Historic references and a modern sensibility influence this Midtown home

This new construction is an instant classic

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Historic references and a modern sensibility influence this Midtown home in equal measure
This 6,000-square-foot brick home includes architectural details and materials—such as limestone, marble, and iron—that reference French architecture.

Photograph by Rustic White

With its location in a historic Midtown neighborhood and an original granite wall around the property, this white brick home fools some people into asking if it’s a renovation, and that pleases architect Jeffrey Bruce Baker. “That question is music to my ears since the house is 100 percent new construction,” he says. “Our design decisions were all about creating that authenticity, looking like an older house that had a heavy renovation.”

Historic references and a modern sensibility influence this Midtown home in equal measure
Embroidered fabrics by Pollack on custom chairs were chosen to soften strong architectural features in the living room. An Oushak rug from Keivan Woven Arts anchors the space with subtle pattern.

Photograph by Rustic White

Historic references and a modern sensibility influence this Midtown home in equal measure
A vintage farmhouse table is joined by modern chairs in the dining room. A floating walnut shelf trimmed with gold and turquoise shagreen (stingray hide) is a piece of art itself. Baker chose sheer window treatments throughout the house. “I love sheers,” he says. “I find them very architectural, and I love casting shadows and making patterns with them. It is a great way to allow nature and its patterns to become part of the design.”

Photograph by Rustic White

Baker’s clients were torn between going traditional or modern, since they love both styles. But the design eventually veered towards contemporary given their wish list: a rooftop entertainment space, an open floor plan, a nontraditional library, two laundry rooms, and specialty spaces for hobbies. The wife recalls visiting an architect friend’s home in Chicago that also inspired her. “I was struck by her central fireplace that we enjoyed from every room,” she says. “That was the first feature I shared with Jeffrey that we wanted, and he sketched it out in our first 10 minutes of meeting with him, so we knew, He’s our guy.”

Historic references and a modern sensibility influence this Midtown home in equal measure
The free-standing quartzite fireplace is a focal point of the house and divides the living room from the kitchen. Baker chose wenge—a tropical, ebony-toned wood—for the kitchen cabinets. A stainless hood supports maple shelves on either side.

Photograph by Rustic White

Historic references and a modern sensibility influence this Midtown home in equal measure
The husband’s office is distinguished by custom steel bookcases. A Herman Miller chair is upholstered in green for a pop of color.

Photograph by Rustic White

Historic references and a modern sensibility influence this Midtown home in equal measure
“We wanted an extra-deep and wide front porch with room for a large, round table,” says the wife. “Our neighborhood is a ‘front porch’ kind of neighborhood.” Limestone floors continue the light color palette. Dining chairs were special-ordered through Authenteak.

Photograph by Rustic White

While incorporating modern features on the inside, Baker strived to make the outside blend with historic houses elsewhere in the neighborhood. He drew references from French Revival architecture—such as symmetry, detailed brickwork, and decorative ironwork—but added a modern perspective. “I used a flat roof, where usually in French Revival you would see a steep mansard,” he explains. “The roof had historic grounding but it’s a playful interpretation at the same time.”

Historic references and a modern sensibility influence this Midtown home in equal measure
Wide-planked French oak floors add simple elegance to the master bedroom and other main rooms. “We read in bed every night, so we love the wall-to-wall headboard to lean back against,” says the wife.

Photograph by Rustic White

Historic references and a modern sensibility influence this Midtown home in equal measure
“In all my projects, I try to make the staircase a unique focal point,” says Baker. “Here, we had a four-story staircase that I wanted to be very sculptural and make the rail disappear so the focus was on the form of the stairs.” French-oak treads are used on the floating staircase.

Photograph by Rustic White

Historic references and a modern sensibility influence this Midtown home in equal measure
Marble tiles create a zigzag mosaic across the master bath floor. “Herringbone is a traditional pattern and adds some age and history to a room, since I was intentionally making their home have older, classic references in the design.” says Baker. Custom teak cabinets are complemented by Brizo modern faucets in a dark finish.

Photograph by Rustic White

The architect was excited to design the interiors as well. He combined custom pieces with the clients’ existing art and furniture. “This was a nice commission to be able to work in all four of our design disciplines: architecture, interior architecture, interior decoration, and furniture design and fabrication,” says Baker. “I love having everything come together organically.”

RESOURCES | Architect and interior designer Jeffrey Bruce Baker, AIA, ASID, jeffreybrucebaker.com | Builder Gary Dresser, Dresser Homes, dresserhomes.com
Landscape designer In Bloom, inbloomlandscaping.com Living room Rug: Keivan Woven Arts, keivanwovenarts.com. Fireplace stone slab: Pietra Luxury in Stone, pietraluxury.com. Sheer window fabric: Schumacher, fschumacher.com. Chair back fabric: “Ingrid” in Buttercup, Pollack, pollackassociates.com. Kitchen Hood: Miele, mieleusa.com. Appliances: Sub-Zero and Wolf, subzero-wolf.com. Counter stools: Design Within Reach, dwr.com. Faucets: Brizo, brizo.com. Countertops: HanStone Quartz, hanstonequartz.com. Dining room Painting: GF Contemporary, gfcontemporary.com. End chairs: Powell & Bonnell, powellandbonnell.com. Other chairs: Custom through architect. Master bath Tub: Signature Hardware, signaturehardware.com. Faucets: Brizo. Floor tiles: Marble Systems, marblesystems.com. Mirrors: Mirrors and Marble, mirrorsandmarble.com.

This article appears in our Spring 2021 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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