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Resurrecting Neel Reid

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When a devastating fire demolished one of Buckhead’s most treasured historic homes, the tragedy was transformed into a happy ending—even earning two elite architectural awards—thanks to the firm of D. Stanley Dixon Architect.

The Neel Reid–designed residence perched between Habersham and Vernon Roads was known to Gerry Hull since he was a boy. When it was razed to its foundation following the fire in 2014, it was scarcely a day before Hull, its owner for a decade, vowed to rebuild.

“There was no way I could have envisioned another house on this site,” he says.

“The Hulls called on us because of our experience and respect for renovations of other historic homes in the neighborhood,” firm principal Stan Dixon explains. “They knew we would have the right sensitivity to bring the house back to Neel Reid’s original intention.”

Dixon’s humble respect for Reid’s “classical, restrained and elegant” precedent was immediately evident—even if it required sacrificing some degree of his own creativity in the process.

“Reid had such a very strong sense of scale and proportion,” Dixon says, referencing the precise profiles of the architecture. So committed was Dixon to authenticity that—after extensively researching Reid’s original plans and drawings at the Atlanta History Center—he even insisted upon using reclaimed antique bricks, replicating original masonry joints and customizing windows with the same weighted pulley system as the 1920s originals.

Modern-day updates were mostly mechanical and electrical, with a few upscale flourishes—such as adding a new slate roof and replacing the 1848 Zuber wallpaper in the dining room.

“It is a source of joy for me to live in this house,” says Hull, the happiness of he and his wife, Patty, renewed. “I feel like its keeper, with a responsibility to maintain it not just for us but for everyone who passes by.”

ARCHITECTURE D. Stanley Dixon (404) 574-1430; dsdixonarchitect.com

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