Monday, November 9, 2009

One of These Things Is Not Like The Others...

In honor of Sesame Street's 40th anniversary.... (UPDATE: and adding salt to the wound following the announcement that Metropolitan Home is shuttering)

I recently was driving through the neighborhood of Berkeley Park, a little neighborhood in the Northwest section of Atlanta. The neighborhood has a rich history- starting in 1921 (though probably earlier). The area has undergone a revitalization of late, assisted largely by the active neighborhood association.

Back to Sesame Street. On my drive through the other day, I couldn't help but think of the old Sesame Street game, One of These Things is Not Like the Others after passing one of the houses above. Can you guess which one!?

In my review of Candler Park, the last photo created a little stir-- do these modern-type dwellings "belong" in this older, established neighborhoods?
As you've read in several other Atlanta blogs, there are many tear-down/rebuild projects here- like many other older cities in the US. In some cases, older bungalow homes are torn down to make way for "McMansion" type properties, like the property above (yes, it is a replica of the White House, built in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta).

In a few cases, houses are torn down and very modern-style dwellings are erected.

While this situation is quite different than the McMansion wave, I wonder about the "fit" of this house in a neighborhood.
A recent real estate listing exemplifies my question-- "This Contemporary Mid Century Modern 2-Story Home is like no other in the neighborhood."

Hmm. Is that a good thing?

Inserting modern architecture is certainly not a new phenomenon to Atlanta. A drive through the largely traditional Buckhead area and you'll find numerous modern homes built in the mid-Century modern style.

homes for sale -

I looked through several "modern home" listings to find examples that I thought combined modern with the traditional. I find the combination quite fascinating, though I fear they may fall towards the McMansion end of the spectrum.

Take a look- I admit, I love just about everything in this next house.
Front View


Family Room

Master Bathroom
Sun Room Patio Pool

Here's one that you might just pass by and think nothing of it.

Surprise! Here's the back with a very modern addition.

Here's another bungalow with modern touches (and I'm guessing a second floor addition).

So what do you think? A different house for each different type of owner or eyesore?

While I do appreciate modern architecture, I must admit I'm a bit old-school with some of these traditional bungalow neighborhoods. That said, I also must mention that in my humble opinion, the modern building I showed first is not the eyesore of the neighborhood...
I'd vote for the townhouses built in 1998.

I'll leave you with a few other Berkeley Park homes... just because I happen to love this cute little neighborhood!

(OK, no offense to seller, but I think this one could use a little enhancement in the front... but look at the cute space inside and in the backyard!)

Homes sourced largely from For more info on Modern style in Atlanta, check out Modern-Atlanta.


  1. The 'White House' used to always make me laugh. I can't tell you how many people asked me to do a drive by to show them!
    You found some really cute picks and I love the exterior of the white/charcoal home. Some of my favorite projects there weren't the new-builds or the 'old-money Habershamers'. They were the ones that most people considered the tear-downs...the 1960s ranches on fabulous lots. I just loved how we could totally reinvent the interiors of these well built, sturdy homes. Great post!

  2. We live in OM (Old Marietta) where the houses all look different and are all different sizes. While it's a real estate agent's nightmare, I think we've become so accustomed to all the houses in a neighborhood being the same that we forget that this is just basic evolution. I live in a 1964 ranch down the street from a 2009 teardown/rebuild on the same footprint, and around the bend there's a 20 year old 5/4 and a door, a contemporary cedar eyesore, and so on. And a couple of 1838 plantations.

    I prefer that to Stepford anyday. Been there, done that.

  3. thank you for the Monday lady porn.

  4. I love looking at homes-all types and structures. True, my taste runs very much in the direction of traditional, but it is so much fun to look at what architectural imagination can do to a living space.

    I'm thrilled that we're moving to Tokyo, but this Monday morning post has reminded me of what fun lies ahead with our return: home shopping!

    Have a lovely Monday.

  5. Wow! Lots of great inspiration photos! I really like the modern homes!

  6. Tough call - I'm fascinated by modern art/architecture, so this is always a toughie for me. And those are some gorgeous examples above. But... any really well done home tries to find some commonality with its surroundings, but many modern designs seemed to have the sole goal of sticking out like sore thumbs. The other problem is that, unlike traditional models, "modern" homes run the risk of being terribly fadish. Five years later, they look like a tired out trend - a hulking, multi-story tired out trend. I see this in a lot of Southern neighborhoods victimized by updates in the stucco 70s. You're driving along, loving you some great architecture and then - woah! - what were THEY thinking?!

  7. ATL's Berkeley Park neighborhood reminds me a lot of Houston's Heights and Montrose neighborhoods, which have had distinctly different fates. The Heights is largely under historical society restrictions so new builds are all built in a craftsman or Victorian style, to blend in seamlessly in the neighborhood. Montrose, on the other hand, does not have historical designation and many of the early 20th c. craftsmen have been replaced by VERY modern townhomes. IMHO, these modern builds destroy the feel of the neighborhood and were a big reason my husband and I decided to leave Montrose.

  8. I'm going to have to look the White House up next time I've over in that area! Amazing.

  9. Hi, I'm new to this blog. Loved this post! I think modern architecture is a great thing and can only add to the diversity and interest of the streetscape. How boring it would be if we were stuck in the past!! Let's move forward! Great blog!

  10. I love the house with the modern windows in the back, so great!

  11. I compare Ansley Park to Druid Hills. Ansley has a number of moderns of varying "fit." One of the very worst moderns (you may know which one), doesn't "fit" but is still pretty good and is so much better that the house (that fit) it replaced. Well, Ansley has everything and it seems able to tolerate everything.

    Druid Hills on the other hand allows no change to facades (I may be over simplifying). The houses are mostly high style and of a period, but the neighborhood seems fossilized. There are 2 moderns I know of, but you can't see them from the street.

    I drive by a new modern in Decatur twice a week. It may be great on the inside, I hope so. But it will be horrible on the outside every day of it's life.

    I frequently drive by the new "RainShine" house in Decatur. It's odd, but not bad in context. It's at least scaled right for it's neighbors. It's a one-off house that took forever to build. The Archiplanet don't show it's neighbors so you can't judge the fit.

  12. Inspirational architecture.

  13. It is always a difficult question - traditional v's modern. A great selection of homes to mull over, xv.

  14. Cute post! I like the traditional myself! But the modern ones would be ok. I'd take any of them!

  15. As an architect I've been designing additions and renovations for older homes in the Atlanta area for over twenty years. I like the photos on your site. It's interesting to see how other people solve the same problems. I enjoy rescuing the ranch house and apprecaite the arts & crafts style, modern buildings and neo-classical design. Many of these homes have the best lots in town. Fairly level, large and with established landcaping and mature trees. However, I believe the design should fit the context of the neighborhood. If the house is a sixties split-level in a sixties neighborhood then it should stay within that style.


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