A thoughtful renovation and a gaggle of furry, four-legged companions combine to create a comfortable guest house in Grant Park
STORY: Muriel Vega
PHOTOS: Erik Meadows
At the end of the driveway of the Social Goat Bed and Breakfast on a tree-lined street in Grant Park, a three-story yellow Queen Anne Victorian home reveals itself.
In 2004, current owner Kristy Smith purchased the property, which, she says, was originally built in 1900 and was meant to house 13 children. After Hurricane Ivan came through that fall, Smith and her partner, Paul, gutted and renovated the home, structurally modernized its interiors and highlighted Smith’s affinity for vintage style, all while maintaining the original character.
“Disassembling a house allows you to reimagine its purpose,” Smith says. In doing so, the couple moved the stairs from the front of the home to the back, where they led to a then unfinished attic. To the new staircase, Smith added a triple stained-glass window that injects soft, natural light into the space. The unfinished attic was then remodeled to create the third-floor suite that includes a private bath, a queen and two twin beds, a sitting area and a separate workspace.
“Initially we moved in and started to decorate with our taste in mind and an appreciation for vintage accents and antiques to go with the 11-foot ceilings,” says Smith. During the renovation, the couple complemented the signature moldings and high ceilings with solid wood furniture they found at antiques auctions. The mostly large-scale pieces are “not only beautiful, but functional,” says Smith, adding that each room of the house is outfitted with a combination of oversized, antique furniture and “something personal that I either grew up with, or that came from a loved one and reminds me of them.”
Another personal touch, and one that ultimately led to the property’s unusual name, was the addition of the five goats that roam its grounds— a nod to her partner’s upbringing on a farm surrounded by the animals.
Pleased with the results of their renovation and the home’s refreshed style, in 2011, Smith decided to make use of the extra, empty rooms by opening them for bookings. They set up a listing online and, within 24 hours, had a handful of reservations for the next week.
Since then, the bed and breakfast has welcomed 15,000-plus guests. “The Social Goat was born out of building a business on things we enjoy,” says Smith, who relishes the memories guests have made while staying at the house.
Today, the property comprises three structures, all of which are available for bookings: the main house, whose first floor is where Smith lives and whose second and third floors house guest rooms and suites with private baths; a one bedroom carriage house with 114-year old pine floors, located behind the main house; and, across the street, a standalone, two-bedroom abode Smith calls the Hog Heaven House.
The main house, where a long table in the dining room invites guests to enjoy Smith’s daily home-cooked breakfasts, recently underwent renovations that included a repainted exterior, the addition of private bathrooms to the upstairs bedrooms and wrap-around porches where guests can relax in new rocking chairs. In the coming months, Smith plans to build a treehouse in the backyard that visitors can book. Until then, she hopes guests continue to enjoy a little Southern hospitality, if even for a night away from home.
“Often, grandparents come into town and stay with their grandchildren to give the parents a night off,” says Smith. “The parents then come stay with us for the night as a staycation, instead of driving to [popular regional vacation spots such as] Asheville or Savannah. They stay the night with us following a nice dinner in the city and then relax with breakfast in the morning before heading back home to their kids.”
The B&B’s equally popular main attractions are its animal inhabitants. Along with the five goats, the property is home to 10 ducks, three turkeys, chickens and cats, all of whom roam freely in a fenced backyard area. Black goat triplets Maverick, Angus and Minnie Pearl hang out nearby while guests find a quiet spot to read and relax near the small pond or in the gazebo decorated with vibrant purple blooms and winding green vines.
The Three Tenors, a trio of turkeys that often can be found walking up and down the driveway, will welcome you with their gobbles upon arrival at this hidden gem in Grant Park, where a stay is truly a social affair.
The Social Goat B&B
548 Robinson Avenue, 30315
KRISTY SMITH’S FAVORITE ANTIQUE SPOTS
Scott Antique Markets on the second weekend of every month to find large furniture and eclectic decor to add a little flair to your space. scottantiquemarket.com
If your space skews more European, stop by Jere’s Antiques in Savannah for shipments of antiques straight from Europe. Smith shares that the warehouse is full of containers shipped from England and France, just waiting to be plowed through. “Having a conversation with Jere is itself worth the trip,” says Smith. jeresantiques.com
“It’s always fun to catch an auction where you get the best prices,” says Smith. The Atlanta Auction Gallery is a place to get your feet wet and transition from spectator to buyer as your confidence grows. atlantaauctiongallery.com
For vintage furniture with a modern take, Kudzu Antiques has a variety of price points and large pieces with industrial style, if you’re looking to add another layer of texture to your living space. kudzuantiques.com