Vintage character in Virginia-Highland redo

One Saturday morning, Jo Torrijos beat thrift shoppers to two mid-century modern pieces: an Eames-style lounge chair and a Nelson platform bench by Herman Miller. Each cost under $35 at a Mableton shop, compared to hundreds or thousands of dollars new.

“I snagged both items so quickly, and just in time since several others had arrived and tried to purchase them as well, but I luckily got to them first,” she said. “That was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Vintage finds join with new items in the renovated Virginia-Highland bungalow she shares with her mom and pets. The makeover added more bedrooms and storage — even a shoe closet and coffee bar — and retained favorite original features.


Residents: Jo Torrijos, a stylist and furniture painter, mom Emma Torrijos, dogs Kona and Watson, cats Maggie and Jake

Location: Atlanta’s Virginia-Highland neighborhood

Size: 3,500 square feet, five bedrooms, four baths

Year built/bought: 1930/2008

Architect: Dave Price of Price Residential Design (2013 renovations)

Contractor: Rick Minear of Jigsaw Renovations (2013 renovations)

Architectural style: Modernized Craftsman bungalow

Renovations: Jo expanded her Craftsman bungalow after her mom, a pediatrician, moved to Atlanta in 2011. The attic was used to create a master suite and a guest bedroom with en suite bath, without altering the roof or adding dormers. The new master bathroom holds a walk-in shower and a clawfoot tub. The master bedroom has built-ins and three closets, including one for shoes. The laundry area was moved upstairs to create a new pantry downstairs (across from the butler’s pantry) with storage and a coffee bar. When Jo purchased the home, the kitchen cabinets were crumbling and she installed cherry cabinets, granite countertops and glass tile backsplash. During the 2013 renovation, they painted the cabinets a light shade of gray, installed a honed marble backsplash and upgraded the appliances. They added a great room with a dining and living area, a built-in for pet supplies and French sliding doors leading to the deck.

Favorite renovation decision: Jo said she planned to have a wall of French doors, but the sliding doors with screens use less wall space. They keep them open most of the year.

Interior design style: Rustic, eclectic and cozy, with mid-century modern touches.

Favorite green features: Pella windows, spray foam insulation, high-efficiency HVAC systems and Nest thermostats. Energy costs are the same or lower, even though the home is larger, Jo said.

Resources: Appliances from Ferguson Kitchen & Bath; furniture from Room & Board, RH, Skyline Furniture, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Ikea, Crate and Barrel, Mod Made, Highland Row Antiques, Decatur Estate & Wayback Antiques and Craigslist. Rugs from FLOR, The Dump, Pottery Barn. Fixtures from Quoizel Lighting, Lighting New York, Masterpiece Lighting.

Decor tip: “Finding great vintage furniture or home decor might not happen instantly, and may take time to collect, but once you have that moment where you stumble upon a great find and place it in your space, you’ll never forget it,” she said.

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.