You Will Truly Be Inspired by Tradition With Norman Askins' New Book

You Will Truly Be Inspired by Tradition With Norman Askins’ New Book

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.

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.” 

Villa Vecchia in Atlanta, home of Norman and Joane Askins. Susan Sully, photographer. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

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.

Villa Vecchia in Atlanta, home of Norman and Joane Askins.  Susan Sully, photographer.                            Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

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. 

Villa Vecchia in Atlanta, home of Norman and Joane Askins. Susan Sully, photographer. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

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.

Villa Vecchia in Atlanta, home of Norman and Joane Askins. Susan Sully, photographer.                                             Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

The longer you sit with this book, the more it sits with you–the details, the historical references, floorplan requirements, site and setting–all the ways a house comes together gracefully and yet practically.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.

Thistlewaite, in Highlands, North Carolina. Susan Sully, photographer.                    Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

Atlanta designer Jackye Lanham did the interiors.

Thistlewaite, in Highlands, North Carolina. Susan Sully, photographer. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

 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.

Thistlewaite, in Highlands, North Carolina. Susan Sully, photographer. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.
Thistlewaite, in Highlands, North Carolina. Susan Sully, photographer. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

The garrett-like dressing room in this house might is one of my favorites. La  Bohème meets Heidi.

Thistlewaite, in Highlands, North Carolina. Susan Sully, photographer. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

 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.

Southern Gothic cottage, in Atlanta, Georgia. Erica George Dines, photographer. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

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.

Southern Gothic cottage, in Atlanta, Georgia. Erica George Dines, photographer. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.
Southern Gothic cottage, in Atlanta, Georgia. Erica George Dines, photographer. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

The bead board interior walls and Gothic details of built-ins keep with the cottage feeling.

Southern Gothic cottage, in Atlanta, Georgia. Erica George Dines, photographer. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.
Southern Gothic cottage, in Atlanta, Georgia. Erica George Dines, photographer.        Courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

 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.

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

 Norman always wears a bow tie, a sign of confidence and personal style, with the bonus of almost never having soup spilled on it.

The book will be out on October 14. Order it here at  Norman Askins’ website. Or second choice your local bookstore, which if you don’t know, find it here: IndieBound. Or Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Inspired by Tradition – The Architecture of Norman Davenport Askins.    Text by Susan Sully

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.

19 Comments

  1. I was thinking of you yesterday missing your posts. You are brave to be traveling! This looks to be a beautiful book. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. Hollye Harrington Jacobs

    Can’t wait to read it. I’ve missed you! xxx

  3. Missed you and your wonderful posts dear Frances! xo c.

  4. The book looks amazing. Love that Southern Gothic cottage.

  5. saw your smiling face in a gorgeous lavender coat in NYSD attending a botanical gathering in NYC, Welcome home. Cant wait to hear about Bhutan

  6. Oh me, hope you feel better… Love the book! Every page is prettier than the last!! xo Kristy

  7. I love his style…………..This CONTESSA could move right in.Very regal but comfortable……….I shall ORDER the book!WELCOME home……….sorry to hear you caught a BAD BUG……..drinks loads of water!!!
    XX

  8. Duvall Fuqua

    Can’t wait to get Norman’s book, especially after reading your post! Those of us who are lucky enough to know Norman’s work personally, know what a gifted, talented architect he is. And he is the BEST company too!

  9. This is a very excellent. Thank you very much. I wish you happiness and success!!!!! With my best regards, sincerely yours, Dr. Jacob L. Turumin, MD, PhD, DSci.

  10. I do believe I will treat myself to this marvelous book. As for you, LOTS of chicken soup, orange juice, tea with honey (and a shot of whiskey, which is how my grandmother cured all our colds) and rest, rest, rest, those bugs are the pits. Hope you are feeling better soon!

    • Thank you dear EB, and you are right about that honey-bourbon concoction! Ive been giving that to HG as well. Yep, made hum sick too. 🙁 You will love the book. X Frances

  11. Welcome back! Thanks for enriching our evening with the warm, inspirational layouts! And we are thankful that you came only back with only an old school malady.
    -J&M

  12. Looks like a beautiful book. So sorry you came back from your amazing trip with such a horrific cold. Please feel well and so looking forward to posts of Bhutan. xop

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