There’s no stoplight at the intersection of Muscogee Avenue and Peachtree Road, leaving little reason for drivers to slow and glance past the newly paved portion of the well-worn concrete street that provides some of the character of the nearly century-old neighborhood.
Residents are so fond of their gray rutted road that their complaints stopped the paving project, which would have completely covered Muscogee Avenue in black asphalt.
“It didn’t need paving,” says Rick Spitzmiller, executive director of residential design firm Spitzmiller & Norris and owner of a Neo-Georgian row house on the street. “It works so beautifully to slow people down, and it’s not unsightly.”
Most residents would prefer Muscogee Avenue, where homes date back to the 1920s, to keep its charms. There is some new construction, but the myriad housing styles, large lawns and the green canopy provided by mature trees are atypical in ever-changing Buckhead. The concrete road meanders through the hilly Peachtree Heights neighborhood, boasting a combination of both architecture and size—encompassing Greek Revival, French Tudor, Georgian and modern styles in cottages and bungalows, condos and townhomes.
“This neighborhood has always been magical to me because of the old grove trees and the wide avenues and the beautiful houses,” says resident Dawn Mullins, an agent with Harry Norman, Realtors.
Grace Howard, administrator for the Georgia chapter of ASID (American Society of Interior Design), lives at 31 Muscogee, a condo complex designed by a protégé of Philip Trammell Shutze and nicknamed by Howard her “Paris Apartment” because of the exterior architecture, interior details (such as 9-foot ceilings and crown moldings) and patios where residents socialize after work.
In fact, Howard is part of a conclave of residents, like Mullins and Spitzmiller, who are in the design and building industry. For years, Muscogee’s refinement has lured some of the city’s most prominent designers, architects and real estate agents, many of whom work in home offices that allow glimpses of families on strolls or folks walking to nearby shops and restaurants in Peachtree Battle.
“I’ve known people [in this neighborhood] since I came to Atlanta in 1982. I was very familiar with these houses,” says Spitzmiller. “So when I decided to sell my bigger house off Peachtree Battle to raise money to buy a farm in the country, this immediately leapt to mind as the perfect [place for a] pied-a-terre. It has been ideal.”
“It’s very private because you’re on this interior street,” says resident Studie Young, an agent with Harry Norman, Realtors. “You want to be home.” Her renovated Craftsman-style residence once could have been mistaken for a haunted house, a cottage certainly destined for demolition. The three-bedroom home, built in 1923, hadn’t been updated in 40 years.
“There was still a coal bin in the basement with a shovel in it. It was horrible. But my husband knew that I was determined,” she says. “He said it was such a dump, but I?thought it was plenty cute.”
Although sizes vary, most of Muscogee’s homes are less than 4,000 square feet, Mullins says. And those that are larger are scaled nicely with the property size, avoiding the trend of McMansions that fill entire lots. Mullins’ three-bedroom, 4½-bath home has an office where she can see the street, and even on weekends she can expect certain activity along Muscogee.
“I watch a family with their children walking—rain or shine—to church on Sunday morning,” says Mullins, whose home was designed by neighbor Keith Summerour. “I’m thrilled when I hear the church bells peal at 12:45. You could set your clock to it.”
The street sets a scene for Spitzmiller, too, who describes Muscogee as an “absolutely marvelous and lovely network of streets to wander through, walk your dogs, meet and greet your friends or ride your bike.”
It’s remarkably private, he says, “just a terrific respite from the hustle and bustle of Peachtree Road.”
On The Market
35 Muscogee Ave. ($2.65 million)
A renovated seven-bedroom, 7½-bath home built in 1928 and boasting top-of-the-line kitchen appliances, a sunroom and a new master on main with a fireplace. Listing by Dorsey Alston, Realtors.
54 Muscogee Ave. NW ($1.95 million)
A four-bedroom, five-bath French hardcoat-stucco home built in 1918 and renovated, featuring formal living and banquet-sized dining rooms. Listing by Bess Realty Professionals.
HISTORY OF THE STREET: Muscogee, which has more than 60 residences, joins West Wesley, Habersham and Rivers roads in the Peachtree Heights neighborhood. An old real estate map in Studie Young’s home shows the community when it was developed by E. Rivers Realty Co. Dated in the 1910s, the map touts early Muscogee’s large lots, cement sidewalks, police protection, no city taxes and a trolley ride to downtown. Housing styles on the Muscogee roadways include Georgian, English Tudor, Greek revival, Regency, cottage-style and modern. The average home price is estimated at about $2.1 million, according to Harry Norman, Realtors.
WHERE TO DINE: La Grotta Ristorante Italian, across Peachtree Road from Muscogee, is a favorite fine dining destination. Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, Boneheads, Baskin Robbins, Pasta Vino, Cheyenne Grill, Savor Specialty Foods and Publix are among the variety of food options in Peachtree Battle Shopping Center.
WHERE TO SHOP: Peachtree Battle includes apparel stores such as Chico’s and The Children’s & Prep Shop; home décor and gift shops Limetree, Cocktail House, Paper AOair and Festivity; Richards Variety Store and other stops such as Natural Body Spa, Woo Cosmetics and LaRo Jewelers. Also nearby are Smith & Hawken and Design Within Reach, both on Peachtree Road. Farther north on Peachtree Road is The Peach Shopping Center, with big-box stores such as Barnes & Noble, plus salons, boutiques and restaurants.