Spring cleaning in some Atlanta homes isn’t just for the residents. Dozens of homeowners are preparing to open their doors to guests attending home tours.
The peek inside personal properties or new homes with rooms showcasing top designers is an annual rite in Atlanta, with some home tours in existence for more than 40 years. For some residents, the events are a tradition.
“I haven’t missed one since I was 10 years old and still remember beautiful and innovative details from every one,” said Amy Musarra, design chair for the 2013 Atlanta Symphony Decorators’ Show House & Gardens, who served as chairwoman of the 2012 Show House. “That is why working on this beautiful project, to ensure it continues to grow and thrive, is such a pleasure for me.”
Here’s a look at four of the spring tours.
2013 Druid Hills Home and Garden Tour
The annual tour in Atlanta’s second-oldest subdivision offers up seven homes and gardens this year, ranging from a century-old house to properties adapted for a variety of uses, from offices to a wheelchair accessible residence.
The tour organizers say the featured properties reflect how the scenic neighborhood - designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 19th century - is still thriving and constantly reimaging itself.
“One of the things we want to show this year is a little bit more of the scope of Druid Hills. The whole subdivision was developed over the last 100 years,” said Barbara Vogel, the tour’s home selection chairwoman. “Many people only think of Druid Hills as having very large houses, but in fact we have all sizes.”
Some homes on the tour are located adjacent to Druid Hill’s linear parks. One of those properties, a hilltop home on Lulllwater Road, was built on the footprint of the original ranch home, but a second story was added, featuring the “tree room” with wraparound windows overlooking evergreens.
In a late ’40s ranch on West Parkwood Road, homeowners Mike Galifianakis and Frances Finegan adapted the home to make it wheelchair accessible by widening the doorways, changing door handles and redesigning access from the driveway.
Those American pickers among you may be enthralled with a 1925 Arts and Crafts-style home on the tour. Among the decor: paintings, lamps, sculptures and collectibles (including automobile memorabilia, a vintage street scale and jukeboxes), as well as two garages with vintage cars. There’s also a speaker series at Fernbank Museum, featuring designer and gardener Ryan Gainey and garden expert Walter Reeves.
When: April 19-21 (10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 19 and 20, 1-5 p.m. April 21)
Cost: $30 (25 in advance, $15 single house, $20 groups of six or more in advance)
2013 Atlanta Symphony Decorators’ Show House & Gardens
Take 33 of the Southeast’s top designers and a new 18,000-square-foot Buckhead estate designed by Atlanta architect William T. Baker, and visitors to the 2013 Atlanta Symphony Decorators’ Show House & Gardens should expect to be wowed.
“We want (the designers) to use their full gamut of creativity and inspiration to bring their A-game to the Show House,” said Zachary Brown, director of volunteer services and special events for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. “We want you to see what each designer can do individually to make each space interesting.”
The designer roster for one of the country’s longest-running show houses includes James Farmer, a gardener, floral and interior designer whose books include “A Time to Cook,” which is coming out this spring. Also, IKEA is furnishing the terrace level bonus room (a raffle winner will receive the furniture and materials).
The French-inspired chateau’s moldings, finishes and features such as leaded casement windows and paneling give it the feel of a home from 100 years ago, Brown said.
The speaker lineup includes Farmer, Baker and authors including Danielle Rollins (“Soiree: Entertaining with Style & Gracious Living”). The garden, designed by landscape architect Ed Castro, will be included as part of the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s annual Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour.
When: April 20-May 12 (10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. last entry, Tuesday-Wednesday; 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. last entry Thursday; 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. last entry Friday-Saturday; noon-4:30 p.m. last entry, Sunday, closed Monday)
Cost: $25 ($20 before April 20). Show House guests can purchase discounted $20 tickets to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens’ Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour, and Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour guests can purchase discounted $15 tickets to visit the Decorators’ Show House.
Modern Atlanta (MA) Home Tour
The home tour, part of Modern Atlanta’s Design is Human Week, features more than a dozen residences and commercial spaces, from a Midtown loft to a new office/home in Decatur and a residence in Vinings.
One Buckhead home on the tour was designed around a suspended focal entry point that lights up at night. Design firm Dencity and general contractor Cablik Enterprises used a cantilevered stair hovering above a reflecting pool as the main entryway for the home. The exterior materials are local stone, cypress, European stucco and glass, and the roof is designed to look like it is lifting off the house.
Another new home, by Bongers Home Builders and Price Residential Design, was built in 2012 on a full acre behind Phipps Plaza. A portion of the home “hangs” over the carpet to keep the home from encroaching too close to a stream, which created a 100-year flood area.
When: June 8-9 in Atlanta (plus two homes on MA Satellite Tour in Charlotte, N.C., and a loft in Raleigh, N.C. on June 1-2)
2013 Inman Park Festival and Tour of Homes
Few home tours include a brewery and preschool, but those structures are part of the 42nd Annual Inman Park Tour of Homes. The event has nine homes, three gardens, plus the Inman Park Cooperative Preschool, Inman Park Methodist Church and the Wrecking Bar Brewpub.
The most unusual home on the tour is an old store on Lake Avenue that now serves as a residence. The “flatiron” upper half of the house was built as a corner store in 1907, right on a trolley line. A home on Waverly Way, built on a former Department of Transportation property, boasts a custom staircase and octagonal parlor with stained glass lights in the pocket doors. The only townhome on the tour (at the corner of Seminole and Cleburne Avenues) features furnishings and items from Turkey, England and France.
When: April 26-28 (Noon-4 p.m. April 26, noon-6 p.m. April 27 & April 28)
Cost: $20 ($15 in advance)