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See a one-of-a-kind textile loft penthouse at the 2016 Serenbe Designer ShowHouse

Why just look at pictures of beautiful homes? Why not explore them?

The Third Annual Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Serenbe Designer ShowHouse will be open Friday, Sept. 9, through Sunday, Oct. 2. It will feature beautiful work from 15 designers in “luxurious indoor and outdoor rooms including playful porches and garden rooms with a copper outdoor spa.”

The website lists the full hours of the open house. The event takes place at 10625 Serenbe Lane in Chattahoochee Hills (full directions and map). Admission is $20.

Net proceeds from the event will support the next Art Farm artist cottage. The Art Farm is a complex at Serenbe that houses artists aligned with the Serenbe Institute. The first cottage in this line opened in January with the collaboration of Auburn University’s Rural Studio.

To see previous showhouses, check out the gallery above or see the full site.

$1.4M Marietta stunner offers ‘casual luxury’ in East Cobb

Call this the luxurious side of Marietta.

This Stonecroft Way house wants $1.4 million for a home with almost 6,000 square feet of living space. The house includes strategically placed gas lights, ivy-coated stone columns, hardwood floors and a combination library-office with built-in bookcases.

The six full bathrooms, two half baths and six bedrooms mean there’s plenty of room for your family to stretch out with this suburban delight. The “comfy media room,” butler’s pantry and hot tub also ensures you’ll never lack food or something to do.

Check out the full listing on Zillow

5 easy apartment upgrades to make your rental feel like home

The place you call home should feel like home, even if it's an apartment rental. That's why interior designer Blake Padgett Wilkie of Canton recommends apartment dwellers make some easy upgrades as soon as they move in. "If you surround yourself with things you love, you'll be happier," she said. "Adding your own touches makes you want to be at home."

In general, the upgrades don't have to be top of the line materials. "And they don't have to be small scale, either!" said Wilkie. "One of the best upgrades you could make, for example, are drop panels that run almost ceiling to floor. They can really pull together a wall or liven up your living space." Here are five other upgrades she suggests for personalizing any rental apartment:

1) Paint: Even if you have to pay for it yourself, you want your walls to be a color you love and enjoy. "Paint a nice neutral color, particularly if you don't have a lot of natural light," said Wilkie, who owns Magnolia Interiors. "Even a wall or two helps." She specifically recommends the currently popular shades of gray, especially Sherwin Williams' Agreeable Gray 7029.

2) Decorate with a functional wall shelf: A cubby or shelf with hooks below can help you make a space more cozy and get more organized at the same time. "Display a few of your favorite books on top or an eclectic mix of china finds," said Wilkie.

3) Splash some color around: Strategic dashes of a color that pops makes an apartment more cheerful, particularly against neutral walls or furnishings. Wilkie likes the idea of painting the backside of an inexpensive bookcase with a lively color and setting it up as a separator in a living space. "That's an easy way to punch up your decor," she said.

One good color to use is Sherwin Williams' Lagoon 6480. "It will go with khakis or grays, and you can pop pillows in to the design from the blue family or that are coral or yellow," she said.

4) Display family photos: You'll feel more at home surrounded by tastefully framed or matted family photos. Wilkie suggests hanging them on the wall, down a hallway or up a staircase. "That way you can start with a few and add to the length of the display as your schedule and budget allow." If you're concerned that a landlord would object, display the photos on an anchor piece of furniture, like a side table or chest.

5) Change up the cabinet hardware: You can personalize your kitchen simply by changing out the dull pulls and knobs that come with the standard apartment. Wilkie suggests Top Knobs as a go-to for up-to-date and fun hardware, or ferreting out vintage knobs at a flea market or antique store. The hardware you purchase doesn't have to be pricey, just something you would like to look at when you come home to fix dinner. "And the nice thing is, if you really like it, you can take it along to your next place," said Wilkie.

Stately $650K Alpharetta home offers beautiful open floor plan

This Alpharetta home offers suburban comfort and plenty of room.

The 5,000-square-foot house with five beds and five baths makes the most of its open floor plan and two-story grand foyer. It’s been fully renovated and given refinished hardwoods, new carpet, new lighting and fresh paint.

The master bedroom has double-sided fireplace and new bath vanities. The new vanities extend to the secondary bathrooms as well.

The terrace level has a bar, while the rest of the house includes a recreation room and a media room.

The large house sits on one acre of space at 415 Water Shadow Lane. See the Zillow listing for more. 

Photos: Playboy Mansion sold for $100 million

Southern Made: Smarten up your space with these stylish finds

The light show

Since 1993, Atlanta’s Christopher Moulder been designing, fabricating and installing one-of-a-kind lighting sculptures and a line of limited-edition lighting fixtures that are both functional and decorative.

The designer: He grew up in Jacksonville, Fla. The sand, wind, clouds and electrical storms that were part of his childhood influenced his later light work. He studied furniture design in Germany, and in 1997 received his MFA from SCAD in Savannah.

Best-sellers: Schproket Pendant crafted from aluminum, nylon and stainless steel and available in silver metallic, red or white ($1,050-$1,980); the Schproket Sconce ($700-$1,740); and the “Rain, Drizzle, Droplet” series of a pendant/sconce and chandeliers made from nickel-plate brass bead chain and stainless steel. Prices range from $295 to $6,000, depending on the number of droplets used.

Big break: Winning the Absolut Vodka Furniture competition (1997) with the Absolut Enlightenment Chandelier. This piece, created from Absolut Citron bottles, aluminum and stainless steel, is a conglomeration of Absolut bottles in the shape of one large Absolut bottle.

Claim to fame: Mammatus, a one-of-a-kind lighting sculpture commissioned by the city of Atlanta for the Arrivals Hall in the International Terminal at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Inspired by clouds, the 3,000-pound piece is made with more than 8 miles of nickel-plated bead chain.

What’s new: Two collections: the Forest and the Royals. Both airy collections of limited-edition chandeliers, pendants and sconces are characterized by integral light sources, sculptural silhouettes and shadow effects.

Where to buy: www.christophermoulder.com for made-to-order pieces.

The well-dressed table

In his Texas studio, Keith Kreeger creates clean, contemporary and functional tableware and decor for restaurants, stores and your home.

The artist/designer: Originally from New York, Kreeger began working in clay at Skidmore College and later at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, N.Y. In 1999, he moved to Cape Cod to open his first studio. Ten years later, he relocated to Austin to further develop his high-fired porcelain work.

What’s popular: Hudson dinnerware ($52-$375) and Gramercy bottles ($100-$250). While the company uses a variety of glazes and banded rim treatments on its white tableware, the Linea design (an incised line filled with black glaze) is a best-seller.

Other favorites: Limited-edition, hand-thrown vases ($150 and up).

Big break: Moving to Austin. The collaborative and creative community inspired Kreeger to do his first restaurant project. He thought it was going to be a fun side-note to his business. The hospitality side has become a huge part of what he does. His pieces can be found in more than two dozen restaurants, including Husk Nashville.

What’s new: Made more than 3,600 pieces for a restaurant opening later this year in New York City.

Claim to fame: Creating custom (and sometimes one-of-a-kind) plates for chefs, including Chef Edward Lee at 610 Magnolia in Louisville Ky.

Where to buy: keithkreeger.com

Modern heirlooms

As a deeply committed homesteader in North Carolina, Jessica Green’s weaving business is truly homegrown. Green spins wool from the sheep she raises and forages for natural plant dyes before designing and weaving her modern version of traditional textiles.

The artist/designer: Green grew up in Austin, Texas, and graduated from Bennington College in Vermont. It wasn’t until after college that she started weaving, learning the craft through a series of traditional apprenticeships. Drawn to southern Appalachia because of its deep craft history, Green started A Little Weather in Sandy Mush (just north of Asheville) in 2013.

The goods: Handwoven home goods, including coverlets, pillows and wall hangings influenced by colonial American textiles, Scandinavian designs.

What’s popular: Fireside Blanket in Indigo and Poppy ($748). Also everyday cloths in a range of indigo variations ($39).

Other favorites: Framed pieces, including overshot drawings ($288); woven paintings ($1,200); and smaller woven paintings ($350-$500).

Claim to fame: Featured in the American Craft Council and Garden & Gun magazines.

What’s new: Baby blankets ($280) and Green’s first solo exhibition at the Bradbury Art Museum in Arkansas next spring.

Where to buy: www.alittleweather.com

Setting Up

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