Unable to bear it any longer, you take the first available exit and suddenly find yourself in a different world. The cars around you disappear. You're driving down a street lined with 100-year-old oaks dripping with Spanish moss. Here and there, the shiny leaves and delicate white petals of a flowering magnolia tree rise and fall on the gentle spring breeze. The car turns, and you're traveling up a driveway flanked by azalea bushes and dogwood trees so full of blossoms they seem in danger of collapsing beneath the load. The car stops in front of a house you know is yours. Brick steps lead up to a porch supported by four perfectly spaced classical columns. Across the front of the home, louvered shutters stand at attention beside arched windows. The symmetry and harmony of the design elements work together to produce a feeling of tranquility. The tension of the workday releases its hold on you as you settle into a porch glider and gently begin to rock. . . . And then the alarm goes off.
Especially since the end of World War II, home ownership has been an integral part of the American Dream. In recent years, more and more home builders have chosen to fulfill that dream with a design whose roots lie deep in the traditional architecture of the South. This may not be surprising in light of the surge in popularity of things
Southern in recent years: Creole cooking, barbecue and the blues, not to mention the economic booms taking place in cities like Atlanta, Ga., Charlotte, S.C., and Memphis, Tennessee. The South is hot, and not just in August.