If you’ve ever been to Atlanta you might already be familiar with hip new spot for shopping and dining called Ponce City Market. It’s a place where creatives, retailers, and foodies come together to show off their craft, a sort of Chelsea Market in downtown Atlanta. Now, beyond the exciting shops and restaurants, Ponce City Market is the location of covetable loft-like flats that boast tons of architectural charm and light. Brittany Shields, one of Atlanta’s own top designers, has moved into one of these flats, changing it up from her previous spacious suburban home.
Find out a little more about her decision to move and her transition into this gorgeous new space:
So let’s get to know a little more about your previous home, what was it like?
Our previous place was a relatively standard 2000 sq ft, twelve year old, builder home with very little character in West Midtown. We fell in love with the canvas and bones as well as the high ceilings and 32 windows – gotta love that natural light! We took the first few months of living there to give it a face lift and make it our own. We were very inspired from an anniversary trip to Province Town to bring a modern, minimal, costal vibe into our next house. We honestly felt like it was a dream space by the time we had finished renovating the 3beds/3baths.
Sounds like the ideal space! What made you decide to leave?
After about a year and a half we felt a strong desire to simplify and sift. The space was rather large for just the two of us and we knew that it would be freeing to have less, to de-clutter and create more margin for our lives. Though it seemed slightly backward to go from owning a big beautiful home to renting a small space we really knew this was what was best for our next season.
And of all of the places you looked at, what attracted you to Ponce City Market?
Our initial attraction to PCM (Ponce City Market) was the location. We both have a heart for the city, liveliness, movement, diversity, and the creativity happening in midtown. When we bought our house on the Westside we joked about our dreams of living in a loft space. We said “Well I guess we will retire and live out that dream on the back end of our lives.” This desire had a huge part to play in our push to actually move. We knew that the timing made sense for a small space adventure.
What was the space like before you moved in?
Lovely. Bright, white, open, fresh, and simple. As silly as it sounds I was really nervous on our move in day. I had never seen the unit itself because our house sold fast Brett previewed the flats at PCM on his own and just knew it was right for us. Being a designer, I love to pre-plan my spaces and get a feel for the layout in advance. Although I completely trusted Brett, this was a little scary going from 2000 sq/ft to 600 sq/ft. We sold 3/4 of our stuff and jumped in with both feet. This was one of the most freeing and refreshing decisions we have ever made. Im so glad we did it…and of corse the giant windows at PCM won me over again, haha!
That does sound like you have a lot of trust in your husband! But it’s definitely an attractive space! Tell us about its size and layout.
The space is “cozy” which is a nice word for small, but it really doesn’t feel small at all. It feels very manageable to not have a ton of extra room to store random junk. It also really made us think through what our FAVORITE pieces are since we have only one room and one bedroom to fill. The whole space is concrete floors and white walls which are very versatile finishes. When you walk in the front door, straight ahead is a long hallway leading to the kitchen/living area. We made a small landing/foyer at the front door with a coat rack, mirror, and a floating shelf to act as an entry table. This is both practical and makes for an intentional entrance space. If you turn right at the front door there is a small hallway leading to the Bedroom, bathroom, and laundry closet.
So being that it was mostly white and and concrete, how did you personalize it?
We knew that the space didn’t need much because the structural details of the building/renovation are beautiful on their own. It was important to us that our place felt warm, inviting, and comfortable without being cluttered. I think the best personal touch we made was adding in a lot of plants. It almost feels like a jungle in some corners. Plants/flowers are an amazing way to bring life and connectivity to a more industrial clean space.
And they are generally inexpensive! It’s a great idea… What was something new you wanted to bring to your home at Ponce City Market versus what you had done before?
The custom bookshelf/desk was very important for us functionally and visually. I work from home and had a massive desk and tons of space at our previous house to fill with samples, drawings, paperwork, etc.. I knew I didn’t want a desk in our bedroom but didn’t want a huge eye-sore desk or a bunch of clutter in our main (only) living space. We used the height of the room to build up and give more vertical storage and integrated my desk into the bookshelf so it would blend seamlessly. This was the trickiest thing we had to think through in order to make the space work but we love how it became the statement piece of our home. It’s very pretty!
How does your own home differ from some of the projects you’ve worked on for your clients, or how is it similar?
I’d say its different because there are a bit more quirks. A little more mixing of styles and more weird-ish selections. I took a pair of very heavy outdoor chairs from the 60’s that my grandmother wanted to trash and deconstructed them. They are the centerpiece of our living room. As it is for a lot of designers there is an element of my style that is always changing and evolving. For the most part the constant in my designs is white walls and mixing raw, warm, earthy textures with modern elements. This is an obvious similarity across spaces I design as well as in our flat.
Of the more quirky, riskier decisions you made which one stands out the most?
Because we are renting we couldn’t take any mega risks but a huge game changer was lighting. When we moved in we were told we could temporarily change fixtures and re-install once we moved out. This really changed our space and vibe. The fixture over our table perfectly grounds the dining area and the sconce over our sofa brings mood lighting without sacrificing floor space like a floor or table lamp would.