“It’s really about intentional living, intentional community, less space, more life,” says Will Johnston, 36, founder and executive director of Tiny House Atlanta, an education and advocacy group, and a consultant to the developer Tiny South. “Less footprint, less stuff.”
The antebellum home—which now sits on a half-acre lot—retains many of its original features. 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.
When it comes to building stuff, Atlanta’s got a great history of public-private partnership. Civic leaders come up with an idea, City Hall irons out the political wrinkles, and then Coke, Delta, the Home Depot, and other hometown companies contribute funding. It’s how Atlanta won the Braves and the Olympics. On the other hand, our track record of taking care of people in the process of building things—large venues in particular—is lousy.
These aren’t your grandma’s townhouses. Real estate agents say Atlanta is hungry for semidetached homes with envelope-pushing modern design. Case in point: The Boulevard at Lenox, a gated, 10-unit complex on Lenox Road near I-85 that was 70 percent sold six months before its expected completion in June.
When Rick Baggenstoss spied the Craftsman-style bungalow on Holderness Street in Atlanta’s historic West End, he claims it was love at first sight. Although the abode, built in 1911, was long vacant and in disrepair, the real estate developer immediately saw its potential. “The house had great bones, lots of charm, and an ideal location within walking distance of area shops, restaurants, and the BeltLine,” he said.
Cherie 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.
Atlantans love big houses, so wouldn’t the thought of living in 600 square feet (or less) induce claustrophobia? Hardly, say the managers of upscale new apartment communities from Buckhead to Inman Park, where micro rentals are in high demand at premium prices.