A LOCAL ARCHITECT PENS A BOOK ON NOTABLE BROOKHAVEN RESIDENCES
Surrounding the Capital City Club lies a bucolic community that blocks out the hustle and bustle of Peachtree Road. Historic Brookhaven is beloved by its residents and many outside its borders as well. After 33 years of living in the picturesque neighborhood, architect Richard Diedrich noticed that many of its storied homes were disappearing. New homeowners were drastically remodeling or demolishing them to make way for new construction. And he wasn’t the only one worried. Diedrich and his neighbor, Mike Elliott, a Historic Brookhaven Neighborhood Association board member, began talking about creating a book to commemorate the community’s architecture. The association provided some seed money and invited owners of historic homes and sponsors to fund the project. The rest is, well, history. In June of last year, The Storied Houses of Historic Brookhaven was released.
“In the mid-1980s, there were right around 200 houses in the district that were historic, but when we got started there were about 150,” says Diedrich, who along with a career as an architect of recreation facilities has also penned three coffee table books about golf clubhouses. “A committee was formed, and they did a great job, as it turned out to be years of supporting developing the book.”
The 146-page tome profiles 90 houses, in many cases discussing the life and architecture of each dwelling. The pages are adorned with exterior photographs, and some feature a watercolor of the entryway, painted by Diedrich. “I didn’t want the book to just be turn the page, and there is the front of the house,” he says, noting that while many of the historic homes were modest in size, they featured architecturally interesting entryways.
Diedrich selected the specific geographic area and homes, all built before 1942, using criteria developed when the Brookhaven Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the mid-1980s. He also added his own stipulation that the residences couldn’t have been remodeled beyond recognition. In 2013, Diedrich began walking the streets with a friend to take photographs of the houses, including his own, which was built in 1925. His research led him to interview some of the domiciles’ longtime residents, who shared fond memories—also recounted in the book—of growing up in the scenic community. Here is a peek into some of the celebrated abodes that grace the book’s pages.
8 Brookhaven Drive
The only Mediterranean style house among the historic homes belongs to the book’s author. It was originally designed by architect S.D. Trowbridge, who intentionally placed the study, living room and sun porch (now enclosed) on the eastern side to take advantage of the morning sun. The afternoon light hits the south side, including the sunroom, dining room, breakfast room and kitchen. The light and airy interior features large windows, and the exterior has stone walks that Diedrich discovered, along with a stone patio and fireplace, when he cleared the jungle-like growth from the expansive backyard.
4040 East Brookhaven Drive
This brick and stone abode was designed by Preston Stevens Sr., whose firm also designed the Capital City Club’s clubhouse. Completed the same year as the clubhouse, the home was built in 1928 for LeRoy W. Rogers, who founded Rogers Grocery Store in 1892 on Whitehall Street. It was originally painted and named White Chimneys, but the exterior was later sandblasted to reveal the original brick. An extension was added to the northwest side, including a smoking porch overlooking the golf course and a guesthouse and garage that are connected by a porte cochere.
1050 East Club Lane
An intriguing facade of Georgian fieldstone sets apart this home, designed by architect A.F.N. Everett. Although it’s undergone remodeling, it’s hard to distinguish it, largely because it included the use of the original roof tiles and stone that the owner saved when he had a wall removed, opening a rear courtyard. Today, an impressive garden features a pond, paths and charming garden house. Other changes include an addition/remodeling of the main house with a roof added over the terrace.
3855 Club Drive
From the front, it’s difficult to tell that this elegant Classic Revival house was cut in half with a chainsaw, the front preserved and the rear demolished. Its former owners loved the home’s style and location, but found the interior lacking. They also transformed the home’s hardscape. The front features an arrival circle, and the back boasts a loggia and terraces that create a space for indoor-outdoor entertaining.
945 Stovall Boulevard
When former owners Steven and Deborah Proctor purchased this home in the mid-80s, the neighborhood was mainly dominated by the aging second generation of owners of the historic houses. Regardless, the young couple decided to make it their home. They restored the deteriorated wood elements and added interior trim. One of the detailed memories of the renovation that the Proctors recall is refinishing the 2.5-inchthick paneled front door with seven coats of varnish.
THE STORIED HOUSES OF HISTORIC BROOKHAVEN is available for purchase at Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts, the Swan Coach House gift shop, Marguerite’s on Dresden and Brookhaven Home.
STORY: Giannina Smith Bedford
Home feature writer and design columnist at Simply Buckhead. Travel & Business Writer. Mother of Two.