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In Druid Hills, early 1900s ‘masterpiece’ by pioneering female architect seeks $2.8M

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Revived six-bedroom by Leila Ross Wilburn draws inspiration from Paris’s Belle Époque

A photo of a house for sale by Leila Ross Wilburn in Druid Hills Atlanta.
No shortage of ornate porches on Springdale Road.
Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty

Over the years, many century-old residences designed by Leila Ross Wilburn in neighborhoods such as Lake Claire, Midtown, and especially Decatur have come up for sale, often with craftsman leanings or modest proportions that speak to her prowess for designing not exclusively for the wealthy.

But this recent Druid Hills listing designed by Wilburn (1885-1967) resides in another architectural league.

Inspired by Paris’s eclectic and grand Belle Époque period, the six-bedroom “masterpiece,” as the listing puts it, was built in 1916 off present-day Briarcliff Road, near Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.

An Agnes Scott College grad and adherent of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Wilburn was among the first female architects in Georgia. Her styles ranging from craftsman to colonial revival and even ranch houses were so widely used throughout Atlanta, its suburbs, and the rest of Georgia, she’s credited as being the state’s most prolific architect from any period, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

“She was responsible for a vast number of houses built in Georgia,” notes the historical compendium, “but still unidentified in the field.”

Spanning more than 5,000 square feet, this certified Wilburn offering in Druid Hills boasts enviable detailing from the terracotta roofing to parquet interior flooring, including a handful of “resplendent” porches that exemplify her work, per the listing.

Records indicate it last sold in the spring of 2017 for $700,000. Clarification: We’re been informed that purchase price included only one of two parcels at the current property.

Which makes the new asking price of $2.8 million (that’s $558 per square foot) seem ambitious. Although such an extensive renovation with “sensibility to [the] original grand architecture melded with urbane 21st century living” could not have come cheap.

Inside, find a vast white blank canvas with marble, subway tiles, and generous built-ins that include a daybed and mudroom bench. The plusses keep coming with a finished basement (with a flex room), carriage house, and pretty porte-cochère.

One potential drawback: Listing photos indicate a large new (or expanded) dwelling next door could be encroaching on backyard privacy.

And while Springdale Road could easily qualify as one of intown’s stateliest streets, the 31 “car-dependent” WalkScore won’t win over walkability enthusiasts. But such is the price of one massive lot after the next.