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Feifei Sun

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3 tips for buying and selling homes in 2020

Atlanta affordability
Photograph by fstop123/Getty Images

The world of residential real estate as we know it is changing, thanks to erratic markets, interest-rate cuts, and stymied home showings. Here, three agents tell us how that disruption may affect Atlanta’s real estate market for the longer term. It’s not all bad.

Embrace virtual tours. In-person home showings have dropped 50 percent in Atlanta, according to Sherry Ajluni, an agent with Compass Real Estate. “We’ve always used video when showcasing our homes but are leaning on it much more heavily now, and I think virtual tours will be here to stay.” Ajluni’s tips? Don’t show every bedroom, highlight the street view and backyard, and keep the video to under one minute for Instagram (or use IGTV). “Remember that it’s advertising—not a comprehensive look at every corner of your home,” she says.

Check official guidelines regularly. This year, anything can change with little notice, says Julian Jackson at eXp Realty. He recommends home sellers check local county and municipal sites regularly to ensure their contractors, delivery services, and other vendors are still operating—and be flexible amid social distancing. “Don’t assume that an appointment a week out will still happen as planned, as we’re seeing recommendations and rules change daily, from government officials as well as from businesses themselves.”

Expect a window of opportunity for buyers. “June is usually a peak month for deals in a normal year, but the global economic uncertainty has suddenly put the brakes on an otherwise healthy market,” says Ben Hirsh, an agent who specializes in the Buckhead community. Buyers can expect a window of opportunity with less competition since those who don’t need to move aren’t likely to be looking. And homeowners who aren’t ready to sell should keep an eye on interest rates, as many will likely find it beneficial to refinance this year.

This article appears in our Summer 2020 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

My Style: Brick + Mortar owner David Kowalski

David Kowalski
Kowalski in a Billy Reid jacket with his greyhound, Beulah

Photograph by Ben Rollins

“Good design is beautiful, it’s well-made, and it’s inspiring—but it also has a story,” says Kowalski, who uses this philosophy to stock his eclectic boutique, Brick + Mortar, at Westside Provisions District. Inside, find an array of furniture (Americana industrial lamps, midcentury modern Heywood-Wakefield dressers, French leather chairs from the 1920s); ephemera (old maps, taxidermy); and contemporary goods, including womenswear by Atlanta designer Megan Huntz.

Hometown
Atlanta. I was born at Northside Hospital.

Neighborhood
Westview. Both my grandmothers lived there as teens, and I’ve been there eight years.

Humble start
It was never my intention to have a store. I was coming off a nine-to-five job in education and rented a part-time booth at Paris on Ponce just because I had a lot of stuff.

Top eats
Endive Publik House [in Loring Heights] is so freaking good and never talked about. And the farm egg at Miller Union is probably my favorite meal.

Shop picks
There’s nothing in my store that I wouldn’t put in my own home, even our boldest pieces. Right now I’m loving an old medical lamp. It’s 10 feet tall and steel—like a giant version of an arm lamp. Probably no one will ever buy it.

Personal style
Billy Reid is my favorite store in Atlanta because it’s got a Southern aesthetic with a great fit. I also like Steven Alan. They’re both right downstairs.

Arts appreciation
My mom is a musician, and my dad always listened to classical music. They gave me a deep appreciation for beauty at an early age. Growing up, my family would go to the High all the time. My dad taught me to appreciate the layers of good design.

Globe trotting
From a design standpoint, travel opens your eyes to what other cultures view as beautiful. I’d love to go back to Iceland; Nordic design has a way of being both minimal and really warm at the same time.

Standout sale
I recently sold a phone book from the 1950s, when numbers were still listed by street, not by name. An older lady came in with her granddaughter and looked through the whole book to find her name, and when she did, she flipped her lid. That’s what I want to happen: for people to feel a connection to these pieces and continue their stories.

Kowalski’s candle
Talking scents

Kowalski’s line of candles is available in rugged fragrances like moss and forest, $28.

This article originally appeared in our June 2017 issue.

Atlanta reality TV stars: Where are they now?

Tribble Reese
Tribble Reese

Photograph by Derek Blanks/Bravo

Tribble Reese
As seen on The New Atlanta, 2013
Then The self-described “token white guy” in this season-long Bravo series focused on a group of young Atlantans making their mark in the city
On the show’s shortcomings “There was no real storyline for people to invest in. It never felt real, even when we were filming it. I can only imagine how it looked to the viewer.”
Now After returning to Charleston Southern University (where he played college football) to finish his MBA, Reese became director of social operations for a start-up, Social X. “We connect people with fun, unique, competitive games. Our clients are restaurants, bars, businesses putting on events.” —Richard L. Eldredge

Traci Steele
Traci Steele

Photograph by Prince Williams/Getty Images for PUMA

Traci Steele
As seen on Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, 2013
Then Steele appeared on the second season of this VH1 series, which follows local hip-hop musicians and their significant others.
Her favorite moment from the show A candid conversation with her son’s dad, DJ Babey Drew. “He finally admitted to cheating on me. [After it aired] my Twitter was blowing up with people who had gone through the same thing.”
Now A regular on local radio station 107.9, Steele will DJ at this year’s Funk Fest and Comedy’s Most Wanted tours. She’s also writing an autobiography. —Feifei Sun

Fred Pangle
Fred Pangle

Photograph courtesy of Destination America

Fred Pangle
As seen on Prepper Hillbillies, 2014
Then This short-lived Destination America series focused on Pangle and his coworkers at Moss Pawn, a Jonesboro-based home-security operation that catered to clients wary of “petty crimes to the end of times.”
His favorite moment from the show “The look on everyone’s faces when we blew shit up. The directors were mostly hippies . . . One time we shot an exploding target with a caliber rifle, and the director squatted down like he was about to pee.”
Now A firearms instructor and sales manager at Moss, Pangle says his reality days are behind him. “It’s such a hassle—masking everything off so you don’t see logos and trying to remember what you wore a month ago for reshoots.” —Feifei Sun

Lisa Wu
Lisa Wu

Photograph by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Lisa Wu
As seen on Real Housewives of Atlanta, 2008-2011
Then Wu was part of the inaugural cast and remained on the series through season three.
Her favorite moment from the show “In the early episodes, they let us be us. You see me visiting my brother’s grave. It’s not easy being that vulnerable in front of millions of people, but it was me.”
Now Wu has returned to acting and just wrapped filming on an upcoming romantic comedy, Professor Mack. —Feifei Sun

This article originally appeared in our May 2017 issue.

Get succulent savvy with these expert tricks

Southeast Succulents
Find Southeast Succulents at the Collective at Krog Street Market.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Gardener and artist Kurt Straudt, who founded Southeast Succulents in Decatur in 2009, shares his tricks for growing a trendy mini garden of desert-loving plants this spring.

Three is the magic number.
In a small container, combine a trio of succulents, pairing a tall plant, a trailing plant, and an eye-catching plant. Straudt’s picks for the season: jade, with its tree-like shape; string of pearls, which spills out of the pot; and the spiky, pinkish echeveria.

No sun, no problem.
Succulents are known as sun-lovers, but some—like South African Haworthias—can survive in low-light environments. “They make good desk plants, even if your office lacks windows,” Straudt says.

Grow your own.
“Propagation is very easy; you don’t need to be an expert gardener,” Straudt says. His tip: Gently twist off the leaf of an existing plant, place it on top of the soil, and watch it grow.

Southeast Succulents
Hint: Pot succulents in a mix of one-third parts gravel and two-thirds parts soil. (The gravel will help it drain.) Allow soil to dry completely between waterings.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

This article originally appeared in our April 2017 issue.

My Style: Bertille Sefolosha, co-owner of Attom men’s boutique

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Jumpsuit by Diane von Furstenberg

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Bertille and her husband, Thabo, a forward for the Hawks, are bringing a bit of European edge to the Shops Buckhead Atlanta. (She was born in Cameroon but raised in France; he is from Switzerland, home to Attom’s flagship boutique.) The menswear store, which opened last fall, carries hard-to-find European labels, from Maison Margiela to emerging Berlin brand Cryptonym, plus American streetwear from the likes of Yeezy and Rick Owens. “We’re finding an audience who knows—and wants—those up-and-coming designers.”

Neighborhood Chastain Park. We’re European and like to walk a lot.
Current obsession Thigh-high black leather boots by Vince that my husband found on the road. It’s hard to find thigh-high boots that are comfortable and fit; I’m very tall.
Where you shop Intermix, which is like our store but a little less urban and more feminine. I always feel like the selection is carefully curated.
Date-night dining Umi—it’s very modern and reminds me of the West Coast. But Thabo’s favorite is 10 Degrees South; the meat is on point, and he loves it because his family is South African.
Beauty trick I don’t wear makeup during the day, only an Estée Lauder BB cream, which gives me a good glow.
Brand loyalty My taste is more conservative than Thabo’s. My favorite brand for men is Saint Laurent. I love the clean lines and minimalism. For women, I always return to classic pieces like a Burberry trench coat or Chanel suits.
When in Rome I don’t mind going out in sweatpants here, but you would never catch me doing that in France. When I go back to Cameroon, I like to wear traditional outfits: colorful dresses or a skirt and top with bold African prints and a headpiece.
Fashion philosophy Maybe it’s the French in me, but when I look at women, I sometimes think, “You don’t have to put everything—all the accessories—on.” The simplest looks are often the best.

Street Style

This denim jacket from European it-brand Off-White doubles for him and her. $699, Attom

This article originally appeared in our March 2017 issue.

Hot Shop: Coco and Mischa

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Coco and Mischa
Coco and Mischa

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

In June Melissa Gallagher left a 17-year career in restaurants—including a stint as the GM at Holeman and Finch—to open a boutique, Coco and Mischa. A longtime lover of functional art (jewelry, vases), she was inspired by the maker movement to change gears. Many goods in her Decatur nook are made locally, accompanied by a smattering of other indie finds and vintage pieces (boots, cutoffs, furniture). Gallagher’s favorite line is the edgy brass jewelry by Fossil & Hide, whose co-owner Jenny Watts is also a restaurant alum. Years ago, the pair planned trinkets and treasures when they worked at Leon’s Full Service.

This article originally appeared in our February 2016 issue.

My Style: Nene Kisseih, store director at Billy Reid

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Nene Kisseih
Nene Kisseih

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Born in Ghana and raised in Atlanta, Kisseih’s style reflects both African and Southern influences. Since 2016 he’s been the store director of Billy Reid at Westside Provisions District—and even took a turn down the runway at the designer’s spring 2016 show in Florence, Alabama. In 2011 he cofounded Messrs, a collection of men’s leather wallets, belts, and other accessories, which he often crafts from rare Ghanaian materials.

Hails from Accra, Ghana. I moved to New York City at four and have been in Atlanta since I was 13.
Favorite neighborhood Decatur. There’s so much variety, from the people to the restaurant scene. I go for Value Village and Kimball House.
Style trademark I grew up playing soccer, and I like to wear soccer jerseys with nice slacks. I also wear a lot of Ghanaian beads.
Nod to tradition I’m not afraid to wear bright, bold colors, and I love traditional fabrics like Kente cloth, which is woven by men.
Style icon I don’t really have one, but I’ve been following Yasiin Bey, the rapper who used to go by Mos Def, and I think he’s just a really cool-ass dude.
Retail therapy I’ve been in retail for seven years. I like when customers tell me about their families; I like learning about people.
Item you can’t live without I have a pair of burgundy vintage Bali lace-up brogues that I wear with everything; it’s like they’ve become part of my personality.
Style genes I’m always taking things out of my mom’s closet. I love this tobacco leather belt with a buckle that reads, “I’m not too sweet.”
Collecting Lapel pins. I’ve been wearing this one lately—let’s see if it makes it to print—that says “ABCDEF*CK.”

Layer up
Chilly? Nab this reversible rabbit fur and down vest—Kisseih’s top pick from Billy Reid this season. $895, multiple locations, billyreid.com

This article originally appeared in our January 2017 issue.

Big Boi’s dog shampoo will leave your pup so fresh and so clean, clean

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Big Boi dog shampoo
Big Boi and Bobbi Panter

Photograph by Zach Wolfe

Most Atlantans know Antwan Patton (stage name: Big Boi) as half of the beloved hip-hop duo Outkast. But lately the rapper—and bulldog enthusiast—has teamed up with Chicago-based pet grooming guru Bobbi Panter on a line of natural dog shampoos.

They make an odd pair—Big Boi with his sturdy bullies and the QVC veteran Panter with her beribboned shih tzus. But Panter says they quickly bonded over a love of four-legged companions. “We had instant chemistry,” she says.

Of the 11 different formulas, I chose “Scrumptious” (Big Boi’s fave) to test on my Shiba Inu mix, Bleecker. The shimmery shampoo produces a rich lather, and after toweling him off, Bleecker’s short fur was softer, thanks to the chamomile and lavender oil. Plus, sweet vanilla and buttercream scents left him smelling like a fresh-from-the-oven cookie.

This article originally appeared in our January 2017 issue.

Spin City: Indoor cycling has taken over Atlanta

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SoulCyclexTarget
SoulCycle x Target pop-up

Photograph courtesy of SoulCycle x Target

Boutique cycling studios have been rolling into town like mad. In the past two years, new spots like CycleBar, Burn Studios, and Cyc Fitness have joined fixtures like Flywheel and Torq Cycle Atlanta. There’s also the new Peloton showroom at Lenox, where riders can buy a stationary bike ($1,995) that streams classes live or on demand from a New York studio ($39 per month). “Everyone can do it,” Denae Olberding, studio manager of CycleBar Buckhead, says of spinning. “Once you jump on that bike, it’s up to you what you make of it. You can go at your own pace.” Here’s an overview of the local clip-in craze.

$25
Cost of a class at CycleBar

15–20
Miles cycled in an average 45-minute class

63
Bikes at Flywheel Buckhead, the largest stadium-style studio in the city

100
Arm-toning exercise reps, on average, performed during a Flywheel class

400 to 800
Average range of calories that studios claim riders torch in a single session

708
Riders participated in a three-day SoulCycle x Target pop-up downtown

1.8M
Views (and counting) of a viral YouTube video of a KTX Fitness cycling class

This article originally appeared in our December 2016 issue.

New stores and holiday pop-ups arrive at Ponce City Market

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Atlanta's Alternative pop-up
Atlanta’s Alternative pop-up

Courtesy of Alternative

Ponce City Market is getting ready for holiday shopping with a slew of openings and pop-ups this month—one of them from beloved local brand, Alternative.

Everyone knows Alternative’s cool, comfy apparel (check the label on your favorite band tee), and come Monday, you can find them in a pop-up alongside Lululemon and J.Crew at PCM. Despite having been based in the metro area since its founding more than 20 years ago, this will be the brand’s first brick-and-mortar presence in the Southeast. With permanent shops already in New York, L.A., and San Francisco, Alternative is finally testing the waters in its home city.

Evan Toporek, CEO of Alternative, says he’s been eyeing Ponce City Market as a potential retail destination since Jamestown purchased the building. With its Atlanta holiday pop-up, Toporek sees a chance to raise Alternative’s profile in its hometown—and meet its customers where they are.

“Our customers are modern creatives—Ponce and the area around it is where they live,” he says. “And really, everything about Ponce resonates with our brand. It’s a historic building that’s been rebranded with a modern touch, which is how we approach our apparel: we’re inspired by good old thrift store finds and then bringing them to new life.”

In keeping with its hometown theme, Alternative also tapped local artist Gavin Bernard to design the pop-up’s interior. Bernard, who’s known for his colorful string art installations along the BeltLine bridge over Ponce de Leon Avenue, is bringing elements of that concept to the shop, although in a more neutral palette. Alternative will also debut is new “Basics Bar” at the new holiday shop, which will feature the brand’s most classic and timeless pieces, including eco-fleece sweatshirts ($50) and eco-jersey zip hoodies ($44–$46).

With Alternative pouring so much effort into the PCM pop-up, we had to ask: Is a more permanent retail presence at the development in the works?

“We’re keeping an open mind,” Toporek says.

Short shorts from Chubbies
Short shorts from Chubbies

That’s not all you’ll find swinging its doors open at PCM this month. Another pop-up comes from San Francisco–based short shorts crusaders Chubbies (“Sky’s out, thighs out,” they say), so you can check off finding a gift for the frat guy in your life. As for new permanent shops, last week Posman Books opened its first location outside of New York, bringing classics, cookbooks, games, and cards (because a real book wraps better than a Kindle gift card).

Posman Books
Posman Books

By the end of the month, Charleston-based Candlefish will welcome shoppers to its candle shop, featuring candles in more than 100 scents from its “fragrance library”—so you can select one you know your picky friend will really like. (It will also offer small gifts and will launch candle-making classes in the new year.)

The scent library at Candlefish
The scent library at Candlefish

Courtesy of Candlefish

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