Author Archives: Kara O'Brien Renovations

About Kara O'Brien Renovations

I am the owner of a small, renovation company in, Atlanta GA. We specialize in historic renovation, custom woodworking, kitchens, and baths.

The Cowboy Code: Using Heart of Pine to Disprove Father Time

How is it that houses built 100 or even 200 years ago are still standing? Every day, I see things that amaze me.   Instead of today’s framing codes that dictate 16″ on center for roof rafters, I see framing that is sometimes … Continue reading

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Finding Art in the Imperfect

It’s typical that over the course of a century your bungalow or Victorian’s vintage heart pine floors have taken a world of abuse.  Atlanta’s inner city neighborhoods went through a host of hard times: old houses were portioned off into rooming … Continue reading

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When Demo Discovery Can Drive Design

Demolition is almost always interesting. Unfortunately, for clients with old houses, it isn’t always interesting in a good way. In old bungalows and Victorians here in the South, if we tear out a plaster and lath wall, we risk discovering framing … Continue reading

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Unexpectedly Salvaging

I relish putting antique materials back where they belong.  Re-hanging mantels back onto raw brick openings in old houses; installing hundred year old medicine cabinets into the wall cavity of a bathroom, complete with imperfect beveled mirrors, the silvering flawed … Continue reading

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An Ornate Mantel Can Be Literally Moving

When we started restoring our house, which is a Victorian/Craftsman bungalow hybrid, the sky was the limit as far as aesthetics go.  The house had been mostly robbed of its architectural treasure and converted into a triplex.  Several original mantels … Continue reading

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Infuse Spaces with Warmth Using Salvaged House Parts

Several of my most enjoyable renovation projects were houses that were totally violated:  everything worth anything ripped clean out of them.  In fact, I live in one of those houses now so I’ll talk about this one.  We bought this … Continue reading

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Old House Interior Door Styles

Interior doors can provide a good bit of insight to the history and style of a home.  Here in the Deep South, specifically Atlanta, we typically have six-panel heart of pine doors in our Craftsman bungalows and American Foursquares: homes … Continue reading

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Lettuce Grow Produce

So, aside from my tropical plants and myriad of perennials, we’re also growing edibles: strawberries, peaches, blueberries, Italian grapes, Simpson and butter crunch lettuce, arugula, three kinds of peppers, carrots, spring onions, cukes, basil, cilantro, lemon balm, eggplant, stevia (that’s … Continue reading

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A Geyser In the Yard Presents Challenges

When we were at the lake house two weekends ago and the water pressure was less than stellar, I thought that something was afoot.  Then, I ventured down into the basement to discover that at weekend’s end, my newly filled … Continue reading

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Not Just for Salads: Vinegar Does Wonders for Wood Floors

If you mix pets, children, entertaining and simple day-to-day life with your beautiful wood floors, you know that what you get is floors that are less than pristine.  I am speaking from experience as my 100 year old pine floors bear … Continue reading

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