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April 2013 “Creating a Vibrant Community” Volume 2 Issue 15 8 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 15 Our West End Newsletter Couple Changes Historic Duplex Back to Single-Family Home By Lori Johnston-For the AJC (additional reporting from Denise Blake) To get the family-friendly space they wanted, Richard and Amanda Mullen recently purchased a home here in Historic West End, adjacent to the neighborhood where they were renting. The couple wanted enough space so they and their kids (Micah, 5; Jaeden, 4; Amaya, 3; and Aaliya, 1) wouldn’t feel cramped in the home. The home they were previously renting had four bedrooms, two baths and about 1,800 square feet. The Mullens wanted a single-family home with at least 2,000 square feet. A historic neighborhood appealed to them because of the potential to help revitalize an area with rich history and culture, and because of the character found in older homes. A backyard, for both playspace and a food garden, was also on their list of wants. After about six months of searching, the couple put a contract on a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with about 3,100 square feet. The renovations, using a Federal Housing Administration 203k renovation loan and assisted by Wells Fargo and Invest Atlanta’s Neighborhood LIFT program, took six months, but in the end, the Mullens were able to customize the home for themselves and their children. They moved in during November 2012. The renovation route required trips to The Home Depot and salvage yards as they selected the fixtures, cabinets, countertops and other items for the home, working with a contractor. The Mullins received $15,000 in down payment assistance and didn’t need to bring any cash to closing. Getting the renovation loan lengthened the home buying process, which included steps such as having a home inspection and attaining the bank’s approval of the contractor. “We really felt it was worth it to get the home we wanted and to be able to customize it to our desires and make it what we needed for our family,” Amanda said.the property, built in 1912, had been converted to a duplex in the 1970s. The Mullens’ extensive changes included creating a new staircase and transforming what had been the kitchen and furnace room into their new master bedroom and closet. A key kid-friendly space is the second floor office/playroom. Since they often eat at home, the Mullens splurged on bells and whistles for the kitchen, including a double oven, stainless steel LG appliances and a beverage cooler. For the L-shaped banquette, Amanda took upper cabinets (the size that typically goes above the refrigerator), placed it on the floor, and put a customized seat and cushions on top (cont. on page 7). • The newsletter is published monthly. 1000 copies were printed in April 2013. Copies are hand-delivered, free- of-charge, to all residents in the Historic West End neighborhood. Copies are also available at West End Library and West End Print Shop. • Our volunteers: Denise Blake, Brent Brewer, Lori Johnston, Beth McBee, Paulette Richards, Stacey-Ann Vassell, and our many neighborhood distributors. • To submit stories or distribute, contact Brent Brewer at 404.447.0282 or firstname.lastname@example.org. About The Newsletter On The Cover 1,2: Save the Date. Saturday, June 1st, 2013. Wren’s Nest. Concert featuring vocalist Rhonda Thomas and bassist/ bandleader Khari Simmons. Check out Khari’s performance with Julie Dexter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mFjz-IV-jA. Check out Rhonda’s performance with another Concert alum, Sunshine Avery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ph7CKokdHo. 3: Save the Date. June 8th & 9th. Annual Tour of Homes. 4: Wren’s Nest launches storytelling & spoken word series. Fourth Thursday of the month. April 25th, 7-8:30pm. 5: Sunday, May 19th. 3rd Annual Music in the Park @ Howell Park. All ages. Come enjoy the unique experience. 6: Neighbor Stacey-Ann Vassel wants to beautify the neighborhood one yard at a time. 1 3 4 5 2 6 West End Historic District Amanda and Richard Mullen sit with their children in front of their Atlanta, GA home. Photo credit: Christopher Oquendo/Special for AJC 2 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 15 Our West End Newsletter 7 Duplex to Single Family (cont. pg1) The choice provided additional storage and an eat-in kitchen for the family. The result of the Mullens’ tireless efforts to create the perfect family home has been the restoration of a neighborhood gem in Historic West End. They, along with many other recent and long-time residents of this character-filled community, were able to see beyond the worn and tattered edifices of some of the neighborhood’s homes that need TLC to restore them to their former glory. Congratulations and welcome to the Mullens family! Pres. Corner: Choices (cont. from pg 2) Regardless of the great diversity of the people making the choice, their reasons were remarkably similar: they wanted a house with "character & charm" at an affordable price AND they appreciated our Historic designation. They tend to see this as prestigious and a guarantee of stability with the feel of a genuine neighborhood, where people know each other and care about their neighborhood. Of course, those of us who came and chose to stay here also enjoy the transportation options, unique charm, diversity and front porch “feel.” So at this time of year when we are gearing up for our big community events, it seems to me that when we make a big push to promote our annual Tour of Homes and Concert to attract non-residents, people will come. Once they come, we can rely on our neighborhood to entice them to buy and join us. We CAN achieve a70% single-family owner- occupied, community. Bring your friends, relatives and co-workers to our Tour and Concert. Some will choose to stay. We want Historic West End to become the neighborhood of choice for people considering urban living. Kristina Nadreau is the current WEND president. President’s Corner Since living in Historic West End, I have been meeting and talking with our neighbors. They have educated me about many, many things. Usually they describe the wide variety of factors that brought them here, for example, “My sister had an apartment here” or “I have always lived here.” I then take my queries to a deeper layer and get down to what influenced their choices. What really led them to move here? What I have been told over and over is that two main factors prompted their decision to buy and live in a home in our neighborhood. (continued page7) In honor of the Mullen family and two other homebuyers on Peeples Street utilizing the NeighborhoodLIFT program, Tuesday June 4th, Wells Fargo's NeighborhoodLIFT representatives, along with NeighborWorks America affiliates ANDP and RRC and Invest Atlanta will sponsor a clean up along Peeples St from Oak Street to the Beltline. 6 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 15 Our West End Newsletter 3 In the Literary Tradition, Spoken Word at Wren’s Nest We as women Have to learn how to let go Let our garden grow Get rid of all the weeds Pull them out Water our seeds Maintain a healthy soil As well as a healthy soul When the sun shines Smile and enjoy life Mature as the seasons change Rearrange our thinking for the better Let loose negative energy Surround ourselves with beauty Think big and remain faithful If we believe We will achieve Purple tulips Red and yellow roses White chrysanthemums Gardenias and begonias Continue to bloom and assume greatness See life as a blessing As we continue on our journey Make it and take it Success is ours God has given us a kernel To plant our pasture Create a gorgeous meadow Imagine a life full of laughter We need rain to cultivate All kinds of weather helps us grow In any situation We can rise above frustration As we lift each other up Through trials and tribulation By Brent Brewer & OWEN Editor Extraordinaire Would you like to go with me Down my tree-lined street? Would you like to come with me To Historic West End? Several years ere 5 Points marked The Terminus of rails Whitehall Tavern graced the site Where met three Native trails Our homes preserve a century Of craftsmanship with pride Neighbors wave as we pass by From porches wide And all can praise and worship here In temple, church, masjid Within West End’s warm embrace there’s Space for every creed So most folks here, as you can see Are glad for all we have Tell me will those artful gates Lead us into heaven? Poetic Lifeline By Chenelle Marshall Available on Amazon.com or at www.lifelinkpublishing.com Historic West End Walk Wren’s Nest Storytelling & Spoken Word Series: WORD OF MOUTH On Thursday, March 28, The Wren’s Nest House Museum, launched a storytelling and spoken word series to connect local residents and young audiences to the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris. The series will give local writers an outlet for their poetry, fiction, essays and songs. Where: Wren’s Nest When: Fourth Thursday of the month Next program April 25th 7-8:30 pm. Our Garden Our West End Newsletter 5 Mayor Reed Proclaims, “It is West End’s time!” Yard of the Month : Southern Charm in the City out in the yard and make yours pretty, the rest of the neighbors will follow suit. Before you run out to our local Ace Hardware to purchase grass seeds and flow- ers, have a plan or you’ll waste your time and money. No matter if you hire a professional or do it your- self, do you research on light patterns and which plants will withstand the hot Georgia summers.” All of these concerns are important to having a yard that will last a lifetime. With Barbara’s love for gar- dening, she knows a well-done yard will last anywhere from 20 to 25 years. Let’s start planning to get our yards looking just as lovely. Thank you to our local Ace Hardware for sponsoring Historic West End’s Yard of the Month. Stacey-Ann Vassell and her fiancé moved to the Historic West End from West Midtown in June 2012. When she's not busy working in the corporate world, she enjoys entertaining, read- ing the latest celebrity gossip magazines, and walking down the Beltline with her fiancé and puppy, Oscar. By Stacey-Ann Vassell Beautiful flowers, pops of color, eclectic flower pots, southern charm - this describes the scenery at 691 Peeples Street, winner of our first Yard of the Month competition. Like many of us here in the Historic West End, we see the gems hidden in these historic homes; they just need the right peopleto givethem the attention to un- veil their natural beauty. That's the case for Barbara English who moved to the neighborhood a few years ago. “When I first moved in, the landscaping was old and overgrown. It got to a point where I had to do something about it.”With Bar- bara busy running her own business, she wanted a yard that required little maintenance but still would exude beauty and color. Keeping these factors in mind, Barbara gave her land- scaper direction to reflect the home’s history in the garden. “The home was built in 1884, so I wanted to keep the history of the home in perspective; hence the choice of the hydrangeas.” - Barbara stresses the importance of having curb appeal. “Part of increasing our property value is keeping up the yard. Landscaping is contagious. Once you get Barbara English enjoying her win as the first Yard of the Month. Is your yard ready for the Tour of Homes! Expect tons of guests. Red and yellow roses White chrysanthemums Gardenias and begonias Continue to bloom and assume greatness See life as a blessing As we continue on our journey Make it and take it Success is ours God has given us a kernel To plant our pasture Create a gorgeous meadow Imagine a life full of laughter We need rain to cultivate All kinds of weather helps us grow In any situation We can rise above frustration As we lift each other up Through trials and tribulation By Brent Brewer & OWEN Editor Extraordinaire Would you like to go with me Down my tree-lined street? Would you like to come with me To Historic West End? Several years ere 5 Poi