Urban Living - Historical Context

These Four WallsThe Mackinders of Cabbagetown

Two old, red chairs distinguish the humble front door to Kevin and Laura Mackinder's historic Cabbagetown row house on Carroll Street.

Originally established for factory workers at the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills (reconceived in the mid-'90s as the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts), the neighborhood is now a townie hot spot home to such staples as the Carroll Street Cafe, Graveside Tattoo and the Cabbagetown Market and Little's Grill.

Over the past 10 to 15 years, artists, musicians, and other creative types like the Mackinders have flocked to this community named for the vegetable's pungent, in-pot odor.

Laura, an interior designer, and Kevin, who works at an architectural sign company, have achieved a balance between their modern style and the neighborhood's history. Exposed brick walls and worn wood floors coexist alongside graffiti artwork and modern furniture such as a bold yellow coffee table.

The balance extends onto the front porch, where seated in the old, red chairs, Kevin and Laura have a perfect view down their favorite street to watch as local art, good food, and creative people intersect.

How did you decide on this house?

Laura: We didn't really want a yard and it has off-street parking, which was a big deal. We just thought it was really cool and it was on a good street.

Kevin: And, besides that, the place is historic.

The exteriors of these houses look really similar, how do you make the house your own?

Laura: The inside of our house is completely wood but all of the other houses are very modern. We're trying to do a nice combination of both – not getting rid of any of the character, but also we like more modern furniture.

Did you change a lot of the interior?

Kevin: The whole thing was painted pollen yellow and it was just dingy. There was carpet upstairs, and it just looked gross.

Laura: So, we repainted everything. We exposed the brick in the living room. It gives the room just a little something else.

Are there architectural aspects of the house you enjoy?

Definitely. We really like that it's a row house. We've always wanted to live like that. You know, it's almost like a brownstone, but an Atlanta version, which is something that we really like and gravitate towards.

Do you have a favorite part of the house?

I actually really like the entryway. I love how the stairs are really steep – they were built 100 years ago – but it kind of seems finished to me.

Kevin: Right now, I'm kinda digging the living room. It's a total work in progress and I can sit here and judge the work I've done. It's just a nice, relaxing living room.

So, you actually did all of the renovations on the house?

Yeah, I do all the work. I've had to replace termite-rotten wood, rip up the carpet, plumbing, electrical ... nothing too intense.

What drew you to Carroll Street and Cabbagetown?

Laura: It's a very artsy community. On our street we have four different restaurants and each has its own personality. Everybody's got a good vibe, and everybody's really nice. It just has an interesting appeal.

Kevin: And there's street traffic, which I love. You can sit out on the front porch and watch everything. You almost always see somebody you know. It's like a real neighborhood.


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