Since so many of my latest interior design projects are in my own home, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about how we met this adorable old cottage. - Our Cottage A Love Story Benjamin Moore Stratton Blue front door

My fiancé and I knew that we wanted an older home because the charm and character can be hard to find with new builds. We knew our first home wouldn’t be huge so we wanted to make sure we got the most bang for our buck. We also wanted to live as close to the city as possible. When it was time to purchase we set out in search of the perfect cottage in some of Atlanta’s oldest suburbs.

Homes inside of the perimeter (ITP) of Atlanta typically fall into one of three categories: brand new and massive, old and in need of upgrades, or old and renovated. Homes ITP are also more expensive because of their proximity to the city so you really have to keep your eyes peeled for the gems.

We spent most of our time looking in one particular neighborhood called Kirkwood. Kirkwood is charming area that was once considered a streetcar suburb of Atlanta. Kirkwood is also next to Decatur, another awesome and well established neighborhood, this one founded in the 1800s. We loved Decatur but didn’t think we could afford it.

When We Found a Realtor

We didn’t really want to bother with a realtor until we knew we were ready to purchase. I had a plan that would have us down payment ready by August of 2014. Since it was May, we had plenty of time to look on our own.  We mainly just cruised around on Sundays and would pop into any open house that looked interesting.

We met our realtor when we found an adorable cottage that looked like a great fit and called about it. Unfortunately it sold the week it went on the market (not unusual for homes ITP) but the relator assured us he had more properties like it. So, for the next three months the realtor sent us listings of available properties in our area and our price range.

As first-time homebuyers we naturally wanted everything. I’d been on Pinterest for months looking at homes with hardwood floors, open floorpans, white marble everywhere, etc. etc. and was discouraged to see that those options – in our desired area – were way too pricy.

We also came to realize some of the other charming things that come with bungalows and cottages built before 1960 like the lack of closet space, awkward second story ceilings and my personal favorite – only one bathroom.  While not all of the homes we looked at had all of these charming features, every home had at least one.

Love At First Sight

Then we stubbled across a listing that had just gone on the market. It was in Decatur, was built in 1950 but had just undergone a top to bottom reno. It also had – wait for it – 2.5 baths. We obviously had to go see it in person.

Here’s what she looked like when we first found her: - Our Cottage A Love Story our first home

Our relator was great and agreed to meet us on a Sunday.  We toured the home, walked around the yard, discussed it in the driveway and made an offer that day. One month later, we moved in. It seems funny as it write it, but looking back it really was easy.  I guess that’s where all that time as an account manager paid off!


Our cottage doesn’t have some of the features I’d dreamed of. All of the countertops are warm toned granite instead of the cool, white marble I’d obsessed over. Our master bath doesn’t have a separate shower and soaking tub which I would have loved but the jacuzzi tub more than makes up for it. Storage turned out to be more of an opportunity than an obstacle. I’ve learned you can do some amazing things with baskets. - Our Cottage A Love Story Backyard HammockWe’ve been here for almost two years. In that time I’ve painted almost every room in the house, taken a backyard from completely barren to completely amazing and have discovered a new passion and career. All of this and I feel like we are just getting started together!

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