This poor bungalow in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood was built in 1911 but had seen better days. There were iron bars on the doors and windows and bullet holes in the siding. Worse–two people had been murdered in it. But when Kara O’Brien saw it, she knew she had to buy it: “It was just so sad looking. I thought, I need to fix it up.”
I’m not sure I would have seen the potential that they did in this “hybrid Craftsman bungalow with Victorian detailing,” as she describes it. But she and her partner Paula Rose began renovating it in 2005 and the results are pretty amazing. Here’s how the house looks now:
Kara and Paula own Laughing Sun Renovations, and their experience with projects like this shows.
When this bungalow was featured in This Old House magazine, Kara wrote:
“Sadly, the house had fallen into terrible disrepair from years of sitting vacant. Before renovation, it was a home to squirrels, birds, bugs and the floor system had vines growing up between the joists and the rotted floorboards. Adding to the wildlife, the home was chopped up into three apartments; its grand rooms bisected by makeshift walls.”
This photo of how the living room looked before the renovation gives you an idea of the state that the house was in and the challenges they faced:
Hard to believe it’s the same room, but here’s what the dining room looks like now:
Gorgeous quartersawn oak wainscot with unique detailing was salvaged from a late-1800s mansion in Tennessee for the center hall:
The bungalow was built as a spec home in 1911 by builder Frank Ruggles: “The house was light-filled and featured original wavy glass windows with interesting mullion patterns, heart of pine floors, an original but deteriorated sunroom, and a magnificent original dining room mantel.”
After uncovering a former fireplace behind some drywall in the living room, they restored it with a beautiful salvaged mantel and tile that makes it looks like it has always been there:
They had help with the project from architect Brent Drone of Antiquity Architectural and custom cabinet maker Greg Michael & Sons in Atlanta. Here’s how the kitchen looked before the reno:
There was a sunroom that was being used as a kitchen in the house by one of the former tenants:
Here’s how it looks now–with homeowners Kara and Paula in it:
I love to see a house like this given a second lease on life. For more photos and information about the renovation, visit This Old House (photos by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn and the homeowners).