Atlanta Dream Homes: From Contemporary to Classic, Properties Represent a Wide Variety of Tastes and Personalities

Article excerpt

Atlanta may be "Home Sweet Home" to more high-profile African-American political leaders, corporate executives, music moguls and entrepreneurs than any other U.S. city. It is considered a proverbial "promised land" for Blacks due to its civil fights heritage, cultural offerings, Black colleges, career opportunities and cushy, affordable housing.

During the 1990s, a half-million Black Americans relocated to metro Atlanta. By 2000, more than 200,000 African-Americans in metro Atlanta--an astounding 49 percent--had become homeowners.

With properties that range from contemporary in-town homes to classic suburban estates, a wide array of tastes and personalities are represented in Atlanta. Simply put, an area fabled for its hospitality and graciousness is a melting pot of trendsetters who are living the quintessential American Dream and playing by their own rules.

Georgia State Sen. Emanuel Jones, who owns three automobile dealerships, shares the 21,000-square-foot Elam Estates with his wife, Gloria, and their children, Emanuel II, Elam and Emani. Nestled on 12 1/2 acres, the Joneses' three-level, 45-room mansion is family-friendly and livable. Yet there is an undeniable regal formality that begins at the gate of the European-styled brick fortress. There are 10 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a theater room, sauna, steam room, tanning room, music room and a much-needed elevator.

Elaborate ceilings--coffered, coved, domed, vaulted and trayed--exude a sky-is-the-limit aura. Ornate wood millwork, five fireplaces, dark mahogany library and antiques add to the classic grandeur. A color palette spiked with gold and bronze is an earthy backdrop to opulent window treatments. The show-stopping master suite is reminiscent of a five-star Italian hotel.

Houses, their furnishings and grounds present insight into the personalities of the occupants. The home of Dr. Louis and Ginger Sullivan is one that comforts and nurtures. A distinguished physician, Dr. Sullivan founded the Morehouse School of Medicine. Even after a term in Washington, D.C., as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, the internationally traveled humanitarian opted for a permanent Atlanta address. The Sullivans agree that the city's vibrant sense of community, and its cultural, civic, religious and social opportunities were alluring.

With commitments that propel him from Poland to South Africa, Dr. Sullivan is abroad much of the time. He serves on eight corporate boards as well as boards for charitable foundations and international committees.

When the Sullivans return home from their sojourns, their 9,000-square-foot Southern colonial manor is an oasis of calm. …