Art Deco Revival

One of Buckhead’s most storied residences is given a new lease on life thanks to a team of forward-thinking, preservation-minded Atlantans.

Few houses in Buckhead have been the source of such endless fascination as the Evans-Cucich house, built in 1934 and named for its previous owners. Considered to be Atlanta’s only Art Deco residence, it has captivated neighbors and passersby for decades, while rumors of its mysterious underground tunnel, thought to lead to the opposite side of the street, have been the fodder of neighborhood lore for generations.

But by the time Parker Blanchard and his wife, McKenzie, bought the house in 2013, the structure was in disrepair. Undeterred by the home’s ailments and dazzled by its architecture, the couple embarked on a major restoration of the house, assembling an expert team to help bring the house back to its former glory, all while gently tweaking it for the needs of a 21st-century family.

Serving as architect for the project was Ryan Duffey, whose enthusiasm for the house equaled that of the homeowners. “The house presented an awesome look at the past and an awesome look forward,” says Ryan. “How could I not get obsessed professionally?” After securing the long-leaking roof and addressing the significant water damage it had permitted, Ryan focused on preserving what was still intact. Although rotted doors and windows required replacement, most of the original fixtures and hardware were retained. Even the curious exterior finish—not limestone, as many assume it to be, but rather a painted concrete veneer over brick—was refreshed with a new coat of paint.   

Equal to the team’s desire to preserve this architectural gem was the need to adapt the residence to a modern lifestyle. Adamant about maintaining the integrity of the house, Ryan retained the more formal layout of the front of the home while restructuring the rear to create more casual living spaces. And in a move that runs counter to today’s ubiquitous supersize renovations, the homeowners and Ryan decided to increase the square footage only by about 1,500 square feet.

Also bridging old with new are the interiors, for which the couple enlisted Ryan’s wife, designer Nancy Duffey. The crisp Art Deco architecture prompted a mostly white color palette and clean-lined furnishings, which notably lack pattern. But while the decor might be pared down, comfort is not lacking. “The homeowners did not want the house to feel like a museum,” says Nancy.  “They wanted it to be livable and a home for a family.”

Although the Blanchards recently sold the historic property, Parker remains proud of what he and his team accomplished—so much so that he renamed the residence Evans-Cucich-Hayden, in memory of his late twin brother, Hayden, who shared his sibling’s passion for this singular home.

INTERIOR DESIGN Nancy Duffey, Scout for the Home. (404) 816-2325; ARCHITECT Ryan Duffey, J. Ryan Duffey Architect, (404) 808-7884; LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Carson McElheney, Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design, (404) 467-1690; BUILDER Tate Builders & Assicoates, Inc., (404) 843-3030;