The Search: Charmed by Virginia-Highland

The Search

Kramer and Hayley Johnson kept their eye on homes in Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods, such as Virginia-Highlands and Candler Park, while they enjoyed living in a Midtown condo overlooking Piedmont Park.

When an opportunity arose to rent out their one-bedroom, 800-square-foot condo, the couple focused on finding a single-family home with at least three bedrooms and two baths.

“We were kind of educating ourselves about the market, and we fell in love with Virginia-Highland and the walkability of it, and the restaurants and the community,” said Kramer, 26, a marketing consultant for Chick-fil-A.

The couple was disappointed with some of the additions and renovations they saw, finding the efforts created a poor flow for living and entertaining.

“Some of the add-ons were not as practical as we would like,” said Hayley, 26, who works on the fundraising team for Habitat for Humanity. “We saw a lot of basements that were finished with one bedroom, but not a lot of functionality.”

They looked at about 20 homes, including these three, working with Hayley’s mom, Melanie Ward, a real estate agent with Re/Max Advantage.

No. 1

Ready to move in

A three-bedroom, three-bath brick home on Lanier Boulevard in Virginia-Highland was convenient to shopping and dining and had a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Like other homes in the neighborhood, it was positioned on a hilly property, and they preferred a flatter yard. The home, built in 1935, was listed for $459,000.

No. 2

Big yard

A three-bedroom, two-bath brick home on Courtenay Drive in Atlanta’s Morningside neighborhood, next to Virginia-Highland, had a Cape Cod style, garden and screened porch. But they were unsure about the functionality of the additions, including a bonus room and in-law suite. Another oddity in the layout was a door on the second floor that opened up to nothing (they believe it may have been a connected to a deck at one point). The home, built in 1930, was listed for $420,000.

No. 3

Stunning porch

A three-bedroom, two-bath home on Glen Arden Way in Virginia-Highland, built in 1924, had been added onto and renovated over the years. One of the changes was a screened A-frame porch with a rustic style that added about 500 square feet to the home, with the deck. “We wanted to have the outdoor space that we could live in,” Hayley said. The couple spotted the home while it had a “Coming Soon” sign in its yard, so it was not officially priced and listed on the market.

The Choice

No. 3. The Johnsons toured the home before it went on the market. “It’s got the old-house charm but the modern functionality,” Hayley said. Details such as crown molding and a brick fireplace joined an updated kitchen with concrete countertops and top-of-the-line appliances and features such as a sound system. Since moving in during July, they have refinished the hardwood floors under the carpet. They’ve also been welcomed by neighbors bringing by fresh-baked bread, cookies, wine and other goodies. “The neighborhood brought us so much food we didn’t know what to do,” Kramer said. “It’s a really tight-knit community.”

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