Outdoor Paradise

This stunning makeover pulled out all the stops. Now it's a five-star place to savor summer.
Alice Welsh Doyle / Photography John O'Hagan

Next stop, Hollywood! That's what comes to mind when lounging by the pool or sipping a martini under the shade of the loggia at this Atlanta home. Thank Stuart Noel and Joseph Bishop for the thought. They transformed ugly into gorgeous when they created a splendid Mediterranean-inspired backyard.

Cue a Classic Movie
Like a scene out of Sunset Boulevard, classic Hollywood accents are all around. They reflect a style that was popular when the home was built in 1935. Stuart shared stills from the movie with the architect for inspiration and reference. Touches include a bronze fountain of Triton (the son of Poseidon), a Greek key motif on the pool steps, and mosaic tiles around the pool's edge. You might recognize another movie influence: The long, flowing fabric panels hung at both ends of the terrace are reminiscent of the pool in The Great Gatsby. For the loggia and terrace design, Joseph and Stuart were influenced by the historic Crane Cottage on Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Blending With The Original House
To make the loggia and swimming pool look as original to the house as possible, materials are repeated throughout the design. Wrought iron--used in the railings, spiral staircase, gates, and fence--mirrors the iron features used in the home's 1930s architecture. Heraldic crests and lion masks placed at the top of the loggia's arches complement original medallions found throughout the home. The terra-cotta tile for the terrace floor perfectly matches the home's original tile, and its granite foundation is repeated in the retaining wall.

A Mediterranean-Influenced Landscape
While not tropical, Stuart and Joseph used very Southern plants creatively to bring that spirit to the backyard. ‘Biloxi' crepe myrtles create color and a canopy poolside. Rosemary, tea olives, camellias, and gardenias are fragrant, hardy choices. Instead of boxwood, native inkberry holly bushes form a border inside the iron fence draped in Confederate jasmine. Urns around the fountain are filled with sago palms; two windmill palms, which do well in cooler climates, add to the lush look. In such an exotic atmosphere, you'd hardly be surprised to see a glamorous Hollywood star step through the gate to join you.


"Outdoor Paradise" is from the July 2006 issue of Southern Living.