucco house into a brick Georgian mass with a one-story portico that spans the curving arrival drive."
P1080110-Atlanta-Symphony-Decorators-Show-House-Knollwood-the KiserHouse-by-Shutze-1929-driveway-axis-detail

Jim Strickland and Andrew Cogar, leaders of Historical Concepts were there to give a talk so I asked them what they liked about the house. Jim's first words were, "It's so comfortable."

Comfortable? I think that's exactly right. It impresses, but rather than intimidate, it comforts. It's uncanny. It's why you'll be glad you went.

P1080118-Atlanta-Symphony-Decorators-Show-House-Knollwood-the KiserHouse-by-Shutze-1929-window-detail
The original shutters probably rotted away many years ago but the shutter dogs and layered paint show graceful aging.

Here the south side, the "front" that faced Paces Ferry before the property was parceled out.

I could barely absorb a single room. I had my tiny camera in my pocket but my photography skills were no match for the interiors.

I just wanted to look. I kept bumping into other lookers, I did years worth of "pardon me" in a couple of hours. The hosts wore red sashes and politely kept their eye on me.

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My favorite interior place was the north enfilade. Go to the atrium and look back into the house through the north door all the way back to the stairs. I walked back and forth between the stairs and atrium. Don't doubt me out this.

The lady's master bath was like the inside of a diamond. Attention men: take a few deep breaths before entering.

Back outside the brick turns out to be architecture rocket science.

P1080118-Atlanta-Symphony-Decorators-Show-House-Knollwood-the KiserHouse-by-Shutze-1929-brick-corners

I took a picture of an inside/outside corner. It's straightforward, sturdy, and solid Flemish bond. But Shutze designed brick requires an even a closer look.

P1080119-Atlanta-Symphony-Decorators-Show-House-Knollwood-the KiserHouse-by-Shutze-1929-flemish-bond-skinny-brick-detail
What are those Rowlocks (or Bull Headers) doing in Flemish Bond? I tried to look it up.

P1080120-Atlanta-Symphony-Decorators-Show-House-Knollwood-the KiserHouse-by-Shutze-1929-flemish-bond-MORTAR-JOINT-cut-detail
And what is the story with the mortar and pointing? Trompe l'Oeil?

One visit was not enough but my little brain was quite full.

P1080125-Atlanta-Symphony-Decorators-Show-House-Knollwood-the KiserHouse-by-Shutze-1929-driveway-cobble
I lingered on the street to admire the cobblestones, beautiful but challenging for ladies in heels.

P1080126-Atlanta-Symphony-Decorators-Show-House-Knollwood-the KiserHouse-by-Shutze-1929-driveway-cobble-dimension
It's a good look so I used my business card to get the scale.

When your grandchildren ask if you've ever been to Knollwood, you'll want to say yes.


  1. What a beauty, I'm going to try to get there before the 13th. Thanks

  2. Elegant - and for a great cause. Hope they offer the tour next year.

  3. Loved it as well. My only regret is that I didn't bump in to you sooner- I always overlook those little details (bull headers in flemish bond) that never escape you!

    1. I didn't know what bull header was, didn't notice until I started photoshoping my pictures.

  4. Hi Terry, Love your blog & love this post on this fabulous house!! You're right, I wish all Atlantans could see this beautiful home! I really appreciate your educated eye for details. It was so much to take in. And couldn't take pictures, that was rough! thanks for sharing yours :)
    Take care & have a wonderful weekend!
    Robin Garrison

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