One of my favorite parts about visiting Serenbe is definitely just looking at all the different homes in their four charming neighborhoods. From townhomes to country homes the variety in both form and style is amazing. While the community is fairly new, the range of architectural styles gives the little hamlets a lot of character, and as it grows in, it will only get more beautiful. I took a ride around with my mom and we picked out our very favorite facades to give you a little ‘tour of homes’ in Serenbe.
Over fall break my family and I spent a relaxing weekend at Serenbe, a sustainable community just over a half hour from Atlanta. It’s a new type of development pioneering an innovative relationship between the built environment and the land, right down to food sourced from its organic farm. You were briefly introduced to the Mado neighborhood of Serenbe last week with my tour of the Serenbe Designer Showhouse, but this entire community requires more than a short paragraph to communicate the innovation happening within its densely-nestled neighborhoods.
The New York Times calls Serenbe “a utopian experiment in New Urbanism being molded out of red Georgia clay, about 30 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.” The first house at Serenbe was built in 2004 and today the community is home to over 400 residents. Founded by Atlanta restauranteurs Steve and Marie Nygren, what started as a country escape for their family became a passion project to protect the Chattahoochee Hills from destructive development practices and urban sprawl. The community includes four neighborhoods, or hamlets, inspired by English villages, developed in omega forms fitted to the undulations of the land to allow minimal disturbance to the landscape. They each include complementary commercial centers focused on the elements of a well-lived life: arts for inspiration, agriculture for nourishment, health for wellbeing and education for awareness. The hamlets are connected by roads but even more accessible by footpaths winding through the forests and pastures surrounding each neighborhood center.
Over fall break I had the chance to visit Dixon Rye in Atlanta’s Westside Provisions District and get to know the founder of the store, Bradley Odom. His resume is impressive, with experience at west elm and J. Crew before launching his shop, design firm, and original furniture line here in Atlanta. The store is in the old Westside Ironworks building so the space has an amazing industrial vibe that blends so perfectly with the new southern style in the well-curated selection. Bradley’s style can be encapsulated in the belief that “raw and refined sit well side by side” and this sophisticated contrast, along with the exclusive European lines they carry, makes the store a treat to peruse.
Over spring break I had the chance to get to know Atlanta’s new Bon Ton restaurant, a “NOLA-style spot with a Vietnamese twist” in Midtown. The restaurant is a collaboration between Darren Carr, who previously operated Top Flr in the same building, Eric Simpkins of The Lawrence, and Hieu Pham of Crawfish Shack on Buford Highway. Inspired by the influx of Vietnamese immigrants to New Orleans during the 70’s, the restaurant marries Pham’s Vietnamese flavors with Cajun seafood dishes for a modern twist. This narrative also inspired a fictional backstory for the restaurant, which in turn shaped the eclectic design of the space. Wanting to bring a sense of history and a layered design to the space inspired by the old, storied buildings in New Orleans, Carr brought designers Christopher Knowles and Jacob Anderson onto the team, who brought the backstory to life. Knowles describes the restaurant’s aesthetic as “layered, nuanced, and bizarre.” Take a tour and learn more about this new restaurant after the jump.
(Christian Liaigre on Elle Decor)
Two weeks ago I stopped by Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) for their annual Spring Preview, an event that features the best new collections from their top showrooms at the center. Although most products at ADAC are to-the-trade, they represent the “runway” design that has a major influence on ready-to-ship pieces from national retailers and often showcases the highest levels of detail and craftsmanship. I spotted some exciting new releases from some of my favorite showrooms, including Bradley, Janus et Cie, Jerry Pair, and Peacock Alley. Check out the preview event booklet, and see my product picks below.