House Tour: Fresh Traditional Style

Inspiring Exterior
A young couple restore a 1934 home’s period style and tackle an upper-level addition through a lot of their own hard work and a little help from the pros.

A New Generation

Period-sensitive renovations are more costly than those on newer homes, where slapping up some drywall and installing a few hollow-core doors will often do. The homeowners knew this when they purchased a one-story, 1934 brick Tudor in Atlanta. In their late 20s and just starting a family, the homeowners knew they could afford the ambitious dreams they had for their home, only if they did a lot of the work themselves.


Architectural details go a long way in period renovations. The homeowners began by adding French doors to the living room to brighten the hallway, applying trim around bare archways, and converting a bedroom into a family room. The desire for authenticity necessitated more expensive details, such as recessed paneling and wood (rather than composite) doors.

Livable Elegance

Traditional with a youthful twist was the mindset as the homeowners made decorating and design decisions. They were keen to have a home representative of their young family, despite the house’s age. A modern chandelier and sisal rug update the traditional lines of the dining room furniture.

Flip the Kitchen

The home’s original kitchen felt claustrophobic, as it was cut off from all other rooms and crammed with too much cabinetry. The homeowners reoriented the kitchen by flipping the eating and cooking areas and replacing the yellowing curly maple cabinetry with clean white. Generous crown moldings and neutral-color cabinetry add period authenticity.

Breakfast Room with a View

Now the breakfast nook is tucked next to the windows rather than toward the interior of the house, allowing the homeowners to enjoy outdoor views during meals. A window seat maximizes every inch of corner space and expands seating for guests and the couple’s growing family.  

Room to Breathe

Removing the wall between the new family room and kitchen eases traffic flow between the spaces. Now, the stairway provides upper-level access without breaking sight lines between the kitchen and family room, allowing the main living areas to feel open, airy, and united.

Traditional, with a Twist

A main-level bedroom  was turned into a family room that is now open to the kitchen. The space is traditional but also clean and fresh. Comfortable furniture, modern accents, and bold pattern combinations add flavor to the traditional aesthetic. The home’s new-old blend is set against a palette of grayish blues and greens, with occasional red accents -- a distinctly more contemporary scheme that makes furnishings and accessories pop. Papering the family room walls with grass cloth infuses the former bedroom space with organic texture.

Sneaky Storage

A built-in window seat taps into unused space at the top of the staircase. The niche also offers a quiet place to sit and read, while deep drawers beneath provide storage.

Master Suite

Raising, then extending, the roof in the attic accommodates an amply proportioned master suite, complete with a spacious bedroom, seating area, and bathroom. The addition nearly doubles the home’s size, providing plenty of space for the couple’s budding family.

Soothing Shower

A spacious marble shower nestles beneath a sloping roofline. A pair of recessed wall niches streamlines shower storage, offering ample space for shower necessities without the bulk of a caddy. A built-in shower bench provides a perch for shaving. The shower’s unpolished marble achieves a warm and soothing look.

Spa-Like Serenity

A neutral color palette and natural materials set the scene for a spa-like bath experience. Because the room is not deep, a modest-size tub ensures balanced proportion. A shallow space behind the tub is now a closet for bath towels, linens, and extra supplies.

True to Tradition

The homeowners were adamant about preserving as much period feel in the addition as possible and did so by replicating moldings, maintaining 9-foot ceiling heights, seeking out matching mullioned windows, and so on. In the master bath, the oversize tone-on-tone wallpaper is a modern counterpoint to the vanity’s traditional profile.

Beautiful Backyard

Before, a meager porch at the back of the house had no real space for alfresco lounging and entertaining. But now both landscaping and the addition of a patio beyond the new rear entrance creates an attractive outdoor space.

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