Thursday, August 16, 2012

Business up Front, Party in the Back

Come on in. I've been waiting for you. (Since 1984!)
A view of the front door from the inside.

Are you with me? I'm still in Atlanta (for the purposes of this blog only). And you and me we're going to revisit one of my early, early projects. Look at my previous post and you'll see the funky digs I called home. Meanwhile a typical client of mine lived in wild and wooly Buckhead and by wild and wooly I mean staid and sedate. So here we go back to my grisaille mural for a Neel Reid house. In the 1910s and 20s Neel Reid was the go to architect when you made a killing in cotton futures or whatever. Living in a Neel Reid house meant you had arrived. His work has impeccable lines, perfect proportions, and fastidious attention to detail and this was a great foil for my wild, organic, tropical, leafy mural.

1984 at the top and 2011 on the bottom. There's hardly any difference, an added widow's walk and some  changes to the landscaping are all I can see. Classical architecture ages well.
Work in progress and me on a ladder laboring in the shadows.
Look at those magnificent moldings! And by the way this corner was where most of my work took place.
Me, caught in the act of painting.

A signature of the designer, Jim Young's work, was the bullseye mirror. I think he managed to find a place for one in most all of his projects. Alas, Jim, a celebrated designer with a stellar client list is remembered by few today.

What else can I tell you about this project? After beginning decorative painting on a grand scale for the Fabulous Fox Theater and then the stately Edwardian lobby at The Ponce I had a series of rather forgettable projects in homes that weren't very special until the Neel Reid project came my way. Having really fine architecture to work on makes all the difference. I can still take pride in the painting I did in 1984, the colors seem right and the composition isn't bad, though naturally I could do a much better job of it today. Atlanta has a number of extant Neel Reid homes and many too of his successor, Philip Schutze so I suppose there's always a possibility I might have  a chance to revisit the experience of working in some really splendid Atlanta residence.

This is an overhead view of the Neel Reid house where I painted the grisaille mural.

A short walk from the Reid house is Philip Shutze's Swan House. Yes, this is front and back of the same house. It is!

As a sort of side note I've included a pictures of the front and rear facades of Swan House by Neel Reid's protégé, Philip Shultze. It's actually within walking distance of the house on Andrews Drive where I painted my mural. As you can the see the front and back look as if they're from two entirely different houses. Do you think the pupil was trying to upstage the teacher with this bit of daring showmanship? 


  1. Wow, that's some stunning architecture you got to work with! Great job you did, too. And, I simply can't NOT ask: were you wearing leg warmers?? That was the '80's for you!

  2. Actually big thick socks but I suppose it was the same impetus, right?

  3. Scott your work thrills me each time I see it! I hope you will get into more of those homes to showcase your murals!

    Art by Karena
    2012 Artist Series featuring Harrison Howard

  4. Finally back up and running on the INTERNET-love these pictures. xxpeggy

  5. I like the mural, Scott. Were you painting in silver, or something more akin to an ecru?

    The front and back of the Swan House is amazing! I wish I had the means to order up such a design!

  6. Mark, it was all grays, not silver or ecru. My photography is completely amateur without special lighting to really get accurate color and these photos came from dusty old, (close to 30 years!), slides that needed considerable cleanup in Photoshop. The one shot in the corner is the most true I think.

  7. What an incredible post! I cannot believe the incredibly beautiful fine work you do! I am in awe. Thank you for posting!

  8. I'm glad you found the house again, after all this time!

  9. Hi John!

    Thanks, yes I found the house location almost two years ago then the owner somehow managed to find me and confirmed my belief that this is indeed a Reid house.


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