#4 - 476 Bryan St

Name: Larry & Lyn Montagne
Address: 476 Bryan St. SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
Bedrooms/Baths: 3/2
What year was home built: 1904
Style of home: Victorian
When did you purchase your house: 1981
Larry and Lyn Montagne must have had to look hard to see the beauty in the Victorian on Bryan Street when they bought it in 1981. The house not only had gaping holes through the roof and floors but it had legal action against it from the city. Hookers worked the alley and drug dealers worked out of an empty house next door. Homeless people once had turned the Victorian into a shelter and burned its signature heart-of-pine flooring to keep warm.
A friend had saved it from being demolished to build another parking lot, however, and the house’s legal troubles could be worked out. The Montagnes knew with the right effort (sweat, sawing and hammering) they could turn it into an abode warm enough to eventually raise three children. It was no small feat. The young couple did most of the renovating themselves, except for wiring and plumbing, and for the first two years lived without central heat in an era when temperatures often fell below freezing. In January 1982, for instance, the thermometer average 32 degrees overnight in Atlanta. They were grateful for the shade from the oaks overhead during those AC-less summers, and they kept an eye toward preservation even when making a change for comfort. When they dismantled a chimney to make way for a second bath, they used the bricks for a back patio.

They did possess the traits to be perfect urban pioneers. Larry’s hobbies include woodworking (skills) and whitewater kayaking (guts) and Lyn possessed both entrepreneurial and artistic bents. For 35 years she has woven rugs in a studio upstairs for her small business, Montagne Handwoven, which is now operated by their son Michael. Lyn recently retired to pursue her artistic passions – drawing and tapestries – which fueled her professional life.

When you tour the house, just remember Lyn wove all the rugs you are walking on. Her artwork has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia and Kail Lin Art Gallery.  Larry is an account director at Czarnowski, a company that designs and fabricates trade-show exhibits. He previously taught high-school history and had a labor-contracting business. The aspects he and Lyn love most about the house are the 10-foot ceilings, skylights over the master bath and studio, the large oak trees shading the home, the koi pond in the back yard and enjoying rain storms while on the front porch.

Enjoying the change in seasons while jogging or walking in Oakland Cemetery or Grant Park and the ability – after more than 20 years – to stroll to bars, eateries and a hardware store are a close second.  Maybe even a tie. Good things come to those who wait.