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Atlanta will forever be associated with Margaret Mitchell and the famous novel Gone With The Wind – her tale of the Civil War South and the genteel characters who endured the war and its aftermath. Tara, Scarlett O’Hara’s fictional home, never existed, and most real homes like it that did exist are themselves “gone with the wind”. The quintessential architectural style of the period, and of Tara, is the Antebellum home – Antebellum means “before war” in Latin, and the term now applies to the style of certain homes built in the period prior to the Civil War which remain distinctly southern. The style is also known as Greek Revival or Classical Revival. Not many remain in Atlanta and environs – there’s Bulloch and Barrington Halls in Roswell, but not many other examples.
But the Southern elegance and charm of the period do live on in select homes here. Take, for example, this gorgeous Southern home on Londonberry Road, in the ritziest part of Atlanta. Scarlett would have died to live here. First, befitting a southern estate, it has a commanding presence from the street and a grand entrance featuring stairs up to a rocking chair front porch. Like many Antebellum homes, it features large Corinthian columns and a symmetrical façade.
The home was designed by Mitch Ginn, an architect from Newnan, Georgia, for the original owner who specifically requested this style of home. Mr. Ginn and his firm have designed many homes in different styles – but some of their most memorable have been antebellum like this one. According to Mr. Ginn, “We design 150 to 200 homes a year, but the Greek Revival and Classical Revival styles are unfortunately few and far between. Popular styles today with future homeowners include Craftsman, Bungalow, and homes with English or French cottage influences. I guess I could say I look forward to a Greek Revival “revival”. “
Like many architects, Ginn enjoys recreating classic styles from the past: “I have always loved the timeless beauty and grandeur of the classical architectural styles. They are dictated by historic architectural structure and proportions. I am also a romantic sucker for the “image” of the Old South.”
The home Ginn designed on Londonberry parlays that image into the modern day. The lot was perfect for a sweeping driveway – and it made the most sense, given the lot, to place the swimming pool to the front and side of the home. That showcases it as part of the “estate, and allows a wonderful view of the pool area from the front porch. A meandering creek also wanders far below the home and to the back of the property, adding to the interest of the landscape.
The interior of the home on Londonberry continues the grand southern feel with a sweeping stairwell (can’t you just imagine Scarlett making her grand entrance) and two story foyer. There’s also a screened porch overlooking the back grounds – the perfect place for some iced tea or a mint julep, don’t you think?
And of course, the style makes way in some respects for the demands of the modern day homeowner – for instance, the kitchen is open to the breakfast and family areas, a must-have for many modern buyers. In addition, there’s a master suite on the main floor with a large master bath. The doors to the master bath and the lighting fixtures are all of grand southern design.
As a new generation of homebuyers grows into their “dream” homes, the grandeur of the Antebellum style has a new appeal. It does come with a price tag – the home on Londonberry is currently listed for sale for $1,785,000.