For most of us, there are certain sights and sounds that instantly evoke memories of our childhood homes. The crunch of leaves underfoot on a cool fall afternoon or smoke rising from a grill at a family gathering are all it takes to instantly transport many people right into their old backyards. For one couple with roots in the South, it was likely recollections of a screen door slamming or sipping ice-cold lemonade on a porch swing on a hot summer night that drove the decision to build a home that evoked the spirit of their childhood domiciles. “They wanted to create a house for their children that had the feel and the character of where they both grew up,” says designer Tineke Triggs. “That meant including things like the wraparound porches you’d find on a beautiful old plantation house.”
A coveted 1-acre flag lot in Atherton offered up the perfect backdrop. After scraping a 1950s ranch-style structure, Los Angeles-based architect Tim Barber and senior project manager Kirk Snyder crafted a classically proportioned Georgian-style home with clapboard siding and a cedar shake roof to take its place. The house stretches five bays wide and is marked by a timeless gable over the front door. “There are enough big porches and screen doors to capture the outdoor living feel reminiscent of their youth,” Snyder says. “And fortunately, that idea translates well to Northern California.”
When it came to furnishings, Triggs saw it as her mission to respect the architecture while still being mindful of the youthfulness of her clients. “I wanted to work with traditional pieces, but not things that felt stuffy or like your grandmother’s house,” says the designer, who utilized transitional fabrics to support that concept.
But if there’s any question about the home’s overall intent, the sight of the swing suspended by ropes on the back porch is a reminder that it’s time to slow down and go looking for that pitcher of lemonade.