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Column: Pink Palace not to be confused with Pink Castle
by Thornton Kennedy
Northside Neighbor Columnist
July 17, 2013 10:14 AM | 1994 views | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thornton Kennedy
Thornton Kennedy
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It has always been a source of mild confusion when people speak of the Pink Palace and the Pink Castle.

The house on the corner of West Paces Ferry Road and Tuxedo Road is very handsome and definitely palatial but not pink. The mansion on Pinestream Road is a very impressive home with a most definite pink hue, but it lacks the ramparts and turrets usually associated with castles.

The houses are constantly referred to by the same name, with the Pink Palace being called the Pink Castle and vice-versa. My father, Alfred D. Kennedy, swears the house on Pinestream is the Pink Palace. According to the Internet, he is wrong. His response is that he has been around longer than the Internet. Hard to argue with that.

Making the issue more convoluted, both homes were designed by the same architects, were built within four years of each other, are separated by about a mile and are on opposite sides of West Paces Ferry Road.

The Pink Castle preceded the Pink Palace by a few years and that is where we will begin. Neel Reid and Philip T. Shutze designed the home known as the Andrew Calhoun House. In its prime it was a 100-acre estate framed by great pink piers on West Paces Ferry. The home was completed in 1922, according to the Buckhead Heritage Society website.

The look of the house harkens back to 16th-century Italy. It is based on Villa Arvedi in Cuzzano near Verona. Of course, neither the Calhouns nor the architects called it the Pink Castle. To them, it was Trygveson.

The color of the house was an aging effect, which Shutze employed to make the home look as if it had been there for centuries. Elizabeth Meredith Dowling describes the process in her book “American Classicist: The Architecture of Philip Trammell Shutze.”

The exterior walls range in color from burnt sienna at the top to yellow amber at the bottom. The walls were “aged” by applying dye to the wet stucco and grading from the darker red to the “faded” yellow. Shutze based the scheme on his years studying architecture in Italy, where the sun dulled the colors of centuries-old homes in some places while the colors remained vibrant in others. The result is the distinct pink hue.

The Pink Palace was commissioned by Joseph Rhodes. Completed in 1926, it, too, was a collaboration between Reid and Shutze. Shutze was inspired by a building in Venice, the Scuola dei Tiraoro e Battiloro, which he had photographed years before. The building’s deep red color was created by adding ground roof tiles to the stucco.

That proved to be a bit much for the Rhodes family, who had it toned down to the to the reddish-pink color for which the home came to be known. The Pink Palace is pink no more, having been toned down further in the 1970s to its current beige color.

This does nothing to answer the question of which is which, I realize. The Internet has set the story straight. The Pink Palace is the Rhodes home, while the Pink Castle is that of the Calhouns. Just don’t tell that to Alfred Kennedy unless you want an earful.

Buckhead resident Thornton Kennedy is a sixth-generation Atlantan and can be reached at thorntonkennedy@me.com.
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