The Tatum House was constructed on a two-acre plot of gently sloping land that includes natural woods and a stream. A three-car garage/barn (not designed by Hugh Smallen) is situated southeast of the home. Landscape architect Peter Rolland was hired for a 2003-04 renovation of the property. His design included planting a line of birches along the north side of the house; these contrast with the natural surroundings while complementing the geometric formality of the building. Rolland also designed a black pebble border around the house, which keeps the stark white exterior pristine and facilitates drainage.
The one-story house, built in 1962, initially had a square plan. The frame of the house divided the building into four zones, which reflected the internal uses of the space. Adjustable vertical blinds were installed to further accentuate the rhythm of the building. Five years after the house was built, it was converted to a T-shaped plan when the original owners erected additions on the north and south facades of the westernmost bay.
The house has a concrete block foundation and vertical cypress siding. The walls are largely composed of aluminum sash with plate glass. The roof is flat. The outdoor living space includes more than 1,000 square feet of decking. During a 2003-04 renovation, interior alterations were made to the 1967 addition rooms, built-ins were restored, and a new main entryway was added. Decks off the two addition rooms were rebuilt with ipe (a species of wood) and similar decks were added under all of the overhangs (as was originally considered).
Hugh Smallen designed the Tatum House in 1962 for Liston and Corinne Tatum and their three boys. The intention was to create optimum living space for a moderate budget. The four structural bays of the house coincide with the four general zones of activity. These zones were constructed to account for the requirements of individual privacy as well as the activities performed in each space. The property originally had a tool shed, which was later demolished. In 1967, the original owners added two "great" rooms (a home office and a music room). Dan Kistler, an associate in Hugh Smallen's office, supervised this work. A three-car garage/barn was added in 1970.
In 1995, the property was purchased by Paul Bertin-Boussu. The new owner removed an outdoor sculpture added in the 1967 renovations and dismantled much of the built-in furniture.
In 1999, Craig Bloom and Ashlea Ebeling bought the property and began renovating it in 2003-04 with architect John Black Lee and landscape architect Peter Rolland, who both knew Hugh Smallen.