east atlanta’s old new money

ZJ collage

I’m not actually a fan of Neoclassical Revival houses. They all seem rather gaudy to me, bawdy even, built, not out of the frontier earth that raised many an antebellum classical revival house, but from turn-of-the-century “new south” and “new money.” They are the forerunners of today’s McMansions and that, for sure, is nothing to be admired. Our class is studying architectural details and interior design, and looking at the outside, I fully expected open spaces and white paint, elaborately carved details. Inside, however, was more typical of the time period (built in 1906), the craftsmanship beamed. Mr. Zuber, it turns out was in the lumber industry and the interior is a blend of classical arches and arts and crafts styles that blend, though not seamlessly, very well. All this woodwork has been stained, making the interior dark and cozy, glowing warmly in the lamplight. The couple who owns the house now is neither Zuber nor Jarrell (the family that lived in the house since the middle of the 20th century and keeps up ties with the place), and they have been living in major work-in-progress since they began in 2003. Mostly working room by room, the dining room and front hall are the primary storage areas though many of the interior walls exhibit layers of peeled wallpaper and painted plaster, fruits of J’s labor.

It turns out I would love to live here, open up all the windows of the breakfast room, sleep on the sleeping porch above while that East Atlanta breeze rustles the pecans, and sipping cocktails with friends on the open, vine-covered side porch before a lovely dinner in the pink and green 80s floral wallpapered dining room (might have to redo that).

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