House Envy: Industrial chic chalet offers everything but the ski slope

A first-time renovator took this Doraville home from $270,500 to $1.15 million in eight months.
Smokecreek Chalet
Courtesy of Rodney Camren

When she purchased the five-bedroom house at 3131 Smokecreek Court in February, Jessica Murphy didn’t intend to start her own design and remodeling business. But eight months and one extensive remodel later, the newly minted house flipper had caught such a case of renovation fever that she registered an LLC (Her Cave) and set off to find her next project. “The longer I was working on this house, the more I loved it,” says Murphy. “I’m looking for the next diamond in the rough.”

The circa-1980 home in Doraville now known as Smokecreek Chalet was not exactly ramshackle when she bought it for $270,500, but it did need some work to transform it into the $1,150,000 property that it is today. “It was bursting with potential, and it already seemed like a high-end custom home, so I didn’t set out to turn it into something that it wasn’t,” Murphy says. “I felt like it was a really great house that needed updating.”

One of the biggest changes Murphy made was replacing a series of disconnected staircases—one spiral in the living room and one standard set running up from the garage—with a grand master staircase connecting all three levels of the home. Like many elements in the 5,500-square-foot chalet, the stairs are an amalgamation of rustic, contemporary, and industrial styles. The thick timber steps made from naturally weathered white pine, for example, are paired with rails made from industrial black pipe. The wood, which was also used on the 21-foot catwalk that spans the width of the living room, was specifically cut for this project from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The blending of styles continues throughout the house: ultra-modern light fixtures illuminating rustic wooden beams, pastoral barn doors with unexpectedly sleek modern handles. The warm tones in the flooring and original stone fireplace are set off by the clean, white modernity of the kitchen cabinets.

When asked to explain her diverse design choices and inspiration, Murphy says, “My tastes are all over the place. I was raised in the South, so I appreciate classic elegance like marble and beautiful molding and the grandeur of classic, traditional Southern designs. But I also really like some of the modern elements I’ve seen, especially in Europe and in some U.S. cities like New York and Seattle. My day job right now is in industrial construction. We build power plants and paper mills, so we work with a lot of concrete and pipe, which influences me too. I put it all together in the hopes that it will appeal to others with eclectic tastes.”

She also added decks aplenty, including a 154-square-foot breakfast porch, a 372-square-foot master bedroom deck, and a 500-square-foot outdoor area that bring the total entertaining space to 4,500 square feet. Floor-to-ceiling windows in most rooms also help integrate the leafy surrounds indoors.

Other noteworthy features include a cozy EcoPyro fireplace built into the wall next to the tub in the master bath, countertops of marble and white Macaubas quartzite, and a kitchen full of top-end appliances from Sub-Zero, Bertazzoni, and Blomberg. For more information, contact Rodney Camren at 404-375-1496.