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Maggie Burch


House Envy: This sleek, contemporary home stands out in Morningside

In a neighborhood where even newer builds lean traditional, the circa-2007 home makes a statement with its sleek design and wide-open living space.

With the majority of homes dating to the 1920s and ’30s, the Morningside neighborhood is full of traditional Craftsman bungalows and Tudor-style homes. So it’s no surprise that a sleek and rectangular contemporary house stands out. With its white modular facade, flat roof, and wide expanses of windows, the house at 890 Courtenay Drive does just that, especially given its high perch on a corner lot near Highland Avenue.

Built in 2007, the modern home attracted its current owner, Jesse Pesut, not in spite of its more historic surroundings, but because of them. “It has the best of both worlds—modern in the middle of a traditional walkable neighborhood,” Jesse says. “One of the reasons I like Atlanta is because of its livable green neighborhoods.”

Jesse returned to his native Atlanta for a job opportunity in 2016 and was immediately drawn to the house for its “wow” factor—especially the interior. Upon walking through the front door, you’re greeted by a bright and wide-open living space grounded by the nearly floating staircase in the center of the first floor. Glass and metal railings hug wooden steps with invisible risers, the modern version of a grand staircase. Alongside the stairs is the dining room, which opens up to the second floor. The “strategically placed” wall of windows “gives you views of the landscape in the daytime and the Midtown skyline at night,” Jesse says.

For all its windows and open floor plan, the walls that remain on the first floor have made for the ideal gallery to showcase Jesse’s colorful art collection. A dual-sided fireplace separates the dining room from the living room, which shares the space with the contemporary chef’s kitchen, complete with Miele and SubZero appliances and sleek Linea Quattro cabinetry.

As for his favorite space in the house, Jesse—who was sold on the turn-key, high-quality finishes and hasn’t made any changes in his nearly 3 years in the house—picks the infinity pool and private courtyard, and their connection with the interior of the house. “You enjoy the amenity and beauty of the outdoors, the pool, and its waterfall when you are inside—and out,” he says. A high hedge fence and tiled accent wall keep the corner lot completely private.

In addition to the courtyard off the back of the first floor, the upstairs master bedroom has a spacious balcony, providing additional private outdoor space. At just over 3,700 square feet, the three-story house is well-appointed with 3 additional bedrooms, each with its own full bathroom. There’s also an attached 2-car garage on the basement level—a rare amenity for in-town living.

Despite enjoying the space and the luxury amenities it offers, Jesse has realized it’s a lot of house for one, so he’s decided to move on and allow the next person to fall in love with it.

The Morningside house, located at 890 Courtenay Drive, is on the market for $1.54 million. For more information, contact Neal and George Heery of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty at 404-237-5000 or neal@heerybrothers.com and george@heerybrothers.com.

House Envy: This historic cottage is about as close as it gets to Marietta Square


142 Forest Avenue House Envy

If the more-than-100-year-old walls at 142 Forest Avenue could talk, they would have quite the stories to tell. In the early 1900s, the cottage was home to a traveling doctor who built a little vestibule in the foyer to house caskets of his deceased patients for viewing until the funeral. Later, the downtown Marietta house became the office of a divorce attorney who narrowly avoided being killed by the gun-wielding ex-husband of one of his clients. Like we said—stories.

Thanks to an extensive renovation over the past year, this charming craftsman-style cottage has been restored to its original beauty as a single-family home. The house, which is part of the Forest Hills Historic District, is an easy five-minute walk from Marietta Square, sitting at the edge of the commercial block. While that justified its use as a law office for the past 50 years, it now provides an enviable location, just steps from the action of the Square.

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Bryan and Danielle Musolf, who bought the building to renovate and sell, are outspoken advocates of Marietta living: they left Atlanta after their first child was born 15 years ago and never looked back. “I can walk to my office on the Square, our church, and our favorite restaurants and watering holes,” Bryan says. “It’s the walkable lifestyle so many communities are trying to create, but it’s 100 percent authentic here.”

“It was in incredibly rough condition, but the bones were so striking,” Bryan says. These included 12-foot ceilings, all the original doors (including a gorgeous pair of pocket doors separating what is now the kitchen and dining room), detailed woodwork still intact throughout the house, leaded glass and diamond pane windows, as well as all of the original mantles on the home’s five fireplaces.

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Given that no one had been living in the house, there had been zero updates from the 1960s until the Musolfs purchased it for $305,000 in late 2017. The “total gut job” included installing entirely new electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, as well as reworking the layout a bit to convert it from an office to a home.

Bryan and Danielle had flipped several houses in the early 2000s, but took on this house as a “fun project to manage together.” They enlisted Keystone Structural Engineering and Right Angle Remodeling to manage the construction and Molly Sellers of Sellers and Company to handle the design. The transformation is nothing short of dazzling. Most of the woodwork was painted white, brightening each room and allowing the stained wood elements (many of the mantles and doors, and of course the hardwood floors) to really shine.

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Several smaller rooms were combined to create a sprawling chef’s kitchen that’s drenched in natural light. The master suite—which boasts a fireplace in both the bedroom and bathroom—is at the rear of the main floor, and there are four additional bedrooms and three full bathrooms upstairs, along with an additional spacious living area. For those keeping track: what was once the casket vestibule in the foyer is now a powder room.

142 Forest Avenue House Envy

While the home’s charming wrap-around front porch had remained intact, the property was “literally paved corner to corner in the front and rear yards as parking lots,” Bryan says, a result of its use as a commercial building. The team brought in grass and landscaping, but kept the convenient driveway and rear parking. The house also gained a sunny screened-in porch and a spacious deck off the back of the house.

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While Bryan and Danielle always planned on reselling the house after completing the renovation, they still see themselves as benefitting from the project in the long-run. “I’m a huge believer in having as much residential density in downtown areas as possible,” Bryan says of rezoning the property as a house. “It adds to the evening vibrancy, and I sincerely hope this project starts a trend.”

The historic Marietta property, located at 142 Forest Avenue, is on the market for $919,900. For more information contact Johnny Sinclair of Harry Norman Realtors at 770-605-4755 or johnny.sinclair@harrynorman.com.

House Envy: Own a piece of Roswell history with this antebellum farmhouse


Roswell house envyIn 1986, when many of 23-year-old Lisa Hockman’s friends were buying contemporary houses in Marietta, she knew she wanted something different. Enter a circa-1850 farmhouse on Woodstock Road in Roswell. “I knew I had found the house the moment I drove up the gravel drive and saw the enormous oaks and wide front porch,” she remembers. One look at the high ceilings and wide hardwood floors and Lisa promptly sealed the deal for $128,500.

Judson, Lisa’s then-boyfriend and now husband of almost 30 years, couldn’t believe she would buy something so far from the city. At the time, “everywhere you looked there were horses and cows,” Lisa says. “Who knew it would turn out to be one of the hottest areas OTP.”

Roswell house envy Roswell house envy Roswell house envyIf Roswell is a different place than it was when Lisa bought the property 32 years ago, it’s a world away from when the home was first constructed. The historic center-hall house was built by Hosea Coleman, son of Valentine Coleman, who, as patriarch of one of Roswell’s founding families, settled on 125 acres in the nascent town in the 1830s.

The antebellum home—which now sits on a half-acre lot—retains many of its original features that first lured Lisa in. The two front rooms are drenched with natural light from the floor-to-ceiling triple-hung windows, which once provided access to the deep front porch. Most of the original, wide-plank heart pine floors are intact throughout the 4-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom main house, which also boasts 4 fireplaces.

Roswell house envyIn the three decades of Lisa’s ownership, the home underwent several renovations to make the space more comfortable for 21st-century inhabitants while maintaining as much rustic, historic charm as possible.

In 2007, Lisa and Judson completed their first major renovation on the house, which included, as Lisa puts it, “spending a bunch of money on stuff that you never see: replacing the cast iron pipes, updating all of the electrical, and reinforcing structural elements.” They also worked with Randy Rapach Construction to add a wing onto the house that included a garage and allowed them to enlarge several rooms, including what is now a spacious chef’s kitchen—a high priority for Lisa, who previously owned Metanoya, a café on nearby Canton Street.

Roswell house envy Roswell house envyCustom cabinets line the kitchen and spacious laundry room/butler’s pantry combo, the standout feature of which is a wall of glass-fronted cabinets inspired by Andy Griffith’s kitchen. “As a child, I loved the idea that Aunt Bee could see all of her everyday dishes instead of them being hidden away behind solid doors,” Lisa says. Repurposed beams and a salvaged mantel tie in the newer space with the rest of the house.

In 2015, Lisa finished out the space above the garage as a respite for guests, creating a 1-bed, 1-bath carriage house with a separate entrance. Lisa describes it as “this lovely, sanctuary-like space that is so inviting that no one ever wants to leave.”

Roswell house envy Roswell house envy Roswell house envyThanks to Lisa’s restorative stewardship, her home is now a veritable urban farmhouse, just a quarter-mile from Roswell’s ever-growing downtown historic district. But with a farm across the street and Roswell Area Park behind the rear property line, the home holds on to some of its rural roots.

Lisa says she is grateful for the 32 years she and Judson got to spend in this house, but they’ve decided to become part of its 168-year history. “I’ve poured myself into this house for decades, so it really is like leaving a piece of me behind,” Lisa says. “But in my heart, I know it’s time for someone else to get their turn at loving this truly one-of-a-kind home.”

The Roswell property, located at 10465 Woodstock Road, is on the market for $859,900. For more information contact Jim Jenks of Nygaard Properties at 312-399-5192 or jimjenksrealtor@gmail.com.

House Envy: This Mediterranean-style house in Druid Hills was designed by one of Georgia’s first female architects

House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon AvenueWhen Deana Kingsbury first toured the Mediterranean-style home at 2086 North Ponce De Leon Avenue in 2015, she didn’t think her family was ready to move. “We weren’t looking for a new house—we were considering moving in a year,” she says. But at a friend’s suggestion, they took a peek at the circa-1924 home, and before the day was over, they’d made an offer.

House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon Avenue House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon AvenueDeana fell in love with not just the four-bedroom historic home, but the spacious 1.6 acre lot that backs up to Fernbank Forest and fronts the largest section of the Olmsted Linear Parks in Druid Hills. The family couldn’t resist the green environs, the outdoor living areas, gorgeous pool, and the sweet tree fort in the backyard.

The Historic Druid Hills house is one of several Atlanta homes designed by one of Georgia’s first female architects, Leila Ross Wilburn. During Deana’s ownership, the house was extensively renovated—with interior design by Kelly Wolf Anthony of Wolf Design Group—to suit a 21st-century family, but its history wasn’t forgotten in the process. A new Spanish barrel tile roof—the type specified in Wilburn’s original plans—was added to the main house, as well as the garage and carriage house (additions from the ‘90s). And in serendipitous fashion, original bricks dismantled during the work were found to be stamped with Deana’s birthday. It felt like kismet, so she decided to repurpose the bricks in an alcove leading to the master suite addition.

House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon Avenue House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon Avenue House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon Avenue House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon AvenueThat ground-floor master suite seamlessly ties in with the rest of the home without disrupting Wilburn’s original design of the front facade—there’s even a small porch off the back of the master bedroom that looks out onto the pool and backyard.

House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon Avenue House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon Avenue House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon Avenue House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon AvenueThe renovation also doubled the size of the kitchen and created a more functional mudroom and laundry room—topping out the total footprint at 4,219 square feet. The kitchen, with its deep teal cabinetry and high-end appliances, is now a chef’s dream space—and one of Deana’s favorite rooms. “The grain and color swirls of the island remind me of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,”” she says. Once tucked away in the back corner of the house, the kitchen now opens up to the family room and a covered porch via a “snack bar” style window that helps minimize the number of wet feet coming from the pool through the house.

House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon Avenue House Envy: 2086 North Ponce De Leon AvenueThree years after purchasing and undergoing some significant renovations on this stately historic home, Deana and her son and daughter are moving out. The Druid Hills house—located at 2086 North Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast—is on the market for $2.5 million. For more information, contact Harvin Greene of Dorsey Alston Realtors at 404-314-4212 or HarvinGreene@dorseyalston.com.

House Envy: This one-of-a-kind home in Lake Claire is surrounded by nature

530 LakeshoreCherie Restler says one of her favorite comments that she’s heard about her unique Lake Claire house was from a delivery man who said he felt like he was in Game of Thrones. After all, it’s not every day you approach a house via iron-spike-lined footbridge and knock on a windowless steel door. After first being drawn to the plot of land in 2013, Cherie and her husband built the one-of-a-kind house at 530 Lakeshore Drive over the course of three years, having moved in only in 2016.

530 Lakeshore 530 Lakeshore530 LakeshoreCherie says the .3-acre property gave them the “opportunity for privacy not normally afforded in traditional Atlanta neighborhoods,” thanks to the close proximity to nature, with two creeks and a rear property line that abuts the Frazer Center, a permanent greenspace.

The house they built there is the stuff of modern, minimalist dreams. After entering through that steel door (which, other than one upstairs window, is the only ornamentation on the otherwise bare wood-sided front facade of the house), you’re greeted by a bright, open interior. Cherie says that the materials used and the overall layout of the space—designed by Atlanta-based architect Andy Rutledge—were inspired by wabi-sabi and hygge aesthetics, which emphasize simplicity and asymmetry, and coziness and comfort, respectively.

530 Lakeshore 530 LakeshoreWhereas the front facade of the house is plain and a bit spartan, the back side of the first floor is encased in huge windows that look out onto lush trees and plants and is bathed in sunshine. By keeping a relatively small footprint (the whole house is 2,100 square feet; the first floor is just over 700), the house maintains that cozy feel Cherie desired for her family’s home.

530 Lakeshore 530 Lakeshore 530 LakeshoreA sculptural banister made of iron rods accents the staircase that loops from the first floor up to the third. A luxurious master suite takes up most of the second floor, and there are two more bedrooms, a bathroom, and an entertainment room on the third floor. Every room benefits from great natural light, and the simple, light materials used throughout the design emphasizes an interaction with nature—one of Cherie’s favorite parts of living here.

530 Lakeshore 530 LakeshoreAs much as Cherie and her family love their home and its trendy east-side neighborhood, they’ve decided it’s time for someone else to enjoy the special home. Both Atlanta natives, she and her husband plan to stay in the area, and will soon be on the hunt for a new plot of land where they hope to build a micro house in the near future.

The Lake Claire home, located at 530 Lakeshore Drive, is on the market for $835,000. For more information, contact Jeffrey Hagy of Lewis and Redwine Properties at 404-216-1592 or jadh.mail@gmail.com.

The Red & Black returns to normalcy

The student staff at the University of Georgia’s Red & Black newspaper infamously walked out and created a rival publication after the board of directors attempted to exert more influence over editorial content. That was a year ago this week.

One year later, with the staff rehired, several board member changes, and the loss of its longtime publisher Harry Montevideo, it appears that the worst has passed for the independent, student-run newspaper.

At its summer meeting last weekend, the paper’s board of directors decided to grant its two student members—the editor-in-chief and the ad manager—voting rights under new bylaws that will be adopted in November, according to an article on the Red & Black’s website.

According to a post on the Student Press Law Center’s blog, granting voting rights “is the last of the students’ original demands to be fulfilled.” Also decided at the board meeting: Natalie McClure, who has been acting as general manager for the newspaper since Montevideo’s resignation, was officially named as the general manager.

Things seem to be settling over in Athens for the time being, and we can only hope the staff are ready to turn a new leaf and direct all of their attention into the 120-year-old newspaper. It’d be nice to see the Red & Black turn last year’s antagonism into this year’s award-winning investigative reporting and publish some impressive headlines rather than be the focus of them.

Red & Black publisher resigns

The publisher of University of Georgia’s independent student-run newspaper has resigned, according to an article posted on The Red & Black’s website.

Harry Montevideo had been in the role for more than thirty years, the rockiest of which may have been 2012. Late last summer, after members of the paper’s board attempted to exert heavier influence over editorial content, student staff members walked out en masse and started a competing online publication,

The students published Red and Dead online until August 20, when they—in conjunction with a revised board of directors and the Montevideo—released a statement announcing the reinstatement of the editors.

Flagpole, an Athens weekly, reported that Montevideo’s resignation was a mutual agreement between him and the board and stemmed from “financial struggles in the online world,” according to board member and spokesman Chuck Reece.

Gabe Ram, the new student editor-in-chief of The Red & Black, said Montevideo’s resignation was not a surprise. Ram, who has not even seen his first issue as editor-in-chief of the paper published, said the staff was focused on moving forward.

Ram said he and the staff trusted that the board of directors would make a good move as far as hiring a replacement publisher is concerned.

The paper’s advertising director, Natalie McClure, was appointed as acting general manager while the board makes this hiring decision.

The Red & Black was founded in 1893. In 2011, the paper switched from printing five issues a week to a weekly schedule and beefed up its website, which, according to its media kit, now averages 1 million monthly pageviews.

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