Serenbe celebrates opening of HGTV Green Home


“It’s an exciting morning,” said Serenbe founder Steve Nygren with a smile to the large number of Serenbe and Chattahoochee Hills residents who attended the May 4 community opening of the 2012 HGTV Green Home. Community members poured into the home after the brief ribbon-cutting ceremony that substituted a green vine for the traditional red ribbon.

HGTV Green Home House Planner Jack Thomasson travels the country to find a site for next Green Home. Those travels took him to the Serenbe community in the south Fulton County city of Chattahoochee Hills, announced recently as the location of the 2012 HGTV Green Home.

Tours of the homes are underway, as is the contest that will lead to the selection this summer of the grand prize winner of a package valued at $800,000 that includes the fully furnished 3-story home in Serenbe, an SUV and $100,000.

When it came to the excitement over the opening, Thomasson could not have agreed more.

“For the fifth Green Home we wanted a new experience for our viewers. We’ve done homes in high density areas and on golf courses,” Thomasson said of the previous Green Homes in Denver, Plymouth, Mass., Port St. Lucie, Fla. and Hilton Head, S.C. “Serenbe offers a lifestyle unmatched by anything I’ve seen before. Steve and Marie (Nygren) held true to their vision. HGTV couldn’t be more thrilled with the community of Serenbe. And entries for the home are through the roof.”

The 2012 HGTV Green Home is a sight to behold and one that easily blends into the varied architectural styles found at Serenbe. Situated on an uphill slope, the 3-story home represents a modern family farmhouse design inspired by Southeastern culture and regional architecture with modern sensibilities, according to HGTV.

Featuring a HardiPlank and stone exterior, the two top floors total 2,300 square feet and are completely furnished. The bottom floor comes unfinished so that the imagination of the winner can determine just how that area of the house will look. The $100,000 cash prize that is part of the grand prize package might help stir that imagination.

The two upper floors feature a Georgia room with fireplace and television, a retreat room with a pullout sofa, a master bedroom and bathroom with all the furnishings including a master courtyard, a guest bedroom, a twin bedroom complete with a loft, open living space that includes the kitchen, dining and living areas, a craft area/workstation in the upper hallway, a laundry room and a back-entry mud room.

Then there are the courtyards, decks and landscaping that are found on all three levels of the home. Out back and sitting slightly inclined is the detached carport and garage, a fitting place for the 2012 GMC Terrain that is part of the grand prize package.

The amenities found in the home are endless and feature eco-friendly products throughout. A sampling includes Epic hardwood floors by Shaw Floors, Anso carpet made from recycled material, ENERGY STAR appliances, TREX decking and furniture on three courtyards, Moen faucets and accessories, Rinnai tankless water heater and HGTV Homes by Sherwin-Williams paint that contains no volatile organic compounds. These and more are found along with furniture and accessories throughout the home that were constructed using eco-friendly fabrics and materials.

And then there is the wealth of art work that adorns the walls. Purchased from dealers around metro Atlanta, those works include oils and acrylics on canvas and wood and photographs from Serenbe’s Newington Photography.

In all, this one-of-a-kind house has to be seen to be fully appreciated.

Standing outside the Green Home, Thomasson noted one of the things added to the fit of the HGTV project and Serenbe.

“I see the economy beginning to come back in some of the places I visit,” Thomasson said of the years-long housing slump and falling home prices. “The special places, like Serenbe, are holding their value.”

Perhaps that is why it is difficult to find much evidence of the ongoing recession at Serenbe. The community is situated on 1,000 acres of rolling hills, pastures and woodlands inside Chattahoochee Hills and continues to experience the construction of new homes and retail venues. The community’s vision is green sustainability and it is working. Fitting with that vision, it is a community where, even at build-out, 70 percent of the land in the community will remain greenspace.

The first homes in the community were built in 2005. Today there are approximately 120, with eight under construction and nine more in the permit or final design stage. Additionally, Serenbe now has 20 businesses operating with an additional 18,000 square feet of leased retail space that will be opening soon.

Visit to enter the HGTV Green Home Giveaway at Serenbe. Entries can be made through June 1 at 5 p.m. The winner will be announced in late June.

Tours of the home are being held through June 24, Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tickets for the HGTV Green Home tour can be purchased in Serenbe at 10691 Serenbe Lane in Chattahoochee Hills. Tickets are $20 each of $15 each for groups of 10 or more. Proceeds from the tours will support the Serenbe Institute and the Chattahoochee Hills Charter School.