Restaurateurs revamp Atlanta Craftsman

Dark yellow stains from nicotine tar covered the doors and floors. Windows were missing and the window frames were rotted.

Restaurateurs Calavino Donati and Doria Roberts believed they could save the Craftsman home in Atlanta. They taught themselves how to strip the floors and doors and repair window frames.

“We went in there at 6 o’clock every morning and started working on it,” Donati said. “I would leave to open up our store (Urban Cannibals) in East Atlanta. Then I would come back at 6. We would work at 6 o’clock until midnight or 2 in the morning.”

Soon after they finished their home redo, which is decorated with quirky furniture, art and light fixtures, they opened three eateries in Atlanta in 2015.

“There was so much about the house that was definitely worth saving,” Donati said. “If anyone else got it, they probably would have torn it down.”


Residents: Calavino Donati and singer-songwriter Doria Roberts, owners of Tipple + Rose Tea Parlor and Apothecary, Urban Cannibals Bodega + Bites and Madre + Mason

Location: Atlanta

Size: 1,700 square feet, two bedrooms, two baths

Year built/bought: 1920s/2014

Architectural style: Craftsman

Favorite architectural elements: Columned room divider, built-in bookcases in the living room and built-in window bench in the dining room.

Renovations: During their months-long redo, they refinished the floors, repaired the windows, restored old doors and replaced the kitchen countertops with science lab counters. They tore out the fiberglass shell around the tub/shower combo and 1970s wood vanity and restored them to the original claw foot tub and pedestal sink. They used found objects that were rewired as light fixtures. In their guest room, the floors and walls were water damaged and stained and the window frames were rotted. "That was the room that almost made us say no to the house," Donati said. They kept stripping the doors and floors to remove stains and smoke odors. "We think it turned out so beautiful and so perfect," Donati said.

Interior design style: Eclectic

Favorite room: The dining room, which has an antique round table made of American walnut left by the previous owner. They were going to replace the table, but grew attached to it during their daily and nightly visits to the dilapidated home, as they wondered whether they had the time to take on such a large project.

Favorite interior design elements: Unexpected finds, such as amber glass for their bedroom window (purchased at Kudzu Antiques & Vintage Home Market in Decatur), a metal snake charmer's box, a 1920s red velvet and chrome Catholic confessional kneeler and a dresser made out of a science lab cabinet."We both think it's kind of ridiculous that people get rid of everything and get something new," Donati said. "Make it fit."

Favorite artwork: Pieces by Eric Gillyard and Ryan Coleman

Resources: Items from Kudzu, Lifecycle Building Center, Joxasa and The Deconstructed House. Custom nightstands built by Terrance M. Wahl at Kaboodle Home.