Atlanta architect Norman Askins finally has a book, and it was worth the wait. Aptly entitled Inspired by Tradition, the volume is filled with beautiful architecture and (bonus!) terrific interior design.
Among the 15 houses included is the Askinses’ own Atlanta residence, Villa Vecchia, “old house.”
Comprising styles ranging from Italian Renaissance, to English Country, to American Federal, the monograph is a brilliant reference for anyone considering building, renovating, or adding on. The livability, handsomeness, charm, and accessibility of Askins’ designs grace every picture in the book and every word of the estimable Susan Sully’s text.
Askins’ wife Joane did the the interiors of VillaVecchia in a wonderful, warm manner that looks to be accumulated by successive generations of an old, noble family.
Norman Askins’ designs are elegant without pretense, and consciously so. In describing a Federal-style stone house in Atlanta, he notes that, “…every time we introduced a formal element, we found a way to take it down a notch, warm it up, or give it soul.” I imagine that to be true of all Askins’ work, because that is the way he is.
I’ve been lucky to write about this architect’s work in Veranda and to know him through family members with whom he has worked in the past. I was always happy when our paths crossed in my Atlanta days, and it is an honor to count him as a friend; Joane, too.
The longer you sit with this book, the more it sits with you–the details, the historical references, floorplan requirements, site and setting–all the ways a house comes together gracefully and yet practically.
A North Carolina mountain house he designed for a garden-loving client is inspired by Sir Edwin Lutyens’s Homewood, in England, with its sharply pitched gables and fat brick chimneys. Askins’ version is called Thistlewaite.
Atlanta designer Jackye Lanham did the interiors.
Norman has worked with some of the best interior designers in the business, Jackye Lanham, Carolyn Malone, Susan Bozeman, and of course his own fabulous wife Joane, to name a few. Not that Askins needs any help, but good interiors have a way of making good architecture even better.
The garrett-like dressing room in this house might is one of my favorites. La Bohème meets Heidi.
A good classically-trained architect (University of Virginia in this case, thank you, and Wahoo-wa) can probably conjure a grand house on a grand budget in his sleep–and certainly in his dreams, but it takes a special sensibility to conjure an almost-perfect cottage, like this Southern Gothic interpretation in Atlanta.
Again with Jackye Lanham interiors.
The staircase shares space with the dining room. Putting dining rooms in halls or thoroughfares is genius, in my opinion. That way you are sure to go in it. Whether you eat there or not, at least you enjoy its beauty.
The bead board interior walls and Gothic details of built-ins keep with the cottage feeling.
Don’t you love every single room? And how versatile he is? I appreciate concrete, steel, and glass as much as anyone, but for nesting, give me tradition any day.
Here is Norman with another super-fantastic Atlanta interior designer, Nancy Braithwaite on the October cover of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, where yours truly was privileged to work many moons ago.
Norman always wears a bow tie, a sign of confidence and personal style, with the bonus of almost never having soup spilled on it.
P.S. Sorry for the lapse in posts. As soon as I get out of my bathrobe, I will be back with a Postcard From Bhutan, from whence I have just returned, with a bug that became a cold the likes of which I haven’t seen since I don’t even know what … You should probably wash your hands after reading this.