There’s a great sense of responsibility that comes with owning a Philip Trammell Shutze-designed house. One of America’s finest classicists, he designed residences from the Swan House at the Atlanta History Center to the Italian Baroque Calhoun estate in Buckhead, each boasting a level of craftsmanship and grandeur that have become part and parcel of Atlanta’s collective architectural heritage.
In the rare case that a Shutze-designed house changes ownership (many, like this one, change hands without officially landing on the market), it’s with bated breath that Atlanta’s modern-day tastemakers hope a historically sensitive renovation will ensue.
Indeed, the current owners of the Shutze-designed Patterson-Carr House, a 1939 Colonial Revival on Northside Drive, recall project manager James Jordan of Pak Heydt & Associates breathing a visible sigh of relief when he witnessed part of the interior design installation—two years after the couple embarked on a renovation of the historic home. (As a young man, Jordan had spent time at the house; maintaining a renovation appropriate to the standards of previous owner, Atlanta grande dame Anne Carr, was imperative to him, as well.)
“This house is complex in its subtleties,” explains Birmingham-based interior designer Tammy Connor, who worked in conjunction with Yong Pak to revive the home’s glory days. Those subtleties would require calling on artisans with encyclopedic knowledge of Shutze’s nuances as well as that of Athos Menaboni, the Italian-born painter commissioned by the architect to create a mural for the foyer which, due to water damage, was not exactly ready for its close-up when the current owners moved in.
Because this refined farm-style home was originally designed by Shutze to have the appearance of being built over time, modifying the floorplan and putting on an addition was a no-brainer, says Connor. In fact, an untrained eye might find it difficult to discern where the original floorplan starts and stops.
The owners, parents to four teenagers, set out to modernize the house for their busy lifestyle, blowing out the back of the house to make room for a combined kitchen, family and breakfast room, along with a fourth bedroom upstairs and a new master closet and bath. Outside, they were particularly sensitive to the grounds’ luscious gardens, the product of previous owner Anne Carr—a longtime champion of horticulture and founder of the Cherokee Garden Library at the Atlanta History Center. Though they opted to remove tennis courts to make room for a pool and poolhouse, the owners worked with landscape architect Richard Anderson to transplant boxwoods, hydrangeas and more elsewhere on the property.
One of the most endearing things about this house, says Connor—in addition to its harmonious proportions—is the constant conversation between inside and out. “The home was designed on an axis so that the surrounding landscape and formal gardens could be seen from various focal points inside the house,” she says.
The designer established a natural, earthy palette for the interiors that would not only invite the outdoor gardens in, but also allow the home’s spectacular architectural bones to regain their rightful place. And that desire to respect, not overshadow, the estate’s aesthetic integrity will prove the home’s enduring legacy.