Watch Chapman’s “Daulton House” Go Up

Architect Clay Chapman is currently constructing the “Daulton House” at 317 South McDonough Road in the MAK District. The house design was approved at the Historic Preservation Commission’s January meeting in a 3-2 vote.

You can monitor the Tudor brick home’s progress at the Chapman Architecture blog.

But perhaps even more interesting than watching this house rise brick-by-brick, is reading Chapman’s theory of the trade that he relates along the way.  Such as…

There may be an underlying suspicion in the collective psyche that we are presently unable to expound; unable to do anything of creative significance because the era of modern manufacturing, in all it’s efficiency, has made the artisan tradesman obsolete; and in so doing extinguished that brazen creativity we Americans pride ourselves as being descended. Of course this is in no way limited to creative building — what car being built today will be held with the same affection as a 66 Ford Mustang in the year 2060.

All this to say, a penchant for period architecture should in no way be based on an unbalanced appreciation for another time. Many modern architects view period design with a bricker-brack sort of kitchy, collectibles mentality and there is good fodder for this. But it’s not so much a particular period I’m in love with, as a few rudimentary materials that happen to be historically ubiquitous; materials I find difficult to improve upon without a price.

h/t: the DNO

Photo courtesy of Chapman Architecture blog

17 thoughts on “Watch Chapman’s “Daulton House” Go Up”


  1. I am glad you posted this. I have been curious about what the heck is going on. Looks like someone may have figured out how to make new homes look like they fit rather than stick out like sore thumbs!

  2. @parkercross simply put, he is saying that we’ve, in ways, lost an appreciation for true artisan craftsmanship. i like what he said about cars these days. it is so true that today’s cars will not be appreciated in 30-40 years the way cars from the mid twentieth century are prized. that is because creating a “beautiful” car has become less important to creating an efficient car. the efficient part need not be secondary either, but we should still care about the art of design.
    we tend to think that because he is working with a primitive medium (brick, wood, steel and slate) that his work is limited to being a period recreation. it is not. a person painting a picture with oil paints today would not be told it was only an attempt to recreate a renaissance artists’ work.

  3. I personally think Clay is something of a genius but without doubt a Renaissance man. If anyone hasn’t seen (inside and out) his Elias House on just off Covington on Kensington in Avondale Estates, you should. It’s unbelievably still for sale.

  4. I can’t believe that the Historic Preservation Commission almost did not approve this wonderful piece of craftsmanship. What were the 2 dissenters thinking?

    If this doesn’t make you think twice about submitting all of your property rights to the review of the HPC, I don’t know what would.

    1. The cheaply constructed monstrosities that are destroying the art of craftsmanship, perhaps?

      I think you are completely contradicting yourself- you can’t argue for preserving fine craftsmanship when the standards our construction industry is allowed to get away with because we don’t have more controls are destroying the art of the craft and lowering standards and expectations to a level where people think spending a fortune for a lot of tiny rooms with concrete siding is great as long as it has granite countertops.

      My husband is a craftsman. He has worked in the construction industry in four countries.He was shocked when he came here and saw landscapers slapping up stone walls that won’t last 20 years and the disposable way builders slap together houses.

      Do you know the reason two people voted no? The fact is, the place was approved. Two people voted no. Why?What were the reasons? To dismiss the value of preservation because two people voted against a project you like is really shortsighted and narrow.

      Just saying …

      1. Whoa, Nellie, I didn’t realize that making such an obvious point would get you so crazy.

        I am not dismissing the “value of preservation” or anything of the such. I fully support historic preservation and think that our building codes should have higher standards, not less.

        My only point was that it would seem ridiculous for the Decatur HPC to nearly not approve this project, which they almost did by one vote. Even the builder or homeowner said in the article that it “almost didn’t happen.”

        My point being that apparently 2 members of our HPC would have an easier time supporting lower craftsmanship feax-historic bungalow that seem to predominate rather than a truly unique, custom high craftsmanship project shuch as this that really does “fit in.” Let’s remember, this was an empty lot before.

        And if you don’t believe me, then talk to some of the homeowners who have tried to deal with the HPC to get their projects approved. It is truly a nightmare. Some people have bought houses to renovate and ended up just deciding to sell their house rather than have to go through it.

        Yes, I believe in historic preservation. I believe in high building standards and craftsmanship. But I also believe that our HPC needs to be reigned in and why people should give second thought to having their block be under its auspicies.

        1. Take a look at the notes of the HPC meeting if you don’t belive me and how the neighbors and some members of the HPC opposed it because the didn’t think it fits in and didn’t like the Tutor design. It is the December 15, 2009 HPC meeting.

          It is pretty outrageous!

          1. Look how you stated your concern though. Very much that in a way that two people on the commission not agreeing with you means historic districts are inherently bad. And you are propagating the myth that historic districts take away your property rights, which is just plainly wrong. There is a simple solution- don’t buy a house in an historic district or sell yours if it happened after you moved in. That’s joy of the relative ease and affluence of America- if your values are not in line with your community, you are free to leave. If you don’t want to leave then you have to deal with community whose majority have different standards. I have to deal with that in Oakhurst- I hate most of the houses being built over here now. They are senselessly big and cheaply constructed. I walk a lot and it’s easy to see that shabby is already setting in on some of them. But I deal with it because I like my house; I have been in it for nearly 15 years and almost own it outright.

            It also goes back to a lot of points I have made in the past about taste. This is obviously way on the side of your taste, obviously not on the side of the taste of the other people. So it looks like they voted with their taste, not with the rule of the HPC, right (hopefully not the rules of the HPC)? If the objections were things like the house is too tall and will throw the line of the street off or something legitimate, then that’s one thing. But MAK has a lot of architectural styles ( and it kinda cracks me up that these two think that anything over here is true craftsman or that style is predominant- MAK is a mix of everything from little post WWII housing boom slap ups to turn of the century four square, so to stick a style on it is shows true cluelessness, frankly).

            Maybe the issue is not HPC but particular members who should not be on the commission…..

  5. As we rode past the construction the other day, the Mrs. and I wondered if it was really going to be house. I’ve seen a house built starting with the outer shell. Very intriguing.

      1. Us, neither– the spousal unit & I were driving past it, and he said the very same thing…still, it looks like it’s going to be beautiful, if the brickwork is any indication.

  6. We saw the plans for this home, and they are gorgeous. I can’t wait to see the project come together.

  7. After viewing every image on Clay’s website (a wonderful zen-like experience) I will never look at a brick the same way again. Wow.

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