Actual Factual DeKalb: What's with this odd house on Briarcliff Road?

This Briarcliff Road home turns heads in DeKalb County. FILE PHOTO

This Briarcliff Road home turns heads in DeKalb County. FILE PHOTO

This is "Actual Factual DeKalb," a regular column in which I answer reader questions about goings-on and history in DeKalb County. 

Welcome back. This is the second edition. This first focused on the rundown tower at Spaghetti Junction, formerly known as the triumphantly-named Presidential Boutique Condotel. No. 2 sticks with a presidential theme. (That'll make sense soon.)

Reader Jennifer Boyanton asked about an unusual house on Briarcliff Road, near Lakeside High School.

A barnburner of a question, Jennifer.

Luckily for me, pretty easy, too. My buddy Google knows all about it if you find the right keywords. But don’t flee this story just yet. The Internet is a cold and confusing world when the search results list rambles long. I’ve sorted it out.

Well…several AJC writers before me have done the heavy lifting here. But it’s an interesting tale for the unfamiliar.

To wit:

The house sits on Briarcliff Road near I-85. A wrought-iron fence rises at the edge of the lush green lot complete with a large intricate garden. An American flag flies on the roof.

When I first saw the pictures, it took a moment to place, especially since it is so out of place, but the home looks like the most famous house in America.

Indeed, it turns out, the hulking house at 3687 Briarcliff Road NE is a replica of The White House.

It's called The Atlanta White House.


Why does it exist?

It was built in the early 2000s, when the housing market supported such flamboyant projects.

Atlanta developer Fred Milani was behind the three-quarter replica. He called the 16,500-square-foot home a tribute to democracy and the U.S., according to a 2015 AJC blurb on area "hidden gems."

It includes an “Oval Office,” a movie theater and a “Lincoln's bedroom.”

It has a Yelp! page and mentions on roadside attraction sites.

Milani, an Iranian-born longtime U.S. resident, and his wife opened it to the public at Christmastime to raise money for a local church.

Here the story gets disappointing:

After the real estate bubble burst, the home landed in foreclosure in 2011. Milani had tried to sell it at least once before but took it off the market because, "It takes a special person, with a special reason to buy," he told The AJC.

It does have a new owner, who I’m told lives there.

But the current tenants aren’t as interested in visitors. That’s according to a woman who answered a phone number listed online for The Atlanta White House, who declined to give her full name because she didn’t want to be involved in dealings on the place anymore.

I found the current owner and left a message. Didn’t hear back immediately Friday.

But the woman made me wonder if I would.

She said one of her family members used to live in the house and reveled in showing it off.

“The people who own it now don’t,” she said.

It, after all, is a private home.

So, Jennifer, we might be out of luck if we try to visit. At least we know what we’re missing now?

NOTE: A previous version of this story quoted Jennifer directly asking about a "castle-house" on Briarcliff, which is how she phrased her question. Before publication, I sent her a picture of The Atlanta White House and she confirmed it was the place she was asking about. But readers have reached out to mention there is house on Briarcliff which looks literally like a castle. I edited the story to eliminate confusion. And, who knows, I might just write a column on the castle since there seems to be interest.

— I am a staff writer with the AJC and a proud DeKalb County resident. To submit “Actual Factual DeKalb” questions, contact me at, @JoshuaWSharpe on Twitter or via the form below.