Modern, minimalist tour home replaces rat-infested house in Midtown

Minimalist, modern design seemed like a lofty, aspiration goal for Vivian Lee, who saw them as grand, tony structures in other neighborhoods.

After years of condo living, she and her husband, Benjamin, searched for single-family homes to purchase in Midtown Atlanta, but found mostly bungalows, Tudors and one-story, post-World War II homes.

GALLERY: See more photos of the Lees’ home here

“That just was not our style. We just didn’t see anything representing what we wanted,” she said.

Then they came across a plot of land with a rat-infested, derelict 1940s home. The couple decided to hire Steve Robinson with Axios Architecture to design a bold new residence, which is on the June 10-11 MA! Architecture Tour in Atlanta.

“What’s nice about this is, certainly from the exterior, it makes the house look even larger or more grand than it is, but on the inside it’s actually quite modest,” she said. “It’s not humongous inside.”


Residents: Benjamin and Vivian Lee, and their 1-year-old daughter, Siena, and Chihuahua, Bodie. Benjamin is an attorney; Vivian is a journalist.

Location: Atlanta’s Piedmont Heights neighborhood

Size: About 3,200 square feet, four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths

Year built: 2016

Builder: HR Construction

Architect: Axios Architecture

Architectural style: Modern

Favorite architectural elements: The design of the exterior, which has synthetic recycled wood siding and cantilevers, has a trompe l’oeil effect that gives the illusion that the home is larger than it is on the inside, Vivian said. The striking sheetrock details hewn into the ceilings and walls create spectacular sight lines, she said. “Ben and Vivian, they wanted something that was stable and calm and timeless,” said their architect, Steve Robinson.

Interior design style: Melange of modern and traditional

Favorite interior design elements: The dining room chandelier creates a subtle veil separating that room from the living room, Vivian said. In addition, they added sliding doors on the first level so they would have the opportunity to separate the dining room and kitchen when needed. The entire space exudes clean, minimalist style. “For us, this design has always been essentially pleasing. We’re not the kind who have a lot of knickknacks or a lot of grandiose furniture,” Vivian Lee said.

Favorite outdoor feature: The half-acre lot in Midtown. “We definitely have taken advantage of playing outside on the lawn with our 1-year-old and Chihuahua many times, which we never really had the option to [do] in our previous homes,” she said.

Resources: Furniture from RH Modern

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