A descendent of the late Philip Trammell Shutze, a noted stalwart of European classicism and a devout Italophile, once remarked that Atlanta’s most celebrated architect would have been perfectly happy had he been born during the 18th century. It should seem divinely ordained, then, that an early Atlanta home of his design would be brought back to life under the careful guidance of a young family whose own roots trace back to the Italian region the late architect most adored. That this family would have carte blanche to pull from family homes in Italy, chock-full of 17th- and 18th-century art and museum-worthy furnishings, would no doubt have left Mr. Shutze especially chuffed.
The search for this perfect family home had clear parameters from the outset: a proper classical design, drawn and planned by Shutze. Having grown up living between Europe and her Italian mother’s plantation in South Georgia, the owner had a preternatural appreciation for the sort of classical American architecture inspired by its European antecedents. After viewing five houses designed by Shutze, the family settled on a gracefully proportioned Georgian home set upon 3 acres in Tuxedo Park. Save for an overscale addition that required skillful reworking, the home maintained the spirit of the Shutze’s original vision.
Under the careful direction of Charleston-based Tammy Connor, the designer assembled a team to breathe new life into the home. Working alongside architect Stan Dixon of D. Stanley Dixon Architect and landscape architect John Howard of Howard Design Studio, Connor aimed to provide an elegant yet unstuffy haven for the family of five while making use of sentimental furnishings inherited from the owner’s family.
With a keen focus on maintaining the integrity of Shutze’s original 1930s design, Dixon turned a deft hand at devising what would result in a two-year renovation: Rooms were reconfigured and updated, the attic became a third-floor living area for the children, and the previous addition reworked to more closely reflect the sensitivity of Shutze’s original design. “When you’re lucky enough to work on a house of this caliber, you want to embrace it and learn from it, not go in the opposite direction,” Dixon says.
A sourcing trip to the owner’s ancestral homes in Italy provided Connor with spoils far more meaningful than one could find in the most rarefied antiques store: stacks of ancient vellum books, sanguine and charcoal Italian master drawings adored by the owner’s late mother, and of particular note, a monumental 18th-century chinoiserie screen from a 16th-century Tuscan villa.
“It wasn’t just decorating a house,” Connor says. “It really is a home that has a lot of her family’s pieces from different generations with special connections to her that made it home.”