Falling in love with East Atlanta isn’t hard. With quaint shops and infectious street art, it’s home to some of the most creative people on the planet. All it takes is one impromptu ride through Dekalb County to understand that this area is special, but there’s always something new to discover—even for frequenters like myself.
Earlier this spring, I stumbled across a dream studio rental hiding in one of the suburbs. It was while I was on the hunt for a creative space to hold a photoshoot. I was struggling to find a place to accommodate both lifestyle and commercial content. Enter: East Atlanta Suite + Studio. I booked it immediately.
A New Kind Of Host
Reisha Rhodenbaugh and her husband have been Airbnb hosts since early 2018. Within two years, they earned a superhost status for eight consecutive quarters while hosting more than 300 guests from six different countries. But the dawn of the pandemic in early 2020 forced them to shut down their listing. This didn’t stop the creative couple from pivoting into a new direction.
Content creatives were already booking the space as an Airbnb, so it made sense to create more accommodations for them. Rhodenbaugh, alongside her husband, decided to convert the Airbnb into an hourly rental for the Black entrepreneurs who needed to continue creating amid the pandemic. With the East Atlanta Suite + Studio, these creatives could complete their work while maintaining functionality, comfort and, above all, safety.
“It’s been pretty cool to tap into what it’s like for entrepreneurs here searching for opportunities to grow their businesses,” says Rhodenbaugh, who is an East Atlanta resident herself, currently studying for her master’s degree in Public Health Administration. “[We’re] providing that space for them to be present to create whatever they need to.”
East Atlanta Village is a small area that sits between Moreland Avenue and the Southeast portion of Flat Shoals Avenue. It’s a unique place filled with music venues, farmer’s markets, and even beautiful murals painted by local creatives. The location is prime for reaching the necessities of the big city like the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Midtown while still having the intimacy of diverse areas like Little Five Points. Creative entrepreneurs overflow this part of the city and it shows.
East Atlanta Suite + Studio has been successfully able to tap into this growing market. Now that its overnight bookings have resumed, the space serves as a multifunctional space. This year, the studio has hosted some 40 guests who have worked on projects that have included mental health advocacy, documentaries, tiny desks, photo shoots and even music videos.
A Memorable Experience
As a content creator, I’ve committed to doing at least two photoshoots a year along with a few videos. The content I create is then used for my blogs, social content and my Unsplash account, where I provide stock photos for people seeking high-quality photos of Black women. During my search for the perfect location, I found the East Atlanta Suite + Studio.
Upon arriving, my husband and I were greeted and guided towards this 466-square-foot studio space that sat quietly behind a wooden gate. The backyard, complete with a soft rolling hill, immediately stood out. It was a picture-perfect scene that required us to take a few moments to appreciate.
We walked through the door that led us into the main area. The decor was bright and inviting ( the space underwent a complete refresh earlier this year to include new decor and a remapping of the layout). The Rhodenbaughs added a full-length photography backdrop to add more functionality for content creators.
The main area included furniture that could be rearranged and a full bathroom. My last shoot required me to change in our truck, which, for a hefty woman like myself, was embarrassing and quite uncomfortable. In this space, I was able to comfortably dress and do my makeup without incident.
The bedroom was bright and beautifully decorated. It had such a comfortable vibe and provided a ton of natural lighting for my shoot. The closet contained props and all the wardrobe necessities needed for any creative project.
One thing that stuck out to me was the consistent reference to the city within the decor. There were black and white photos of some of East Atlanta’s most notable art spots. A custom golden “Atlanta” statement sign sat on the wall. It all reminded me that this space was truly a representation of the “Hollywood of the South.”
Making An Impact
“Our space is a unique blend of an urban experience mixed with a peaceful residential space,” says Rhodenbaugh. “It can provide creative entrepreneurs with a nurturing space to rest while creating.”
As East Atlanta continues to evolve at a rapid pace, more creative entrepreneurs are flocking to the area. East Atlanta Suite + Studio wants to continue to be at the forefront of providing creative spaces to support this talent.
The Rhodenbaughs are looking to expand their service offerings to better support the creatives. They have plans to make a bigger impact on the community by adding art and podcast offerings hosted from the studio.