No matter where she moves to next, Atlanta-based designer, Brittany Shields knows how to pull together a home that feels at the same time novel and her own. She moved from a big suburban home to cool minimalist loft in Ponce City Market to this brownstone-style duplex off of Piedmont Park in Atlanta. Each space had its own unique character that she was able to harness and put her own personalized touch. In her latest home, she was inspired by the brownstones in New York City to merge a more eclectic and classic look with her modern clean-lined style. Captivated by this slightly moodier space, we wanted to ask her about her transition from her loft to her 1930’s duplex.
You previously lived in a gorgeous loft in Ponce City Market, what made you decide to move to this new (and also lovely!) space?
It was mostly a practical decision, we needed a little more room: 600 sq/ft is not much room for 4 living things (including our dog and cat). Particularly, it’s not a lot of space to live AND work out of. Although the new house is only 1100 sq/ft, having two levels, multiple bathrooms, and an office makes a world of a difference.
Can you tell us the difference between Piedmont Park and the neighborhood that you were living in before?
Even though Ponce City Market is just a few miles down the road from Piedmont Park, our new neighborhood is much slower. It’s nice not having a major street outside our window and to be able to walk a few blocks to Atlanta’s largest park is a dream!
Your home is in a beautiful New York style brownstone – did it take you a while to find it?
Honestly, it just took a few clicks on the inter-webs. I was lucky enough to get to see the space quickly. I instantly fell in love with all the potential!
How is the home divided? Are there any spacial advantages or limitations?
The foyer is basically combined with the dining room which leads into the living room. The stairway is in the kitchen (really the kitchen is under the stairway #tiny), which takes you up to the first bathroom, our bedroom, and the office with a private bathroom. With an older home, storage is always a struggle. We utilize every nook and cranny to get the most out of our closets. The greatest advantage is all the natural light from the windows throughout the house. It always feels bright and airy!
What was the space like before you moved in?
Yikes… It was not easy on the eyes. Dark and dingy, the space needed some fresh refacing and a little bit of love. A new coat of paint and refinishing the floors really brought the house to life.
You seem to make this rental yours, what were your limitations and what were you able to change?
We’re extremely lucky to have a flexible landlord. Upon our moving in, he wanted to update anyway and I offered to help select new fixtures and finishes. All of the lighting fixtures, paint colors, and hardware were our choosing which made it easy to feel at home quickly.
How about the furniture, did you buy new pieces for this space and sell old ones?
Since our previous space was so small, we didn’t have much to begin with, and had to buy a few pieces to fill our newly acquired footprint. We had owned a house before moving into Ponce City Market and had kept a lot of our furniture in storage, so it was nice to pull some of those pieces out and use them in our new home.
How did you incorporate the architecture of your home into the design of the space? Any differences in style this time around?
The space is drastically different but yet somehow has a similar feel because it’s still us. The loft was ultra industrial minimal, high rise, concrete floors, and open ceilings. While I loved the clean lines and neutral pallet of our old apartment, our new place has so much charm and character. It’s really cozy. Being that it was probably built in the 30’s, a lot of the original finishes (like the bathroom floor tile and clawfoot tub) are quaint and lean into a more classic aesthetic. Bringing in vintage Persian rugs was a no-brainer in this case. To appeal to my eclectic taste, I pulled some midcentury modern pieces to juxtapose the ornate and classic architecture within the space.
Did you take any design risks with this new home?
I think the riskiest choice (being that is a rental) I made was the ceiling light in the living room. While it speaks to my quirky self, its a very bold fixture that tenants in the future may not appreciate as much as I do. Frankly, it’s one of my favorite decisions!
Could you tell us of a budget and splurge item?
Window treatments can be costly, but I love my go-to curtain panels: RITVA. They are from IKEA and are very budget-friendly! I used them throughout my whole house.
The biggest splurge of our house had to be the Persian rug in the living room, it’s big. My dream retirement plan is to become a rug salesman! I’m just passionate about a good vintage rug. You could imagine my giddiness upon finding this gorgeous rug. It was calling my name.
Now that your family of four is settled in, do you see your home evolving over time?
As a designer, my taste is constantly changing and evolving. I’m trying to push the envelope further and am always exposing myself to new spaces and new ideas. It’s hard not to want to express that within my own home. So, to answer the question, of course! As I evolve, my space will definitely evolve with me.