West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta – Alright, time to see more of this house! And yes, the pic above is the back of the house, which kinda looks like the front of a house. That’s how Shutze, the architect, built houses. Another one he built just down the street is the Swan House, part of Atlanta History Center. Same thing – is it the front or back of the house?
So I saved the most surprising downstairs room for y’all. As we were touring, I heard someone ask in hushed tones “Are we going in the Menaboni Room?”. Huh? What’s a Menaboni room? Picture me with a blank look. But it turned out to be the biggest surprise on the tour. It’s an octagonal breakfast room and you think you’re in a birdcage when you’re in it.
Of course this is not a large room and I try really hard not to get people in pictures on these tours, but look at these details in this room! This is an old photo from when the house was staged…and looking in the kitchen you can see the old floor tile colors in there, those have been changed to original green color now.
That ceiling! But wait, that’s not all! Didn’t expect to see an elevator built into this room (think 1930s elevator, aka TINY!). That door opens the elevator.
So who is Menaboni? Think of him as Atlanta’s very own Audubon. Athos Menaboni, an Italian immigrant, painted many, many birds in and around Atlanta. He lived to be 90 and worked right up to the end!
From here we headed upstairs (this house has 5 bedrooms total). As with many old homes, maximum detail and expense goes into the public rooms, so the floors are a different wood than the walnut floors on the first floor. Impressive to see the original 1930s bathrooms (and hey, subway tile is back in a big way these days!).
The master bedroom is huge, but May Goodrum slept on the sleeping porch that was adjacent to it instead. Here’s a look at the master bedroom.
See there’s some furniture in here? The Watson Brown Foundation has been able to acquire quite a few of the original pieces of furniture in the house, so visitors will get to see what this place looked like in the 1930s.
The main landing upstairs had great arched doorways, this one is visible from the first floor too.
This place was originally a 5 acre parcel, though over the years a couple of acres have been sold. Looking out in front, see all the boxwoods?
Well, here’s a funny story about the boxwoods out front. In 1936, Mrs Goodrum had these planted in the shape of her initials. Pretty cool idea huh? She remarried in 1938 (and nope, he wasn’t a “G”, it was Francis Abreu) – and had the plants redone to reflect her updated initials!
The back gardens – I’d call this a bowling lawn – was really impressed by the curved walls, and at the very back, we’ll see the Watson Brown Foundation’s next big renovation here.
Yep – the pavilion is next up to renovate, and like most anything to do with an old house, nothing is ever as simple as it looks. There are numerous city code requirements now on these things.
Standing in the back garden (oh you know it’s about to rain, don’t you?).
Last stop – a side garden and pond, that was set up as an outdoor theater back in the old days.
As we were wrapping up outside, the rain finally let loose in those huge raindrops that are the beginning of a 5 minute shower outside. I think it lasted about as long as it took all of us to run back to our cars, which were parked off the property. Got in the car, and voila, the rain stopped! How does that happen like that? Grrr!
Wrapping up the May Patterson Goodrum House – WOW. It’s amazing that so much of the original detail in the house remained after years of benign neglect – like the mural in the dining room, the Menaboni painting, the original bath fixtures and things like that. And while I promise you this is one big house, and has very formal spaces, it still feels comfortable inside. Maybe it was not having furniture and paintings around everywhere, but all in all just an amazing property. As I did my research and learned more about May Patterson Goodrum Abreu, it just reinforced how much that the people make a house a home. Their stories are what makes history so interesting!
Thanks so much for coming along on this 2 part tour! I appreciate you!