If you’re hungry for some home design inspiration and feel like making a fun day trip out of it, head on over to the 2012 Southern Living Idea House. The Idea House is an annual showcase organized by the venerable lifestyle magazine, and this is the second year they’ve chosen Senoia, Georgia for their site. Unlike any previous Idea Homes, this is the first time they’re featuring a renovated house, as opposed to new construction. It’s only 25 miles from Atlanta, but you might feel like you’ve entered a time warp.
Conveniently, the 1830s farmhouse was already located in the Gin Property development. This in-progress collection of homes and businesses is adjacent to Senoia’s charming downtown (more on that in a minute), and was the location of Southern Living’s previous 2010 Idea House, a new Savannah-style townhome. SL describes this year’s house as its first renovation, but it was really more of a complete overhaul. The farmhouse was lifted off its foundation, reoriented to meet the street, and totally rebuilt. A porch was added, along with a sizable addition on the rear. Tracery Interiors handled the decor, and it’s safe to say they hit it out of the park. This isn’t Grandma’s farmhouse; well, maybe if Grandma had the idea to keep the best of her old stuff and supplement it with a modern sensibility.
You may find that Senoia looks eerily familiar, and it’s probably because you recognize it from film and TV. Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed here, and more recently it’s been used in The Walking Dead. It’s just that quaint. The picturesque factor has been ramped up in recent years due to the efforts of Historic Development Ventures, LLC. Their “Historic Senoia Project” initiative has seen the redevelopment of vacant lots with appropriate infill, of which the Gin Property is a key part. In a way, the town is a giant, living stage set - there’s also a large sound stage a mile out that adds to Senoia’s fiming functionality. Is this the semi-rural Georgia version of the Truman Show? If the sound of that appeals to you, you're in luck: the home is currently listed for sale at $598,900.
The 2012 Southern Living Idea House is open for tours from June-December 2012. Hours are 11-5pm Wednesday through Saturday and 1-5pm on Sundays. Tickets are $12.