When Jenni Kelly first stepped inside her Druid Hills house in 2012, she discovered a wonderland of historic treasures, from original doors and windows to tile, sconces, and even old-fashioned radiator heating. But what really compelled her was the natural light. “It just really enchanted me,” says Jenni, who soon after settled into the house with her husband, Chris, and their two children, June, 12, and Joe, 14. Several years later, when they decided to upgrade, they didn’t want to lose any of the original charm of the house, which had been owned by the same family from its construction in 1922 until 2007. After seeing her work on a neighbor’s house, Jenni enlisted architect Karen Soorikian for a plan to enlarge the kitchen and the second floor. She called upon an old friend and interior designer Heather Kerwin to develop a colorful but cohesive look, driven by shades of green and a mix of vintage and modern furnishings.
The kitchen, formerly bound by walls on both sides, was opened to create a sunny breakfast area. Upstairs, the team discovered what Karen calls “the magic attic”—a wealth of unfinished space that could be built out to create the children’s rooms, including a secret hideout accessed through cabinet doors. The fresh vibe never came at the expense of the original elements. “We reused every single thing,” says Jenni. “It’s a lot more work than just getting something new, and not every builder wants to do that.” But Fredrick Hetzel of Four Square Building Company was up to the task. “I was terrified of losing the feeling of this house,” says Jenni. “It was so important to me to preserve its integrity, and that’s clearly been accomplished.”
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