Name: Kevin O’Gara and family
Location: Cabbagetown — Atlanta, Georgia
Size: 1,500 square feet
Years Lived In: 5 years, renting
My dad first moved to Cabbagetown, a historic neighborhood in Atlanta, when my parents divorced in 2009. His first pad was a three-room shotgun duplex where my sisters and I first started exploring the neighborhood, and quickly we fell in love with its artistic charm! It’s full of colorful bungalows, home-grown gardens, deep porches, and friendly neighbors. We loved being able to walk two blocks down to Carroll Street, the little commercial strip with a local food store and a couple of restaurants and bars next to The Stacks (home to the “Queer Eye” loft!).
When my dad moved just a street over to this bright blue house we finally had room to stretch out a bit and my dad and I embarked on a design adventure to make the home his own. Luckily, he trusted my design chops and let me take the reigns with the design process. I embraced a moody bachelor vibe with dark grays (also a color I knew my dad could see since he is red-green color blind!) and a design that accommodated me and my sisters when we came to stay over during the weekends.
My dad is an amazing cook, so the dining room and kitchen were also big priorities in the design! He loves to entertain and hosts weekly dinners with some of his oldest friends, so bringing people around the table for a meal has always been his greatest pleasure. He’s constantly experimenting with new recipes and he loves being able to chat with my sisters and I from the kitchen while we hang out in the dining room in his big red armchairs or up at the counter.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: I like to describe my style as “new Southern”—grounded in traditional design but updated with a contemporary, playful twist. I learned a lot from the proportions of antiques that are so beloved in the South, but the energy of the city and my fresh perspective usually take things in a more youthful direction.
Inspiration: In my dad’s house, I was inspired by his years living in San Francisco in the ’80s, when he collected most of the artwork in the house as a bachelor who loved throwing dinner parties and playing old jazz records. The home combines a moody, old-world feel with the funky Southern aesthetic found in neighborhoods like Cabbagetown.
Favorite Element: I think the entryway may be my favorite moment in the house, and it’s the one you see first when you walk in so I definitely spent a lot of time thinking about how to make it special. From the dramatic dark walls, to my dad’s amazing photography collection, to the mirrors and checkerboard floor, it has some amazing details that make the entrance feel super special.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge in my dad’s house was working with the quirks of the home and folding them into the design process. From the bright blue exterior to the orange sink in the kitchen there are some quintessentially Cabbagetown moments that are fun and funky but not necessarily part of the typical design style. I found ways to bring them into the design with balancing elements like complementary colors that helped soften their impact but still celebrate the character they added to the overall home.
Biggest Indulgence: The Ficks Reed armchairs in the living room were probably our biggest splurge, but they were the product of a trip we took to Scott’s Antique Market to fill in some gaps in the living room furniture. We knew that the room needed some vintage character to really bring the warmth and personality to the room and these deep chairs fit the bill perfectly, and it was fun spotting the pair together! They have a mid-century style to them that I love and I had custom cushions made that really make them special.
Best Advice: Give yourself time for spaces to come together. Well-designed rooms are intentional and based on the occupant’s lifestyle, so make sure you know how you’re going to live in a space before you invest in it. And let yourself make mistakes! We’ve repainted several rooms in the house because sometimes the first idea isn’t the best one. But once you have a vision for the room—don’t hesitate and execute fully!
PAINT & COLORS
Entryway: Behr – Mined Coal
Living Room: Behr – Pencil Point
Guest Bedroom: Behr – One to Remember
Master Bedroom: Farrow & Ball – Wevet (walls), Drawing Room Blue (ceiling)
Dining Room: Behr – Opera Glasses
Kitchen: Kitchen – French Silver
Applaro Loveseat – IKEA
Mastholmen Wicker Armchair – IKEA
Mastholmen Coffee Table – IKEA
Diamond Graphite Outdoor Rug – Annie Selke
Duralee Rally Adobe Pillows – DecoratorsBest
Plaza Ceiling Fan – Lamps Plus
Rochester Sleeper Sofa – West Elm
White Table Lamp – At Home
Round Wire Nesting Tables – At Home
Ficks Reed Loungers – Vintage
Fabric – Lewis & Sheron
Coffee table – Vintage
Serpentine Wool Rug – West Elm
Hemnes Bookshelf – IKEA
Desk chair – World Market
Barometer Floor lamp – IKEA
Stockholm Pendant Light – IKEA
Java Dining Table Base – Pier 1
Italian Leather Folding Chairs – eBay
Linen Curtains – Alva
Dakota Counter Stool – Target
Sphere + Stem 7-Light Chandelier – West Elm
Gardner Cabinet – AllModern
Maskros Pendant Lamp – IKEA
Anastasia Headboard – Houzz
White/Gold Deer Head – Houz
Yarn Dye Stripe Duvet Cover – Target
Swing Arm Brass Wall Sconce – CB2
Dolly Gold Table Lamp – LampsPlus
Marotta Campaign Table – AllModern
Luna Chandelier – Crystorama
Gallery Wall Art – Minted
Dorset Sling Chair – Lazarro Leather
Violetta Area Rug – Karastan
Accessories – Waiting on Martha
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