Reality Realty: HGTV hosts transform Atlanta teardowns

Reality Realty: HGTV hosts transform Atlanta teardowns
HGTV "Flip or Flop Atlanta" hosts Ken and Anita Corsini have renovated more than 700 homes in the city's sprawling metro area. (HGTV)

As hosts of HGTV’s “Flip or Flop Atlanta,” Ken and Anita Corsini have a wide swath of ZIP codes to comb through when transforming battered homes amid the city’s famed metro sprawl.


The couple has renovated more than 700 homes since the 2005 founding of Red Barn Homes and Red Barn Real Estate in a century-old converted cotton mill north of Atlanta.

A former math teacher, Anita Corsini is a real estate and design expert and husband Ken is a licensed contractor. Their show’s second season began Oct. 11 as part of the popular “Flip or Flop” franchise.


We caught up with the couple while they vacationed in Florida with their three young children.

Home values are skyrocketing in Atlanta –– up 13% over the past year while inventory plummets. How does this affect your business?

Ken: It’s much harder to find properties to flip, but when you do there’s a good chance of selling them and making money. Here, you have crazy long commutes — 15 counties that sprawl endlessly. So there’s less expensive housing on the outskirts. But people are tiring of the long commutes. It’s why we’re seeing in-town neighborhoods being revitalized.

Anita: There’s very little lipstick renovation. Homes that are available to flip require a larger renovation budget. Ours is from about $80,000 to $120,000.


Describe the range of home styles in metro Atlanta.

Anita: In town, you’ve got older homes that are quaint with a cottage feel, and in the suburbs, they all look the same. In Decatur, there are old brick ranch homes, 1970s style. This season, we ventured north into Milton where there are farmhouse and equestrian estate-type homes.

Besides the usual design trends, where do you get your inspiration?

Anita: My mom and grandmother. I grew up in Snellville, Ga., but my family is Persian. My mom loved the era of blue and yellow colors, loved antiques; she’s very classic.

What designs are trending in Atlanta, or in the larger South?

Anita: Well, people are really into the farmhouse style. Personally, I’m done with it. The midcentury look is trending more in town, but what’s really interesting to me is the craftsman cottage feel. It’s been desirable since day one, and I think it will be desirable until the end of time.

Describe the craftsman cottage look for us.

Anita: You always have a front porch, tailored columns. Typically it’s a smaller home, but long with wide trim and historical colors, like baby blue or deep green. Sometimes a brick red, and typically they have brick skirting or cedar shakes. Lots of accents and lots of texture.


The second season opener was a 1940 craftsman cottage — a teardown you bought for $50,000.

Ken: That house was a blight on the street. Beneath it there were three rocks in the center of the house holding it up, along with some logs! You would expect the floors to be super wonky, but they were fairly level.

That home had a horrific layout. How did you solve all that compartmentalization?

Ken: We blew out the right side of the house and vaulted the ceilings. Now you walk into the living room, which leads to the dining room, then the kitchen. We put all the bedrooms on the left side.

Anita. There was one bathroom, the size of an airplane bathroom. I mixed textures because I don’t like anything plain Jane. So, quartz countertops next to thick butcher block. We did a restored barn door using the siding on the house.

We understand that you gave a walk-through of the renovation for grandchildren who remember that home.

Anita: I have a picture of their grandmother baking biscuits –– she made them every morning…. I also have her biscuit recipe. It’s such a beautiful piece of history.