Senoia selected again for next Idea House

Southern Living Magazine's rendition of the 2012 Idea House in Senoia.

Last year Senoia was the site of Southern Living Magazine’s 2010 Idea House. It was a first for the area and the magazine’s first time to feature a brownstone. Now history is repeating itself with the Nov. 15 announcement that Senoia will feature Southern Living’s 2012 Idea House. It is the first time the magazine has chosen a home in the same community for a second Idea House.

“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 Kristen Payne, Executive Marketing Director, Southern Living. “We’re heeding the calls to serve up more from the town of our award-winning 2010 Idea House.”

Historic Development Ventures co-owner and Raleigh/Riverwood 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. Renovation on the nearly 4,000 square-foot 2012 Idea House is underway and will be ready for the opening next June. 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 last year, with one in Louisiana and the other in Senoia.

“In 2012 the magazine will feature only one Idea House, the one in Senoia,” Tigchelaar said. “And we expect next year to break the record for visitors.”

Making the Nov. 15 announcement, Southern Living said the 2012 Idea House will be a revival of an early 19th century cottage-style farmhouse “whose makeover has been masterfully designed by the noted team of architects and place makers at Historical Concepts from the neighboring Peachtree City. 
Completing the team is John Bynum Custom Homes, Inc., one of the Atlanta area’s premier custom home builders, nationally-recognized interior design firm, Tracery Interiors 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.

“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.”

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. 

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 pairing and expansion of Riverwood Studios with Raleigh Studios continues to bring more business from the movie industry continues to ramp up the activity in a city that appears to be more recession-proof than most.

“Senoia is rockin.’ With the first Idea House and now the second one, and with the ‘Walking Dead’ that’s based here being picked up 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,” he said. “Next 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, and Southern Living is scheduled to feature the Senoia Idea House in the August 2012 issue. The home will be open for tours from June to December 2012, 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.