Thursday, June 3, 2010

A White House Replica

I plan to write something in the near future about the dangerous new and ARB-acceptable trend of replicating historic architecture here in the Village, but for now I thought I’d entertain you with a story about a White House replica in Georgia.

“In October 2001, Fred Milani's replica of the White House on Briarcliff Road was not quite finished. Still, it was creating a stir in the Oak Grove area north of Clairmont Road as passersby slowed down to gape. In fact, though still in the works, it was the first house profiled in Private Quarters.

Interest in the house has not dimmed. We still get the occasional astonished inquiry from people who happen upon the columned home. Recently Fred and Yvonne, his wife of 25 years, invited us on a tour of the elegantly decorated interior.

The house is a replica of the presidential mansion on the outside only, although Fred works in an "oval office," seated at a replica of Abraham Lincoln's carved mahogany desk. And there's a carved seal of the United States mounted on the ceiling and another woven into the carpet.
Milani, an Iranian-born engineer, residential developer and builder, is an American citizen who has lived in this country since 1979. He is also a former Muslim who converted to Christianity nine years ago. Throughout the house are reminders of his faith, intertwined with his pride of citizenship.

There are 36 rooms on three floors in the 16,500-square-foot house. It has six bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and six fireplaces. The elaborate draperies in the formal rooms are duplicates of those in the White House. "I gave the seamstresses a book on the White House and asked them to copy them," Yvonne explained.

The domed ceiling over the spectacular central staircase in the foyer features a mural of Jesus. His outstretched arms reach out to American Indians in feathered headdresses, Hispanic men in sombreros and Asians in traditional costumes.

"I wanted it to show that God loves all people, all nationalities," said Yvonne, who was born in Mississippi and reared in Missouri.

A 20-foot-tall Christmas tree decorated with oversized blue and gold ornaments stands in the living room. A 2-foot-tall angel tops the tree. There are decorated trees in many other rooms, including the huge kitchen. From the curved and columned balcony at the rear of the home — a replica of the Truman balcony — visitors can see the large pool, waterfall, formal gardens and pool house with full outdoor kitchen.

There's an upstairs sitting room decorated in traditional Iranian fashion with pillowed floor seating and low tables. Silk rugs hanging against the walls are among the Iranian touches throughout the house.

The Milanis are expecting guests for the holidays. They are opening their home to the public from Dec. 11 through Jan. 2 to raise money for the independent International Church of God, a Christian church that ministers to Muslims converting to Christianity. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 2 to 6 p.m. Sundays. The only day the house will be closed is Christmas Day. Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors and $10 for children 6 to 12.”

Here’s the article, posted in 2004, written by Tinah Saunders, which has LOTS of photos:

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