This Entire Home Was Furnished for Under $4,000

This Entire Home Was Furnished for Under $4,000

Name: Rachel Stroly, husband, and two rescue cats
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Size: 1,600 square feet
Years Lived In: 3 years, owned

The house has a totally granite exterior and sits on top of a hill, so we fondly call it the "Frankfurter Fortress," a.k.a. "The Fort." I met my husband four years ago at a Halloween party. He was dressed as a chicken and I was a hot dog (frankfurter) so there are a lot of hidden (and not so hidden!) references to that around. A good friend made us the perfect entryway cross stitch that says "Home Sweet Frankfurter Fortress" and it has a chicken and hot dog holding hands. I love all the little personal touches like that around the house.

The open layout makes the house perfect for entertaining, which we do as often as possible. But the furniture is so comfy and cozy that it's equally perfect for snuggling up in the living room and reading a book while looking out at the park across the street.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic MCM.

Inspiration: A combination of hyper-local and global. There is a mix of the art and decorations from Atlantans that I've picked up at craft fairs, festivals, and restaurants with local art for sale on display. To complement the local, I also have a lot of global flair.

I work for CARE, an amazing international development organization in Atlanta. Throughout my years working and traveling for CARE I've built up a collection of items from the places I've visited and they play a strong role in my design inspo. (In addition to long term development work, CARE responds to crises all over the world, ranging from earthquakes and tsunamis to conflict and war.)

Favorite Element: The original windows. The windows are what made me fall in love with this house. They are the original nine-over-one single pane windows with rope pulls. The master bedroom was originally a sun room when the house was built in 1921. I love all the natural light that room gets. The first thing I do when I wake up every morning is open every blind. (Close second favorite: the granite fireplace. It's so raw and funky!)

Proudest DIY: Definitely my map wall! I had been saving maps from my travels for the past 15 years. I had a stack of them in a shoe box that I would take with me every time I moved. When I bought my house, I went to Goodwill and bought a bunch of frames in different sizes, colors and shapes. I really love the way it turned out. And I love that if you look closely you can still see landmarks and restaurants circled and starred on some of the maps from when I originally used them to get around during my travels.

Biggest Indulgence: Buying plants with my black thumbs. I have a few robust plants that have been around long enough (mostly pothos) but every once and a while I take a crack at something less hardy like a fiddle fig (WAY less hardy). The results are always the same (dead, always dead) but I never stop trying.

Biggest Challenge: Honestly, I think the biggest challenge was furnishing the whole house on a very limited budget. If I had had more money at the time I probably would have ended up buying new furniture. But retrospectively I'm SO glad that I ended up doing it this way instead. It took more time but I was able to afford higher quality items since they were used. And BONUS: It's way better for the environment to buy secondhand!!

Best Advice: Buy secondhand! Minus the guest room bed and the master bedroom dresser (which are by far the lowest quality items in the house), all the furniture in the house is from Craigslist. I furnished the entire house for under $4,000. It does take a bit of patience but the house was fully furnished within a few months. There were a couple things that I bought on Craigslist and then found a much better option posted a couple months later but I was able to re-sell the original purchases on Craigslist again and didn't lose any money in the process. It was a learning process for sure.


Valspar — Silver Leaf (Family Room, Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen)
Valspar — Blue Twilight (Master Bedroom)

Sofa and Chairs-— Craigslist
Rug — Wayfair (no longer in stock)
Clover Coffee Table — Sourced from Craigslist but available from West Elm
Light Fixture — Unitary brand from Amazon
Floor Lamp — Craigslist

Couches and coffee tables — Craigslist
Hedgehog Lamp — Target
Cloud Art — Olive47
Light fixture — IKEA

Table — Craigslist
Chairs — Local auction
China cabinet — Craigslist
Rug — Wayfair (no longer in stock)
Mirror — Overstock

Cabinetry and sink — IKEA
Rug — Land of Nod (no longer in stock)

Dresser — West Elm
Picture shelves — IKEA
Floor Lamp — Yard Sale
Nightstands — Craigslist and hand-me-downs

Thanks, Rachel!

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