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before and after

Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress

by Annie Werbler

It took two years to find a home surrounded by enough big, old trees that Corbin Thomas could forget she was in the city. Once the Atlanta, GA native and her husband, Corley, recognized the potential of this 1930s residence flooded with natural light, they couldn’t stop daydreaming about the older house they knew they could make their own — through lots of hard work. The newlyweds got married and bought the place within a dizzying span of two weeks. After celebrating both milestone events, the pair rolled up their sleeves and set out to address their acquisition’s major issues, like nonworking radiators in every room, cracked paint on the walls, an outdoor washer and dryer, and only one bathroom. Despite these concerns, the home had good bones and was situated in a great neighborhood.

Remodeling the 1,700-square-foot house has become a favorite weekend hobby of the couple as they tackle new techniques they’ve never done before. Corbin has a passion for interior design and hands-on projects (nearly anything that needs paint or power tools!) and is the author of a home improvement and interior design blog called Blue Door Living (inspired by the front door color, said to represent stability, peace, and keeping bad energy out), where she shares her impressions of first-time homeownership. After six months, the interiors are still a work in progress. So far, they’ve removed radiators, installed a faux wood floor, tiled a screened-in porch, and are working on more. And they’ve had a blast doing it all.

Corbin likes lots of different decorating styles, so she didn’t want to pick just one. Her goal was to create a space that could be versatile, elegant, but comfortable, and most importantly — livable. Interior walls made of solid brick have made hanging curtains and pictures tough, but they do provide pleasant acoustics. Despite the home’s age, a copy of the original blueprints remain, which Corbin and Corley plan to frame and incorporate into the decidedly contemporary design scheme — but one fit for an historic home. —Annie

Photography by Corbin Thomas

Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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In the Atlanta living room of Corbin and Corley Thomas, a repaired brass fireplace screen left behind by the 1930s home's previous owner is tied into a mix of metals seen throughout the decor. Vintage and modern pieces come together in a transitional look.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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In order to open up more space in the living room, the Thomas Family removed three nonworking radiators that had been in the house since the 1940s.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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Removing the radiators to the left and right of the fireplace opened up room for a pair of bergère chairs.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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The couple picked up a horseshoe coffee table memento picked from an antique store in Austin, TX when they got engaged.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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A clear acrylic CB2 coffee table maintains an airy seating area without adding bulk to the room.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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The home's front door opens directly into the living room, and this console against the stairwell creates an entryway zone in the larger space.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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In the dining room, warm grey walls and a rustic trestle table paired with French bistro chairs serve as the perfect setting for the homeowners' impromptu office space.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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A brass statement chandelier and curtain rods add a hint of old world glam to the room.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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The dining room opens up into the living space, creating a comfortable flow for the residents.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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A versatile, vintage-inspired IKEA bar made the trip with Corbin from her time spent living in New York City.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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When decorating, Corbin looks for budget-friendly pieces she can spruce up herself. She found this mid-century buffet at an antique store, and gave it a makeover with chalk paint and new brass hardware for a more polished look.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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The screened-in porch has been one of the the couple's biggest projects to date. They laid travertine tile over a concrete slab, but kept the aqua blue ceiling the previous owner had painted - a common choice in one of their favorite cities, Charleston, South Carolina.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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With the beige travertine floors and white brick walls, Corbin added color to the porch with a boho-influenced outdoor rug. She then layered natural wood and rattan to tie some earthiness into the outdoor view.
Before & After: Blue Door Living Progress, on Design*Sponge
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The first floor of Corbin and Corley Thomas' Atlanta residence.

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