Senoia ‘2012 Idea House’ opens next week

Get ready for another wave of visitors. The opening of Southern Living magazine’s 2012 Idea House in Senoia is set for June 2. The magazine’s selection of Senoia for a repeat performance of Idea House offerings is unprecedented in Idea House history.

“Great films deserve even better sequels, and we just couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring our readers the next installment in the renaissance story of Senoia,” said Southern Living Executive Marketing Director Kristen Payne of the selection. “We’re heeding the calls to serve up more from the town of our award-winning 2010 Idea House.”

The 2010 Idea House on the Gin Property was a first for the area and the magazine’s first time to feature a brownstone. Now history is repeating itself with the June 2 opening of the 2012 Idea House. It is the first time the magazine has chosen a home in the same community for a second Idea House.

Making the announcement last year, Southern Living said the 2012 Idea House will be a revival of a 19th century cottage-style farmhouse “whose makeover has been masterfully designed by the noted team of architects and place-makers at Historical Concepts from neighboring Peachtree City.” 

Senoia’s Historic Development Ventures co-owner and Raleigh Studios partner Scott Tigchelaar said the 2012 Idea House, in the style of a Southern country farm house, is located at 57 Morgan Street adjacent to the Gin Property where last year’s Idea House is located. The 2012 Idea House totals nearly 4,000 square feet. The two-story house was built in the early 1800s and was constructed with wooden pegs and featured hand-hewn beams. It is one of the oldest homes in the city, Tigchelaar said.

The Morgan Street house came with the Gin Property re-development site and we wanted to find a way to save it, Tigchelaar said.

“This is the first time Southern Living has come back to the same location. To have such a highly read magazine choose Senoia the first time around was an incredible honor,” said Tigchelaar. “But to have them come back again is amazing and beyond our wildest expectations.”

Tigchelaar said Southern Living used to feature three Idea Houses at a time. That changed to two homes featured in 2010, with one in Louisiana and the other in Senoia.

“In August 2012 issue Southern Living will feature only one Idea House, the one in Senoia,” Tigchelaar said. “And we expect to break the record for visitors.”

Completing the Idea House team is John Bynum Custom Homes, Inc., interior design firm Tracery Interiors, landscape designer Get More Curb appeal and Senoia’s Historic Development Ventures, LLC. Historic Development Ventures was winner of the 2010 Georgia Renaissance Award for the Historic Senoia Project, the downtown redevelopment initiative that spans much of the downtown area.

“The magazine's return to Senoia is due to the fact that the 2010 Idea House was their most successful in terms of attendance and reader response,” said Historical Concepts Marketing Manager Dawn Fritz. “This is the first Idea House that is not new construction. It's one of Senoia's oldest homes that we are completely restoring and renovating.” 

Southern Living noted that Senoia is 25 miles and 100 years from Atlanta, where Main Street looks like a scene, and actually was a scene, out of the movie “Driving Miss Daisy.”

The town doubles as a back lot for popular film and TV projects such as the classic “Fried Green Tomatoes” and AMC’s current hit, “The Walking Dead.”  But dig a little deeper and you will find a community committed to eco-friendly construction, the magazine said. 

“We think American towns are moving away from impersonal subdivisions and toward a stronger sense of community and Senoia, in particular, blends the best of modern construction with the nostalgia of yesterday,” said Payne. “The year 2012 will be a celebration of that sentiment through the restoration of one of Senoia’s oldest homes.”

Tigchelaar said Southern Living had such a great experience in Senoia with the Gin Property brownstone Idea House they could not resist coming back again.

“And with Senoia going through its own renaissance it was the perfect fit,” said Tigchelaar, adding that such a “fit” includes the current reality that many Southern Living readers today are looking at the many options associated with home renovations.
The Idea House is not the only thing happening in Senoia. The expansion of Raleigh Studios continues to bring more business from the television and movie industry.

“Senoia is rockin.’ With the first Idea House and now the second one. And with ‘The Walking Dead’ that’s based here for a third season, Senoia will be full of Idea House visitors and zombies running around town,” Tigchelaar said. “All this helps fulfill our vision of a live/work back-lot community.”

There is no mistaking the fact that having the Idea House return to Senoia is good for the city’s visibility and its continued viability. But there is more, said Tigchelaar.

“Last year the Idea House had visitors from every state in the county. It was a tourist attraction and a tourism phenomenon for Senoia and for Georgia,” Tigchelaar said. “This year will be even better. It will be good for business, good for the city and good for the whole area.”

Southern Living said the farmhouse revival project is expected to draw as many as 40,000 visitors from across the country. The home will be open for tours from June 2 to Dec. 23, Wednesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 – 5 p.m. The Idea House will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

Southern Living last week announced that Camp Southern Ground has been selected as the 2012 Idea House charitable partner. A portion of the proceeds from the $12 ticket sales will be donated to the camp for special needs children being developed in Fayette County by recording artist Zac Brown of the award-winning Zac Brown Band.

Sponsors of the 2012 Idea House include IKEA, James Hardie, Lennox, Marvin Windows and Doors, Phantom Screen, PDSI, Shaw, Sherwin-Williams, Sunbrella and Trex.