Friday, June 22, 2012

The 2012 HGTV Green Home

Serenbe is a small community just south of Atlanta, about 35 miles.  Don't worry if you've never heard of it, I hadn't either until HGTV told my team at work that they were building their 2012 Green Home there.  Still I didn't do any research, I just thought it was a town like Dunwoody or Grant Park.  I had no idea how special, fabulous, peaceful, lovely, charming, I could go on, it was.  I think it's one of the best kept secrets out there.  I'm sure more people know about it now that HGTV has put it on the map, but I hope it keeps it's charm.  This is going to be a long post, so this post I'll focus on the Green Home and my next one will be about Serenbe, my new obsession.

I was invited to visit the HGTV Green Home with my rep from the network and then enjoy some time around town and have an early dinner before the trip back to Atlanta.  I accepted because I was so excited to see the home, little did I know that it would be only a small part of my trip, and to be honest, not even the best part!

When we pulled into Serenbe, which you'll miss if you're not actually looking for it, we first saw the brand spankin new General Store.  We had a few minutes to kill so we ran in to check it out.  I was immediately impressed with the store, the staff and all the goodies they had to offer.

After purchasing a few small items, King of Pops is there, yes!, we headed across the street to the Green Home to start out private tour.  Tours were open to the public (through this weekend) by appointment.  Next week the winner of the house will be announced and the family gets to move into their new home, or turn around and sell it - I'll be waiting.

I'll admit, that from the street the house doesn't impress me.  I'm one for a big, wrap around porch with fans and big chairs for drinking wine and watching the neighbors walk on by.  At this point, the house felt too modern for me.  When you walk in the front door you're in a small little entry way where there is a large closet and three rooms that HGTV left unfinished so the new owners have room to grow.  To get to the rest of the house you head up gorgeous stairs and you're brought right into the kitchen, from the view below.

The last of the three pictures above is the opposite view of the first one.  The dining room table under the white lamps is all reclaimed pallets.  The floors are all re-purposed too, and the counter is the coolest.  Here is a close up view:

The counters are concrete mixed with shells from the GA coast and pieces of recycled beer bottles from Georgia Brewery, SweetWater (where we are having our wedding reception!).  The house has so many surprise like the counters, it was the small details that made the house so special.  The entire house is about 2000 sq ft, but feels twice that size because of the enormous ceilings and the windows, tons and tons of windows.

On the other side of the table is the living room pictured above.  There isn't a TV in this room, that's saved for two other rooms in the house.  The entire kitchen, dining and living space felt giant, when it really wasn't that big.  Through the sliding glass doors in the above pictures is this patio below.

Again, it's the small details that make the house so great.  If you look at the two pictures above you can see how big the space can feel because of the huge windows, the outside is so much a part of this house.

From the living room we went to the master bedroom which was much smaller than the one we have at home, but felt so big, again because of the high ceilings, windows and paint from walls to ceiling.  Click here to go to the HGTV tour.

The headboard was handmade and there is a tutorial on the HGTV website if you're interested in making your own.  If you look through the window in the picture you'll see the middle patio and then into the Georgia room.  the Master bath is floor to ceiling tile.  I took the picture from the water closet side of the bathroom, picture of toilets aren't interesting, a I'm looking into the center area with the double vanity in to the dual headed shower.  Each side could be programmed to your personal preferences with a key pad outside the shower area.  It is big enough for at least 8 people.

The middle patio is really the center of the mail level of the house with the kitchen to one side, the Georgia room on the other and the Master to the third side.  The forth side of the patio is the grill for outdoor entertaining.

This is the view if you're coming from the master bedroom which is to the left, the Georgia room to the right. Here is the view from the grill.

Instead of having the grill on the other side of the wall, they moved to to the far side so the grill master can see into 3 rooms of the house and still face the guests who are mingling around the kitchen (by the lamp in the background of the picture or under the umbrella at the table.

The Georgia room had one of my favorite features, the drill lamp!  How great is that?

The final room on the main floor is the media room below, well that's what I called it.  Again, walls and ceiling were painted the same color making the room feel much larger than it really was.  The sofa opens to a sleeper and the coffee table rolls under the long metal table by the window.

You'll also notice a window to the left in the picture above, this is an indoor window, you can see the view below.

From the media room and through the set of indoor windows you look through the main staircase, into the kitchen and out to the back patio where the sofa and chairs are with the "&" pillow.  This creates what the designer called borrowed light.  There is only one small light in the media room, but it has the large window to one side and then the borrowed light from the kitchen and staircase on the other.  Brilliant!  The kitchen also benefits from the light from the media room.

Up another flight of stairs and you come to four more rooms of the house, the main laundry room (there was a small stackable washer and dryer on the main floor off the kitchen in a mud room area), a "do" room with a long built-in desk perfect for homework or a craft table, a guest room and the kid's room.

Check out the kid's room!  It's not a large room, like all the other rooms, but it's full of windows and it uses the height of the room for additional space.  I love the loft area.  I really hope the family who wins the house has kids or grand-kids who can use this room to it's full potential.

The community is built to be just that, community.  Neighbors should get to know their neighbors.  You can see from this front porch that you can see quite a few other homes, some still under construction and an empty lot just waiting for a buyer.  More on that in the next post on Serenbe.

So there you have it, the 2012 Green Home.  I didn't take pictures of every single room, and some rooms didn't translate well to a two dimensional photograph.  The HGTV page has a virtual tour of the home which will do the house much more justice.  One last note I want to make is on the art in the house.  Most of it was from local artists or photographers in the area, keeping everything Georgia focused.  I noticed this wall art in the main laundry room - how simple and easy.  You'll also notice that one wall of the room is reflective tile so  the space has a lot of light with very little power.

Over 35 million people registered to win the 2012 Green Home, I can't wait to see who wins.  I hope they like stairs and getting to know your neighbors.  Serenbe looks like an amazing place to live if your lifestyle can mold to fit to the community, because it is a special place.

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