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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

atlanta design guide!

Atlanta practically invented the word sprawl. So, naturally, shoppers discover charming town squares and clusters of cool stores all over the 20-county metro area. But, in our opinion, certain districts reach critical mass. Here are five neighborhoods that warrant a day (or two) of shopping. Of course, this is Atlanta, so plan to drive.

Buckhead: Home to two major malls and most of Atlanta’s top fashion boutiques, Buckhead has long been the city’s swankest shopping district. Bustling Lenox Square features national retailers like Crate & Barrel, Kate Spade, Neiman Marcus, and Anthropologie. Home-related stores at the more sedate Phipps Plaza include Tiffany & Co. and Frontgate. At the nearby confluence of West Paces Ferry, Roswell, and Peachtree Roads—the epicenter of Buckhead—are the Atlanta locations of posh kitchen-and-bath fixture maker Waterworks, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and Design Within Reach. The Atlanta showroom for Paris Ceramics, with its exquisite antique and new stone, marble, and terracotta tiles and mosaics, is also along this strip. Not-to-miss local retailers include:
  • Shop Scad Atlanta: the Atlanta branch of this Savannah store is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of independent design.
  • Pieces: Owner Lee Boren Kleinhelter gives vintage furniture a stylish new life—think ’50s-era Swedish deco-style chairs upholstered in burlap.
  • Pollen: This tiny gem is half floral design, half home accessories. Handmade, vintage, and unique finds make it the go-to place for impressing your hippest friends.
  • Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts (404-233-3400): This Atlanta institution started as a nursery and still specializes in orchids, hydrangeas, and live plants. But now it offers a mind-boggling array of clever and cottage-y home accessories.
  • Lush Life: Aptly named for its tropical plants and divinely scented candles and bath products, this local favorite offers luxurious home accessories often inspired by nature.
[Nosh: Dine with ladies-who-lunch at Souper Jenny (404-239-9023). Jennifer Levison’s hearty soups and salads, served by a dramatic waitstaff who are mostly starving actors, are worth the standing in line.]

Westside: This once-industrial area first attracted shoppers with two competing fabric warehouses: Forsyth Fabrics and Lewis & Sheron Textile Co. Next came the spirited Mexican furniture and accessories of No Mas! Home & Garden and yet more fabulous fabric from The Silk Trading Company. But the real tipping point was the opening of Westside Urban Market shopping center, which made the crossroads of Howell Mill and Huff Roads into one of the city’s top shopping destinations. Highlights of the area are:
  • Star Provisions: The kitchen and tabletop shop attached to nationally acclaimed Bacchanalia restaurant deserves four stars of its own.
  • Kolo Collection: Chic outdoor furniture from the world’s top manufacturers.
  • Poliform Switch: Impeccable modern credentials from the likes of Poliform, Knoll, Flexform, and Promemoria.
  • B. Braithwaite: The giant topiaries outside may remind you of Disney, but don’t look here for Mickey and Minnie. This nursery store and children’s boutique is all understated elegance and refined whimsy.
  • Bungalow Classic (1197 Howell Mill Road, 404-367-8522): Good taste will out. This furniture and home accessories store takes a fresh, youthful approach to classics. Lamps—like one with a white porcelain faux bois base—are especially cool.
  • Belvedere: Longtime designer’s secret source for mid-20th century classics, both iconic and lesser-known lines. Fabulous lamps, accessories (love the shagreen boxes), and new furniture complement the vintage look.
[Nosh: If Martha Stewart opened a restaurant in Atlanta, it would be the new JCT Kitchen & Bar — sleek and homey at the same time, serving fresh contemporary cuisine with a Southern accent. Elegant Bacchanalia’s is one of the city’s top restaurants, and Taqueria Del Sol serves addictive gourmet tacos.]

Miami Circle: Atlanta’s long love affair with antiques continues along Miami Circle. If you’re seeking something with a provenance, head to fine galleries like William Word and The Gables Antiques. Or transport yourself to the European countryside at Dearing Antiques and Foxglove Antiques. The street is also home to high-end fabric, rug, plumbing, granite, and other home suppliers, plus several art galleries, including the much-respected Fay Gold Gallery.
[Nosh: Festive little tapas bar Eclipse di Luna (eclipsediluna.com) is hidden at the end of the street.]

Peachtree Hills: Known best for the trade-only Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, this district has recently gone democratic with the opening of a new retail enclave, The Galleries of Peachtree Hills. The classical French complex quickly filled up with some of the city’s most prestigious art, home, and antique galleries. As you walk along the street, be sure to stop in:
  • Mrs. Howard and Max & Company (404-816-3830 and -3831): Phoebe Howard’s updated traditional look is as refreshing as the seashore, from which she often takes her inspiration.
  • Travis: The retail outlet of ADAC stalwart Travis & Company still offers French antiques, but with more of a 20th-century bent and lighthearted attitude.
  • Leontine Linens: Ultra-luxurious and elaborately monogrammed linens. Very Old South.
  • A few of the showrooms in ADAC West (next to the monolithic ADAC proper) are also open to the public: Kay Douglass, owner of South of Market, turns French and Belgian industrial artifacts into character-rich light fixtures and home furnishings. Renaissance Tile & Bath is the place to find cutting-edge bath fixtures, as well as the best of the classics.
[Nosh: Restaurant Eugene’s elegant interpretations of the freshest local ingredients immediately earned national accolades when it opened in 2004. But don’t rush, this is a treat to savor.]

Midtown: Atlanta’s hottest new shopping district caters to neighborhood loft dwellers with contemporary tastes. International retailers like Ligne Roset and Kartel have landed here. IKEA is nearby in the new live/work/play complex called Atlantic Station. But we’re especially partial to two Atlanta-based stores:
  • Retromodern: Pop goes the plastic! If you don’t catch the joy of modern design here, you’re hopeless. Remember why Bubble Chairs and Alessi corkscrews made you smile.
  • Space: A milky white floor, eye candy in streetfront windows, sleek Italian furniture and home accessories—all are museum-worthy cool.
  • Beehive Co-Op: great designer showcase
[Nosh: On your way over to Atlantic Station from Peachtree Street, enjoy the savvy décor and fresh cuisine of The Globe (globeatlanta.com).]

D*S Reader Additions:

Atlanta guide compiled for Design*Sponge by Betsy Riley: Editor, Atlanta Magazine’s HOME and Executive Editor, Atanta Magazine. *Recent reader updates were contributed by the Atlanta locals in the comment section below


Blogger Unknown said...

This is great! I just moved to the Atlanta area and this looks to be a great list of things for me to check out. ^^

7:27 AM  
Blogger mermer said...

most of these shops are for the wives of buckhead, brookhaven, and dunwoody. if you're on a budget, you're better off buying something off ebay or craigslist and doing it yourself. that said, most of the stores on the list are fabulous and great for browsing and for ideas. stanton home furnishings in the edgewood district is worth checking out too. antiques and beyond on cheshire bridge and paris on ponce for antiques.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's also Belly (a cute place to browse home decor accessories and pick up a bite to eat), Metropolitan Deluxe and a bunch of other cute antique and clothing shops on N. Highland as well as the Little Five Points Area at Moreland and Euclid where unique shops and restaurants can be found as well. Junk Man's Daughter is one of my favorite for finding off the wall treasures.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Kendra said...

I'm with mermer. As a 10-year Atlanta resident (without a buckhead betty budget)I've also found these stores great for ideas, but out of reach financially. For more shoestring decorating, check out the newly re-opened Kudzu antiques on East Ponce de Leon for wild variety, Victory Vintage on College Ave. Decatur for mid-century gems, and the various thrifty storefronts and intersection stands that pop up on the weekends in the Edgewood district near downtown. (Really, antique/vintage is somehow very expensive in metro atlanta...i'd actually recommend going outside the city or even state to get the best bang for your buck.)

8:41 AM  
Blogger sarahturnermcfarland said...

As a lifelong resident of Atlanta, I've noticed these stores are great for interior designers who shop on buckhead betty's dime.
My favorite store is Youngblood's Boutique and Gallery. They feature items by many local (and non local) artists and designers. Some items include stuffed animals, letterpressed cards, silkscreened prints, lamps, and jewelry.
Other favorite stores include Star Provisions in West End and Providence Antiques in the Virginia-Highland area, but they are pricey.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Rachael said...

Definitely in agreement with mermer and Kendra... Victory Vintage, Kudzu, and Paris on Ponce are three that I thought of while reading that were left out!

Traders and Youngblood Gallery & Boutique (both in East Atlanta) are also good for the more budget-conscious... Not sure if Beehive Co-Op in Buckhead carries a lot of "home" design stuff (aside from accessories, clothes, etc) but (I've heard) it's a really great place to find and buy from independent designers.

ICE Atlanta (http://www.ice-atlanta.com/) isn't a store (it's an annual festival) but is a great place to find indie design, too.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Oh I agree with Lindsey, more unique and vibrant areas certainly exsist, that those are the places artist actually patron too. Not to say the guide isn't so great, I am moving back to ATL in a month and I excited to check some of these suggestions out.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so agree with my fellow Atlantans. As I read the list, all I could think of was Buckhead Betty. She didn't even include the Saavy Snoot which is just behind Bungalow Classic. And she completely dissed the Highlands, which has Providence, Armour and Co., Paris on Ponce, Met. Deluxe and many more great shops.

Victory Vintage is one of my all-time favorites, but I also love to go on treasure hunts at Kudzu, Scott's Antique Market and all the great local festivals we have.

OK, I don't know how I haven't met all the other commenters on this list here in town - it sounds like we love the same places and have the same attitudes about Atlanta shopping!


12:35 PM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

i have no idea who buckhead betty is but if you see shops that should be added, please shoot me an email with the names and i'm happy to add them.


12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree with what everyone else is saying... sounds like a Buckhead Betty. (A local term for the chicks with money to waste... there's more negative connotations, but an article in the Creative Loafing says this, "If that's not evidence enough that the district breeds glam, consider this: There's talk of an HBO 'Buckhead Betty' show – think a reality TV cross between 'The OC' and 'Desperate Housewives.'" Get the idea?) However, with that said, she mentioned Westside, and those were all great places she recommended!

My faves (some of which have been mentioned already):

City Issue
(Love!!!! I go here FIRST for any and all gift ideas. Between this place, Victory Vintage and 20th Century – both mentioned below – all my retro modern dreams are found here. Yes, there are shops , like DWR in Buckhead and the shops in Midtown that were mentioned in the review, that carry all the new stuff too, but you can't find any deals there.)

Victory Vintage
(In Decatur, which was completely missing from the list. They always have great finds. LOVE the vintage armoire I found there, and they deliver locally for a reasonable price!)

Both Kudzu (2928 E Ponce De Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030, 404-373-6498) and Rue De Leon (http://www.ruedeleon.com/) are also in Decatur. If you're in the area, you should also check them out too!

20th Century Antiques
1044 N Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, 404-874-7042.
(In Virginia Highlands. a great neighborhood with lots of great shops and restaurants. Sure the area can be pricey, according to thrift-shopping standards, but there are some lovely places, just the same. And definitely not as expensive as Buckhead,)

(You can't visit Atlanta without hitting both East Atlanta, where this gem is located, and Little Five Points. Definitely a lot of flave to be found.)

Paris on Ponce
(Scored a great architect's desk there. And you can't beat the atmosphere there.)

Young Blood Gallery
(Others have already said it: Great little boutique and gallery. Although kinda dive location, but you can beat the prices.)

(Another gallery with great shows and really well-priced art from the "not so stuffy" art scene. Bennett Street is chock full of galleries. You're sure to find one you like.)

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lived in Atlanta all my life as well and I think this is a great list! All my haunts are on here. It almost saddens me to see Virginia Highlands left out, but its really just not what it used to be and I just don't go there anymore. I much prefer the shops and the walkable vibrant feel of Decatur. I covet Heliotrope and Victory Vintage!

8:41 PM  
Blogger Cait said...

I moved to Atlanta last year from the northeast and I had a hard time with the prices for used furniture in Atlanta. Paris on Ponce is an experience, but they are way overpriced. I have had some luck with some small mid-century tables at the little antique store next to the Highland Inn, just south of Ponce on N. Highland.

I got a great sofa and some linens on sale at Intaglia Home last fall (Both in Decatur and the one at Amsterdam Walk).

Does anyone have any suggestions for some good flea markets or auctions in Georgia?

Perhaps we should start a Design Sponge readers group in Atlanta, you guys sound like you've got great taste!

5:51 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

in the interest of dialing down the "buckhead betty"-ness of some of these shops, i've added a special section of everyone's suggestions. if you have any more feel free to add them below and i'll update the list.


5:00 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks Grace! I appreciate the update, I have some new places I get to go check out now, so that is very exciting. And great update on the letterpress guide as well.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Armstrong said...

A Google Map of the guide (a work in progress): http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&near=Atlanta,+GA&fb=1&li=lmd&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=106911384661527759548.0004371aeb0e25f2d29fe&ll=33.778006,-84.342728&spn=0.297354,0.514297&z=11&om=1


6:03 AM  
Blogger keith p. rein said...

Athens, Ga, where i reside is a 45 min. drive from atlanta. if you have the time, it's a great town and would be a more relaxing time. we've got a great flea market on saturdays, J&J, as well as the Pendergrass Flea Market which is HUGE. The local antique shop, Agora, always has some great finds from clothing to knick-knacks to furnishings. I've picked up quite a few danish modern chairs and credenza. The prices are very reasonable and you always seem to get a deal too. Athens also has some great restaurants.

8:20 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

wow, thanks j!

d*s :)

1:08 PM  

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