Atlanta-based firm Historical Concepts reflects on decades of unassailable work in its new tome, Visions of Home: Timeless Design, Modern Sensibility.
High-gloss lacquer finishes on the millwork and ceiling add a touch of glamour in the grand salon of this East Hampton, N.Y., residence. PHOTO BY ERIC PIASECKI © VISIONS OF HOME: TIMELESS DESIGN, MODERN SENSIBILITY, RIZZOLI NEW YORK, 2021.
One look at new book Visions of Home: Timeless Design, Modern Sensibility (Rizzoli) and you’ll instantly understand Historical Concepts’ (historicalconcepts.com) proclivity for, well, just that: timeless design and modern sensibility. It’s all captured in the spirit of Southern living, as Andrew Cogar, president and author of the book, says: “The South is still all about hospitality and outdoor living, but we’re starting to see a shift in that: It’s understanding that people are drawn here today by opportunity as much as by climate and landscape. It means serving our clients’ modern lifestyle needs for family and entertaining, while remaining connected to the land and a unique architectural heritage.”
The living room at the back of this restored retreat in Bridgehampton, N.Y., offers a view of the charming Dutch door that leads to the mudroom. PHOTO BY ERIC PIASECKI © VISIONS OF HOME: TIMELESS DESIGN, MODERN SENSIBILITY, RIZZOLI NEW YORK, 2021.
For his part, Cogar has been with the firm for over 20 years and has served as president for the last four, supervising projects ranging from custom residential to developer to civic. He is a trustee emeritus of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art’s Southeast chapter, whose references you can easily see in the firm’s work. (Stretching to both ends of the spectrum, he’s also a founding member of the Atlanta chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism.)
Historical Concepts doesn’t work like a traditional design firm, per se: It has five design studios, each with a principal. “We are all architects by profession, but our passions for history, classicism, landscape architecture, and interior design broaden our perspective and inspire a holistic design approach,” Cogar says. “We can often connect what might seem like a novel design idea with a historical narrative. When we find those links between past and present it’s magical, and it’s what gives soul and authenticity to our work.”
English Arts and Crafts and Vienna Secession influences are evident in the decorative motifs and furnishings, as well as the interior architectural details of the doors, windows, panels and wainscoting found throughout this East Hampton, N.Y., home. PHOTO BY ERIC PIASECKI © VISIONS OF HOME: TIMELESS DESIGN, MODERN SENSIBILITY, RIZZOLI NEW YORK, 2021.
This can be seen in the book’s highlighted works, including what was “our most compelling work,” explains Cogar. “Each project [in the book] represents a turning point in the evolution of our firm. While it wasn’t intentional, I was delighted to realize that we were showing the work of each and every principal and studio, which reaffirmed to me the breadth and depth of our team’s talent. While there is always a place for thoughtful and intentional references to the architecture of the past, we are also pushing ourselves in the areas of interpretation and invention, and Visions of Home reflects the full range of our work,” he says.
The cover of Historical Concepts’ new tome. PHOTO BY ERIC PIASECKI © VISIONS OF HOME: TIMELESS DESIGN, MODERN SENSIBILITY, RIZZOLI NEW YORK, 2021.
Expect projects across the country, from Southampton, N.Y., to Idaho to south Georgia, but they all have one thing in common: Historical Concepts’ interpretation of timeless design. Cogar says it’s really about “designing a home that reflects the clients’ vision of how they want to live. ... Timeless design instantly puts people at ease by providing clarity of what it’s suppose to be and how it’s supposed to live. Timeless architecture clearly conveys a story that speaks to the heart, sharing some connection with the past yet feeling equally at home today and tomorrow.”