Monday, February 20, 2012

Our Second Serenbe Visit Continued

The Hil Restaurant at Serenbe (from Wikipedia)

After we took pictures of the Green Home on Saturday, my husband and I went on to Selborne Lane and Serenbe's business district to have lunch at The Hil, one of Serenbe's three restaurants.  The first time we visited we had an excellent casual lunch at the Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop, so we decided to try something a little more elegant on our second visit.  We were not disappointed!  Chef Hilary White focuses on creating meals with fresh farm products raised at Serenbe.  Brunch is served on both Saturday and Sunday, so eggs were prominently featured on the menu when we were there.  I had their chicken salad melt with fried egg and a baby greens salad while my husband had a smoked salmon, pimiento cheese, and egg sandwich with the salad as well.  Both were delicious and we enthusiastically recommend this restaurant to anyone who visits Serenbe.  Just remember that the restaurants here have limited hours, so make sure you check the Serenbe Events Calendar before heading there for a meal.

After lunch we did a little shopping.  We revisited The Bilt-House and me... jane, and then went on to check out Serenbe's newest store called Twig.  It is a captivating little shop filled with mostly nature-inspired objects for the home.  Thomas Paul creations are featured at Twig, as are fragrant scented candles.  I found a cute Fishs Eddy blue cow creamer to add to my collection of animal-inspired creamers,

as well as a beautiful silver necklace from Roost:

Some of the shops at Serenbe may also have limited hours (check the events calendar link above), so if you want to shop there plan accordingly.

The owner of Twig is a relatively new resident of the community, and he had lots of interesting information to share.  He told us that construction of a planned Grange shopping area will soon start near the area where the Green Home is located, and a barbecue restaurant is scheduled for completion by the end of the year (my St. Louis-born hubby was happy to hear that!).  So far the site for this business district has been marked but not cleared, so when we return for the Green Home guided tours we may see more progress on this.

The proprietor of Twig also mentioned that the German company Bosch (probably best known to most people for their super-quiet dishwashers) is building two model homes in the Grange not far from the Green Home which will feature their solar and geothermal energy products.  Take another look at the upper left corner of this picture I posted yesterday:

That construction you see in the background includes the foundations and initial framing for these Bosch houses.  This information has not been officially released yet, so we are now some of the first outside of the Serenbe community to know about it!  I expect that by the time the Green Home guided tours start there will be a lot more progress on these houses, and I can't wait to see them.  I am not very familiar with geothermal energy but it sounds intriguing and I would like to learn more.

If you are a true foodie, you might be interested in the Serenbe Southern Chef Series hosted by Serenbe co-founder Marie Nygren (the brochure calls it "A sleepover for Southern foodies"!).  The series started in January and will continue through the year.  The next featured chef is Kevin Gillespie, who was a contestant on "Top Chef".  Hugh Acheson, chef and co-owner of the popular Five & Ten restaurant in our very own Athens, Georgia, and a contestant on "Top Chef Masters", is the featured chef in May, which should be about the time the HGTV Green Home tours are in full swing.  If you plan well, you might be able to tour the Green Home and participate in a hands-on cooking class with this well-known chef in Marie Nygren's home kitchen all in one trip!

I think I've probably overwhelmed you with enough information for now!  My husband and I were really struck by the fact that the Serenbe community still seems to be thriving in spite of a slower economy.  The building of homes continues, especially on the opposite side of the lake from the Green Home in the Grange, and businesses are still moving in.  A new public charter school has been approved for the area and will open this fall.  And according to Serenbe's Facebook page, the Inn at Serenbe is now offering trail rides seven days a week so visitors can explore Serenbe on horseback!  Life seems to be good at Serenbe, so if you get a chance to visit this eco-friendly little community don't pass it up -- I think you will be impressed!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Our Second Serenbe Visit

Welcome to the HGTV 2012 Green Home at Serenbe!  Doesn't the front entry just seem to invite you in?  My husband and I were in Serenbe for the day yesterday, and loved it just as much as we did the first time we visited last fall.  The weather was not as good this time (overcast with rain in the afternoon) but I did manage to get pictures.  It was a bit disconcerting to arrive at the house only to find that a camera crew was photographing (probably for the virtual tour).  I walked all around the house, taking care not to trespass, and was able to get shots from all sides before the crew asked me to stop.  The house was opened up to allow light in for their shoot, so I'm sure they did not want too much revealed before the virtual tour.  I did get a few tantalizing views of the inside -- not enough to ruin the HGTV reveal, but sure to make you anxious for more!

This is the view from across the street (cars probably belong to the camera crew):

Tantalizing tidbit #1 -- a red auger lamp makes a bold statement in the Georgia room front window, sitting on a big table next to a vase filled with tall white-flowering branches.

I then headed to the left (south side) of the house for a shot of the Georgia room with its chimney and wraparound porch:

Here is a photo of the south side, with Georgia room to the right, master suite to the left, courtyard in between, and camera crew hard at work:

Tantalizing tidbit #2 -- there is a huge gas grill visible in the courtyard, with a stone half wall which I think separates it from an outdoor dining table (HGTV bloggers, you can even see Mary's camellia in the left corner of the courtyard if you look really hard).  And notice the solar panels on the roof!

Continuing up the hill toward the back (west side) of the house, this is a view (across an undeveloped lot next to the Green Home) of the open space between the house to the right and the detached garage to the left:

I am standing on a concrete stairway south of this vacant lot that allows pedestrian access to the road behind the Green Home (Middleton Way) from the road in front (Serenbe Lane).  Continuing up, this is a picture of the master suite corner:

Here are some pictures of the one-car garage with what I thought was an attached carport, but which is apparently being used as a viewing deck with lounge chairs:

These are shots of the back (west side) of the house -- I really like the stairs and railing, and the courtyard is lovely:

Tantalizing tidbit #3 -- you can just barely see into the living room from this angle!  I tried to get a good look at the furnishings.  There is an Ethan Allen ottoman, and I think this Restoration Hardware chair is one of the styles I was seeing in the house.  A few other items are visible which do not seem to be from Ethan Allen, like that ceramic Chinese garden stool in a dark metallic finish.  Since designer Linda Woodrum is from the South she may have had her own sources for some of the furnishings, and of course nearby Atlanta is a home furnishings shopping mecca!

On to the north side of the house, which was not as easy to photograph since there are a couple of open lots between the Green Home and the side road that connects Middleton Way with Serenbe Lane:

And finally, here is a closeup of that fabulous stone arch with the bioswale for rainwater diversion:

I have a little more information about our trip that I plan to share, as well as some interesting news about upcoming events at Serenbe, but they will have to wait for another post tomorrow (other responsibilities need need my attention today!).  I hope you've enjoyed this outdoor tour of the Serenbe Green Home through my eyes.  Now I'm impatiently waiting for HGTV to launch the virtual tour of the great indoors on April 2nd, and I'm sure I'm not the only one!