A Midtown homeowner thoughtfully transforms a historic adobe, one project at a time
STORY: Giannina Smith Bedford
PHOTOS: Sara Hanna
Jarrod Streng thrives on tackling improvement projects. In business, he invests in, fixes and sells companies, and his penchant for transformation has spilled over into his home life. In 2015, after he’d just finished renovating his Midtown condo, he found his next residential undertaking: a century-old home near Piedmont Park. This labor of love, however, is one Streng plans to hold on to.
“I love this house. I’m never going to sell it,” says the 39-year-old president of a consumer goods company. “It’s understated from the curb, and you can’t tell how big the house is. The backyard in the summertime is like a resort. When the trees fill in, it’s completely private and secluded.”
While on a jog, Streng literally ran into the opportunity to buy the home when he spied a group of “suits” walking into the three-story residence on his favorite street in Midtown. Covered in sweat, he took a detour and stepped through the doors of the 5,100-squarefoot abode, where a brokers-only showing was in progress before it hit the market. Streng talked his way into touring the 6-bedroom, 5.5- bathroom dwelling, and that was it.
“I loved it and didn’t have any idea that the yard was so expansive,” “I put an offer in that evening.”
Streng has spent the last three years upgrading and personalizing the residence one project at a time with the help of his girlfriend, Cari Smith. “It’s one of the older homes in Midtown, and with that comes quirks. It just needed love,” he says. “It was a classic old home that had not had a lot of money put into it since the late ’90s.”
Streng replaced the home’s taupe and brown paint palette with Farrow & Ball grays, off-whites and a few pops of color. He switched out the light fixtures for more modern statement-making pieces from West Elm, Circa Lighting, Restoration Hardware, Lamps Plus and custom manufacturers. When it came to furnishings, few of the mid-century pieces from Streng’s condo made the transition to the more classically styled home, which boasts elegant hardwoods, original pocket doors, chandeliers and seven fireplaces. Instead, he purchased numerous furnishings—including a heavy oval dining table, reclaimed-wood kitchen table and bench, and family room sectional—from the home’s previous owners.
He then selected antiques, high-end custom pieces and new items from Serena & Lily, Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams, Trinity Mercantile & Design and Room & Board that created balance in both style and budget. From the playful British phone booth and antique Estey piano in the formal living room to the more modern sectional in the family room, it all blends, thanks in large part to the mix of contemporary art Streng handpicked from Deljou Art Group in West Midtown. “It being a historic home, I wanted to make sure that I maintained that classical look and used art and accents to reflect my and Cari’s personality and style,” says Streng.
The office “man cave” is a perfect example of Streng’s individuality coming through. Painted in Farrow & Ball’s bold Ichyra Blue, the room pairs a standalone mid-century modern desk with a custom gold-leafed floating desk created by Jordy Snyder, a Charleston, South Carolina-based craftsman and owner of Formolly. Surrounding the workspace is a collection of playful presidentially inspired books, ranging from history to organized crime, which Streng often enjoys while sitting in the Eames chair in the corner—his “first big purchase when I was 24.”
Quite a bit has been transformed with just paint and decor, but sometimes Streng’s vision required more heavy lifting. The master bathroom, for example, was gutted to create a more open layout and refined feel with marble tile, a custom gray vanity with metal inlays (designed by Streng) and an oversized walk-in shower. The showstopper, however, is the wall behind the Victoria+Albert freestanding tub that features two large porcelain tiles joined at the center to create a design reminiscent of a Rorschach test inkblot. “To get the piece installed, they had to use a special fabricator and team of seven people because [the tile] can break like glass,” says Streng. “It was a three-day installation.”
Above the tub, a striking chandelier made of solid glass balls—so heavy it had to be structurally reinforced in the ceiling—is just one of the many impressive light fixtures. The air of sophistication continues in the attached master suite, where a wall of custom curtains creates a creative backdrop for the tufted velvet bed from Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams. The curtains became a solution for the bed placement when Streng realized a king bed didn’t fit in any other spot. The master’s attached sitting area creates a cozy hangout in front of one of the home’s many working fireplaces. “The master suite is really comfortable. We spend a lot of time in there,” says Streng.
Streng also renovated the basement, adding new carpet and lighting, and redoing the small bathroom adjacent to the fully equipped gym, sitting area and guest bedroom. “It has a steam room attached,” says Streng, “so for a small space, it was a pretty evasive project in terms of figuring out a design that was still functional but that opened up the space to make it more inviting.” Inspired by a high school locker room, the bathroom features subway and basket-weave tile and industrial light fixtures. The artistic floating wood vanity created by Smyrna-based Taylor Design Shop is unlike anything you’d find in a school locker room, however. “I wanted to find a piece that wasn’t cold and that was floating so it opened [the bathroom] up. It was really closed in before,” says Streng.
Streng is currently focused on the addition of a refrigerated wine room and storage area in the basement. And his list of projects continues. This year, he plans to renovate the kitchen to replace the dark granite countertops and slate tile backsplash with white Carrera marble and lighter-hued cabinetry. He also wants to transform the carport into a garage, build out the pool house basement and redo the deck off the master bedroom. The list of to-dos will probably never end, but rather than racing to the finish line, Streng and his girlfriend are enjoying the process and their home along the way. They also recently adopted a rescue pooch, Charlie, who loves to hang out on the porch in good weather.
The pair takes advantage of the spacious floor plan when entertaining guests and hosting family gatherings, including Streng’s relatives from Pittsburgh and Detroit who made the trip to Atlanta for Thanksgiving last year. “That has definitely been one of the highlights of living here,” says Smith. “It is truly a special home, with a story to tell, and you can feel that it radiates love, history and so much charm.”
Master bathroom contractor
Copper Sky Renovations
Basement bathroom contractor
Atlanta Remodeling & Construction (ARC)
Bath fixtures and plumbing
Master and basement bathroom tile
Master bathroom chandelier
The Designer Insider
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Office floating desk
Deljou Art Group