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The Prairie McMansion Debate Rages in Decatur

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Decatur’s known as a special kind of place, with a quirky indie vibe that’s the pride of those who call it home. This character has brought in new residents infatuated with the city’s charms but hungry for larger homes than the vintage bungalows found on many Decatur streets, thus the teardown phenomenon. But as you’d expect, the results aren’t your Alpharetta-variety mini manors. Local historian David Rotenstein is initiating a series on his blog History Sidebar examining the varieties of these teardowns specific to Decatur, and this week he takes a look at a style we’ve been seeing more and more of: Prairie, a.k.a. homes that bring to mind Frank Lloyd Wright, specifically those designed by Decatur architect Eric Rawlings. Rotentstien’s beef is that the new houses are out of scale with their older neighbors (labeling them McMansions), and of an architectural mode not historically native to the area; Rawlings defends his creations as respectful of their surroundings and providing a product that the market craves. Rawlings’s designs are certainly distinctive, but let’s be honest: the situation could be worse. Much worse.

· The Oakhurst McMansion var. “Prairie Modern” [ History Sidebar]
· Rawlings Design, Inc.