Make me the mayor 

Politico livin' la vida local in Druid Hills

Historic Druid Hills is typified by stately homes -- er, mansions -- of traditional design. And then, tucked high on a hilltop, there's Angelo Fuster's home: Think Alpine cabin meets polygon.

This octagon-gone-mad exterior is paired with a stunning wrap-around deck, countless windows and skylights revealing glimpses of majestic trees towering above.

Fuster, a longtime Atlanta politico, has worked for three mayors and on numerous campaigns. Parts of the decor reflect his strong connection to the city: an enormous commemorative Swatch watch of the 1996 Centennial Olympic games; a photograph of the Atlanta skyline by Panorama Ray; and a collection of baseballs signed by Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Hank Aaron.

Creative Loafing: What style would you call this house?

Angelo Fuster: Rustic mountain cabin, which makes it quite unusual for this area. This was built before there was a Druid Hills historic district, or it would have never been built. Because they have very strict standards about what is appropriate to the neighborhood.

What's the appeal of a "rustic mountain cabin"?

It's very informal, and we are very informal people. We do most of our living near music, wine, food and books -- and all of that is quite near us. Of course, also, the fact that I'm within walking distance to Manuel's Tavern has a lot to do with it. [Laughs.] That's one of the few places where if I don't go two days in a row, I get a phone call, the bartender saying, "Are you sick?"

Have you ever counted how many windows are in this house?

No. Downstairs there are at least six. And upstairs ... it's windows all around. The one good thing, particularly when the trees are full, is you don't have a sense of having to close the windows.

It's almost like a birdhouse on a hill.

Some people used to -- somewhat derisively -- call it "the birdhouse." And by the way, you can really hear the birds. When it's not too cold, we'll leave the windows open at night and the birds will wake you up.

Where are your political mementos?

I have everything in boxes, waiting for all this to be open. I have all that packed: posters, photographs, a great collection of political T-shirts going back to Andy Young's first race for Congress in 1972.

How many races have you been involved in?

Probably 20-25 races, including senate, presidential, mayoral. I started working on political campaigns in college, for Bobby Kennedy in 1968. In fact, I was in Chicago setting up his headquarters when he was shot.

Describe that moment.

We were watching the returns in California, and watched what everybody saw, which was Bobby being shot. We closed that place and walked out of there. I went to a car-driving agency and hired myself to drive a Checker Cab (for transport), one of those big ones like you see on "Taxi," yellow and everything. I drove it from Chicago to Miami the next morning. I just couldn't hang around.

cityhomes@creativeloafing.com

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