Split Level Renovations

Split Level Renovations can be tricky because there are some inherent limitations with the split-level layout

Split Level Renovations

Split-level homes generally come in two versions: 1. Garage beside the single story portion and 2. Garage under the two-story portion.  The above photo shows the first version after enclosing of the original garage and adding a new garage wing (on the left). This created a courtyard configuration and changed the entire feel of the house.

The photo below shows another Version 1 with an expansion of the garage (again beside the one story portion) with additional space added above.  The result is a bit disjointed from an architectural perspective but the condition and colors still bring it to life!

Split Level Renovations

The next example is the second type with the garage underneath the two story portion (on the right). This may be one of the most creative split level makeover projects I have seen.  They changed the roof line and took the whole house in the “lodge” direction. So much so that many people might not even recognize the fact that this home is a split level.

Split Level Renovations


What to Expect – Home Automation & Theaters

Looking for simplicity in the midst of luxury? The answer probably includes some level of  Home Automation

Home Automation

Automation in your home can start with your thermostat. But it goes WAY further than that. Many times, home automation projects start with a Home Theater because the addition of the theater brings an added layer of complexity. Today’s automation systems can integrate the home theater components, audio playlists, TV channels, interior and exterior lighting, security cameras, HVAC systems and even appliances.

Home Automation

We met recently with the folks at Atlanta Home Theater to tour their state-of-the-art demo facility and talk about possibilities and stretching the imagination. They can definitely help you do that! The photo below is “The Castle” where you can see full-scale home theater models.

Home Automation

The consultants at Atlanta Home Theater are wizards at pulling all of this gear together for an integrated solution with a simple controls. In fact, the word has gotten around so well that they stay busy without really doing any advertising. They are not just selling gear – they are managing the project to maximize the homeowner’s enjoyment. Fancy toys are nothing but a major frustration if they are not reliable and easy to operate. What impressed me most though was their philosophy towards expandable automation and their commitment to total client satisfaction.

Luxury and No-Hassle

Luxury Home Automation strategies typically start with main control panel and the top two brands are Crestron or Control 4. Each brand has its strength your best bet is to test drive them with an expert who can put them through their paces. These are flexible and expandable systems but no two are ever exactly alike. No two home theaters are ever alike either because they involve blending of technology and aesthetics. Each homeowner has a vision of what they want because it will become an expression of who they are. For some, the goal is to provide a really cool teen hangout. For others, it is a place to relax and be entertained. The thing about home automation (once you know the possibilities) is that it can be addictive. Convenience is King!


There are probably some great DIY options on the market. I am just not passionate enough about it to research it. “A man has got to know his limitations.”  I would much rather get expert advice and coaching. The whole point to automation for me is to make life easier. I am not looking for a hobby – I would rather just go sell another house and pay for it.


Generally people fall into one of two categories when it comes to home improvements. Hire it or Do it.

We believe in hiring specialists. That is how we approach real estate as well. The Bunch Real Estate Group was founded to serve busy people who have demanding jobs and want great service when buying and/or selling a home. We do this by having a team of specialists to cover the bases. As a result, we are able to give advice, make recommendations, communicate constantly, treat people honestly and bust it to make sure our clients are satisfied. That goes for the people at Atlanta Home Theater as well.

Looking for Turn-key?

The consultants at Atlanta Home Theater specialize in making your vision come to life so if you need it all pulled together, they can manage it all. They have sub-contractors who can finish the basement space if you need it. Or they can work with your contractor.

Is a Golf Simulator part of the equation? No problem!

Golf Simulator

The Difference is in the Designer

When it comes to comparing new homes, many times the difference is in the designer.

The Difference is in the Designer

When our client purchased this home, we had been looking all over Buckhead and Sandy Springs between $1,500,000 and $3,000,000. Ultimately it came down to design elements like the wide door casings, the faux metallic finish on the vent hood, reclaimed wood beams and the light fixtures. Those unique features tipped the scales on the short list of homes that matched the buyer’s goals on location, layout and size.  The difference? All cosmetic.  All crucial to the experience. All elements incorporated by the designer, Janice Dietz with the Consulting House.

It would be easy to assume that all homes in this price range are spectacular.  But they’re not – not when compared to their competition.  All you have to do is tour 20 homes in any price range to get a sense of what your money can buy.  The differences become very obvious. The truth is that bland comes in all price ranges – and expectations go up with the price tag. Many of the new homes in the Buckhead and Sandy Springs market go up as spec homes – meaning the builder and/or their designer select the finish materials. And, builders go with what has worked for them in the past.  So those choices are understandably conservative. That is what made this particular house stand out from the crowd.  It had its own personality.

In fact, our client was so impressed with what he saw that he hired the designer to keep going after closing and finished the basement. Every single aspect of the basement finish was meticulously created to work together and create a one-of-a-kind space for elegant recreation.

The Difference is in the Designer

Matching arches lead under the stairs back to the bathroom with steam shower and sauna.

Basement Bath

The transformation has been breath-taking…

Luxurious Basement Transformation

Home Theater Area – BEFORE

Home Theater

Home Theater Area – AFTER

Scott and Jennifer Ross with Atlanta Home Theater made great use of the basement layout to create the ultimate man cave multi-media experience. The home theater can seat 7 in the leather recliners with table top seating behind that. The key with the electronics – seamless installation and super simple operation for the homeowner. If it is not fun and easy, it will not get used and life is too short for that!

Media Room 2

And then there is the golf simulator!

Golf Simulator

You can play just about any course in the world – right from your own own home – rain or shine! Janice Dietz carried the reclaimed wood design elements down into these areas to pull all of the living spaces together for consistency.  One of the things that creates chaos in a home is discontinuity. Most people can feel it but very few can articulate why they are feeling it. THAT is the magic of what Janice does.  She weaves amazing creativity together with function to create spaces that flow together seamlessly.  They are also both striking and fun!

Below is a photo of the mini-kitchen serving the basement areas.  Here you will find zinc countertops, a custom stone sink and a stunning mosaic tile backsplash. She formed this alcove by annexing a portion of an adjacent unfinished storage area. Great job team!

Basement Kitchen

 If you would like to discuss how our team can help you, email us today at michael@bunchrealestategroup.com

Newer $2M Home gets Dramatic Interior Renovation

Newer $2M Home gets Dramatic Interior Renovation thanks to Stephanie Geyer.

700 Londonberry Rd Dining Before

English country manor takes a turn towards farmhouse with this dramatic interior renovation.  We met up with Stephanie Geyer at one of her latest projects to take a tour and see how she works her magic.  The photo above shows the first thing you see when you walk in the front door – a large dining room flanked by barn doors which looks out onto a rear covered porch.  One of the signature elements in this project was to add shiplap walls in several places over the drywall and it does not even feel like the same house at times.  And, that is the main point here.  In our real estate world of “location, location, location”, interiors can always be changed.  Sometimes radically.

The original kitchen design featured two islands, painted cabinetry and granite counter tops. Stephanie worked with the new home owner to combine the islands into a large one-level center island with a honed marble top.  The backsplash was replaced with white subway ceramic tiles by Waterworks.

Newer $2M Home gets Dramatic Interior Renovation

Kitchen – BEFORE

Newer $2M Home gets Dramatic Interior Renovation

Kitchen – AFTER

In the photos below, the Keeping Room was transformed from rich stained wood beams and boards to a more monochromatic palate which was then able to accommodate more transitional furnishings.  We are definitely seeing a recent shift to towards more painted wood and neutral color palates.  It is almost like people are bring a bit of the beach back home from vacation with them in their design preferences.

Newer $2M Home gets Dramatic Interior Renovation

Keeping Room – BEFORE

Newer $2M Home gets Dramatic Interior Renovation

Keeping Room – AFTER

Lightening the feel also meant lightening the stain on the hardwood floors too – a bold move move when the trend in new construction seems to be darker.

Looking for a splash of fun?

Stephanie works with a local artisan who has several pickers out looking for materials that can be re-purposed for accent pieces.  The photo below highlights two galvanized pails that were  inverted and converted into pendant light fixtures for the laundry room. I liken these artistic touches as “crushed red pepper flakes”.  It doesn’t take much to make a HUGE difference.  A sprinkle here – sprinkle there.

Newer $2M Home gets an early Renovation

Galvanized Pail Lights

Are you inspired?

Please let us know. We would be happy to help you put together a team to explore your dreams whether it involves moving or not. Email us at michael@bunchrealestategroup.com or call us at 404.939.3202.  Also feel free to visit our website www.BunchRealEstateGroup.com

Special Thanks to Jan Brownfield, Coldwell banker Residential Brokerage, for the “before” photos from when the house was listed prior to purchase.

Want to take your Brick Ranch over the Top?

This home is a prime example of what to do if you Want to take your Brick Ranch over the Top. Take a look at what is behind the curtain!  Key renovations can do to make a HUGE difference.  There are a lot of brick ranch homes in and around Chastain Park in Atlanta.  So here’s a warning: You should not judge a book by its cover – especially when it comes to ranch homes.  I live in a brick ranch and most of them are very predictable.  However, people are doing some really cool things when they renovate these homes and those renovations are very special.  They also command a crowd when they hit the market and sell very fast.

Here is one of our success stories from 2012:
View the Article in the Atlanta Journal