Interiorssneak peeks

Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA

by Lauren Chorpening Day

Home Economics was a required course in 7th grade. I learned how to make French toast and use a serger. After that, it was possibly an elective, but not a course that I knew of anyone taking during high school. Now entertaining/lifestyle blogs, interior design websites and cooking shows are everywhere, and having more exposure to the fundamentals of Home Ec in school would have been more relevant than I could have imagined in today’s world. Joseph Marini is a home ecomonics master. He grew up in a multi-generational family of home builders and homemakers, all with an emphasis on excellence and craft. Joseph earned a degree in Accounting, graduated from culinary school and launched a career in the high-end event design industry in New York and Connecticut called JOSEPH AND CO. His business led him to an opportunity to open a home and garden store in Essex, CT and he started taking on interior design and real estate clients with historic homes.

Bouncing back and forth between his home in New York City and his store in Essex was tiring and something was missing. Joseph didn’t find the craftsmanship and charm in NYC he had grown up to appreciate and expect, and Essex was lacking the community he was after. His love for historic homes and the study of home economics surpassed his love for his New England-based businesses, so he moved to Atlanta, GA to live in the charming South he had grown to love on visits. He relaunched his business in Atlanta with clearer goals. “I have learned through the years as I’ve watched generations change that there is a need to redefine and preserve the art and science of home economics, and so I have set out on the continuation of this journey to preserve the art of home economics, creating a home within a house,” Joseph explains.

His first house in Atlanta was a shotgun just outside of the city. Joseph updated it, sold it, and started looking for the charming home he came to the city for with his partner, Tony Pruitt, a wealth management advisor. When they came across an early-1900s Victorian bungalow, something about it drew them in. “This home was on the market and was actually an oversight at first, but something signaled to me [to] go look at it. From the moment Tony and I walked through the door, we could feel the great energy the home had… All of the original rooms were still intact. I personally am drawn to a home that has separate rooms for separate purposes. While I don’t dislike an open floor plan, I personally much prefer and have always owned homes that have had separate kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, etc. I believe ‘rooms’ in a home are very important for the psychology of the home. It had the perfect floor plan and it was the perfect size and it felt like I belonged there,” Joseph shares. “It is very hard to explain, but every home I have ever purchased, simply walking into it, either it spoke to me or it didn’t. This house was no exception, and when Tony said he felt the same thing, it confirmed that we should move on it.” Joseph and Tony moved in a year and a half ago and have since made it their own.

The heritage and history Joseph had been looking for in a home has been preserved throughout this house. Not only has it been perfect for Joseph, but it has allowed Tony to provide more of a personalized, independent approach for his clients through running his own firm out of their home. Joseph has turned the lackluster yard into an urban garden and the two have furnished the home room by room. “It is important to me that what furnishes the home is sensitive and respectful to the period and overall feel of the home. Trends come and go, but I believe much like a wardrobe, the simple classics stay forever,” Joseph says. “Our home houses all of our treasured items. I believe in a truest sense of home economics, it is a balance of aesthetics and purpose.” The love these two have put into this home is unmistakeable. Tony and Joseph have added to the rich heritage of this beautiful, century-old house through thoughtful design and the fundamentals of home economics. Lauren

Photography by Rusty Echols

Image above: Joseph Marini (left) and Tony Pruitt (right) on the steps of their 2,900-square-foot home in Atlanta, GA.



Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
The entryway into the couple's bungalow shows off the home's aesthetic while keeping things edited.
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge

“I am drawn to a European aesthetic in a kitchen and when we purchased the home we set out to remove all of the upper cabinets, install a new shiplap backsplash and keep the materials and textures more appropriate for a 100+ year-old house,” Joseph shares. “The white cabinet sitting on the counter was a dark walnut piece that I found in an antique store and purchased it, brought it home and painted and glazed it to be a piece of cabinetry to hold some of our collected items.”

Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
"The house is very deceiving from the outside. I still do not understand why, but it looks much smaller from the outside than it is," Joseph explains. "Once you walk in and understand the height of the ceilings and the size of the rooms, you instantly are [transported] to a different time and a different feeling. We both live and work from home, so it really does have to be a place that inspires us in both instances."
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
"Since Tony works primarily from home, this room which once would have been a library or a receiving room serves as an office for him where he is able to meet with clients," Joseph explains. "It works perfectly because he can close the French doors to the living room to create privacy for meeting his clients, much like a doctor or lawyer would have done in the early 1900s."
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
"The dining room is perfectly situated in the middle of the house for entertaining," Joseph shares. "We host many dinner parties and its perfect for having cocktails on the front porch, then convening to the dining room which is directly off the kitchen for serving. My favorite thing about the dining room is the original built-in china cabinet. The interior was painted a subdued golden wheat color to show off Tony's collection of Baccarat stem ware."
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
A completed guest room was a necessity for Joseph and Tony considering how often they entertain and host guests. The impressive size of the spare room was the starting point in the design.
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
Joseph and Tony turned the entire second floor into a master suite.
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
"The bedding is from Libeco and the accent pillows are from Les Indiennes," Joseph shares.
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
Joseph and Tony have found the perfect balance in their home between stately pieces and an airy vibe.
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
"The original clawfoot tub still exists in the bathroom where it originally sat. We have no intentions of moving it. We have been told that this bathroom was much more 'modest' than its current incarnation and actually only consisted of a bathtub and a sink," Joseph says.
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
"We had the potting shed built from scratch as a place to work for building and maintaining our garden. The walls and ceiling are horizontal shiplap," Joseph says. "We incorporated stainless steel prep tables on wheels in here to allow for moveability and ease of clean-up. We will be using this as a space for hosting dinner parties as well."
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
The backyard was an empty lot when they first moved in. Joseph was excited, but realized a garden in the South thrives differently than a New England garden. "As an avid and obsessive gardener, I set about to transform a completely blank square plot of land into an urban garden that satisfied all of my current curiosities. It is still a work in progress, but much of the foundation has been laid. My challenge is that I am so used to the romantic English-style gardens that one can create in the Northeast weather that just do not have the chance to exist in the southern heat. I am learning new ways to garden and how to create outdoor spaces for southern climate," Joseph says.
Creating a Home with History and Heritage in Atlanta, GA | Design*Sponge
Joseph and Tony's first-floor layout.

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    • Thank you Samantha! It’s a paint called Fleur, color Greige, with a glaze over it. It was a lot of work but well worth the results! Happy to share any tips!

  • I love this. I love my current home of SF, but maybe it’s time to consider moving home to Georgia! If you can stomach the traffic, Atlanta’s a great place to live.

  • This home is perfectly curated! I love how you give the rooms space to breathe. Beautiful palette!

  • I love Joseph’s conviction to preserve the art of home economics! Couldn’t agree more that it needs to be shared from one generation to the next! Dreamy home too!

    • Thanks Melinda. It took me a while to be able to understand the true nature of everything that I love to do. Home Economics is not only a Science, but in todays World it is an art. I hope you will follow me on the journey to inspiring the preservation of Home Economics

  • Joseph and Tony-
    Words can’t convey how beautiful your home is. That bathroom! The kitchen! The potting shed.! I love it all. I also live in a home with separate rooms and I can’t imagine it any other way.
    You must take a trip over to Athens, GA. I’ll show you around!

    • Thanks Julie! I consider our home a laboratory to learn and experiment. Its always changing. As I type, most of the vignettes that were photographed are completely changed for the fall season. A couple of pieces of furniture are being re-upholstered and we are about to prepare to paint the entire exterior of the house White. Rather than using different colors to accentuate the trim and features of the house we are going to use different finishes. I will be updating the progress on a new instagram site, athomewithjoseph. Come follow me! Next time im in Athens, Id love to stop by

  • Beautiful home! We just bought an early 1900s Victorian bungalow, too. What neighborhood are you in?

  • Such a beautiful space. I love the way you kept everything open. It really helps to make every piece seem important. The gardening area is so lovely.