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Mary Logan Bikoff

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Bikoff covers lifestyle topics including fashion, art, and travel. She began her career at Atlanta magazine as an intern in 2006 and returned as associate editor in 2013. In between, she lived in New York and freelanced for Condé Nast, National Geographic publications, and Paper magazine. While there, she got a master's degree in American studies from Columbia University. A native of Atlanta, she is a University of Georgia graduate and lives in an old bungalow in Inman Park with her husband and Australian shepherd.

The Press Shop and a second Aviary Beauty + Wellness location are coming to Summerhill

The Press Shop and a second Aviary salon location are coming to SummerhillThe storefronts on Georgia Avenue in the Summerhill neighborhood once buzzed with activity, boasting butchers, barbers, and shops before sitting neglected for decades in the shadow of I-85 and sports stadiums. The historic commercial strip is in the midst of a transformation by developer Carter & Associates and now hums again with restaurants like Little Bear, Talat Market, Junior’s Pizza, Little Tart Bakeshop, Wood’s Chapel BBQ, and the forthcoming fast-casual Southern joint Maepole drawing crowds to the neighborhood alongside the new Georgia State Stadium.

The Press Shop and a second Aviary salon location are coming to Summerhill
Maepole, the newest restaurant, soft-opens this weekend.

Photograph courtesy of Carter & Associates

Until now, however, the slew of new offerings on the neighborhood’s main drag—four blocks in a mix of refurbished historic buildings and new infill in similar style—had been limited mainly to food and drink, minus Maggie Murphy’s Salon, which moved from Grant Park to Summerhill last year. The latest announcement adds retail and more beauty and wellness to the neighborhood lineup, with the announcement of the second location of the Old Fourth Ward spa Aviary, and a chic gift shop and letterpress, the Press Shop, both expected to open in June. The development has also inked plans for a major grocery store, community bank, and a dentist, addressing more practical needs that may show Carter’s intent on serving the surrounding community—which includes longtime residents and the recent influx of GSU students—and not just building a destination.

Longtime residents of Summerhill—historically Black and once home to a large Jewish population—have been marred by development before, first from clearance for the interstate and “urban renewal,” then from the construction of two stadiums and a prairie of parking lots that saw the streets around them wither.

“From the beginning, it’s been the plan to get input from the neighbors,” says Jack Murphy, senior director at Carter.

The boutique-sized Aviary (and multi-time Best of Atlanta winner) is known for its personal, intimate atmosphere with its two treatment rooms and just a handful of salon chairs—the antithesis of the busy salon waiting room. Owner Amy Leavell Bransford says this is what has allowed her to carry on safely during the pandemic, and even prompted the opening of her second location, equally cozy in size. The treatment menu will be much the same as at the Old Fourth Ward location, with a few new services at the Summerhill location yet to be announced. The products Bransford carries are reason enough for a visit—like cult French skincare line Biologique Recherche and CBD-infused beauty goods from Lord Jones. Facials start at $165 and haircuts at $80, but Bransford aims to have lower priced pick-me-ups as well, including face creams in the $20 range and quick services like waxing and tinting.

“I want to keep the neighboring community and the GSU students in mind,” she says. Bransford is also looking to hire from within the community, and the exterior will include a custom mural to fit in with the neighborhood’s abundant display of art by Living Walls.

Between Aviary and the forthcoming bank, Ashley Buzzy McHugh is opening Press Shop, a gift store and letterpress that had been slated for its grand opening on Dekalb Avenue just before Covid hit. (McHugh had previously operated a weddings-based, appointment-only letterpress business out of the space.) Now, she’s relocated for the grand opening and expanded her concept to tropical plants, biodynamic wine, kids’ stuff, books, and other giftable items—and of course stationery, with her hulking antique presses (which she sweats over herself) doubling as working displays in the front windows. Many of her offerings are local; others are brands she’s discovered while living in different cities across the country with her husband, who plays professional baseball. McHugh, who is of Middle Eastern descent, says she aims for the shop to feel inclusive, gender-neutral, and quirky, stocked with anti-racism and feminist books, as well as wares by a diverse lineup of artists and brands.

Designer Jessica Davis creates a sophisticated but playful home in a Buckhead midcentury-modern

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Jessica Davis home
Jessica Davis is the founder of design studio Atelier Davis and hardware company Nest Studio. She shares a midcentury-modern home in Buckhead with her husband, Scott, their two children (Lucy, six, and Bryan, nine), and their poodle, Cheerio. The exterior is painted Benjamin Moore “Black Forest Green,” and the front doors bear a cheery peach and their original oversize round brass knobs—something the hardware enthusiast appreciated.

Photograph by Emily Followill

When interior designer Jessica Davis, founder of the groovy hardware line Nest Studio, was house-hunting in Atlanta in 2018, she knew she wanted a change from the grand, turreted Victorian where she and her family had been living in the New York City area.

“We had never lived in a midcentury-modern,” says Jessica, who grew up in Hong Kong and has lived all over the world. “And I’d always wanted to.”

Jessica Davis home
The red chairs from West Elm pick up red pops in the adjoining kitchen, and the light fixture was an Etsy find. The table, which Jessica originally got for free and recently repainted a pale green, is on its third house with the family. The colorful nude painting is by Jessica, who is also an artist.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
The central wood-burning fireplace is topped with smooth, knot-like sculptures by San Francisco woodworker Katie Gong.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
The lush backyard, which includes original stonework and a revamped pool, is an oasis for the family, with two acres for the children to roam.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Her husband, Scott, who works in management consulting, had landed a job in Atlanta, and it was he who found the circa-1960 L-shaped post-and-beam home online and took the first tour. The couple and their two children packed their bags sooner than expected and headed south.

The house, on a leafy two-acre hill in Buckhead, was an early project by architect Jerry Cooper, cofounder of the noted Atlanta firm Cooper Carry. But it was due for some updates, which the Davises embarked on thoughtfully, keeping the original footprint and repurposing materials. The former kitchen, which Jess describes as “very high-end for the ’80s,” got a full makeover with integrated appliances, Fireclay tile, Dekton countertops, and a pop of color in the cherry-red Smeg range.

Jessica Davis home
The kitchen was completely reconfigured, but the unusual, original, marbled magnolia wall paneling was salvaged and repurposed on a pantry of built-ins that feels at once vintage and modern. Pale green Fireclay tile adds subtle color while a cherry-red Smeg range brings a big pop.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
Jessica chose Dekton from Cosentino for the countertops. “I love the Dekton,” says Jessica. “It looks like soapstone, but it’s super–heat resistant. You can just put a pot down on it.” The hardware is the star, with knobs and pulls from Nest Studio’s Deco collection and custom-made knurled brass legs on the kitchen island.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
Atelier Davis and Nest Studios, with offices in New York and Atlanta, are based out of Jessica’s home, with shelving and desks from Ikea.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
The cozy corner, with vintage Milo Baughman chairs from Chairish, features a large-scale painting that Jessica started and her children finished with oil pastels.

Photograph by Emily Followill

The floors in the foyer and halls got an upgrade to swanky terrazzo, which Jessica describes as appropriate for the house’s era. It was a splurge compensated for by painting the subfloor in the master bedroom rather than topping it with another material.

Jessica Davis home
For a chic and easy budget makeover, Jessica pulled up the old carpet and painted the subfloor in charcoal Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. A vintage Moroccan rug “headboard” hangs on a CB2 drapery road, while the blue table lamps are Koncept. The nightstands are a prototype from the furniture line she’s developing with powder-coated tubular metal hardware. These were made by Atlanta woodworker Kendrick Anderson.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
Jessica’s parents had the same iconic Ny rocking chair by Japanese designer Takeshi Nii when she was a child.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
The bathroom off the office shines with Fireclay tile and Nest Studio’s “Geo” pulls.

Photograph by Emily Followill

The project is a study in sophisticated DIY: The crafty designer loves refreshing old or found pieces with paint and custom upgrades, like her stylish hardware (available at Matthew Quinn Collection), which stars throughout the house. Playful touches abound, like wallpaper fit for crayons, homemade bed forts for the kids, and even a secret passageway through false cabinetry.

Jessica Davis home
Lucy’s room features color-on wallpaper from custom digital printing company Spoonflower. “I love using Spoonflower,” says Jessica. “It’s a total rabbit hole.” Mother and daughter painted the DIY bed frame together.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
Jessica lofted the kids’ beds to create “forts” underneath. Bryan’s room also features wallpaper from Spoonflower. In lieu of a closet, he has bright blue lockers and a midcentury dresser.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home

A vintage hanging chair and dresser fit the midcentury vibe. Cork flooring in the kids’ rooms, Jessica says, is soft underfoot, period appropriate, and sustainable.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
One extra fanciful detail? A secret passageway through the false cabinetry between the sitting room and the children’s rooms.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Haute Hardware
For her hardware line, Nest Studio, designer Jessica Davis collaborates with sculptors and artists around the world—many of whom she finds on Instagram.

Jessica Davis home
Pulls from the Geo collection (from $40) available in several finishes, including powder-coated bright colors.

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
Pulls from the curvy Deco collection (from $50)

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
The Glaze collection (from $150) was created with New York ceramicist Jonathan Castro and comes in soft white, charcoal brown, and matte teal (shown here).

Photograph by Emily Followill

Jessica Davis home
The Organic collection (from $80) in blackened and polished brass.

Photograph by Emily Followill

RESOURCES | Interior design Jessica Davis, Atelier Davis, atelierdavis.com Builder Randy Guyton, Guyton Design Homes, 678-350-6097 Living room Sofa: Chairish, chairish.com. Chairs: Target, target.com. Rug: Etsy, etsy.com. Chair pillows: Virginia Kraft Textiles, virginiakraft.com. “Linna” daybed: Design Public, designpublic.com. Dining room Table: Vintage. Chairs: West Elm, westelm.com. Chandelier: Etsy. Floors: Terrazzco, terrazzco.com. Kitchen Countertops: Dekton, dekton.com. Skylights: Velux, veluxusa.com. Backsplash tile: Fireclay Tile, fireclaytile.com. Smeg range: AJ Madison, ajmadison.com. Sconces: Worley’s Lighting, worleyslighting.com. Den Poufs: Target. Cushion: Bjork Studio, bjorkstudio.com. Bolster fabric: Anthony George Home, anthonygeorgehome.com. Sconce: Humanhome, humanhome.co. Painting: Vintage through Maplewood Mercantile, maplewoodmercantile.com. Master bedroom Headboard hardware: CB2, cb2.com. Nightstands: Atelier Davis, atelierdavis.com. Lamps: Z-Bar by Koncept, koncept.com. NY chair and tortoise lamp: West Elm. Mirror: Dunes and Duchess, dunesandduchess.com. Wall brackets: Vintage through Maplewood Mercantile. Rug: Amazon, amazon.com. Office Desks: Ikea, ikea.com. Shelves: Ikea. Lucy’s room Bed: Wayfair, wayfair.com. Rug: CB2. Swing: Etsy. Shelf: Ikea. Curtains: Ikea. Wallpaper: Spoonflower, spoonflower.com. Bryan’s room Bed: Wayfair. Locker: Schools In, schoolsin.com. Wallpaper: Spoonflower. Guest bath Tile: Fireclay Tile. Hardware: Nest Studio, neststudiocollection.com. Counter: Dekton. Plumbing: Build with Ferguson, build.com. Kids’ hall Shelving: Ikea. Bookshelf: Amazon.

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

Porch 959’s Jared Foster mixes a musical career and artisan carpentry

Porch 959
Jared Foster

Photograph by Patrick Heagney

Dallas native and singer/songwriter Jared Foster landed in Atlanta in 2014 while collaborating with Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae on his Grammy-nominated song, “All I Need Is You.” Carpentry was just a side gig he picked up to support himself while he launched his solo act—something he’d tinkered with as a child with his stepfather, then honed working on the line for Vought Aircraft, doing precision work with titanium and platinum. “My stepdad always said to experiment,” says Foster. “He’d say, ‘If you mess it up, it’s just wood.’” So, Foster bought a new jigsaw, borrowed a corded drill from his then girlfriend (now wife), and wrote songs while he crafted furniture. He posted his work on social media, and requests for custom pieces—often from others in the recording industry—started pouring in. (He’s since invested in better equipment.)

Then, he built his wife a daybed swing for the wraparound porch at their home in West End, where they live with their one-year-old son. “Next thing I knew, everyone in West End wanted one.” It became such a specialty of his that he changed the name of his business from Foster Carpentry to Porch 959 for their address, where he started his work. Now, he has a workshop and studio in Southwest Atlanta, but, during the coronavirus pandemic, he’s found himself sawing and drilling back on the porch where it all began, taking orders for tables, headboards, and, yes, the swings, as well as countertops and shelves. He likes working with white oak, ash, and anything interesting he comes across at lumber yards and shops like Carlton’s Rare Woods & Veneers in Midtown—such as the zebrawood he wants to craft into a coffee table for a rap artist.

Porch 959
Foster created a daybed swing for his wife and installed it on their West End porch. Requests flooded in from neighbors.

Photograph by Gregg Willett

Foster’s music career has dovetailed with his carpentry business, and although concerts are on hold, he recently released an EP, Making Love, under his name JPaulSings.

He’s also been collaborating with other musical artists, including Q Parker from Atlanta- based, Grammy-winning R&B group 112—not for music, this time, but for a furniture line. One can imagine that the sounds coming from that workshop are more melodious than the grinding of a saw. (They’ve been talking about music videos and already have been approached about a reality show.)

Another collaboration Foster is working on is finding a Black-owned metalworking business to partner with. “Growing up, I didn’t see many Black-owned carpentry businesses,” he says. “So, that’s important to me.”

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

This punk rock–meets–wabi-sabi Reynoldstown townhouse has got game

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“There’s so much great street art in the neighborhood, and we wanted to bring that into the house,” says homeowner Niko Rigney. Paintings by local muralist BlackCatTips punctuate the wall, featuring a half-line of Farrow & Ball “Railings” to bring down the scale of the large living room. The rug is by Annie Selke, and the designers found the chrome chairs at Decades Antiques and Vintage.

Photograph by Rustic White

Niko Rigney and Jon Boykin knew they wanted to marry their affinities for Japanese wabi-sabi, Scandinavian design, street art, punk rock, and gaming (both the video and board varieties) in their new three-story townhouse in Reynoldstown. But pulling it off in an elevated fashion was a different matter.

Niko Rigney and Jon Boykin’s three-story Reynoldstown townhouse by architect Christopher Leerssen stands out with its cheery red trim.

Photograph by Rustic White

A second-floor balcony provides a favorite spot to dine and relax. The wood table is by local craftsman Ryan Hancock of Hancock Fine Furniture. The blue metal table is Kettal from Paul+.

Photograph by Rustic White

They first got stuck selecting tile—and realized they needed help. Research online led them to Lake Claire–based Kate Hayes Design and designers Kate Hayes and Krista Sharif. But at their first consultation, the couple hired the team on the spot for the entire house, top to bottom.

“We thought it was going to be a quick consult,” says Kate. “But we really hit it off.”

Designers Krista Sharif, left, and Kate Hayes of Kate Hayes Design in the graphic living room, beneath the dramatic string light by Seletti

Photograph by Rustic White

The kitchen exudes a serene sensibility in contrast to the wild color throughout the house. Pendants from Roll & Hill resemble lanterns, and a soft blue–glazed tile from Clé Tile plays well with marble and warm woods.

Photograph by Rustic White

The couple wanted to combine their love of Japanese and Scandinavian styles and create an energetic vibe with a relaxed, nature-inspired feel. Here, a live-edge table from Room & Board and a paper lantern by Hayon Studio ground the room, while a large-scale painting by local artist Sarah Emerson from Whitespace Gallery animates it. “One thing that drew us to Kate and Krista was their ability to go in a lot of directions and bring different aesthetics together,” says Jon.

Photograph by Rustic White

They landed on a gradient from the first floor to the top, with the first floor (home to the game room and music studio, where both Niko and Jon play punk and metal) getting the wildest, rawest treatment and then a progressively more reserved vibe moving up the floors to the colorful but grounded bedroom and serene, spa-like bath.

The office (which has gotten more use than expected this year) is driven by a geometric, multicolor paint pattern. Lamp is from Decades Antiques and Vintage, and accessories were picked up on Chairish.

Photograph by Rustic White

The irreverent downstairs “game room” is all about fun and sets the tone for an adjacent music studio, where the couple plays punk and metal. The purple vintage console is from Coming Soon New York, complemented by rocking lounge seats from Softline. The coffee table and palm tree lamp are from CB2.

Photograph by Rustic White

Cool and warm tones balance the master bedroom, anchored by the blue velvet headboard designed by Kate and Krista and fabricated by Embry Hills Upholstery. The string light from Flos mimics the larger one in the living room and takes advantage of the cathedral-style ceilings. The rug is by Brooklyn-based Pieces Home, and the art is by Amy Pleasant via Whitespace Gallery.

Photograph by Rustic White

Jon, a marketing and tech executive, and Niko, a neuroscience PhD student, were drawn to the designers’ ability to pull all of their interests together in a sophisticated way—and ultimately gave them free rein to experiment. “We really got to ‘go there,’” says Kate. “That freedom is rare.”

A splashy powder room features Pierre Frey “Leo Noir” wallpaper from ADAC’s Jim Thompson and an undersized sink designed by Kate and Krista.

Photograph by Rustic White

Tiny but mighty

“There’s no point in trying to make a small bathroom look big,” says designer Kate Hayes. “But you do have an opportunity to go wild with it.” Here are some tricks Hayes and Krista Sharif of Kate Hayes Design used in Niko Rigney and Jon Boykin’s Reynoldstown townhouse.

Create a jewel box.
Layer in the color and pattern. Try picking up the wildest hue in your house palette and expanding it in your bathroom. “Maybe it’s a color you wouldn’t do in your kitchen,” says Kate, “but it would be really dramatic in a powder room.” Don’t balk from statement tile—but if you are feeling timid, you can use it in small spaces for an accent, like a shower stripe or a backsplash. Kate and Krista find themselves often turning to Clé Tile, Fireclay Tile, and Specialty Tile on Miami Circle. “Wallpaper—always” in a powder room, though it’s not a good idea in full baths that are frequently used because of the humidity and moisture.

The electric yellow downstairs guest bathroom adds a dose of David Bowie. “It makes you feel like you’re glowing,” says Kate. The vanity is from Ikea, and the mirror is CB2. Fun accessories—like the submarine soap pump from Seletti—add flair

Photograph by Rustic White

Light it right.
If it’s not your master bath where you’re putting on makeup and staring at your pores, you want soft, warm light. “Take out your daylight bulbs or you’ll want to cry every time you walk in the bathroom,” says Kate. Put everything on dimmers and opt for 2700K LED bulbs—or even multiple 40 watts. Don’t be afraid to branch out of the bath section when it comes to fixtures for something a little bit more chic.

Know where to stay simple.
Kate and Krista love wild walls but clean and simple plumbing fixtures. “You don’t want to do anything too much of a statement with plumbing because it’s hard to change out,” says Kate. They’re currently feeling polished nickel and unlacquered brass finishes. The Kohler Purist line is a go-to favorite, but you’ll also see them installing Newport Brass, Rohl, and Kallista.

The homeowners use both upstairs bathrooms as masters, sort of a his-and-hers setup, with Jon preferring this space with the marble shower. This energizing mosaic from Bisazza via Specialty Tile is both sophisticated and cool, with the pixelated look giving a nod to the couple’s love of gaming.

Photograph by Rustic White

Add some jewelry.
The place you can really go crazy is cool accessories. “We really think of them as conversation starters for guests,” says Krista, who picked up the blue submarine soap dispenser in the “David Bowie” bath from Seletti. Waste bins are another place to add whimsy. “There’s a way to elevate designs with small, inexpensive items.” The pair often turns to European sources like the Danish Design Store for little things that are a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Nail the scale.
“We love a petite mirror in small bathrooms,” says Kate. They leave more wall space—either for that wallpaper to shine or for an airier vibe. “And for mirrors, we love to go vintage.”

One of the couple’s starting points for the project was a Japanese-style teak soaking tub from Zen Bathworks, which they opted for instead of a shower in a “second master bath.” Kate and Krista leaned into the vibe, with a neutral ribbed tile from Walker Zanger on the walls and a bamboo sconce by Forestier.

Photograph by Rustic White

Resources | Game room Console: vintage, Coming Soon, comingsoonnewyork.com. Palm lamp: CB2, cb2.com. Sofa: Urban Outfitters, urbanoutfitters.com. Rocking lounge seats: Softline, softline.dk. Coffee table: CB2. Rug: Terry Frost for Christopher Farr, christopherfarr.com. Neon lights: The Neon Company, 858 Dekalb Avenue, theneoncompany.com. Downstairs bath Vanity: Ikea, ikea.us. Tile: Clé Tile, cletile.com. Sconce: Schoolhouse, schoolhouse.com. Mirror: CB2. Living room Sofa: Interior Define, interiordefine.com. Coffee table: Arteriors, arteriorshome.com. Chrome chairs: Decades Antiques and Vintage, 1886 Cheshire Bridge Road, @decadesantiquesandvintage. Media console: Blu Dot, bludot.com. Rug: Annie Selke, annieselke.com. Light: Seletti, seletti.us. Side table by sofa: Ligne Roset, 275 Buckhead Avenue, ligneroset.com. Side table between chairs: CB2. Ottomans: Blu Dot. Kitchen Tile: Clé Tile. Sconces: Tom Dixon, tomdixon.net. Pendants: Roll & Hill, rollandhill.com. Stools: Muuto, Muuto.com. Hardware: Buster + Punch, busterandpunch.us. Custom hood: Ryan Hancock, Hancock Fine Furniture, hancockfinefurniture.com. Dining room Pendant: Jaime Hayon, hayonstudio.com. Table: Room & Board, Westside Provisions District, roomandboard.com. Dining Chairs: Design Within Reach, Westside Provisions District, dwr.com. Dining sideboard: Hancock Fine Furniture. Mirror: Concrete Cat, concretecat.com. Bird sconce: Mooi via Switch Modern, 670 14th Street, switchmodern.com. Large art: Sarah Emerson via Whitespace Gallery, 814 Edgewood Avenue, whitespace814.com. Master bedroom Custom headboard: Design by Kate Hayes Design via Embry Hills Upholstery, 3983 Lavista Road, 770-938-4682. Hanging light: Flos, flos.com. Swing-arm light: Andrew Neyer, andrewneyer.com. Side tables: CB2. Rug: Pieces Home, pieceshome.com. Chair: Bolia, bolia.com. Sconce: Cedar and Moss, cedarandmoss.com. Roman shade: Schumacher “Queen of Spain,” ADAC, fschumacher.com. Art: Amy Pleasant via Whitespace Gallery. Master bath Tile: Bisazza via Specialty Tile, the Shops of Miami Circle, specialtytile.com. Mirrors: Menu, menudesignshop.com. Lights: Sonneman Lighting, ylighting.com. Office Rug: Aelfie, aelfie.com. Light: Chairish, chairish.com. Lamp: Etsy, etsy.com. Guest bath Sconce: Forestier, ylighting.com. Mirror: Rejuvenation, rejuvenation.com. Pendant: Normann Copenhagen, normann-copenhagen.com. Ribbed wall tile: Walker Zanger, the Shops of Miami Circle, walkerzanger.com.

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

11 stylish Atlanta gifts for 2020

2020 Atlanta gift guideWe scoured local shops for totes fit for outdoor hangs, plush home goods (including a corkscrew), and a bit of bling to brighten the holidays.

Above: Clare V. tote, $555, River Mint Finery, Peachtree Battle Shopping Center

Baggu tote, $15, Citizen Supply, Ponce City Market

Candles, $36 for six, State the Label, 585 Barber Street, Athens

Mirage corkscrew, $12, State the Label

Red Flower aromatherapeutic body oil, $40, Fig & Flower, 636 North Highland Avenue

Blabla rainbow pillow, Seed Factory, $68, Westside Provisions District

Fruition Hat Co. wool fedora, $100, Met Atlanta

EtúHome chopping board, $175, Shops Around Lenox

Gilded Body Kit with marbled brush, body polish, and balm, $125

Weezie towel starter pack, $272

1920s-era vintage diamond ring, $1,480, River Mint Finery

This article appears in our December 2020 issue.

This Atlanta company can help you throw a picture-perfect picnic

Gather picnicWhen married couple Emily and Drew Hecht dreamed up their entertaining company late last year, they had no idea that small outdoor gatherings would be all but the rule for seeing friends in 2020. The pair of Atlanta natives moved back to the city from L.A. just as the pandemic began and launched Gather Picnic Company in the dog days of summer, setting up highly styled picnic settings for small groups and mini-parties. Turns out the timing was just right, as friends were hungry for new experiences and creative ways to safely spend time together.

Here’s how it works: Pick your outdoor location (it can be a public park or just your backyard), and choose from Gather’s travel-inspired themes for staycation vibes—the boho chic of Venice, California; the blues and whites of Milos, Greece; and, coming soon, the Southwestern cool of Santa Fe. Arrive at the designated time and find party-ready linens, cutlery, glassware, and florals decking the tables, along with Bluetooth speakers, umbrellas for shade, and blankets to cozy up in. (Tables and pillows can be arranged for safe distancing.) Food is not included in the setup, but Gather partners with Graze Atlanta for charcuterie boards and can help source and orchestrate other deliveries.

Gather picnicThe Hechts had baby showers and birthday celebrations in mind when they developed Gather, but it works just as well for a fancy dinner date en plein air. From $350, gatherpicnicco.com

This article appears in our November 2020 issue.

How to find calm in a year of chaos

This year has not been easy. Our routines and support structures have been upended. Fear and anxiety are up—so too are addiction and depression. We dread the headlines. But if there’s one thing we learned from putting together this package, it’s that no matter what you’re feeling right now, you’re not alone. Said one Emory University psychologist we spoke with, “Nobody is getting a 100 in this particular course.” It’s important to go easy on yourself. First, the basics: Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise. But in a deeper dive, we rounded up questions from readers and posed them to therapists, counselors, and psychologists for their advice; we bet you can relate to at least one of them. We like to consider this package akin to a free counseling session, and although these articles are not a substitute for one-on-one therapy, we hope it’s a start. We also tracked down advice on the best ways to combat your stress in a hurry, from journaling to brewing tea, and we’ve even included a coloring page as a mindfulness exercise. And to lift up your spirits? Big pictures of a sigh-inducing puppy.


What questions do you want to ask a therapist?Ask a Therapist

A few months ago, we rounded up questions from readers and posed them to therapists, counselors, and psychologists for their advice. We bet you can relate to at least one of them. > Keep reading


How to reset your stress

When your cortisol rises, here are six self-soothing strategies from the experts to punch it back down in just a few minutes. > Keep reading


Five spots to find solace in the great outdoors
The grounds at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit

Five spots to find solace in the great outdoors

A quiet sense of calm and contemplation pervades the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers. Though the impressive abbey and museum are temporarily closed to the public due to Covid-19, its 2,300-acre grounds and gardens adjacent to Arabia Mountain are open for meditative walks for people of all faiths—or no faith. Settle on a bench overlooking the quiet lake for a moment of soulful reflection. > Learn about the other spots


Puppies!Puppies, please!

Here’s your cue: blood pressure, down. Even if you’re not in a position to get a pet, we thought this photo of Diego, an eight-week-old Beagle mix from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, might give you one big de-stressing sigh. Research has proven that pets, especially dogs and cats, can physically calm us, provide comfort and routine, ease loneliness (a side-effect of social isolation), and promote activity. There are dozens of shelters in Atlanta, many of which have seen record adoptions this year. By press time, Diego had been adopted, but HSNEGA was expecting two more litters of puppies just around this issue’s release date.

Puppies!


Journaling as a self-care practiceJournaling as a Self-Care Practice

Scientific studies have proven that journaling helps manage anxiety and stress. For starters, the physical process of recording your thoughts helps you stay present and evokes mindfulness.

Journaling also helps you organize tasks and challenges that can otherwise feel overwhelming. The simple act of writing down your thoughts makes them tangible and less abstract. Then, you can prioritize and tackle issues or emotions one by one. > Keep reading


Coloring pageColor me calm

Yes, there have been studies. Coloring in a line drawing (versus free drawing or, say, reading) can reduce anxiety and increase mindfulness. No, it’s not exactly art therapy, and you definitely don’t have to be an artist, but you can grab some colored pencils and give it a shot with our drawing by local illustrator Brian Paul Nelson. Another source? You can buy a coloring book by Atlanta artists from ColorATL, which hosts free virtual art workshops and has donated coloring books to health and community organizations across the city. You can also print pages straight from their site. You can print our coloring page here—and enter our coloring contest before November 30 for a chance to win some cool prizes.


TIPP therapyHow a rush of cold temps cools my nerves

The one skill that has served me best—which I’ve shared with friends as they’ve worried about home-schooling, masks, porous surfaces, and the like—is part of a practice called “TIPP,” which stands for “temperature, intense exercise, paced breathing, and paired muscle relaxation.” The “temperature” part is what really sticks with me. > Keep reading

These articles appear in our November 2020 issue.

How to reset your stress: 6 strategies from Atlanta experts

How to reduce stressTake a mineral bath.
“An Epsom salt bath is my favorite way to destress,” says Kristin Oja, a nurse practitioner and founder of the Westside’s STAT Wellness. Add one cup of Epsom salt to a hot tub, and soak for 20 minutes. The magnesium in Epsom salt is thought to relieve muscle pain and even tension headaches as your body absorbs it, according to the Cleveland Clinic. “Dim the lights or turn them off and just light a candle,” says Oja. Trouble finding 20 minutes? “Put it on your calendar just like you would any other meeting,” Oja says.

Grow aromatherapeutic herbs and flowers—then use them to make tea.
Studies have shown that a cup of tea can reduce cortisol levels by more than 50 percent in less than an hour. Meanwhile, the aromatherapeutic properties of some herbs impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Plus, just the ritual of making tea can be soothing. Try this tip from Brandi Shelton, founder of local tea company Just Add Honey.

▸ Start with peppermint. It’s easy to grow—even indoors in the winter by a sunny window.

▸ Boil 8 ounces of water. Remove from heat.

▸ Pick around 15 mint leaves. To get the oils flowing, crush them a bit in your hands first for an aromatherapeutic pick-me-up. Add to the pot (with holy basil sprigs and dried rose petals if you’re feeling fancy) and steep for 5 to 7 minutes. Strain leaves and add local honey (Shelton likes Honey Next Door).

Come spring, plant a pot of lavender outside in the sun and give that a try using the same method with the buds. Want to skip the plants and get right to the tea? Grab an ounce of the many looseleaf teas from Just Add Honey.

Breathe.
“It’s the oldest and most widely known trick,” says Jeffrey Jaeger, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, “but that’s probably because it’s one of the best.” When acutely stressed, you start breathing faster and shallower, creating a version of hyperventilation.

Visualize a square in front of you. Imagine your in-breath going up one of the sides, and as you move across the top of the square, hold it for a few seconds. Then, do the out-breath going down the other side, and then hold for a few seconds on bottom side of the square. “Some people like to pair a soothing word with the breath as well,” says Jaeger. “For example, you could say ‘calm’—either out loud or in your head—with the out-breath. It becomes a little bit of a mantra.”

Meditate with your coffee.
If you say you don’t have time to meditate, but never miss your morning coffee, Meryl Arnett of the podcast The Mindful Minute has something for you. Finding focus has long been shown to quiet thoughts and reduce stress.

▸ Before anyone else is awake, pour your coffee. Take a comfortable seat, holding the mug in both hands. Sit tall; roll your shoulders back.

▸ Breathe in deeply through the nose, then open your mouth and release a sigh. Let it go.

▸ Send a soft gaze toward your mug. Notice the color. The shape. The texture. Notice the warmth move up your forearm, until you can’t tell where the warmth starts or stops.

▸ Breathe in deeply, and notice the smell.

▸ Let your ears open up, and notice the sounds. Slowly bring your mug up, and take one sip. Pause for a moment, holding it in your mouth. As you swallow, follow the taste and warmth as far into the body as you can.

Let this morning ritual wake up your senses. Go into your day with mindful awareness, easy breath, and an open heart.

Stretch.
Oja has a few tips for simple poses that can relieve muscle tension and improve your mood.

1. Lie down on the floor facing a wall, and scoot your bottom all the way to the wall, with your legs straight up in the air against the wall. Breathe deeply.

2. Get on all fours and arch and curl your back in the “cat/cow” stretch, filling up your lungs as you arch, and exhaling as you curl.

3. While sitting or standing, lift your arms above your head, with your palms facing up. Stretch to make your body as long as possible and envision pushing away the stress.

Move your feet.
Nearly every expert we spoke with suggested taking a spin around the block, whether a heart-pumping jog or a mind-clearing stroll. “I prefer to meditate in motion,” says Oja. “That’s more relaxing for me than sitting still.” Noticing sights and sounds can help you remember there is a world beyond your head.

Quick bursts of intense exercise—even just two minutes—can help your body come back to baseline. Try jumping jacks, jumping rope, running in place for 30 seconds—anything to elevate your heart rate just a little bit. Your body knows how to recover from exercise, and it will have the effect of cooling down its elevated state of anxiety too.

Back to “How to Find Calm in a Year of Chaos”

This article appears in our November 2020 issue.

Atlanta-based O. Studio wants to design a new daily outfit for everyone

O StudiosUniversal, comfortable, high-tech, versatile. If ever there were a time for El Lewis’s new line of knits, built around wear-anytime (or all-the-time), uniform-style dressing, it’s now. The Decatur native and UGA grad launched O. Studio last fall after years in New York working as a stylist for the likes of Alexander Wang and Barneys. O. (a symbol for coming together) first released two gender-neutral knit sweaters in four colors custom created with Pantone. Easy and minimalist, they’re meant to be incorporated into your outfit every day, for everything from a Zoom meeting to a workout. Lewis plans to expand to a 15-piece wardrobe system of staples—a concept he believes equalizes and democratizes fashion.

“The idea was to create clothing that would unify people,” says Lewis, who was recently dubbed “one to watch” by fashion bible Women’s Wear Daily.

O Studios
El Lewis

Photograph courtesy of O Studios

Inspired by sci-fi and athleticism, Lewis, who trained as a gymnast, says the fusion of technology and clothing should let your body move and perform at its best. His sweaters were developed on a computer, woven from durable synthetic threads via a code programmed into a knitting machine. Samples are digitally rendered, and he’s experimenting with 3-D printing. “I saw how elitist and wasteful fashion could be, and it was not inspiring to me anymore,” says Lewis. “We want to always come back to the ideas of unity, innovation, and performance.” O. will launch face masks this fall and new colors for knits this spring. $100–$120

This article appears in our October 2020 issue.

Farewell, Jeffrey: A look back at Atlanta’s most iconic boutique

Jeffrey closingLong before Atlanta was home to Dior or Tom Ford, there was Jeffrey. Perhaps no clothing store has had more of an impact on Atlanta than the luxury boutique founded by Jeffrey Kalinsky 30 years ago, which put Atlanta on the fashion map and introduced designer lines like Manolo Blahnik, Prada, and Dries Van Noten to the city. This year, it closed its doors permanently amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kalinsky grew up ingrained in fashion, helping his father at his Charleston boutique, Bob Ellis Shoes, which closed in 2016 after 66 years in business. Before Jeffrey, well-heeled Atlanta women would drive the five hours to Charleston for posh lines and a perfect fit.
“I didn’t understand at the time why Atlanta didn’t have more in the way of a shoe store,” says Kalinsky. “Atlanta then had Saks and Neiman’s, but”—he says frankly—“their offerings were like a C-plus.”

As a 27-year-old working in New York as the women’s shoe buyer for Barneys, Kalinsky decided to open his own shop. “It was going to be way too expensive to do it in New York,” he says, although he would open a store there years later. “My father wanted me to open in Charlotte. But I knew Atlanta. And I was aware at the time that I was gay, and I wanted to be in a city where I would feel comfortable.”

In 1990, he opened his eponymous store at Phipps Plaza as “the perfect shoe store,” with relatively accessible lines like Stuart Weitzman, luxury labels like Ferragamo, and lesser-known designers like Robert Clergerie and Stéphane Kelian. “It was immediately successful,” says Kalinsky. “It was crazy. It feels like that was the happiest time in my life.” A few years later, he introduced women’s ready-to-wear, bringing in high-fashion labels like Ann Demeulemeester and Marni and, in more recent years, menswear. He proved luxury could thrive in Atlanta and paved the way for other retailers.

Jeffrey was known for stellar, old-school service with personalized attention. “Helping customers was where I got my oxygen,” he says. He revels in the joy of outfitting women for their most special occasions.

Lila Hertz met Kalinsky in his store in the early ’90s. “His favorite thing to do was help customers,” Hertz says. “We became incredibly close.” For Kalinsky, dressing others is an art form. “He has an uncanny eye,” says Hertz.

In 1999, Kalinsky opened Jeffrey New York—the first fashion business in the Meatpacking District, which was then a gritty stretch of slaughterhouses and sex clubs. “It’s what I could afford,” says Kalinsky. But glamorous marquees from Hermès to Apple, the Whitney Museum of Art, and the tourist-slammed High Line followed. Jeffrey became such a symbol of high fashion that the store was immortalized in recurring roasts on Saturday Night Live starring Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell (“This is Jeffrey’s—even our labels have labels,” mocked a kimono-clad Fallon in 2001).

But Jeffrey was about more than clothes. Its annual fashion fundraiser, Jeffrey Fashion Cares, not only became the stylish, star-studded society event of the season but also one of the largest contributors to the Atlanta AIDS Fund and Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta. Combined with Jeffrey Fashion Cares New York, launched in 2002 to benefit LGBTQ+ causes, the events brought in more than $14 million over 26 years. “In 1993, AIDS was very much on a rampage,” says Kalinsky. “There wasn’t a large community-based fundraiser for AIDS at the time. I just thought, as a gay man, this would be a great thing to do.”

Hertz, a breast cancer survivor, cochaired Fashion Cares for nearly 20 years. “It’s remarkable what it turned into,” she says. “We raised so much money for two grassroots organizations that really changed lives.”

In 2005, Nordstrom took a majority ownership of Jeffrey and brought Kalinsky on as director of designer merchandising and eventually as executive VP. Soon after announcing it would close 16 of its department stores across the country due to the pandemic, Nordstrom revealed it would shutter all three Jeffrey boutiques—in Atlanta, New York, and Palo Alto—and that Kalinsky would retire.

“I was heartsick,” says Hertz.

But Kalinsky has no plans to retire from fashion altogether, and he knows what he wants to do next. “I’m not a designer, but I want to create the product for a brand and work on the strategy,” he says. “So, what’s that, creative director? I really understand what people want, what product is sellable; I feel like I understand image; I feel like I would be a good strategist.”

For now, Jeffrey Fashion Cares is in a “pause moment,” although Hertz says the organizers are discussing options for a new fundraising fashion show for its longstanding beneficiaries. Says Kalinsky: “I don’t know if there will ever be another Jeffrey Fashion Cares, but if I were ever in a position again to raise money creatively for HIV, breast cancer, and human rights, I would never ignore that opportunity.”

This article appears in our October 2020 issue.

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