Design*Sponge · Aug 10, 2015

A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta

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.

Morgan Blake, 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


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

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

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

Guest Bedroom
Chest : Craigslist

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