Any passerby who assumes the historic Blair Building’s transition from Barney purple to dashing pink was a decision made lightly is assuming wrong.
That’s according to the 1939 downtown Decatur architectural landmark’s new ownership, who says the choice to coat the Streamline Moderne-style building in a color called Cinder Rose took 10 months, lots of debate, and no shortage of time spent culling inspiration from the Accidentally Wes Anderson website.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Blair Building is one of just two examples of Streamline Moderne architecture—a sub-genre of Art Deco inspired by 1930s planes, trains, and automobiles—in the City of Decatur. It’s been an office building for more than 80 years and will continue to be as renovations move forward.
Atlanta commercial real estate veteran Gene Kansas purchased the 83-year-old landmark in summer 2021, and he says all changes will honor its history and tradition—but not its original color: drab grey.
The pinkification began earlier this month.
“We knew a lot of eyes would be on us–literally and figuratively–so we were quite deliberate [with the color choice],” Kansas wrote in an email. “Ultimately, we chose Cinder Rose, a deep and thoughtful pink that can change dramatically depending on time of day and weather conditions. I love it. Pink is an approachable color associated with love, harmony, compassion, and friendship.”
Today, the two-story, 12,500-square-foot Blair Building is sandwiched between two staples of Decatur’s food and beverage scene on Church Street: chef Kevin Gillespie’s Revival restaurant and Twain’s Brewpub and Billiards. Over the decades, it’s been grey, purple, pink, and faded versions of each.
Smith Hanes Studio is redesigning the interiors with lush fabrics, stacked tile, playful patterns, and surprises such as Morse code built into the ceilings. Another addition is a bar space for tenants and guests called Library, for coffee or libations depending on the time of day (or coolness of one’s boss).
But noticeable exterior changes won’t stop with the pink paint.
In coming months, Howard Design Studio will install landscaping around the Blair Building that Kansas has described as having a storybook, wonderland look, with In Bloom Landscape on board for installation.
Kansas says renovations are now scheduled to wrap in June—or roughly a year later than originally anticipated. Just one suite in the building is currently available for lease, a wood-paneled space Kansas describes as a “Film Noir detective movie” with room for posting up with a laptop.
“Given the challenges out there with supply chain, supply and demand, and inflation, I’m not down about [the delay]—it’s just reality,” he says.
In the gallery above, have a closer look at the building’s color change (no rose-tinted glasses required) and historical context in downtown Decatur.
• Decatur news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)