Tour Stop 4
709 Cherokee Avenue
Chris and Thomas Ryan-Lawrence, son Noah, and Bree, the 4-legged family member
One weekend about three years ago, on a particularly emotional day in their journey to adopt a child, Chris and Thomas stumbled upon 709 Cherokee — a huge, run-down, overgrown and rambling house subdivided into three separate apartments. While the house was nearly void of any remaining historic interior features except the original doors and floors, they thought it was perfect. It provided a nearly “blank slate” to do what they wanted, and all the space they needed to grow into once they started a family.
With their closing on the massive1908 Queen Anne in November 2013, the planning began. Chris and Thomas were approved for historic property tax credits, which are available in many cases in Georgia for owners rehabilitating a historic property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the caveats of that process is to keep certain historically significant features like doorways, windows and fireplaces intact. What Chris and Thomas didn’t know until they started renovation was how many fireplaces the house really had. Once demolition started, fireplaces started popping up all over the place. When the dust finally settled, they had uncovered eleven!
Just before Christmas last year, they moved in. The result of nearly two years of hard work is a beautiful home with five bedrooms (one of which serves as a home office), three and a half bathrooms, a living room, a traditional parlor room, and a kitchen open to the dining room.
While several of the latently-discovered fireplaces upstairs were sealed up again, the five fireplaces on the main floor were trimmed out in period-appropriate mantels. Four were treated to brand new, working gas “coal baskets,” which are all lit and aglow during the tour, adding that special touch of holiday warmth and cheer.