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Interiorssneak peeks

A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta

by Lauren Chorpening

I wasn’t sure I’d ever really love a home if I didn’t own it. I’d paint where I could and decorate like I was staying forever, but for the most part, rentals have felt like rentals to me. They’ve felt temporary. The apartment I live in now actually feels like home. It makes me sad and even a little queasy to think that I’ll give it up some day if I buy a house. It has become so worthwhile to invest the time and resources to turn it into a space I am refreshed and inspired by. Morgan, too, saw potential in her 1930s rental house. She and her husband aren’t just living there — they are working to make it everything they need and want in a home.

, full-time photographer and on-the-side stylist, moved into her Atlanta, GA rental two years ago. “When renting a home, I have a few checks on a list it must pass: hardwoods, white walls, lots of windows,” Morgan says. “This one passed all of those. It needed love, but I was so willing to give it. I knew it would be perfect when the moment I walked in, I started to decorate it in my head.” She has thoughtfully decorated (and redecorated, several times) to create a space that reflects her. “I always desire to create a home that feels simple, yet full. [A home] that shows a bit of who I am, where I have been, but is also very functional, organized and feels clean,” Morgan says. “I love light and white spaces, mixed in with natural textures and all the plants I can keep alive.”

Her space evolved significantly when she got married this year. Longterm projects were crossed off the list to make the space even more conducive, practical and lovely for Morgan and Andrew. “It is a fun challenge to do small things to make it feel more like your own. I made the decision that putting some money into this house was not a waste if it was going to make me enjoy it more. The tiling was one of the biggest projects, but so worth it. We can’t take it with us, but I don’t regret it,” Morgan says. “I am not sure if there will ever be a day that I feel done. But I am so glad about that. I never want to stop creating spaces and inspiration in my home. When Andrew and I got married, I really felt like it became home to me. It was where we would truly start our lives together, where we would have our deepest conversations, and where we would build our community around our table. So I wanted it to feel that way. When I really stop and think about it, it is exactly what I dreamed of my home being one day. It will always be ever-changing, things will come and go, rooms will be moved around, but at the end of the day, it’s held so many things that are so dear to me.” It won’t be their home forever, but Morgan and Andrew are going to enjoy what their house is — and can turn into — in the meantime. –Lauren

Photography by Morgan Blake

SOURCE LIST

Living Room
Couch : West Elm
Rug : Secondhand
Coffee Table : West Elm
Photo Box : West Elm
Lamp : Secondhand
Piano : Secondhand
Wire Chair : Secondhand
Pillow : Shop in Amsterdam
Big Chair : IKEA
Newspaper Ladder : Handmade

Dining Room
Chairs : Scotts Antique Market
Table : IKEA
Furs : IKEA
Photo : Sterling Graves Photography
Frame : Handmade
Bar : Goodwill
Decanters : Hand-me-down
Cowhide : IKEA

Kitchen
Pourover Stand : Food52
Copper Bowls : Zola
Mugs : Zola
Dishes : Crate and Barrel
Candle : Anthropologie

Bedroom
Painted Portraits : Antique Markets
Bed Frame : Handmade
Rug : Secondhand

Guest Bedroom
Chest : Craigslist

A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
1/19
Morgan and Andrew have created a space that feels lived-in and loved. Vintage, natural and worn-in pieces have been styled in new ways in every room of the house.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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"The living room space has been situated many different ways to overcome its semi-awkward layout," says Morgan. "It seemed like it would be an easy space to fill but I always struggled to place things around the door and unusable space in the corner."
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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Morgan and Andrew's mix of natural materials has an "of the earth" vibe to it while still working with modern elements. Rather than leaning on a single trend, they have chosen pieces they love and have them working so well altogether.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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"I like to put our memories and favorite items out to see and touch. This year is the first that I've been intentional about printing out photos. Not just of important events but of everyday life and old family photos," says Morgan. "Good conversations always come from it."
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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"This piano was free! Aren't those the best finds? I removed the top to discover the beautiful gold details and it has already been painted white and now charcoal," says Morgan. "I believe it will see a few different coats of paint in its lifetime."
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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"We eat every meal at this table, and it is one of my greatest joys to set it as many times and in as many different ways as I can. The print in the back is a photo my photographer friend Sterling Graves took at our wedding," says Morgan. "It is the background of where we said our vows, so we think it's pretty special to look at every day."
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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"We snuck in a bar area next to our dining table to try and get fancy at making cocktails. I also saw these old men wrestling photos in Victory Journal and framed them, they've lived in almost every room of the house," says Morgan.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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"When I started dating Andrew, I knew I had to up my coffee game. It was black, good coffee from then on. I started to really love and appreciate the routine of it each morning and now having him here to do it for me is all the more special," says Morgan.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
9/19
Morgan and Andrew's minimal white home isn't without its points of interest. Morgan uses white to set the focus on her incredible pieces. Vintage, global and modern elements each have a spotlight in their peaceful bedroom.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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"Our fearless fiddle fig that sits upon another steal of a rug that I found at a fair for $30 because it was dirty ... I have a thing for cheap rugs," says Morgan.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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"Our dresser (believe it or not) fits all of our folded clothes and everyday toiletries. Small spaces for two people meant major organization and purging happened. Couldn't be happier about it. I found this piece at an antique store going out of business while on a road trip with my mom and sister," says Morgan. "You don't have to shop at all the big brands to put together something you love."
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
12/19
"Most of the rooms in our home are small, but we are learning to love it. Over our bed has been a variety of things but now lives two of my most favorite pieces of art," says Morgan. "One was a steal, one we spent way too much on."
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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Their small rooms make for innovative styling, leaving each space as functional and beautiful as possible.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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Morgan leans towards white but isn't afraid of rich colors in small doses to bring life to a room.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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"Our guest room dresser houses gift wrapping supplies, crafting things, a memory drawer, and the million candlesticks I've been collecting. We needed that storage in a major way, but wanted it to look great as well," says Morgan.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
16/19
Morgan and Andrew tiled their kitchen themselves and added extra shelving to the space. They know that they won't see a return on it since they are renting their house but it was worth it to them to make the changes to enjoy while they are living there.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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Morgan bringing in branches for their guest room.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
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Andrew in their beautiful, layered living room.
A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta | Design*Droits-Humains
19/19

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Comments

  • What a lovely tour. It is warm and beautiful, and it gives me the courage to make MY own current rental more of a home. I’ve been holding back because who knows how long I’ll be here… the reality is that we have to live in the present and give it our all NOW. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • so glad you are inspired! don’t hold back, you really will not regret it. my home will always be a work in progress- but it really feels like a HOME the inspires me daily.

  • Love this home tour so so much! We were lucky enough to have Morgan photograph our Atlanta wedding. Her home definitely showcases her beautiful spirit and excellent taste!

  • An inspiring space! I agree with Yanska (above) – it is so important that we are content with our surroundings… in the present. Believe me, even when you own a home, it will probably never be “perfect”. Do the best with what you have and make your space your own then you will have a lovely home!

  • I like how you tell us where you got each of your decorations. Nothing is better than teaching us how to recreate what you have found. I love the lavender rug!
    if you’d like to check out my blog, it is here:

  • This is the kind of house you want to call home!
    The floor lamp reminds me of a brand, Delightfull, I saw at last year’s Decorex.

    Love the vintage pieces,

    Andrew

    • hi! this is a photograph from our wedding actually. but the frame was super simple to make! we got cheap wood and stained it, taped the print to one side of the wood to keep in place, and lined up the other on the back and secured with a nail. then just added a leather piece to hang! there are great tutorials online!

  • I just moved to Atlanta and have been searching high and low for cheap old rugs…do you have any suggestions??

    • garage sales, estate sales and craigslist. im looking at least once a week for things like rugs, couches, and interesting pieces.

  • This is such a fresh, beautiful space. The restrained use of color and warmth from the rugs really makes the space feel open and minimal, yet styled.

  • I love how you’re using plants throughout. Not a lot, and mostly not very big, but they surely play a big part in making you and your visitors feel so at home here.

  • I rescued a piano just like that one from a church when I was in college. I was obsessed with the inner workings too—there were even dates scribbled inside with pencil noting each time it was tuned. Unfortunately, I had to part with mine because it was SO heavy and difficult to move. Glad you’re able to enjoy yours!

    • it is SO heavy. im not looking forward to the day we have to move it. ill think about that when i get there! ha!

    • hi laura! thank you!
      tiling is pretty easy, if you have an eye for spacing and straight lines. its definitely a two person job, and doing smaller spaces are obviously a lot less tedious. our trick was using this “double sided tape” for tiling called simplemat ( ) it saved so much time and mess. then the tiles, and the right color grout. it truly is an easy task. oh! and the tile cutter, we ended up having to get quite a few extra tiles to make up for our bad cuts. those tiny odd spaces you have to fill are not fun! you should definitely give it a go. and look for a video tutorial!

  • I really like the environment it has a little retro touch, that I simply love. The chandellier is lovely, is Delightfull? I saw them on a fair and I really liked their work.

  • This is stunning! Such a talent in home decor! Do you know the name of the paint used on the piano?? It’s amazing!

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