Tuesday, March 8, 2011


LONG tour ~ sorry.
I'll forgive you if you want to leave and come back when you have some leisure time!

While visiting Myrtle Beach we came upon Atalaya. It was the winter home that was built by Archer Huntington and his wife, sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. The couple purchased four rice plantations, one of them being Brookgreen Plantation (the Huntington's created and donated the beautiful Brookgreen Gardens to South Carolina, which we visited and I'll post about that at a later date) in Murrells Inlet, SC. They purchased this land because Anna's doctor felt that the warmer climate would be better for her as she suffered from TB.
The home was called Atalaya, a Spanish name meaning 'watchtower', and it was built in a Moorish style, and it was built without any written plans, all the plans were in Archer Huntington's head! And the couple insisted on using local labor and materials as it was built during the Great Depression and they wanted to help the people and help to boost the economy in that area. I read that the couple moved out of their home during World War II to provide use of Atalaya to the Army Air Corps.

(Reading about the 'rich and famous' usually doesn't do much for me, but I find this couple so interesting, and I'd like to find and read a few books about them.)

Anna and Archer Huntington used a custom-made RV to travel from their summer residence to Atalaya.

Atalaya has a giant open courtyard and an open outdoor studio, and Anna loved to sculpt there as much as possible. She also had a big indoor studio for the days she was confined inside due to the weather.


Outdoor studio:

At first sight I did not think this was a very pretty structure, it reminded me of a bunker, and I thought it was an old prison or an asylum.

We decided to make a closer inspection, and we were very happy to see that it was open to the public, and we took a tour of the home. It turned out to be one of the most interesting, unique, and to my eye one of the most beautiful homes I've ever seen. I know I would have loved to live in this home! And I'd love to see some photos of this beauty in it's 'heyday'.
I've been searching online but so far I haven't had any luck.

For the tour we were given a map so we could do a self-guided tour, which I like best.

Anna loved animals and she loved to sculpt animals and she used them as models. Atalaya had bear pens, stables for horses, and dog kennels:

Many of Anna's sculptures can be seen at Brookgreen Gardens.

Beautiful outdoor corridor:

This corridor lead to the front door of the interior.

Opposite view looking to the outer door/gate:

Just look at the arches and the open brick work!

And I love this door that leads into the corridor!

The large gates in the background above are pictured below in a photo I found on the internet.

I overheard a woman say, "This place is creepy." And I've read that many say they get an eerie feeling walking through this house. And I can understand their feelings, I'm not saying that I'd like to spend a night alone here...

...but given the chance of a lifetime, I'd love to try and make this house my home! I'm absolutely crazy about it!

Most of the rooms had these big fireplaces:

I absolutely adored this home! So many corridors, and nooks and crannies, and exposed brick, and peeling paint, and lovely old cupboards, shelves, and shutters. I can't wait to go back again!
Ray took most of these pictures, but some I got from the internet:

These windows served as a pass-through that the servants used from the kitchen and the 'prep area' to the 'breakfast room' and into the dining room (I lost count of all the rooms in this house).

Most days the couple would have breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner on one of their outdoor patios.

This tower was used to hold water and it was modeled after a tower in Morocco that was used as a watchtower to guard against pirates.

All the beautiful grill work was designed and made by Anna.

I am wild about these ceilings and floors!

I like both the brick floors and the concrete slab floors.

And I'm wild about these walls!

And look at these views!

And best of all ~ the 'piece de resistance'...

...just look at this beautiful old sink!

If I didn't already have a similar one of my own (thanks to the generosity of my friend Barbara), I would have tried prying that sink loose and spirited it away to New York with me!

If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend this tour!


  1. What a neat place Eileen. Some parts of the house did look a bit prison like, whats with all of that grill work on the windows? I wonder if it was to keep the animals out?
    But I did see lots of potential as well. It would be lots of fun to decorate! And I instantly thought of your sink when I saw that one in the house. I do think that yours is much prettier though!
    I will mention this place to Ginny and Daniel. They may have already been there but I would think she would have mentioned it. Who knows!
    That was a great tour, very interesting!
    Love Di ♥

  2. Hi Eileen,
    What an amazing house! I wonder what it looked like with furniture? Imagine living there and decorating it. Is it for sale? It still looks as if it is in great shape, and probably will last forever. It their plumbing in it? Heat? Other than those amazing fireplaces. Thank you so much for the tour! What did Jayden think of it?
    ((HUGS))) T

  3. Oh, yeah! How I'd love to decorate it - some very large, simple pieces with a few special rugs on the floor (and of course fires in the fireplaces)...