House Envy: A Virginia-Highland couple updated their bungalow for their growing family

This six-bedroom home includes a wine cellar, carriage house, and all the modern amenities

In 2009, when Kevin and Becky Maher realized they needed more living space for their growing family, they contemplated leaving their Virginia-Highland bungalow. “We looked at homes all over Atlanta, but we love the Piedmont Park area and the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, so we decided to renovate instead,” says Becky.

The couple hired Harrison Design for the project. Interestingly, the firm’s founder and principal, Bill Harrison, happened to walk in while they were meeting with their architect. He looked at the Mahers’ plans and made some suggestions that totally changed the direction of the project. “His vision formed the basis for our wonderful home today,” says Kevin.

The renovation gave the couple the house of their dreams, with all the amenities and modern conveniences they wanted, plus twice the square footage of the original home, which was built in 1920. Located just one block from Piedmont Park, the house is situated within easy walking distance of the shops and restaurants of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.

Founded in the early 20th century as a streetcar suburb, Virginia-Highland is named after the intersection of Virginia Avenue and North Highland Avenue, the heart of its busy commercial district. Known for its wide variety of home styles, including Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Dutch Colonial, Mediterranean, and Tudor, the neighborhood also has an eclectic mix of shops, eateries, and bars. The Virginia-Highland Civic Association organizes two annual events: the Virginia-Highland Summerfest arts-and-music festival and the Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes.

The 6,100-square-foot, six-bedroom home has an open floor plan with hardwood floors, 10-foot ceilings, and custom craftsmanship throughout. It features a paneled library, formal living room, large dining room, family room, and spacious first floor guest suite. The kitchen, which opens to the family room, has a center island, granite countertops, top-of-the-line appliances, and a butler’s pantry with an additional dishwasher. The master suite includes a separate sitting area and large walk-in closet. The basement level has a wine cellar, game room, and bedroom and bath. There’s also a loggia with fireplace, an upstairs screened porch, and a three-car carriage house.

The Mahers especially love the home’s outdoor spaces, including the deep back yard. “We’re less than a block from Monroe Drive, but it feels like we’re miles away,” said Becky. “We have an outdoor oasis.”

Despite their love for the home and neighborhood, the couple has decided to move to Charleston. “After successful and busy careers here in Atlanta, we’re looking for a slower-paced lifestyle,” says Kevin, noting that he and Becky, both Florida natives, are eager to live near the water again.

This Virginia-Highland home, located at 578 Park Drive, is on the market for $1,639,000. For more information, contact Jim Getzinger of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty at 404-307-4020; or