When Karen Swope’s daughter moved away to college, Swope decided to downsize, moving from a 2,000-square-foot home in Decatur to her cottage in Avondale Estates, which is about half the size.

“I just decided I wanted a smaller home,” said Swope. “It’s a great house. It’s very comfortable for me.”

Swope worked with Lisa Gabrielson of Lisa Gabrielson Design, who she also worked with to design her last home. Gabrielson helped Swope pull the space together so that the small house feels lovely and homey.

“So when I moved in here I said, ‘Hey, I’d like to hire you. Can you do something to bring the house together?’” said Swope.

Gabrielson placed Swope’s art, selected curtains and rugs throughout the home and helped Swope find a way for the pieces she already owned to fit together in the new space.

“The house flows from one room to another,” said Swope.

With new floors and fresh paint, a new bathroom, some small updates to the kitchen and a new screened-in porch, Swope created a space that works perfectly for her. In 2020 she also added a backyard patio to entertain friends outside.


Residents: Karen Swope and her mini Australian shepherd, Murphy. Swope is a former Ticketmaster executive.

Location: Avondale Estates

Size: 1,000 square feet, with two bedrooms and one bath.

Year built: 1906

Year bought: 2018

Renovations: Swope completely refloored and painted the interior of her home, removed the popcorn ceilings, added all new light fixtures, completely renovated the bathroom, added a storage closet, had a screened-in porch installed and added a new patio in the backyard.

Project consultants: Peter Polites of Polites & Associates Architects worked on the back porch, Lisa Gabrielson Design did the interior design, Excel Carpet installed all flooring and completed the bathroom renovation, Rebuilds Atl Construction LLC added the screened-in back porch and Sod Sales Direct created the patio and walkway.

Architectural style: Cottage

Favorite architectural elements: Fireplace and window over the kitchen sink, which are both thought to be original to the 1906 home.

Interior design style: Contemporary cottage

Favorite interior design elements: Art representing past pets and furniture gifted to Swope by family.

Favorite outdoor elements: Screened-in porch and fire pit on backyard patio.

Resources: Furniture and decor from Macy’s, Wayfair, Cost Plus World Market, Ballard Designs, HomeGoods, Target, Pier 1, Creative Threads, Amazon.com, Pottery Barn, At Home, Lakewood 400 Antiques Market, Rustique Iron Inc. and Rugs-Direct Inc. Art by Woodie Long, Eben Dunn, Sybil Gibson, Mary Klein, Kathryn Fortson and Donna Dallas.


If you have a beautifully designed home in the Atlanta area, we’d love to feature you! Email Shannon.N.Dominy@gmail.com for more info.

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