Say the name Neel Reid in Atlanta circles—or at least among people who have a passion for home design—and there will likely be solemn nods of appreciation. Reid was not just an architect, he was the architect in Atlanta, Macon, and other Georgia cities in the early part of the 20th century.
Although Reid died in 1926, the homes he designed—many in Atlanta’s prestigious Buckhead neighborhood—are still coveted and revered for their traditional style, graceful proportions, and classic details. Today’s Southern architects respectfully tread carefully when renovating a Neel Reid home. In 2006, Nicole and Neil Metzheiser fell in love with a 1918 Reid-designed home in Atlanta and moved in with their three pre-school-age boys. Nicole, who has always loved the charm of old homes, thought the natural light and the flow of the house would make a great family home.
One of the first renovation projects was the family room. In the family room, Nicole and architect Tim Adams focused on adding charm and warmth to the formerly nondescript room. “We completely gutted it. The proportions were great, but it needed detail,” Adams says.
Insulation, butt-joint wood walls, and a new floor made with salvaged wood were installed. Adams designed a paneled walnut fireplace surround and built-in shelves incorporating brackets and other details found in the original plans. A plastered ceiling with reclaimed wood beams was added to give the space character and boost its cozy factor.
Nicole warmed the room with plush furnishings and an Oushak rug. “With three boys in the family, we want the room to feel relaxed, not fussy. It’s where we can sit around and watch football games, have hors d’oeuvres, and not worry about spills,” she says.
The kitchen was the next project, and although it had been remodeled over the years, it was dark and dreary. There were also a few dated features, such as an ominous copper hood over a center island and a stacked stone fireplace. “They had to go,” Adams says.
One of Nicole’s biggest desires was to get light into the kitchen. To do that, the architect bumped out a 15-foot stretch of an exterior wall by about 3 feet, gaining space for a family dining area with a bank of windows.
The new oak island is topped with Alabama White marble and illuminated by hanging lanterns from Circa Lighting.
A pair of swivel armchairs flank the fireplace in the kitchen seating area. “Those swivel chairs are the best,” Nicole says. “They really allow for conversation because you can turn to talk to someone.” The sitting spot is good for catching the nightly news, too, because a television is housed in an upper cabinet to the right of the range.
The chairs are covered in a Kravet fabric. French doors on each side of the fireplace lead to a screened porch.
The sun-filled living room is painted Benjamin Moore's "Elephant Tusk." Antique wooden armchairs flank the central window; a one-of-a-kind chandelier dangles above the ottoman.
A delightful sun porch is adjacent to the living room. Cream sofa and chairs from Waterfall Charles of London set a relaxed mood in the glassed-in porch. The ceiling is painted “Bird’s Egg” by Benjamin Moore and adds a wonderful pop of color overhead.