white and green exterior of the reader remodeled craftsman bungalow
Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

There Were Bullets in the Siding and Bars on the Windows

I wanted to buy this house from the first time I laid eyes on it, back in 1998. It was just so sad looking. I thought, I need to fix it up.

The 1911 bungalow was one of three vintage houses that sat in a row on the same block in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. While the area was starting to revitalize, the house bore the marks of its rough recent history: Iron bars secured the living room windows, and bullets were lodged in the siding. We learned at the closing that two people had been murdered on the site.

Still, the solid heart-pine house had character and potential, even if its cedar shingles and roof were rotting from neglect. We desperately wanted to save it. But the owner, who showed up every three months to mow the lawn, refused to sell, though he rented it just once in five years.

Shown: White and cool green paints highlight the architectural features—including replicated horse-head-shaped gable ornaments—on the restored 1911 bungalow.
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