Keeping the Historic Charm in an Atlanta Home Remodel

Keeping the Historic Charm in an Atlanta Home Remodel

In Atlanta, historic homes are a treasured find. Their character and stories are a valuable part of the city's past, present and future. So, when you purchase a historic house of your own, it's natural to want to preserve it as best possible.

Treating the historical aspects of your home with reverence can be tricky when renovations are necessary to bring the house up to modern living standards. We know because historical home remodeling is our specialty at Copper Sky Design + Remodel.

Today we're diving deep into a past project to show you how our designers approach a historic renovation. Learn how to update a 1930s bungalow, a Victorian mansion, and everything in between as we share our old home remodel ideas

How Do You Preserve the Charm of an Old House? 

After sitting abandoned for several years in the historic Inman Park neighborhood, this property needed a complete home renovation. 

The house had everything our clients, a young family with one child and another on the way, wanted for their forever home. But it was in serious disrepair. So, they called our team to help. We completed a significant renovation that left no space in the house untouched and included a two-story addition; yet, as you'll see, the home still retains its historic charm. Here's how we did it.

Front Door Entrance

1. Restore, But Don’t Be Afraid to Add On 

When modernizing an old home, you should always restore what you can. That's how our team approached the exterior of this home. The quintessential front porch and large, statement windows are untouched. We were also able to keep the original siding; this was a challenge since we installed a two-story addition at the rear of the home and didn't want the siding in the front and back to be mismatched. Luckily, we found a siding that worked, and the transition between the old and new parts of the house is seamless! 

Oh, and a quick note about the addition. 

One thing you need to know about living in a historic home is they're not automatically equipped for modern life. Often times to get the space, function, and layout you need, your historic home will have to undergo major changes. In the case of this Inman Park home, the addition created space for a breakfast room, laundry room, mudroom, half bath, and a screened-in porch, allowing us to expand this traditional four-square footprint into the square footage necessary to accommodate a growing family. 

Pink Child Bedroom

2. Use What You Have

The best part of remodeling an older home is finding ways to showcase historical elements in a contemporary way. Take this playful kid's room, for example. The accent wall isn't a cleverly designed faux wallpaper; it's the actual brick chimney, which we intentionally exposed as a character-adding detail. Since exposed brick is a bit industrial for a growing girl's bedroom, we painted the chimney in a vibrant pink ombre, adding a bit of whimsy to the space.

Unique bathroom with Stunning Wall paper  Stunning Master bathroom

3. Pay Homage 

If your home has sustained damage over the years, it might not be entirely possible to showcase original elements in your design. However, as these bathrooms illustrate, you can always pay homage to the era of your original home with historic decor. 

Though updates and modern, this house's primary and guest bathrooms feature vintage design elements.  Antique mirrors surround the freestanding tub. We added the arched wall to further distinguish this stunning relaxation space. Plus, the arch is an authentic Victorian-era detail that connects this modern addition to the home's original architecture. Similarly, the delicate green wallpaper harkens back to interior trends of the mid-to-late 1800s. 

Wallpaper plays a similar, albeit more contemporary role, in the guest bathroom, where a brassy mirror and vintage-inspired wall sconce add more authentic details. Most notably, the pedestal sink carries the vintage theme, as this style was popular in the 1800s. 

Laundry Room and MudroomPatio with Outdoor Furniture

4. Introduce New Elements 

If you want a home with character, sometimes you'll have to make a few additions. Here we placed a Dutch door between the laundry and back porch. Fun fact: Dutch doors originated in the 1700s, so this is yet another historical detail! We also installed French doors leading to the living room, giving the entrance a sense of grandeur. Together, the doors complement one another and create a natural flow throughout the home.  

Take a Modern Interpretation

5. Take a Modern Interpretation 

There's a lot of focus on preserving authenticity during a historic home remodel. But it's also important to add the functionality needed for modern living, as in this kitchen. 

Older homes typically have very distinct rooms, including closed-off kitchens and living rooms. Many families these days prefer more of an open floor plan for entertaining and family time. So, we started by opening up the kitchen to the living room and tacking on an addition for more space.

Full of clean lines with a minimalist undertone, this kitchen has a quiet sophistication. The modern black frame windows are reminiscent of crittall panes (windows divided into grids by black metal that became popular in the early 1900s). The crown molding surrounding them adds distinction without overwhelming the room. What results from mixing old and new is an ephemeral timeless quality that means our clients won't have to worry about their forever home going out of style anytime soon. 

Get Inspired with Copper Sky 

Now that you're feeling inspired, keep the creative juices flowing, bolster your interior design savvy, and see how other Atlanta homeowners renovate by scrolling through our remodeling portfolio


2024 Atlanta Remodeling Cost Guide (variant A)