Ben Hirsh of Hirsh Real Estate has sold Villa Juanita, the most iconic estate in Atlanta, for $7.2 million. On the market for just 113 days, Villa Juanita is the second-highest sale of the year in Buckhead. The buyer’s identity is not being disclosed.
Adjacent to the Governor’s Mansion, the 7.3+ acre property is located on the corner of Tuxedo Road and West Paces Ferry Road. Veiled behind 10-foot walls, Villa Juanita is an elegant and mysterious reminder of Buckhead’s rich history. The grounds feature a 70’-pool and acres of walking trails through the forests.
According to FMLS and public records, Villa Juanita is the 7th most expensive sale of all time for a home in Buckhead. The sale also represents the largest home sale in Metro Atlanta history that was both listed and sold by a single agent.
“Being selected to market and sell Villa Juanita was such an honor,” says Hirsh. “The estate has captured the hearts and imagination of Buckhead residents for nearly 100 years. And, yes, the 94-year- old legendary property will remain intact and be better than ever. Out of several interested and qualified buyers we sold to the best possible buyer. They will enhance the estate, preserve it for future generations, and become the steward of the jewel that it is.”
Hirsh is the principal of Buckhead.com, a community website that aims to be the digital heart of Buckhead. In fact, the site was leveraged to achieve unprecedented exposure for the property locally and internationally. In the process of researching the history of the estate, Hirsh combined information found in various archives into a large coffee-table book that was given to prospective buyers. A copy of this book will now be given to the Atlanta History Center to preserve the history for future generations.
Villa Juanita is one of Buckhead’s most significant historic estates. Veiled behind 10-foot walls, she is an elegant and mysterious reminder of Buckhead’s glamorous past in the roaring 20’s. The grounds feature total privacy, a 70’ pool, and walking trails through the forests. Adjacent to the Governor’s Mansion, the 7.3+ acre property is located along Tuxedo Road and West Paces Ferry. Stunning Mediterranean style rich in details with the finest materials & modern updates. Built to withstand the test of time, it has been very well maintained and is in excellent condition. The functional floorplan is as relevant to today’s lifestyle as when it was built in 1924. Each spacious bedroom and master suite overlooks the pristine property. There are 14 principal rooms and many terraces from which to enjoy the gorgeous views. Very few large parcels such as this still exist in the heart of Buckhead. The scale of the land and significance of the estate are rare and will continue to grow in value. Adjacent to the Governor’s Mansion in Tuxedo Park, Villa Juanita truly presents a generational opportunity to invest in an iconic Buckhead property.
The grandeur of Villa Juanita began with the roaring ‘20s. when Conkey P. Whitehead purchased this land for his new bride, Julia Murphy. The Whitehead family had made their fortune by obtaining exclusive rights to bottle and sell Coca Cola in 1889. They built Villa Juanita in 1922 to host their active social life. In June, Whitehead and the architectural firm Pringle & Smith agreed on a design for a majestic neo-Spanish residence that would showcase “a rich vocabulary of ornament”
During construction in 1922 and 1923, the young couple was on an extended honeymoon. But the Whiteheads returned home with changes to the original design, adding a gymnasium and further Mediterranean accents.
The house was completed in 1924 and named “Villa Juanita.” A beautiful 10-foot wall accommodated their dogs – airedales, German shepherds (then known as “police dogs”) and a fox terrier.
The house was completed in 1924 and named “Villa Juanita.” A beautiful 10ft wall accommodated their dogs – airedales, German shepherds (then known as “police dogs”) and a fox terrier.
Villa Juanita has served as a majestic setting throughout history, from affairs typical of the Roaring 20’s, like supper dances and galas, to most recently Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Decorator showhouse and brilliant house parties. Atlanta’s “Great Gatsby” house has seen many distinguished visitors from former New York Mayor Jimmy Walker, the “First Lady of American Theater,” Ethel Barrymore, Jane Fonda and more.
After Julia Whitehead’s passing, her sister, Katie Riley, was given the residence and lived there for fifty years. Riley was very involved in Atlanta civic and social affairs, leaving Villa Juanita with a philanthropic legacy. The families who built and lived in Villa Juanita established The Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation and The Katherine and John Murphy Foundation. Recent owners of Villa Juanita have significantly restored and renovated the home while preserving its original charm and elegance.
These 7.3 acres are situated on the heart of Buckhead’s most desirable street in the undisputed top-shelf neighborhood of Tuxedo Park. Residing at Villa Juanita home means being steps away from award-winning shopping and dining, while calling the Governor’s Mansion your next door neighbor.
While luxurious and beautiful, Villa Juanita is as comfortably liveable today as she was in 1924. The floorplan is elegant, interesting, and relevant to today’s lifestyle. The mediterranean style is simply stunning with rich details and the finest materials used. It was built to withstand the test of time and has been kept in excellent condition. The design and functionality is truly timeless with many modern updates. The spacious bedrooms and master suite overlook the pristine property. There are 14 principal rooms and several covered and uncovered terraces from which to enjoy the unusual sense of privacy and stunning views. The residence flows in such a way that entertaining and living are effortless. Indoor and outdoor pools, gym, sauna, a forest walking trail, and expansive gardens provide many opportunties for recreation. – Villa Juanita is one of Buckhead’s timeless treasures.
In June 1922, the esteemed firm of Pringle and Smith received a commission from Conklin P. Whitehead for a house intended as a gift for his new bride. The architect and client agreed on a design for a two-story, stuccoed, neo-Spanish residence with a pantile roof, multiple chimney accents, varied openings, and a rich vocabulary of ornament.
As an exemplar of the Mediterranean Style, the Whitehead house, known as “Villa Juanita,” is an elaborate exercise in composing picturesque forms, neo-Spanish ornament, and variety of fenestrations, and shows the hand of a master designer in the manipulation of formal and informal spaces. Openings are grouped to dene and make legible the interior spaces they light, and it is clear the house is determined fundamentally by its plan rather than an effort simply to be picturesque.
From: Robert M. Craig The Architecture of Francis Palmer Smith, Atlanta’s Scholar-Architect.