Holiday Tradition

A historic home in Druid Hills is honored for this season and beyond

By Denise K. James

FOR YEARS, WHEN DENISE BAILEY and her running buddies would take a route through the historic neighborhood of Druid Hills, enjoying the stately homes and verdant landscaping, a particular house consistently stood out among the rest. Designed by legendary architect Neel Reid with an expansive porch supported by classic columns, it was hard to miss – and front porches have long captured Denise’s attention.

Like most of us who admire a beautiful home, Denise never suspected she would one day live there. She and her husband, Scott, and their three young children were happily settled in Decatur, and the couple wanted their kids to remain in the city schools through high school. But fast-forward to a suddenly empty nest, and the timing was right to venture outside of the Decatur city limits. The Druid Hills home came up for sale, and, although the Baileys considered Morningside and other in-town neighborhoods, something about 1308 Fairview seemed to fit.

Holiday Tradition

A rich history

The couple’s connections to the home’s history made it an easy decision to purchase it. The house was originally built for Arthur Howell Sr., and Mr. Howell had been a founding partner of one of the firms that merged to form Atlanta’s Alston & Bird. Interestingly, Scott had been a young associate at Alston & Bird, and his office was next to Arthur Howell, Jr., by then a retired partner. In another happy coincidence, the sellers were both Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians, where Denise had once worked as a fundraiser. It all seemed kismet.

The Baileys had visions of how they could enhance and modernize the property while honoring its past. The distinctive historic features—including a spacious foyer, Reid-style symmetrical fireplaces and a bright solarium— all retain the home’s original design, while renovated touches create a more modern aesthetic.

Together with Builder Jason Tillery of Domain Custom Homes and Architect Wright Gardner, the Baileys renovated the home to its current glory. A small kitchen and formal dining room were reconfigured, allowing for a more spacious and updated kitchen with custom built-in cabinets, a large pantry and a 10-foot island – plus a still-generous dining area perfect for holiday gatherings. Two of the coal-burning fireplaces downstairs were transitioned to gas while maintaining their original character, and a beautiful screened porch with its own fireplace was added just off the dining room. The home’s original breakfront cabinet was deconstructed and preserved by Jason’s team, then relocated from the breakfast room to the current dining area. Upstairs, the couple expanded the home’s primary suite to allow for more closet space.

Holiday Tradition

All of these renovations, with the exception of the expanded back porch, have honored the home’s original footprint. It is something Scott and Denise both take seriously – they obtained reproductions of the home’s original Neel Reid architectural drawings from the Atlanta History Center to better understand its design.

Holiday Tradition


The original blueprint plans from 1913 drawn by Neel Reid for 1308 Fairview Road provided by the Atlanta History Center.

Holiday Tradition

Holiday Tradition

Holidays at 1308 Fairview

On a brisk day in November, everyone at 1308 Fairview was busily decorating for the upcoming holiday festivities. Plans included elegant and understated ornaments obtained from David D’Ambrosio, owner of Redefined Home Boutique, who helped Denise and Scott initially furnish their home. Festive bulbs, greenery on mantles and tabletops, pine accents with a hint of shimmer and decorative trees and wreaths were decking each hall, preparing for the home’s grand debut just in time for the season. The original design drawings for 1308 Fairview will also be displayed to honor its 110-year history.

Scott and Denise agree they are happy to continue the legacy of their new home. They consider themselves to be stewards of a property that holds a special place in the history of Druid Hills and the history of Atlanta.

Recent Posts