Retiring to Smyrna and renovating

A relatively new Smyrna house gave Dick Nesz plenty of opportunity to practice his hobby — renovating homes.

Instead of downsizing, he and his wife, Lori, ended up buying a bigger home as retirees, due to lower home prices when they purchased it in 2010. Using his skills in electrical, plumbing, construction and specific duties such as laying tile, the retired Delta Air Lines pilot made changes to help the couple grow into the home.


Residents: Dick and Lori Nesz, both retired from Delta Air Lines

Location: Smyrna, Cobb County

Size: About 5,500 square feet, five bedrooms, 5 1/2 baths

Year built: 2005

Year bought: 2010

Architecture: Old English European

Builder: Benchmark Homes

Favorite architectural elements: The stone and brick exterior and vaulted ceilings.

Renovations: The media room, a full bath in art deco style and a deck (see favorite outdoor feature) were all renovated by Dick. The media room was created out of a studded, but unfinished, basement. He built out the 20-by-22-foot interior room with plumbing requirements creating a downward-sloping room that was perfect for a theater room. The lights are from Progressive Lighting and Dick made the pillars and added faux leather to the front of each one. Circular seating, instead of traditional theater seats, from Woodstock Furniture Outlet added a more informal feel to the space, where families can gather, he said.

In the family room, a custom wall unit with cherry cabinets made by Jeff Reinhart of Reinhart Furniture replaced low-end, pre-fabricated cabinets. Beadboard paneling and a barrel ceiling draw attention to Reinhart’s workmanship, Dick said.

Cost of renovations: About $15,000

Interior design style: Traditional with eclectic touches

Design consultants: Decorator Aimee Parscales of Status LLC; Robin Vanderlip with Benjamin Moore

Favorite interior design elements: A set of doors they purchased at Scott Antique Markets, believed to be from a Tibetan Temple and weighing about 100 pounds. Using custom made brackets, Dick mounted them on a wall in the stairway.

Favorite artwork: A friend, Charlotte Hill, painted a "NESZFLIX" sign in the media room and the painting of a little boy over the fireplace in the family room.

Favorite outdoor feature: The original deck was redesigned by Dick. He added a cedar pergola to the existing portion and doubled the size. A lower level patio was added, with room for a grill.

Resources: Furniture, lighting and accessories from stores including Uttermost, Scott Antique Markets, Castleberry Shutters, Woodstock Furniture Outlet, Home Depot and Lowe's.

Paint colors: Benjamin Moore's Lenox Tan (living areas and office), Grey Cashmere (ceilings), Misted Green (master bedroom), Dry Sage (craft room), Butter Cream (guest bedroom), Tyler Taupe (downstairs guest room) and Roasted Pepper (media room)

Decor tip: Think outside the box. For example, the kitchen cabinets originally had a textured opaque glass, which the couple replaced with beveled glass in two cabinets. In another set of cabinets, they inserted mesh metal from McNichols Steel Service Center in Kennesaw in front of the opaque glass for a new look.