Lamp shades, vintage pennants and antiques from across the globe spark Kim Doherty’s creativity during the holiday season.

“I don’t think that my Christmas has ever been the same every year,” she said. “I like things changing and moving and evolving.”

From the dressed-up porches to the colorful chicken coop, Doherty lets loose her vivid design imagination and hones her DIY skills throughout her home. The cottage is on the Dec. 2 Historic Norcross Holiday Tour of Homes.

» See more of this tour home here

“I think your house should tell your story — where you’ve been, what you’ve done, who you are,” Kim said. “I think part of that comes with being fearless in what you’re doing and not being afraid to make a mistake.”

Kim and Tom Doherty bought their Norcross home in 1993. She owns Meraki, an interiors business.
Photo: Christopher Oquendo/


Residents: Kim and Tom Doherty, and their dogs, Shadow and Coal. Kim is former owner of Details Boutique in Johns Creek and now owns Meraki, an interiors business.

Location: Norcross

Size: 3,600 square feet, plus a 660-square-foot detached garage, five bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths

Year built/bought: 1993

Architectural style: Traditional

The homeowners added a detached garage for Tom Doherty's car collection, which includes a 1972 BMW 2002 Tii, 1965 Porsche 356 and 1985 Porsche 911.

Renovations: They added a detached garage for Tom’s vintage cars, with an attached porch. They turned unused attic space into a studio that is accessed through a secret passageway. “You walk though a huge armoire to get to it, so it’s a hidden room,” she said.

Interior design style: Collected, eclectic, bohemian

Favorite interior design elements: The globe-trekking couple has decorated their Gwinnett County home with items from visits to more than 50 countries. The weathered bar doors are from Burma, while the dining room walls are papered with pages from an 1880s ledger book found at the Braderie de Lille market in France. “It’s a collected treasure trove of our life. It’s a complete reflection of us,” Kim said.

The colorful chicken coop uses old wagon wheels and spindles from Europe, along with handpainted details and fringe.
Photo: Christopher Oquendo/

Favorite holiday decor: “I don’t do any traditional decorations,” she said. For example, the Christmas tree in her dining room is made out of lampshades while she arranged vintage pennants into a tree shape in another room. Her main Christmas tree sits in an olive pot.

Favorite DIY project: She painted a vintage chest of drawers, given to her by a friend, in the style of a bone-inlay piece typically found in Morocco. “I’m probably most proud of that piece because it was tedious and turned out incredibly,” she said.

Favorite outdoor elements: The chicken coop in a gypsy wagon design (made out of wagon wheels, an armoire and spindles from Europe), the pond and a stone fireplace.

Resources: My Favorite Place, Southern Comforts Consignments, The Treasure Mart, Goodwill

Decor tip: Be drawn to potential, not labels, Kim said. Ask yourself: How can I transform this piece into something one of a kind?

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.