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Architectural Details that Steal the Show

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My trip to Atlanta was such a welcome spring outing. Not only did I treasure seeing old friends after a Covid-hiatus but I was looking with affectionate fresh eyes at the Northwest Atlanta residential area where we had lived. Always memorable and inspiring, it was the architectural details that really caught my attention this time –not only because they represent good design but additionally they are practical, simple, and effective — prompting me to recall the architect Mies van der Rohe’s note that “God is in the details.” Enjoy these observations and thoughts that can perhaps inform the way you look at homes and their details.

Chic it up! Distinguish your front door by building out a “vestibule” and cloaking it in greenery.

Adding a detailed central window above a striking Georgian front entrance can take a home from great to grand (also see feature image).

Never underestimate what a pair of entry gates can add as an additional sense of welcome .

Detail a stucco facade with a clipped arch of greenery surrounding a double window (all the better if the arch appears to be growing out of the pair of potted boxwoods).

Consider the charm of whitewashed brick (which is dressed up a bit more by covering the projecting wing in greenery) .

Make a statement! Line a driveway with spring blooming trees.

While not actually the entrance to the front door, these formal steps positioned in the sloping lawn have the desired effect of framing the impressive architecture when seen from the street.

Take inspiration from the house’s facade when designing the creek-side bridge entrance.

Be generous with the driveway entrance’s cobblestone apron.

Do paint a home the softest of buttercream yellow!

Another inspiring design detail that extends a gracious feeling…take advantage of a creek running along the street side of the property and add a bridge to provide passersby with a view to cherish (and hopefully the family dog will be positioned on the front steps, too).​

Rather than a straight front step, why not give it a soft, inviting curve (softened with greenery)?

Add a fresh note to a traditionally charming home with a large window (and front door) of metal-paned glass; these two subtle but appreciable updates add greatly to the curb appeal.

Give as much design consideration to the utilitarian side of a home as to the front facade!

Lastly, a discovery on a quiet, off the beaten path reminded me that not all “condo complexes” are eyesores. Be inspired! Look to the chic row houses of Belgravia and Mayfair in London (I’d move in here in a minute).

Happy May…and kudos to these Northwest Atlanta homeowners for their well-considered and inspiring details.

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

6 thoughts on “Architectural Details that Steal the Show

  1. What fun to see where you explored Atlanta neighborhoods and the details you observed. This has been the most beautiful spring I can remember in Atlanta and you captured it with that unerring eye of yours.

  2. We live in Roswell Georgia and the next time you come to visit I would love to have you for lunch.

  3. Gorgeous architecture, Bettie. I have a large, rather imposing looking house that is similar to the one in your second photograph. I’ve always wanted to have ivy covering the exterior. I just think it is so beautiful, but I’ve never been able to figure out how the homeowners keep rodents from invading their abode! As you can imagine, the last thing I would want would be to invite them inside. If you know the answer to my question, I’m dying to hear it!

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