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Carolyn Crist


This Blue Ridge mountain retreat is both cozy and cool

The Clevers demolished a dated structure on the site to custom-build their dream cabin, shown here.

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

The Clever family likes to spend most weekends in the Chattahoochee National Forest in North Georgia, which draws city dwellers for cooler temps, outdoor adventures, mountaintop views, and changing leaves in the fall. The little historic town of Blue Ridge, lined with galleries, cafes, and microbreweries, offers its own diversions.

“I like to say it’s like a college town for adults,” says Mike Clever, who bought this mountainside property with his wife, Stacy, in 2016. The couple, who live full-time in Cumming, knocked down an outdated 1980s home and crafted a new, rustic cabin.

With views stretching across Lake Blue Ridge and the national forest and into North Carolina and Tennessee, outdoor spaces were a must. The cabin has three exterior decks, including one with a custom bed swing and another expanding onto a stone patio with a firepit, hot tub, and big farm table.

Heather Zamonis and Tyler Papp, of Z & Co. Design Group, created a warm retreat in Blue Ridge for the Clever family, who live in Cumming. The pair spent a lot of time on trial and error with wood species and stains. “It was important to find the right tone,” says Papp.

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

One of three exterior decks, with views across Lake Blue Ridge and into North Carolina and Tennessee

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

Inside, Heather Zamonis and Tyler Papp, of Z & Co. Design Group, who decorated the Clevers’ Cumming home, crafted a cozy getaway with a dash of groovy. The Clevers’ design inspiration came from rocker-turned-designer Lenny Kravitz, who is known for mixing earthy elements like leather and wood with glam accessories.

The Clevers also wanted to give the new cabin a sense of history, so they sourced oak from a century-old barn in Ellijay, as well as American chestnut for accents, taking care to get the colors and tone just right, using a custom mix of Sherwin-Williams stains.

Hides and horns reinforce the lodge vibe. Zamonis and Papp sourced markets for antique fishing baskets and reels; a pair of elk antlers came from a castle in Austria. Says Zamonis: “It feels inviting but lets you know you’re still in Blue Ridge.”

A cowhide over a patterned Loloi rug provides a rustic, layered look in a bedroom.

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

Vintage barn wood cozies up a custom bar with sleek quartz countertops.

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

A hanging bed, purchased at Scott Antique Markets, was custom-built by Four Oak Bed Swings.

Photograph by Lindsey Trauger

Vacation Planner

Here’s how to grab your spot in the mountains

Built of reclaimed brick, the new Blue Ridge Station lofts downtown have a warehouse vibe that nods to the railroad history of the area. The 15 luxury units (two-bedrooms from the $400,000s) sit atop a restaurant and wine bar just steps from galleries, antiques shopping, and the refurbished train depot hosting the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, a heritage train voyage that takes visitors on a winding journey through North Georgia.

This is the land of the vacation rental cabin; snag your own for the weekend through the Chamber of Commerce’s selection on blueridgemountains.com, or search Airbnb or VRBO for a range of price points. In early 2020, a new boutique hotel will break ground downtown. Blue Ridge is about 90 miles from Atlanta.

This article appears in our November 2019 issue.

Vacation Home Community Snapshot: The Landings

The Landings
Sunset at the Landings’ Palmetto course

Photograph by Steven McBride

Location Just 20 minutes from Savannah, the Landings on Skidaway Island is a gated private island that is home to 8,500 residents and more than 4,000 residences. The Branigar Organization began developing the community in 1972 and turned it over to the homeowners association in 1995. However, the HOA manages its own real estate company to keep property values strong, and a majority of residents live here full time.

Price range Townhouses, patio homes, single-family residences, and estate properties range from $250,000 to more than $2 million, and home sites vary from $100,000 to $1 million. The Landings Company manages a limited number of short-term and long-term rentals, including furnished and unfurnished properties. The annual HOA fee is $1,730 per lot or residence for 2016. Club memberships are not required, but options include house, athletic, or golf levels—with varying initiation and annual fees.

The Landings
Photograph by Steven McBride

Amenities A village center with a library is a short drive away by car, bike, or golf cart. The community itself features two deepwater marinas, six Audubon-certified championship golf courses, 34 tennis courts, four clubhouses, 40 miles of walking and biking trails, bocce ball, five pools (including two indoors and one with a giant waterslide), spa services, a community garden, a dog park, athletic fields, playgrounds, a picnic area, a recycling center, and three RV storage yards. Last year the recently renovated Deer Creek Golf Course was ranked among the nation’s top 100 residential courses by Golfweek.

What’s unique There are more than 100 social clubs and organizations, including the New Neighbors Group and three year-round golf associations (men’s, women’s, and nine-hole).

In fact, the LWGA is the largest club-based amateur women’s golf organization in the U.S. The Landings shares the island with the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Skidaway Island State Park, and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

This article originally appeared in our Spring 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

4 Atlanta home & garden events in May

Marietta Square Art WalkMay 6
Marietta Square Art Walks
Self-guided walking tours of the Marietta Square take place the first Friday evening of the month from April through November. The square’s galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants, and boutiques host local artists outside their storefronts.

May 7-8
Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour
View a dozen private gardens and learn from landscape and gardening experts at this Mother’s Day tradition since 1984.

May 7
Cobb Master Gardeners Tour
The annual Through the Garden Gate tour provides practical, real­istic ideas for private gardens—with tips from Master Gardeners.

Through October 30
Chihuly Returns to Atlanta Botanical Garden
Internationally recognized glass artist Dale Chihuly charmed Atlanta in 2004 with his groundbreaking exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Now the Seattle artist returns with more than 20 new installations prepared for his largest-ever outdoor show. The exhibition coincides with ABG’s 40th anniversary.

A version of this article originally appeared in our Spring 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

7 great Atlanta home and garden events in April

Atlanta Dogwood Festival
Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Photograph by Raftermen

April 8–10
Atlanta Dogwood Festival
Celebrating its 80th year, the annual festival at Piedmont Park features work by more than 250 artists, music, food, and a disc dog competition. A high school exhibition showcases work by young artists.

April 16
Georgia Native Plant Society Sale
Find trees, perennials, shrubs, vines, and grassesnative to Georgia. Plants have been rescued, donated by members, or purchased from local nurseries. The sale benefits the Georgia Native Plant Society’s conservation efforts.

April 22–24
Druid Hills Tour of Homes & Gardens
See home renovations, restorations, and gardens in the Druid Hills area. For the 48th year, the tour serves as the sole fundraiser for the Druid Hills Civic Association to benefit historic preservation and greenspace restoration. Ride the free Druid Hills trolley and enjoy a 5K, artists market, and plant sale.

Print Big!
Print Big!

Photograph courtesy of Atlanta Printmakers Studio

April 23
Print Big!
The Atlanta Print­makers Studio celebrates the printmaking craft, featuring hands-on demos and a steamroller that produces jumbo relief prints. Artists from the metro area and local colleges participate. Part of Kennesaw State University’s School of Art and Design’s spring festival.

April 23
Hambidge 2016 Art Auction
Attend or bid online at the Hambidge Center’s 21st annual auction, co-presented by the Goat Farm Arts Center. Honorary Chair Kevin Rathbun makes sure the culinary component is as superb as the creations by featured artists. Check out the “Field Experiment” finalists’ suggestions for public art projects, and take home one of the $100 works on paper or other pieces donated to support Hambidge’s artist residencies in North Georgia. Preview party at 5 p.m., auction at 7 p.m.

April 25–29
Design ADAC
Learn innovative ideas, see customization demonstrations, and meet some of the industry’s elite professionals. Open to the public.

April 30–October 30
Chihuly Returns to ABG
Internationally recognized glass artist Dale Chihuly charmed Atlanta in 2004 with his groundbreaking exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Now the Seattle artist returns with more than 20 new installations prepared for his largest-ever outdoor show. The exhibition coincides with ABG’s 40th anniversary.

This article originally appeared in our Spring 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

6 great Atlanta home and garden events in March

March 3–5
Tossed Out Treasures
The Sandy Springs Society holds its “ultimate flea market,” featuring high-end clothing, crystal, furniture, home decor, jewelry, and silver donated by its 300-plus members. The event raises more than $70,000 each year for nearly two dozen area nonprofits.

March 4
Marietta Square Art Walks
Self-guided walking tours of the Marietta Square take place the first Friday evening of the month from April through November. The square’s galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants, and boutiques host local artists outside their storefronts.

March 11–13
American Craft Council Show
The three-day show features clothing, decor, furniture, and jewelry made by 225 artisans. New this year, professional stylists show how handmade pieces fit into a fashionable wardrobe. Returning are room vignettes, “Hip-Pop” pods featuring emerging artists, and the “Let’s Make” interactive area. At Cobb Galleria Centre.

March 15–16
Greenprints Conference
Sponsored by Southface, Greenprints is the Southeast’s premier green building conference. Industry practitioners, policy makers, building owners, and consumers meet to discuss energy and water efficiency, urban planning, land use, architecture, construction, and natural resource use. New this year are awards of excellence for the organization’s varied stake­holders.

March 18–20
Atlanta Home Show
More than 350 booths display the latest remodeling products and services for inside and outside the home at Georgia’s largest home show. At Cobb Galleria Centre.

March 19–20
Junior League of Atlanta Tour of Kitchens
Visit the kitchens of 14 private homes at this event, which has raised more than $1.8 million in 19 years to benefit at-risk women and children.

This article originally appeared in our Spring 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

5 great Atlanta home and garden events in February

Spotlight on Art market
Spotlight on Art market

Photograph courtesy of Trinity School

Through February 6
Spotlight on Art market
Since 1982, Trinity School’s annual fundraising event has been known for showing top artists like Radcliffe Bailey, Steve Penley, Benny Andrews, and Gogo Ferguson. Check out original work by more than 350 painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, and more.

Through February 7
Cathedral Antiques Show
The annual antiques and decorative arts festival, sponsored by the Episcopal Church Women of the Cathedral of St. Philip, will benefit Literary Action this year. In addition to the displays of period furniture, jewelry, art, and accessories, “Inspiration Avenue” features vignettes by interior and floral designers from February 4 to 7. Also on February 7, visitors can tour five private residences.

February 19–21
North Atlanta Home Show
More than 150 companies showcase home improvement products and services at the Infinite Energy Center. Consult with experts, compare prices, and get advice on remodeling your home. Products and services include painting, awnings, plumbing, fencing, appliances, cabinets, and decks.

February 27
Art Papers Auction Hosted by Bobo
Intriguing Objects, the auction showcases more than 200 works by established and emerging artists. Expect a 1970s vibe with a DJ groove, all supporting the Atlanta nonprofit Art Papers.

February 27
The Inspired Gardener
This one-day symposium and silent auction (8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) is presented by the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the Georgia Perennial Plant Association at the ABG. Speakers include ornamental horticulture specialist Carol Reese of the University of Tennessee; Vincent Simeone, horticulturist and author of Grow More with Less; and Jean Williams-Woodward, plant pathologist at UGA.

This article originally appeared in our Winter 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Vacation Home Community Snapshot: Sandestin


Location: Technically located in Miramar Beach, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is often confused with a town—perhaps because of the name’s similarity to the city of Destin, located 10 miles west. Created more than four decades ago, Sandestin is the state’s only such development with waterfront access to both beach and bay and is the largest resort on Florida’s Panhandle.

Price Range: With dozens of neighborhoods, prices range from $120,000 for one-bedroom, 350-square-foot high-rise studios to more than $2 million for five-bedroom, 6,400-square-foot homes. There is a robust rental program, with resort staff on-site 24/7. More than 75 homeowners associations coordinate pest control, trash pickup, and landscaping.

Activities: The resort features seven miles of waterfront, 15 tennis courts, a 113-slip marina, a spa, and the pedestrian-oriented Village of Baytowne Wharf—a Disney-like commercial district with themed restaurants and bars, outdoor activities (from zip lines to a rock-climbing wall), and resort-style shopping. On the water, visitors enjoy kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, or parasailing. Three of Sandestin’s four golf courses are among Golf Digest’s top 75 public courses in Florida. The newly renovated fitness center has a view of the bay. And all of these activities are reachable via free tram service.

What’s unique: Major annual events attract crowds year-round. The Sandestin Wine Festival, which will hit 30 years this April, is the longest-
running wine event on the Florida Panhandle. The Mardi Gras Dog Parade and Gumbo Festival are held each February, and the Baytowne Wharf Beer Festival features more than 60 craft brewers and 200 beers each October.

Nearby: Located between Pensacola and Panama City, Sandestin is in the heart of the Panhandle. Just west are Destin and the Silver Sands Premium Outlets (110 stores, including Kate Spade and J.Crew), and just east are the swanky new urbanist neighborhoods of Highway 30A (Seaside, Water­Color, Rosemary Beach).

6 great Atlanta home and garden events in December

gingerbread house
Photograph by iStockphoto.com

December 5
Holiday Workshops at Barnsley Resort
Create gingerbread houses with the resort’s famous Fairy Godmother (a sort of magical concierge), or make handcrafted wreaths with horticulture and decor experts.

December 5–6 
Marietta Pilgrimage
This annual tour of homes has been named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society. Visit decorated residences and historic buildings by daylight or candlelight, including colonial-style houses, a Craftsman bungalow, and a midcentury-style ranch.

Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes
Photograph by Tracy Cox Photography

December 5–6
Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes
See six of the neighborhood’s historic abodes, including a Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired home, a contemporary Craftsman, and a 1925 bungalow. There will also be a special history tour by the authors of Images of America: Virginia-Highland. Bonus: food tastings from local restaurants like Fontaine’s Oyster House, Highland Tap, and Murphy’s.

Photograph courtesy of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Photograph courtesy of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Through December 15
Christmas at Callanwolde
Completed in 1920 for Charles Howard Candler, the oldest son of Coca-Cola Company founder Asa Griggs Candler, this Tudor Revival mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An educational center for the visual, literary, and performing arts, it is transformed every year with professional holiday displays, an artisan market, and themed events like Santa visits and the Teddy Bear Tea.

Through January 9
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
In its fifth year, the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s display will include a new Tunnel of Light. Returning are oversized musical orbs, glittering trees and plants, and model trains.

Also this month
Serenbe Art Farm
Serenbe’s new artists cottages, designed in collaboration with Auburn University’s Rural Studio 20K House line of affordable residences, are scheduled to open mid-month for public viewing before visiting artists move in. Come see how designers Steve McKenzie and Kerry Howard decorate these tiny houses.

This article originally appeared in our Winter 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Vacation Home Community Snapshot: Bear Lake Reserve

Bear Lake Reserve
The resort is one of the rare mountain communities built around a lake.

Photograph courtesy of Bear Lake Reality

Location This 2,100-acre gated community, an 18-mile drive from Cashiers, North Carolina, is built around a 500-acre reservoir that was created in the 1950s when the Tuckasegee River was dammed to generate hydroelectric power.

Price range Mountain view, lakefront, and lake view lots average two acres and cost $80,000 to $625,000. Two- to four-bedroom Craftsman-style homes are priced from the low $200,000s to $2.6 million. Two- to three-bedroom lodges with lake views and easy access to the Lake Club are $200,000 to $400,000.

Bear Lake Reserve
Photograph courtesy of Bear Lake Reserve.

Activities The resort revolves around the lake, located at an elevation of 2,600 feet and plunging up to 190 feet deep. Residents can fish for trout, bass, walleye, and sunfish. Private docks and boat rentals allow members and guests to use pontoon boats, Jet Skis, kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards.

The waterside Lake Club, which has a full-service restaurant and casual dining lounge, is the hub of activity. The Amphitheater at Golden Farm is also a popular gathering spot for concerts, family reunions, fireworks, and special events.

The Summit at Bear Lake Reserve, located on one of the highest peaks in the community and with an 80-mile panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a private nine-hole course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

Bear Creek Park, a camping ground owned by the Reserve, sits along a stream and features treehouse-style tent platforms for sleeping up high—plus fire pits, grills, and picnic tables below. There are almost 17 miles of hiking and walking trails winding through the resort.

Nearby Other towns within easy driving distance are Asheville (62 miles), Cherokee (32 miles), Highlands (28 miles), and Sylva (16 miles).

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

7 great Atlanta home & garden events in October

Treehouse tour at Fall Fest in Candler Park
Treehouse tour at Fall Fest in Candler Park

Atlanta Celebrates Photography
All month long
During the country’s largest community-based photography festival, exhibits pop up across the metro area. The popular push-pin show is now at Ponce City Market. Free.

Candler Park Fall Fest
October 3–4 Check out artist booths, live bands, a kids area, a 5K run, and a Sunday tour of homes. The tour includes unique landscapes, a community garden with goats and chickens, and several treehouses.

0915_octevents02_oneuseonlyGeorgia Apple Festival
October 10–11, 17–18 Located in the heart of apple country, Ellijay has celebrated its annual harvest for 44 years. In addition to fresh fruit and baked goods, there are craft demonstrations, a parade, and an antique car show. $5.

Serenbe Art Stroll + Home Tour
October 11 Tour private homes and purchase local and regional art to benefit the Artist in Residence Program, which houses visiting artists in live-work cottages.

Country Living Fair
October 23–25 Visit Stone Mountain Park for more than 200 vendors of antiques, crafts, home decor, folk art, and upcycled goods. Attend craft demonstrations and “how-to” seminars by the editors of Country Living.

Remodeled Homes Tour
October  24 
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry shows remodeled homes from Buckhead to Johns Creek, benefiting CURE Childhood Cancer. $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

0915_octevents03_oneuseonlyAtlanta Arts Festival
October 24–25 Two hundred fine artists selected from across the country showcase paintings, photographs, sculptures, leather, metalworks, and glass pieces. Relatively new on the scene, the festival was created to fill a void of fall art festivals held at Piedmont Park. Free.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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