Friday, May 23, 2008

What Fate Beholds the Goodrum House?





There has been much talk lately about the fate of Brooke Astor's apartment. I think many of us are on pins and needles waiting to see if the new owners (whoever they might be) will destroy the famous interiors, preserve them in all of their glory, or simply refresh them. But closer to my home there is another prominent house I'm worried about: the Goodrum House located on West Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta.

Built in 1929 by famed architect Philip Shutze, the house is considered to be a prime example of English Regency architecture. Before it housed its current tenant, the Southern Center for International Studies, the house was a private home. While growing up, I always heard it referred to as the "Peacock Mansion" because the homeowner kept peacocks on the estate. (In fact, I remember on a few occasions going to school and seeing traffic held up because a peacock had gotten loose and was wandering the streets!) There were many other wild stories associated with the house which I won't print on my blog, but needless to say they only added to the home's allure- at least to this wide-eyed gal.

And now the Southern Center is selling the home. My biggest fear is that whoever buys the Goodrum House will rip it asunder and remove anything original and unique to the home. Believe me, Atlanta is losing its beautiful old homes at an alarming rate. The whole thing upsets me, so perhaps I should put my money where my mouth is and join the Preservation Center. In the meantime, I wanted to show you a few photos of this beautiful home. They certainly don't make them like they used to. I just hope whoever buys this home realizes it.






A few shots of the entryway. Is that a banister or what! Wouldn't you be thrilled to have that in your home?




The dining room is famous for its glorious Chinoiserie mural painted by Allyn Cox.


The ceiling of this octagonal breakfast room was painted by Athos Menaboni. The effect is like being inside of a bird-cage. Menaboni also painted the niches as well. Can you imagine a better way to start your day than by having a cup of coffee in this room?



The living room. Although it's sparsely furnished today, the room has real potential. Just look at the molding and carvings.


37 comments:

  1. Jennifer, don't get me started!

    First of all, that shot of you on the amazing staircase was just fabulous. How special that you will always have that.

    Since I'm a huge fan of English Regency architecture -- or just any of our older gracefully proportioned homes and apartment buildings --it frustrates me that few people seem to appreciate it. We seem to be living in the era of ginormous boxy new construction.

    To me the Shutze homes that remain intact in Atlanta are part of the city's soul. And especially the cluster of important homes right there on W. Paces Ferry -- it would be a shame if any of them were altered.

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  2. Courtney- I knew you'd agree with me! There seems to be so little appreciation for these old homes. My goodness, wouldn't you be thrilled if you bought a home with such exquisite, and historical, detail? It seems as if every time I drive down West Paces or Habersham, another old home has been leveled... soon to be replaced with the dreaded McMansion! (With interiors made to look like a hotel!)

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  3. Hear! Hear! It's happening everywhere! What a shame.

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  4. Fairfax- That's what I've heard too. When will it stop??!!

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  5. Amazing, that staircase.
    I recognized it as the one you were climbing in that photograph for 1stdibs, and all this while thought it was YOUR house.
    Now, there's an idea...

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  6. Toby- No, not my house. But it was a lot of fun posing on that staircase!

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  7. What a GORGEOUS and gracious home! We can only hope that the new owners will only refresh the interiors -- and appreciate that Southern charm and elegance! Those interior features like the staircase are real and honest treasures ..... just think of the fabulous parties one could give!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  8. Jennifer~ Thanks so much for posting this! When I think of all the years I lived in Atlanta and the hundreds of times I passed by this house and wondered what the inside looked like - thanks for satisfying my curiousity! It's fabulous and I agree with everyone that the banister is the crowning jewel - either that or the Menaboni celing. My grandmother has some Menaboni hand-painted plates that were passed down from my great-grandmother, but I never knew that his work extended to things like ceilings and interiors as well. So beautiful! I can only hope someone will preserve all of the character in that home.

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  9. This has long been one of my favorite Atlanta houses. That chinoiserie mural by Allyn Cox sends me over the moon, as does that scarlet staircase. One can only hop that it won't be tinkered with; it is far too special and has survived multiple owners, yes? Perhaps it should be a showhouse? That would bring it to greater attention. Schutze's houses are absolutely dreams. Pity more Atlanta architects don't base new construction on their considerable graces.

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  10. Aesthete- Good idea about it being a showhouse. Perhaps it won't sell before next Spring, making that an option.

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  11. My goodness! That's living.

    The whole idea of a breakfast room, yet alone one as elegant as that one, is almost too much to contemplate. That wholly elegant way of life must be disappearing if anyone would think to do away with "peacock mansion."

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  12. Thanks for providing the interior photos! I'm another Atlanta who has driven past many times and wondered what the interior looks like. The amazing red banister may be my favorite.

    For what it's worth, I have to politely disagree with Aesthete's Lament: I think there is a *small* but strong group of Atlanta architects doing Schutze-inspired, classic houses. I do agree that they are not in the majority though.

    Thanks for bringing us an inside look at a beautiful house!

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  13. Anonymous10:20 PM

    I grew up in a Shutze house just up the street from the "Peacock House" and I remember seeing the peacocks stop traffic. Why is the Southern Center for International Studies selling the house? When my parents sold our house a few years ago, the new owners tore down walls and created chaos in the Shutze design. I am always astonished that people that buy these house don't want to save and preserve them. Soon, every street is going to look like Country Club of the South with tacky McMansions. The gardens were also beautiful, but as of now, the original landscaping has been preserved. Anyway, I love your blog!!!Also, do you have any pictures of the Butterfly Mansion you could post - I have always wanted to see the inside of that house.

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  14. thanks for showing the peacock mansion. i do hope it is saved-it is truly beautiful.

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  15. Dear Peak of Chic,

    I recently moved to Atlanta from fabulous Los Angeles, and this house is so amazing, OMG, where can you even start...

    I will for sure be checking the property out in person! Thank you so much for sharing!

    PS.
    You have my word to be a picket sign holder if anything even gets discussed about this house not staying Atlanta! It would be an utter shame!!!

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  16. Great Dame- We are lucky that we do have a few architects who appreciate and understand classical architecture and who are capable of designing Shutze-esque houses. But you're right, it's a small group.

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  17. Anon- I know. Isn't it maddening?? I grew up around the corner from you, and it sickens me to see all of these beautiful homes being torn down or renovated to the point of no return. Whatever happened to buying a house that you love? I fear that most people feel as though they're buying property, not a home.

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  18. Thanks Lipstick. Me too!

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  19. Christina Marie- Well I'm completely fired up about all of this! I'll try to stay on top on things, and if it comes to picketing, I'll let you know!

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  20. Anon- I forgot to say that I'll look into getting photos/info on the Butterfly Mansion.

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  21. I have never been to Atlanta, but if this home is in danger of being messed with, you can bet I'll hop on the plane and help you and CM with those picket signs. What a fabulous stair railing!

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  22. A truly amazing home. Hopefully, someone who will appreciate it will take on its care. The tear down epidemic has spread to KC as well. Gracious homes like this have met the wrecking ball, but some if the biggest casualties are the gracious, but not overly-large homes that people tear down then build out to the lot line. It's a crime to the house for sure, but I have no idea why the city and neighborhood associations are not lighting tourches and carrying pitchforks. There was a great article recently - Cottage Living? - about preserving neighborhoods.

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  23. thank you for the introduction to this beautiful home. it saddens my soul to think interiors such as this could find there way into high end salvage shops.

    absolutely decadently gorgeously beautiful...i can't stop staring.

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  24. I just can fathom that anyone wouldn't see the value and character that this grand dame has! Although, it seems that Atlanta has been overrun by the push it over and build on top of it syndrome. So sad...

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  25. CURIOUS, DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THE SOUTHERN CENTER IS ASKING FOR THE PROPERTY?

    XO

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  26. Social Network Web Design10:53 PM

    What a beautiful home! I also like the idea presented in the octagonal breakfast room.

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  27. Olivia, I think the asking price is 5.95M?

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  28. It always depresses me when people change these older homes or don't appreciate them and just call them 'dated' or such. I always wonder whats wrong with me: What do I see (or don't see) that other people don't see? I hope total reconstruction can be spared for this beautiful home!

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  29. Anonymous4:30 PM

    What a splendid house! I could be very happy there. I read your blog weekly - found from JCB's blog - (and I work with your niece . . .) small world. KDM

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  30. Anon- I would be quite happy living there too! It is a small world indeed.. what a coincidence! :)

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  31. I was just leafing through some information and forgot entirely that the house's first owner, May Goodrum—briefly a decorator herself—married the Cuban-American architect Francis L Abreu. I wonder what her grandchildren think of the preservation question regarding that house.

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  32. Anonymous10:08 PM

    Goodrum House just sold. I mean last week (August 7, 2009).

    Going to be demolished and 5 new large homes built.

    Just kidding.

    Going to have substantial renovation, including return of the Gardens to the 1933 version, which was nothing short of amazing.

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  33. Anon- You scared me there for a minute! I hope the new homeowners keep the Allyn Cox mural and the Menaboni room.

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  34. Anonymous12:18 PM

    Of course those will not be touched.

    Eventually will probably be open to the public on some basis and may host Shutze exhibitions and the like.

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  35. Anon- So it won't be a private residence?? What's the plan?

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  36. Anonymous2:12 PM

    Go to the City of Atlanta Website, click on the City Council link. Once on the City Council page, click on the Legislation link. Then scroll down to Final Action Legislation. In the ID box, type in 09o1079. Click on the link to the legislation that comes up, and then read the supporting documents, including the proposed use of the house.

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  37. Anonymous11:27 AM

    We hosted our wedding reception in this beautiful home in December 1998, then known as The Southern Center for International Studies. Seeing these pictures brings back so many memories! I pray that the new owners of this space will preserve the truly specacular interior decor.

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