When we view homes through the market prism, we often times commoditize them and ignore their stories. People quote statistics from the Case Shiller Home Price Index as if they were referring to a basketball team’s winning percentage, and with advanced real estate software so readily available, we’re all guilty of focusing more on a home’s “”measurables”” than we are of its soul.
The irony is that all homes have stories. Their sellers have stories. Their buyers have stories.
So, what’s the story about my listing at 1558 May Avenue? Straight from the seller..
Q. When you purchased the home, was it love at first sight?
A. Well, not exactly. I fell in love with the lot first, which is perfect, in that it is huge and sits up on a hill with a level back yard. There are so many possibilities for landscaping or gardening and enough room still to build a garage, workshop, or even a playhouse for the kids.
The house, on the other hand, I initially viewed as a tear-down. However, once I started removing the old plaster from the walls and ceilings, I realized that the bones of the house were still in great shape, overall. It was then that a light came on. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to restore this house to its original glory of 1950?”
Looking now at the finished product, I believe the goal was achieved. In fact, it’s not only “like new,” it’s better!
Q. I’ve billed your house as a “total renovation”. Is this an accurate description?
A. Yes. The listing gives a great summary of the work that was done (new HVAC, plumbing, electrical, driveway, etc.), but allow me to give a few examples of things that you can’t necessarily tell just by looking at the photographs.
First, more often than not, when an older home is renovated, the new siding is slapped on over the old siding, because, “Hey, no one will ever know.” And that may be true. However, we removed not one, but two, entire layers of siding, and then installed brand new plywood sheathing, wrapped the sheathing in Tyvex, and only then installed new concrete siding and trim. We even used a 5” reveal to pay homage to the house’s original 50’s era wood siding. It was more expensive, but the results speak for themselves.
Similarly, we removed three layers of roofing and then replaced any decking that wasn’t in perfect shape before installing the new 30-year roof. The hardwood floors are mostly original to the house, except for the kitchen where the floor had to be completely rebuilt in order to extend the hardwood at the same elevation. In fact, the hardwood runs underneath the cabinets all the way to wall. Should the kitchen ever need to be renovated again, the homeowner will have the option of totally re-orienting the kitchen cabinets. Speaking of the cabinets, not only are they American-made, they’re also solid wood, not the particle-board variety that is so often used in new construction and renovations.
Finally, all of the bathroom fixtures are manufactured by Kohler (even the vanity mirror!), and all of the faucets (including the kitchen faucet) are manufactured by Delta. “Builder-grade” was not an option.
Q. What’s great about living in East Atlanta?
A. I’ve always thought of East Atlanta as Little 5 Points’ older brother. It’s quirky but more refined. It’s a place where you can raise a family but also raise a little hell. There’s room to breathe, but it’s still super convenient to downtown and anywhere else you’d want to go. Needless to say, it’s my favorite neighborhood in the A.