by Elizabeth Cossick | Photos by Matt Druin
Charlie Tilse is known as the “Renovation King of Cobb County” for good reason. Step inside two of his recent home reincarnations in East Cobb.
Long before Joanna Gaines erupted onto the scene, long before the Property Brothers were a thing, Australian native Charlie Tilse was breathing new life into tired fixer-uppers throughout Northwest Atlanta. Known as Cobb’s “Renovation King” (he has actually been called that by clients), Charlie’s trademarks are open, light-filled floor plans, modern-meets-rustic finishes, and an unmatched balance of form and function.
Intrigued by stunning before-and-after photos of his work, we recently toured two of Charlie’s properties, both located in the Indian Hills Country Club in East Cobb. Built in the mid- to late-1970s, these homes were handicapped by dim kitchens, dark bathrooms and disjointed layouts. Step inside them now, and light-flooded spaces shun all memories of their cramped former selves.
“Really, we completely gut and rebuild homes from the inside out,” says Charlie of his renovation and remodel company, Tilse Construction. “We take outdated homes and re-establish them as modern, luxury residences.”
OPEN-CONCEPT CAPE COD
This home’s Cape Cod vibe immediately drew in Charlie and his wife Jessica, who, as the owner of Greater Homes Atlanta Real Estate, helps find many of Charlie’s diamond-in-the-rough properties. The goal was to transform the segmented living area into the open concept Charlie prefers.
“I like to draw the eye across a space, without interruption. When you walk into a home, you want your vision to go horizontally, rather than vertically, with lots of open spaces and fewer walls and divisions,” says Charlie. He acknowledges that this goal is often a challenge in “squatty” older homes – but a challenge he willingly takes on.
“Transforming traditional homes into open, transitional spaces is like assembling a 200-piece jigsaw puzzle when you’ve only been given 150 pieces,” he says. “You have to think outside the box and overcome obstacles to make it all come together.”
Once the layout was opened up, Charlie tackled the dated kitchen, adding his signature touch: an oversized island.
“A large island offers a spacious workstation, eating and entertaining area all in one,” he shares. “The key with kitchen designs is balancing the efficiency of a chef’s space with plenty of room for entertaining.”
This remodel also included a sunroom with pool views off the kitchen and a light-soaked master suite on the main.
Charlie, who not only serves as a hands-on general contractor for his projects but also designs the spaces himself, says he “aims for ‘the wow factor’” with all of his renovations. Target hit with this one.
A few decades ago, contemporary-style homes were all the rage. However, the homes’ wood paneling and odd floor plans saw the style fall quickly out of vogue. But for Charlie and Jessica, these red-headed-stepchildren of the seventies provide the ideal blank slate for a modern luxury renovation.
“When we first found this home in Indian Hills in East Cobb, we knew that it could be opened up beautifully and given a cool mid-century modern vibe,” says Charlie. “We capitalized on the soaring ceilings with an updated catwalk that links the upstairs bedrooms and allows an airy vantage point into the main living area.”
Dark defining beams are balanced with white shiplap and a luxe electric fireplace. The kitchen was given a bright update with Carrara marble, chef’s appliances and two entry points into the landscaped yard.
The luxury upgrades are continued in the master suite with spa details like a custom-tiled rainfall shower. The expansive basement was recast as the perfect entertaining area with stained concrete floors and sliding glass doors. “When you update a contemporary house, you can really create a home that stands out in a crowd,” observes Charlie. “There’s no cookie-cutter here.”
MEET CHARLIE AND JESSICA TILSE
Jessica is a Marietta native. Charlie emigrated from Australia in 1998, after establishing a solid footing in construction, plumbing and home design. “I was a trade craftsman long before I came to America,” says Charlie, who was the general contractor of his first home renovation at age 19. He soon discovered that his ability to envision a home transformation from the moment he walked in was a rare gift. “I’ve always been able to just ‘see it’ when I enter a space. I can see the vision for the finished space and what we need to do to make it happen,” he says. “It’s my passion. It sounds cliché, but my dad always told me if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s absolutely true.”
SOURCE | Tilse Construction handles full home renovations, basement remodels, room additions and master bath overhauls. 404-493-6562. tilseconstruction.com. facebook.com/tilseconstructionLLC