Old Fourth Ward Home Fuses Sleek Lines, Warm Materials for Inviting Aesthetic

In the last decade, as the Beltline has paved a concrete ribbon along the eastern side of intown Atlanta, Old Fourth Ward has blossomed as one of the hottest residential neighborhoods in the city. Stately turn-of-the-century homes have been restored and small old homes of the post-WWII boom—many long past their prime—have been replaced by modern new structures.

While the bland and boxy constructs of today’s development-driven architecture seem ubiquitous, on Ashley Avenue, some unique modern structures have been built that break down the monotony of many of their contemporaries. They are the work of TaC studios—a residential firm based out of the neighborhood—design duo Cara Cummins and Jose Tavel.

One of the homes on the street belongs to Tanya Oursler and Kay Taylor, who reached out to TaC based on the firm’s reputation and a shared aesthetic sensibility. The couple were deeply involved in the design process and watched their house rise from the parking deck of their nearby rental unit. Now, after a year in the home, the couple love it more than they ever imagined.

At the outset, Oursler and Taylor had a “very long list” of wants for the home. Cara worked with them to understand their style preferences and lifestyle needs, accommodating their love of entertainment with large open spaces. The couple had concerns that a modern house would feel cold or sterile, but the design incorporates rich woods and plenty of natural light, enhancing the experience of the space.

Art, finishes and furniture were chosen by Cara for a totally designed experience. Together, the design creates a “spalike atmosphere” which allows the couple to feel as though they are “on vacation all the time.” Additionally, select pieces of furniture were designed for the space by TaC studios and crafted locally by McMeubel/Michael Courtz. The wooden pieces fit the home well and allowed the couple to “move in and start living.”

Furniture was not the only thing specially made for the home. To dress up the exterior, Cummins and Tavel designed a metal screen for the balcony railing facing the street. The geometric patterns, cut from dark metal panels, contrast with the light finish of the house and interplay with the strong rectilinear profile. The unique pattern, which repeats throughout the home, is inspired by the intersection of nearby streets and even contains an abstraction of the homeowners’ initials.

The interplay between interior and exterior goes far beyond the railing motif. Large sliding glass walls open the living space to an expansive outdoor area, complete with pool, hot tub and lounging areas. Each exterior space is designed like a unique room, providing places to lounge alone or gather as a group. On each floor, balconies allow Tanya and Kay to enjoy a connection with outside. And on the fourth floor, a large terrace opens off of a guest bedroom, which the couple uses as a home gym.

That fourth bedroom was added as a part of the design at Tanya’s request. A real estate agent, she says she was always concerned about the impact decisions would have on the resale value. Ironically, the couple is adamant they will never sell.

Clearly, they have found their forever home in TaC Studio’s nature-inspired modern house.