Serenbe – from Atlanta’s busiest to zero

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Mere short miles from the world’s busiest and most efficient airport sits Serenbe, a wellness community that sets new standards of community living in the United States. Discovered in 1991 by Steve Nygren and Mari Lupo Nygren, the property known as Chattahoochee Hill Country near Atlanta spoke to their hearts and their desire to protect the environment.

The rural area received its first house in 2004 and now counts 650 residents in four hamlets. The experiment of sustainable, healthy living just outside of a major metropolis turned into the principle of New Urbanism.

Inspired by nature and community, the 1,000 acres planned community sports modern architecture and design, small homes, clustered neighborhoods, and a walkable community center conducive for personal interactions and comfortable lifestyles.

70% of the community’s land is preserved as green space and houses several horse stables as well as the 25-acre organic Serenbe Farms where 300 varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers are grown.

The farm-to-table gourmet restaurants in the community were not enough for Rebecca Cartwright, interior designer, to get all of the freshness and laid-back atmosphere there is. She went ahead and bought one of the houses in the community to fully immerse in the experience.

Her house reflects the spirit of community living with an open-concept kitchen and dining area where gatherings are welcome, and sharing is a must. The careful balance between minimalism and coziness is felt throughout the house.

The warm amber wood tones are complemented with cooler whites and greys radiating off the walls and darker, moodier tints coming from the furniture. Rebecca found an excellent mix of materials, colors, and finishes that add to the harmony of the building and the surroundings.

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Apart from the main house, the self-contained terrace with a separate entrance clad in vertical cedar planks that are treated with a Japanese preservation technique for durability and waterproofing is an ideal place for guests or even renters who want a little additional privacy.

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Serenbe received several awards including the Urban Land Institute Inaugural Sustainability Award, Atlanta Regional Commission ‘Developments of Excellence’ Award and EarthCraft’s ‘Development of the Year’. But even without any of them, a visit to the community should be on any design and architecture-interested travelers’ agenda to load up on fresh air, and mind, body, and spirit energy.

See other projects in the United States: Casacor Miami, Owl Creek.

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