before & after: trolley depot renovation

It’s always been my dream to live in a home with airy, open rooms and lots of exposed bricks, so when this renovation project from Amy came across my desk, I was instantly smitten. Located in Atlanta, this building is about 100 years old and originally served as a trolley depot. Thankfully, Amy and her husband did a wonderful job preserving many of the original details while adding some modern touches that complement the overall aesthetic beautifully. Wonderful job, Amy! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read more about Amy’s renovation after the jump!

Time: 1 year

Cost: $500k

Basic Steps: The basic steps we took to achieve the look were to preserve the original space as much as possible and use the existing lines (like the arched windows) in other elements, like the niche, and the arched doorway — even the arch of the armoire. My husband is from France, and they are used to mixing old with new. But we were shocked at how well our French antiques fit inside this industrial space — we preserved all the brick, the concrete floor and the original garage door bay openings. When we had to repair or replace bricks, we would use recycled bricks from the same time period so the texture and size were similar.

Then we added a 17th-century carved mantle, a late 19th-century spiral staircase and other recycled architectural elements to add a feeling of warmth and luxury to a hard (brick, concrete) space. The advice I would give to others tackling a similar project is to preserve as much of the original architectural elements as possible. They add such character to a space and give it depth and history. We love the space and what it used to be. It is easy to imagine what it used to be, and it easily transitions into a very livable space for a modern lifestyle. — Amy


Oh my! I think that’s the best before & after I’ve EVER seen! I love to see an old building bought back to life. I’m completely jealous, it’s a beautiful space, how I would like to live there. Well done Amy & husband!


What an awesome transformation! I love the space! I especially love the lamps! Might I inquire about them? Where might I find them? Thanks!


Does Amy have a blog? I NEED TO SEE MORE OF THIS PLACE!!!


I think these have been some of the before and after pics ever! the trolley depot reno is just amazing! x

Kim Wike, darling&dear

Wow this house is seriously amazing. I can’t get over it. I love that they reused this old building and that you can see it peeking through in the addition. Great work! I’m wondering if you worked with an Architect for the full renovation?


Oh my goshhhhhhhhhhhh. This looks absolutely amazing. I didn’t think that kind of reinvention was even possible. I mean, you see it on tv all the time, but to happen regularly?! So exciting!


la caprichosa

I have to agree with the comments above. It is one of the best before and afters I’ve ever seen. Its not the design that I admire as much as the ingenuity, dedication, vision and tenacity it must have taken to complete this project.Kudos!


Wow! This is incredible. I admire those who have such vision and commitment. Love it!

Melissa S.

I wish I could express how much in awe I am, but I can’t figure out a good way to say it! This is amazing!


As soon as I saw the first photo, I thought, I bet that’s in ATL! Gorgeous renovation/addition.


Most people would have just bulldozed that sucker. What an incredible challenge to take on. So admirable. I love it.


I big BRAVO! to the creators of this fantastic space! The sheer creativity, and labor of love it must have been, are well deserving of immense praise. Just phenomenal.


I can’t even believe how this turned out, this is my dream home! I really love all the grass, I feel like people are always getting rid of grass, so it’s nice to see it used so well.


Great post! I’m not sure what the real estate prices are in Atlanta, but to design and build/retrofit something of your own, pretty much from scratch, for that kind of money is incredible.
I so hope more people try to do this if its in their means, as there are so many beautiful old structures that lay abandon, or else are demolished.
I think when you have creative input into the actual structure of your own dwelling, in makes such a huge difference in terms of how you feel and live in the space.
Very inspiring!! Yay!


whhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattt!!!!!!!!!! That’s FANtastic.


That’s unreal! This is the most drastic before & after I’ve seen in a long time. Kudos to the homeowners/designers/architect, etc.


This is absolutely fantastic! What material did you use to cover the cinderblock walls?


Just AMAZING and my absolute DREAM to do a project like this too! SIGHHHH


I love to see beautiful old architecture preserved. Well done, not just the building but the entire space.


Can we get a shout-out for the architect on this one? Much applause to the homeowner’s for having the vision and style to make this building happen, but unless one of them is a licensed architect there was a lot of uncredited professional work that went into designing this lovely home.


Oh my, yes. What a beautiful job. And thank you for saving such a storied building. I have a such a soft spot for these old brick wrecks.


I would LOVE to know where those couches came from. What a beautiful home – I can’t get over how well they kept the original heart & soul of the building.


What an amazing accomplishment! You’ve taken something with no love and made into a space that takes my breathe away! BEAUTIFUL!


Is this building still for sale? I remember it coming up on a recent real estate search…very expensive for the Grant Park area, but GORGEOUS renovation.

Paulina J!

My jaw hit the floor woth this B&A! One of the best I’ve seen!


Incredible. Also love that in the last pic – it looks a bit like a bird house :)


Can I graciously demand a sneek peek for the rest of the house? You guys have such a unique and rich style.


Mais, Qu’est-ce que c’est magnifique?!? This is pretty much one of the best “before and after” posts I’ve seen. It is absolutely dreamy what they did with that train depot. I think it’s transformation of space & function is perhaps why this renovation is so interesting… taking an old abandoned train depot& turning it into a fabulous, creative, home w/ personal touches + historical charm & story attached. bien fait!


Agree! Let’s have a sneak peek! I want to see more. Love this!


Absolutely stunning, I love it! It’s amazing to see what imaginative, talented folks can do to make something so fabulous.


Wonderful!! Amazing job I must say. I love your blog and I know u must have heard it all the time but honestly your blog is so inspiring and absolutely awesome.


This is so great! I love the final result and think it’s cool to have a home with such an interesting history.

I’m inspired because I honestly would’ve been too scared to take this on (even with my professional carpenter/mason BF). Kudos…

John P

Thank you for a marvelous addition to a wonderful neighborhood. Amazing vision!!


Terrific job on this project, but I’m with Kate…if an architect was involved, please give credit where credit is due. As an architect myself, I know firsthand that homeowners like to take credit for “designing” spaces that were really collaborations. If drawings are prepared for construction, it means someone other than the homeowner spent many painstaking hours translating pictures and discussions into reality. If this project is truly DIY, kudos to the owners for all of their hard work and investment into the property…they deserve tons of credit for even taking on a project like this…it takes a rare breed! But, if an architect and/or engineer(s) was involved, please let the design community know about their efforts too


Wow! Thank you for all the great comments about our house. We are touched by your enthusiasm for this project. My husband, Jean-Philippe, designed and built this house for us on his own with love and determination. The construction was from recycled European grade materials – all steel and concrete/brick with mortar finish. Made to last for 300 years!!!


can you tell me how much you spent for the change? I love it!

Mrs C

a Grand Design. One of the best builds I have seen in a long time. Love it, wish I lived there.


WOW! I love old industrial spaces converted into homes. They did a great job. Love the outdoor space, too!

Deborah Sibley

This has to be one of my very favorite ‘before and after’ projects you’ve shared. I love how the historic fabric of the structure has been respected while transforming it into a thoroughly modern space. Inspiring!

jen @ circle and sprout

WOW! This was a really amazing before and after! There’s an old wooden train station in our town that my husband wanted to buy and do this to, but alas the funds are not available to us at this point! Maybe someday…


Unhonestly, one of the most amazing before and afters I’ve ever seen. Stupendous!

Amy Squires

Absolutely fantastic – I agree w/ other posters – best before/after I’ve ever seen!


WOW! I love old abandon buildings and always dream about the potential they could have if someone would just love them. What a great restoration, if only all the old ones could be saved in the same way. Great job! Beautiful Work.

andrea marty

A MA Z I N G !! would love to know the name of the artist who did the painting above the fireplace!

Carrie Pacini

This is such a beautiful transformation. I love the natural feel of the space, as if it was always there just needed someone to bring it to life.


Wow. That was a lot of work and $$, but the transformation is amazing. Just think there are tons of buildings like this across the country that are waiting for this kind of magic. When the recession’s over, these buildings can be rescued rather than bulldozed.

Erica J

This is by far one of my favorite before/afters. The transformation is absolute! I agree with MB. I completely support repurposing salvaged materials and buildings for the homes and businesses of the future. Why get rid of good materials with historic value?

Heidi (AlpineGypsy)

Seriously….I just can’t get over this transformation. I must confess: sometimes the Before/After pictures aggravate me a bit because I just see people removing amazing old features of a building/piece of furniture to make it look like everything else! But this is the perfect balance of old and new. So respectful of the old building. It must be happy. :^)



It’s a magnificent transformation. I feel kind of bad for the next door neighbors, though… even though their property value is sure to go up because of this, they just lost all of the light on one side of their house. This happened in a previous house I lived in, it was miserable.

Jessica N

Amazing! Where did you get the fabric for the outdoor cushions?

Daphne Collins

Gorgeous!!!! Stunning!!! Wow!!! I’m loving it!

Stephanie berryisland

Wow, stunning, love your style! I assume you salvaged that mattress as well? I kid.


Valerie — I was just wondering this same thing. This house is incredible, and I would love to live in a space like this. But seeing the neighbors house losing all that light made me think of that movie “Friends with Money,” when the ‘writer’ friend and her husband are adding a second story, thus totally blocking there neighbors view of the ocean. Sorry to be negative. Really love the house.

Nia Basset

Hate it.

. . . Just kidding! I just wanted to shock you. Of course I love it!! :-)


This is absolutely incredible! I would love to live in a home like this. Also, as a NZer unfamiliar with the term – just what is a ‘trolley depot’?


Beautiful! I love the mixture of comfortable home and original elements. Looks great!


Love this!

Would like to see a floor plan…and of course more interior pictures!


Amazing…. thanks for sharing…… the results are just plain lovely and so inviting!

Jona Olivia Payne

Whoo hoo! Way to come to Atlanta DS! So many gems here! I was so delighted to see this when I opened my email. I was fortunate to see it in person on the Modern Atlanta Home Tour. Gorgeous home!


seriously – that is some vision, i’m totally blown away!

Mary Taylor Keates

This enormous labor of love and respect for history makes me hopeful! A beautiful home and the ultimate green home.Amy needs to import herself to Cincinati and help with the restoration Of Over The Rhine neighborhood!

Amy McNeil

This is one of my dreams coming to fruition! I’m jealous and hope to be able to tackle a similar project one day!


Wow, it’s like a magic ! i want see more on details, they’re nice as all surely!


Miraculous!!! You guys were really in your element. Noone could have done it better. Thanks so much for sharing this amazing transformation.


OMG! This is just beyond beautiful and amazing and ASTOUNDING!!!!! Can you guys please come to Detroit and renovate some?? haha we have more than enough broken down/ugly looking building, houses and structures. I adore your work and seriously would love to try this if I had the money. My vision is to refix the city of Detroit


This is the stuff I see when looking at something not at it’s best.
I’m in love with this.
makes me happy when people can see the beauty in anything.

Waterford Made Chandeliers Ireland

Money Talks, but, taste and knowledge go a long long way…Fabulous Work.

Jan at Murals Atlanta

Very impressive! Ya’ll did such a great job of keeping the character and reinventing the space. I do miss the kudzu growing thru the living room! How do you like the neighborhood? Have you found the space to be easy to heat and cool?

It is wonderful to see so many run down areas and buildings being renovated by enthusiastic people who love architecture and history! Great job! I have been in the atl for over 25 years and have seen great things happen to inner perimeter neighborhoods because of energy and investments like yours! KUDOS!

Bridget from Refined Vintage

This has to be one of my favorite transformations ever. I love the vision you were able to bring to reality. Most people cannot see the potential in run down old abandoned buildings, but you have done an truly beautiful & amazing renovation. I love the exposed brick and the classic elements you have combined. I would love to live here too! Congratulations on a job well done!


Wow, this is amazingly beautiful. I can’t believe someone could turn something so broken down into something so beautiful. My hat is off to you. We need more people like you in this world to restore and bring back things to an improved state.

Ella McDaniel

That’s such a beautiful space! It would have been so easy to erase the history and character of the garage in transforming it, but even where they introduced white walls, they’re placed in contrast to the original brick. The brushed steel exterior is a little sterile-feeling for my taste, but the spiral staircase behind the dining table is just oozing charm.

Lennar Tampa

What a transformation! This must have been quite a process. There’s nothing better than making something beautiful and all your own.


Incredible transformation and vision. Love seeing an old building brought to life. kudos!


It’s pretty amazing what you can do with something old and run down and turn it into something beautiful. Nice work!

Daisy Rogers

Great job, this renovation idea is really worth appreciating. You can further reduce the costing of accessories and upholstery buy using vintage items or converting old things into new ones.

Marina Tish

It needs a lot of hard work and good money investment. But the result is awesome!

Architecture Linked

Love that the integrity of the original depot was kept, and turned into a new and truly beautiful piece of architecture. Bravo, Amy!


The vision to take the original to the new astounds me. This is gorgeous and amazing!


this is what they should be doing to old buildings that closed down. instead of destroying trees and land, they should reuse old land. this is beautiful


I have always dreamed of buying an old building and making it my own…This is stunning! I wish to someday have the funds to do that, thanks for sharing!!


This is a gorgeous renovation! Oh my gosh! The exposed brick… I die. It’s so beautiful.


for Andrea, from NZ: Trolleys were a type of public transportation; a similar name is “street car”. They were widely used in the ATL in the early years of the 20th century. My grandfather was a street car conductor in Atlanta for many years. The depot of course was where the trolleys were housed. My grandfathers jaw would drop if he could see this place! Mine did! Great job!


Well done. We have done a great deal of this kind of thing, our last project being a Chateau in France. We don’t do it any more – getting too old! Isn’t it funny when somebody says they are “renovating” when all they are doing is re-painting the hall! These days I am an author (novelist) and artist. If you enjoy reading check out my web site.


Must have costed a ton of money, to make it that cool. :-)

Diana Nieto

Congratulations! you did a marvelous work! I’m speechless :’)


Tu casa me encanta, es perfecta :D tu blog es estupendo y lo disfruto al leer.

Britt McDaniel

Everything looks great! Reuse, reuse, reuse! Really love it!

robert forget

This is so me. Only this person is much more talented. Thank you for the copy though.

Anita Mordue

All I can say is ‘Stunning’ – this project is what I dream of doing one day. Congrats on a job brilliantly completed!

Heather Marie

Tre’ Fab! What an amazing home, the transformation is magnufique!


WONDERFUL! i can’t believe it!to see that transformation this before and after make my day thank you for sharing this blog..