Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Quick Takes: 11 Moderns on Modern Atlanta's 2014 Tour

I barely slept on Friday night. I finally got up too early, un-rested but energized. It's easy to see traditionals and I love them but the Modern Atlanta Tour comes just once a year.

I had to be on Oakview at 9:45. I found my MA docent badge and my wrist bands. I wrote down the names of my fellow docents and hydrated. I put on my fresh shorts and my new seersucker shirt and headed out.

Staffan Svenson met me at the door, gave me the tour and "I fell into a (modernist) dream."

I abandoned documenting the houses and just took the tour dammit.

I chose to be docent here because it seemed the edgiest. In less than a minute I found the place where I most wanted to be: Sitting at the back porch dining table with my back to the wall in the chair closest to the kitchen. THAT is a nice spot. The image that stays with me: Three bird pictures in elaborate period frames on a chartreuse wall, un-modern in the modern. A library on the mezzanine. They could open the whole back and the whole front into screened porches. The place seemed infinite yet cozy. How do they do that?

I'd seen it before, was it four years ago? I fell in love on the uncanny screened porch. Do I still love it? Yes, the porch still charms me as does the house. It seems small but it just keeps going and going in a series of switchbacks. Cutaways reveal zen views and light everywhere you look. I can't keep the plan in my head but I was delighted not confused. It's for sale.

I'm a fan of nearly outdoor showers.

The Pearl Street 3
I've been following these, three houses in a row by the same architect. I've only seen them from the street. When I set foot on the properties I found a sculpture garden. The three worked together. All three have the same ingredients mixed differently. Windows and porches placed and aimed to maximize light and privacy. Light took first place, privacy took a close second. Most memorable: All three were filled with people, the most flattering things you can put in a house.

So straightforward, so flexible. Aren't these dining chairs wonderful.

Sculpture garden with more people than an actual sculpture garden.

The first two stories have everything. Up one more flight and you find the VIEW. The office / studio is up there and opens to the rooftop deck and the VIEW under the canopy. Praise to the driveway and parking pad too, so informal so unfussy. I'd rather see a car than a garage door.

There's shelter from sun and rain.

VIEW from the capital dome to midtown. 

Oh glorious flatness, stair-free flatness, complete grandma-friendly flatness. Front entry flatness with a sheltering roof for unloading groceries and loved ones. I think it's small but it didn't seem small. The only rancher on the tour. Can you do ranchers anymore? It's not brand new. It had a lived-in patina.

Wonderful flatness that wraps around the pool.

From the outside it's gigantic. There was plenty of room inside but nowhere felt gigantic. The kitchen has a dropped ceiling, it's cozy and so unusual in our high-ceilinged culture. The neighboring houses are most interesting in this half gentrified neighborhood, eclectic for now.  AND there's this:

Period place in a modern: Bravo.

Comprehensible to me in a glance, I knew where to go and where things were, nothing tricky, nothing screamed clever. I made sure to be its docent so I had time to take it in. It's big, twice a big as my house. The backyard seems to be inside the house. But I felt the space rather than the BIG. I felt breathing room, light and wonderful family chaos. I want to live in the "office."  I bonded with the limestone. I hope they didn't mind that I kept ringing the doorbell.

It's a familiar place. It's like someone scrubbed, polished, and waxed right before I got there. It's a showroom that shouts "inside." It would be claustrophobic but for the sky-lit atrium.

It's the iceberg with windows on McDonough. What I love is the totally flexible grand spaces without luxury finishes. Does everything have to be $300 square feet? No.

12th Street
Didn't make it. Je regret. Next year I hope.

Backyard? Roof? Backyard Room?

Four words for modernist landscaping today: ornamental grass, slate chips.

1 comment:

  1. It was serendipitous meeting you yesterday, Terry! I've been wondering whether anyone blogs about Modern Atlanta, so I'm happy to read your take on the home tour. See you around town!


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