An Atlanta Rental Apartment in a Former School Is Enviably Light, Art, and Plant Filled

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The main area of the loft consists of the kitchen, dining area, and living space. The high ceilings and large windows make it feel bright and airy, yet it's also very comfortable and cozy. My style is a mix of old and new, so we have thrifted/inherited pieces mingling with modern IKEA staples.

Name: Mallory Brooks, my partner, Mike, and two cats, Socks and Pepper
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years, renting

The large windows make the space so bright.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I live in a converted former 1920s-era school with my partner, Mike, and two cats, Socks and Pepper. I’ve lived here for five years (two with Mike) and I was immediately drawn to my apartment for its unique features and history as a classroom — it retains its original hardwood floors and has large, paned glass windows. It’s bright and airy, yet also cozy and charming (plants LOVE it!). The building still feels like you’re roaming the halls of a school, which remain lined with lockers.

With the large, south-facing windows, our bedroom has also become a greenhouse for all the plants I'm currently propagating. Painted IKEA bookshelves store books and act as a napping spot for my cats. The dresser/mirror has been in my family since the 1940s.

I’m a photographer, artist, and small business owner and Mike is a creative director, writer, and musician. Our space is filled with a colorful, eclectic mix of vintage and modern decor —and over 100 plants! Fortunately, Mike loves my aesthetic so I’ve been able to keep most of what I originally had while blending his pieces into the mix. My love for color, travel, art, plants, and vintage items is reflected everywhere, from the art to the objects to the furniture. My style is a mix of old and new, so we have thrifted/inherited pieces mingling with modern IKEA staples. Plus, most of the art is my own! Our home is also what inspired me to take a leap and start a business, Abe Home Goods, to share my style and help others create a space of their own that they love. Ultimately, the apartment is a place that reflects two creative people and their inspirations.

From the art to the furniture to the rugs, my eclectic style allows me to blend all the various colors together in a harmonious way. I particularly love using red and orange as an accent — there are pops of red and orange all over the main living area.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Colorful, eclectic, inviting, plant-filled

My favorite part about my kitchen is the jungle that's grown on top of the cabinets. These pothos plants have literally taken over! A mix of thrifted art and souvenirs from travels add color and interest.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the main living area, which is really three rooms in one (kitchen, dining, and living rooms). In particular, I’m obsessed with the jungle that’s grown above our kitchen cabinets. I put a few pothos plants up there a few years ago and they just took over! Another favorite in the space is the gallery wall that I call the “wanderlust wall” because it’s filled with my photography and art I’ve collected on my travels and it reminds me of my favorite places. 

I call this wall, which divides the living area with the bedroom, the "wanderlust wall" because it's filled with my photography and art I've collected on my travels and it reminds me of my favorite places. The credenza provides storage and features old lockers, a nod to its former life as a school.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I’m constantly sourcing vintage and secondhand items for my shop, and inevitably, I end up being unable to part with some of those items, so they find a home in ours. But, one of the most recent additions, however, was a credenza of Mike’s that we painted a peacock blue to hold the TV. It was crafted from salvaged lockers by a local shop, Kaboodle; we love how it gives a nod to the apartment’s former life as a high school. 

Like the rest of the space, our bedroom has lots of color and character. The floral headboard was made from a tablecloth, and the framed art is a piece by me. Found chairs that I couldn't part with have become nightstands, and the armoire is a piece that's been in my partner's family for 60+ years.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Design your home for you; fill it with the things that you love, not solely because something is trendy. If you really love a piece, you can make it work. I also suggest filling your walls and shelves with lots of art, especially from small and local artists if you can. Art and vintage items can add personality and help your space better express “you”. And finally, a home should never be finished nor be perfect; it evolves with us as we live!

The plants have taken over the kitchen!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.