Atlanta Home Improvement’s 2011 Before and After contest winners

Men laying new hardwood flooring

After receiving 58 entries in 13 categories from 36 local remodeling and design professionals for our “best before-and-after” contest, we are proud to present the top 11 makeovers chosen by our expert judges here. We hope you will find inspiration for your next remodeling project, whether you dream of upgrading your kitchen, finishing your basement, creating a backyard retreat or redoing your entire house.






Makeover by: MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers]
(770) 670-6022
Contributing designers/contractors: Rick Goldstein, architect; Catherine Trugman, CKBD
Location: Brookhaven
Approximate cost: $75,000-90,000
Photos by Gregg Willett

This 1982 builder-grade kitchen in Brookhaven was due for a makeover. The project goals were to make the kitchen more aesthetically pleasing, create better storage and provide adequate lighting. But the couple’s overwhelming desire was for a “participatory” kitchen where they could entertain friends and family and cook at the same time. That’s why the beautiful granite-topped island became such a strong focal point for the room.

On one side of the room, tall pantry cabinets with translucent glass provide valuable display space, house a wine collection and contain an easily accessible—but hidden—area for storing keys and charging cell phones.

The windows at the sink area were enlarged and shifted to let in additional light and take advantage of the pleasing view, while a deep shelf provides space for displaying plants. The new lighting facilitates movement from the kitchen to the keeping-area bookcases, where new oak floors with a cherry inlay were installed to maintain a consistent theme.

Due to budget constraints, appliances were kept in the same general locations. The perimeter base and wall cabinets remained in place but received updated doors, end panels and hardware. This kitchen is an excellent example of what a few adjustments along with new surfaces and details can do to enhance an existing space.



Makeover by: Amanda Saulter, Jamaican-born furniture and interior designer, (876) 383-7129,
Contributing designers/contractors:
Bryan 2 Design Kitchen & Bath Studio, (404) 324-7019; cabinet installer Patrick Feery, Mr. Cabinet Man  
Location: Woodstock
Cost: $60,000
Photos courtesy of Bryan Marquardt

After pursuing a career in Los Angeles, Atlanta-area native Kevin Heilfron returned with his wife, Pamela, to settle down and start a family. The couple moved into a mid-1980s lakefront ranch-style home on two acres that needed some work.

Despite the pastoral location, Kevin and Pamela wanted the interior of the home to reflect a more contemporary vibe. To achieve this, the couple had many walls removed and structural changes made to create an open floor plan, which took six months. Pamela and Amanda Saulter, a trusted designer friend from Jamaica, worked with kitchen designer Bryan Marquardt to execute the perfect finishes and functional storage for Kevin and Pamela’s life and family

The kitchen windows were expanded to maximize lake views, and the kitchen sink was moved to a location where Kevin and Pamela can keep an eye on their children inside and outside the home. A lowered seating area for informal dining was added to the peninsula, and the laundry room was transformed into a pantry with space for an oven, warming drawer and hidden microwave. Cabinetry with lift hardware and milk-glass inserts were selected to frame the vent hood, which punctuates a fly-over shelf, while thick Cararra marble countertops create contrast with the rich, dark-wood cabinet finish.



Makeover by: Glazer Design & Construction
(404) 683-9848
Contributing designers/contractors: Insidesign
Location: Alpharetta
Approximate cost: $70,000
Photos by Gregg Willett Photography

Glazer Design & Construction was enlisted to create more useable workspace in this kitchen without sacrificing form and function. Despite an adjacent staircase, Glazer was able to increase the workspace without altering the kitchen’s original floor plan in four months. Soft recessed lighting was added to give the kitchen a more open feel. The remodel also involved installation of energy-efficient stainless-steel appliances and new hardwood floors.




Makeover by: Round Here Renovations
(678) 227-2347
Location: Grant Park
Approximate cost: $200,000
Photos courtesy of Round Here Renovations, photography by Justin Landis
After living in Grant Park for six years, Justin and Amaris Landis stumbled upon a real fixer-upper on Cherokee Ave. that would become their dream home. Beneath the peeling paint, broken windows and collapsing porch was a 1903 Folk Victorian home that the couple bought and, with the help of Round Here Renovations, spent six months restoring to its original charm.
Having not been updated since the 1940s or inhabited for nearly 30 years, the entire structure had to be gutted and rebuilt. A new foundation now supports the front porch, which features its original floor, posts and railings to reflect the time period when it was built. The underlying pier-footing system was expanded to provide reinforcement for a second-story addition as well as a new screened porch in the back, which greatly increases the living space.
Inside, everything from the original doors and hardware to the original fireplace mantles and heart-pine floors were refinished. Furnishings and fittings such as handcrafted replicas of early 20th-century lighting fixtures, a locally made walnut butcher-block island countertop and an original turn-dial door bell add functionality and historical appeal.


Makeover by: Ed Castro Landscape Inc.
(770) 998-8444
Contributing designers/contractors: Margaret Bosbyshell, Margaux Interiors Ltd.
Location: Atlanta
Photos courtesy of Ed Castro Landscape
While this 1920s Atlanta home had wonderful lines and architecture, the landscape did not. It lacked the crisp lines, symmetry and elegance that the homeowners desired. To meet this goal, they enlisted the help of Ed Castro Landscape Inc. to do a complete landscape renovation on the property, including new formal gardens, a new back patio and a new outdoor-entertainment space featuring a fireplace, pool and spa.
A majority of the existing, outdated landscape was removed, and new eye-catching gardens were created. New hardscapes constructed with authentic materials such as granite cobblestone, stacked bluestone and painted brick properly accentuate the home.
In the backyard, a stately cherry-tree allee, which leads to the pool and hints at summer fun to come, now welcomes spring each year. Colorful annuals, perennials and vines add lively aesthetic interest, while evergreens provide a foundation to balance the new architectural elements. Now, this once bland and understated property is full of charming elegance that will be enjoyed for years to come.


Makeover by: Pineapple House Interior Design
(404) 897-5551
Contributing designers/contractors: David Pararo Construction; Artcraft by Art Webster
Location: Atlanta
Approximate cost: confidential (by request of homeowner)
Photos courtesy of Pineapple House Interior Design, photography by Scott Moore Photography

For this whole-home interior design project in Buckhead, Pineapple House Interior Design was asked to create a sophisticated, welcoming feel. As an older Atlanta home that had been renovated in the early 1990s, the homeowners wanted to respect its traditional bones but make changes that would better support a modern lifestyle, including more living space to accommodate visiting relatives from China and Ireland as well as a full-service home office for meeting clients and video-conferencing.

Redefining the great room
As the central focus of the downstairs floor, the great room needed one architectural alteration. Replacing the ornate fireplace with a sleek hearth better suits the voluminous space and its high ceilings. To better absorb the intense illumination created by two large walls of windows, a dark faux-wood finish was painted over the great room’s white coffered ceiling. Pineapple House then complemented the height of the room with floor-to-ceiling drapery panels.

Changing the color scheme and furnishings
Throughout the rest of the home’s first two stories, the yellow color scheme was replaced with a warm gray and graphite-blue palate. After painting, the proper placement of updated upholstered furniture and artwork transformed the entire environment.
Like many older Southern homes, this one was filled with arches, which Pineapple House echoed with curvy furniture pieces.  In the library, upholstering the arched niche created an inviting place where the room’s many books could be enjoyed. On the second floor, a corner banquette was added on the staircase landing, resulting in another alluring spot for reading and relaxation. In the bedrooms, furniture and fabric elements were incorporated so every space radiated its own personality.

Finishing the attic
In addition to replacing the downstairs fireplace and updating the home’s primary two floors with paint, fabric and furniture, Pineapple House turned the unfinished attic into usable living space. The existing attic had one well-sized room for storage, but the rest of the space was a jungle of trusses and HVAC ducts. Construction on the attic/third floor took three months. To minimize disruption, a separate entry into the house was created for the homeowners. The finished attic now includes a home office, wet bar, two bedrooms, a full bath and an elevator lobby all within the existing floor plan.




Makeover by: MOSAIC Group [Architects & Remodelers],
(770) 670-6022
Contributing designers/contractors: Catherine Trugman, CKD, CBD
Location: Atlanta
Approximate cost: $100,000
Photos courtesy of MOSAIC Group [Architects & Remodelers], photography by Gregg Willett Photography
After raising children and becoming attached to this 1930s home and the surrounding Morningside neighborhood, a couple of empty-nesters decided it was time to create a special area in the home just for them. He wanted a wine cellar to show off his expanding wine collection, and she wanted an artist’s studio. The basement was the answer.
The couple enlisted the help of MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers] to tackle the challenges of the project and come up with creative solutions. The existing basement was a very raw space with an unused drive-under carport that was being used as storage space save for a laundry area in the corner. It was a very cold, gray and damp space infested with a lot of duct work, wiring and exposed beams.
The basement inside the 80-year-old home had low ceilings, steel beams, cement floors and a pre-described traffic pattern. However, MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers] was able to work within this floor plan to save the homeowners money while gracefully converting an old carport into a new artist’s studio.
Old painted brick was sand-blasted, and the original cement floors were etched and stained. MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers] worked with the existing plumbing to create a cleaner-looking laundry area, a full bath with steam shower, a great complement to the new workout room. Also added was a wet bar for entertaining; a bright, naturally lit art studio; and a new wine cellar with climate controls and plenty of storage for a growing collection.
To unify the newly remodeled basement with the existing home, the doors from the main level were reused, and the upstairs trim was duplicated and installed. The once-dreary basement now resembles an urban loft suitable for this in-town Atlanta neighborhood.


Makeover by: Red Dirt Designs
(678) 462-6530
Contributing designers/contractors: Clear Sky Homes
Location: Vine City
Approximate cost: $30,000
Photos courtesy of Red Dirt Designs
Red Dirt Designs gave this Vine City backyard a complete makeover that reflects the homeowner’s “Afrasian” style and provides valuable outdoor living space for both kids and adults. The project includes the homeowner’s request for an entertaining area with a fire pit, dining and grilling space and an open lawn where a Slip-N-Slide could be set up for kids.
To achieve this, Red Dirt Designs learned more about the homeowner’s style preferences, which include a love of Moroccan architecture. With this knowledge, Red Dirt envisioned a Moroccan arbor lounge that incorporates Asian elements such as Asian pottery and bamboo decking. The major installations include a stucco-and-bamboo arbor, outdoor gas fire pit, large bamboo deck, which was installed over an existing worn concrete patio, bamboo plank-walk, Moroccan-inspired screens and all-new landscaping.

Makeover by: MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers]
(770) 670-6022
Contributing designers/contractors: Rick Goldstein, architect; Terry Muirheid, project architect
Location: Sandy Springs
Approximate cost: $50,000-75,000
Photos courtesy of MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers], photography by Gregg Willett Photography

Several years ago MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers] created a screened porch on the back of this home, which the homeowners love. When drainage problems at the front of the house forced them into making some tough decisions, they again called on MOSAIC Group for a stylish solution. Instead of tearing up a stoop and their landscape to waterproof the basement, they chose to create something of beauty and value.
The new rustic front porch addresses the drainage issues, adds outdoor-living space and enhances the curb appeal of the home. To create the look, MOSAIC Group used the same cedar-post-and-beam design as the back porch. A front walkway, small patio, bench and lighted fountain were added, and the yard, driveway and landscaping were improved as well. Details such as copper rain chains that drain into Mexican beach pebbles and Craftsman-style light fixtures top off the front-porch design.



Makeover by: Pantheon Properties, LLC
(404) 355-2518
Location: Atlanta
Approximate cost: $90,000-$95,000
Photos courtesy of Pantheon Properties, LLC
This project began with an unexpected e-mail that read, “Help! My house is ugly.” A photo was attached that proved it. When Pantheon Properties, LLC, Design-Build walked the property, the rest of the story unfolded as the homeowners described each of the haphazard projects they had undertaken over several years in an effort to ‘traditionalize’ their contemporary home.
Pantheon’s assignment was to pick up where they left off and economically complete the exterior renovation in order for them to sell the house. The initial scope of work included a number of specific tasks in addition to the primary objective:
•    To change the style from contemporary to traditional
•    To create an attractive driveway approach with a prominent entry
•    To complete the well-weathered handyman addition adjacent to the garage
•    To replace the vertical siding and weatherproof the home’s exterior envelope
•    To address the awkward details and unfinished conditions
•    To reinforce the deteriorating structure
•    To make a multitude of miscellaneous repairs
The goal was to transform the house with an architectural overlay that would complement both the original design and the neighborhood without reversing the random improvements that had already been made. A systematic design approach unified the existing elements while dramatically transforming the appearance of the home. Architectural features were added to enhance each view of the house, including:
•    A bold portico addition to create an inviting primary entrance
•    A shingled roof with exposed rafter tails to revitalize the original sunroom
•    A bracketed shed roof to highlight the terrace level entrance
•    A row of paired columns to dramatize the poolside facade
•    False-parapet walls to connect original rooflines and disguise the dated, angular forms
•    Mock eaves to balance the asymmetry of the front elevation
•    Dark carriage doors to diminish the presence of the garage
•    Board-and-batten panels to interrupt the siding and minimize the massing
•    Color-blocking to focus attention on the new traditional elements
After the renovation was completed, the once ‘ugly’ contemporary residence became a neighborhood asset with broad appeal in Atlanta’s traditional housing market. Nonetheless, the homeowners decided not to sell but to stay in their ‘new’ modern Craftsman home.

Makeover submitted by: AVI, a Marvin Design Gallery
Contributing designers/contractors: Chris Orr, KEO and Son General Contractors, LLC, Julie Conley, AIA
Location: Marietta
Approximate cost: $100,000
Photos courtesy of AVI, a Marvin Design Gallery
The owners of this contemporary 1980s-era home in Marietta wanted to improve its curb appeal and energy efficiency with a complete exterior facelift. To achieve this goal, they enlisted the help of AVI, a Marvin Design Gallery, to upgrade their exterior windows and doors.
AVI supplied energy-efficient Integrity windows by Marvin to replace their old aluminum windows; a low-maintenance, stainable Thermatru fiberglass door with decorative glass to replace the existing front-entry door; and a new Integrity sliding French door by Marvin to finish a screened porch that was added at the back of the home. A leftover Integrity stationary window from the project was even used to construct a custom doghouse for the homeowners’ Husky to match the home’s new and improved exterior.
The project, which took about 4-6 weeks to complete, also included replacing the home’s cedar siding with Hardiplank siding and the addition of a front porch.

Meet the Judges

Jesse-Morado Mary-Kay-Woodworth Barbara-English Caren-Danneman
Jesse Morado, past president of NARI Atlanta and owner of Renovation Coach consulting Mary Kay Woodworth, executive director of the Georgia Urban Ag Council and author of our monthly Garden Planner Barbara English, CEO of To The Trade Only, a marketing firm for interior designers Caren Danneman, CKD, CBD, and owner and principle designer of Danneman Designs
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