Tucked between a modern apartment building and a Shriner’s temple, folded away behind branch and bramble, it quietly sits.
A house so hidden, were it not for the slip of paper in your hand that bears the entrance code, you’d pass right by it. Once through the wrought iron gate, the sounds of the city melt away instantaneously, behind that lock and key, the world of The Big House On Ponce is one that’s far and away from the bustling, urban life of Atlanta. A hive of inherited bees lazily buzz in the sun, the flock of ornery chickens tend to the day’s business, and a group of residents, some part-time, some permanent, gather on the back porch for coffee.
Built in 1919, this historic house has lived many lives, each with vastly different personalities. Among other iterations, originally it was known as Shady Rest Inn, and years later it became a charity house. After many rebirths, this imposing structure has come full-circle, taking on new life and giving a nod to the past as an artist’s collective with Air BNB rooms for rent. It’s serpentine in its structure, each room leading to another, darkened hallways and staircases beckoning for visitors to come explore. Between the artwork hanging on the walls – and there is a lot of artwork — hints of the past can be seen: The most incredible art deco faucet in the shape of a swan, mirrored paneling and crystal chandeliers from the ’20s and ’30s drip from the ceiling, and age-old terra-cotta tiles line the sinks and floors. The building’s residents, all artists or performers (or artist/performers), are what make this place the refuge it is, helping to manage the Air BNB business and hosting gallery exhibitions, performances, plays, and gatherings, which many Air BNB guests take part in during their stay.
It’s easy to forget where — and when — you are here, the vintage school bus and Dodge Dart in the driveway helping to create the illusion that you’ve not only entered another world, but stepped back in time while you were at it. It’s not until you emerge onto the second floor balcony that the gleaming skyscrapers of modern Atlanta, visible in the distance beyond the trees and twisted vines, remind you of your time and place in the world. A tidy, modern hotel this is not… but that’s not why you come here in the first place.
Interested in booking a room (or bus)? Check them out on Air BNB!