On Monday, we’ll be in Atlanta, and we couldn’t be more excited! Atlanta is nationally recognized for its interior design showrooms, and there’s a lot of great shopping and beautiful architecture.
Our week starts with a book signing on Monday, November 18 (7pm) at Eagle Eye Books, and on Tuesday, we’ll be presenting our Upholstery for Designers Class at Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (10am). Already, we’re expecting over 60 people for the presentation, which will go over the logistics of working with an upholsterer, what to look for in quality craftsmanship, and other important details to know when it comes to restyling clients’ furniture.
We recently chatted with ADAC’s Special Events Manager, Amy Musarra. Having worked two decades in the interior design industry and recently selected as a “10 Under 40” honoree by Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, Amy is definitely a mover and shaker in Atlanta’s creative community. She’s a native Atlantan, a lover of good food, and describes herself as being an informal concierge to the city.
Here are some gems she shared with us.
Where are your favorite places to dine in Atlanta?
Amy: Atlanta is becoming more of a foodie city. We’re really starting to get on the map, which is cool. We do a lot of “local” on the menus because in the South we have the best stuff! I love Miller Union. Also, BoccaLupo. The chef there is Bruce Logue, and he’s kind of amazing. I also like Cardamom Hill in Buckhead. It’s an Indian restaurant; Asha Gomez (above, photo via Facebook) is the chef there, and she’s gotten a lot of press.
Next door to ADAC is KR Steakbar, and the chef Kevin Rathbun (the first Georgia chef to defeat an Iron Chef on the Iron Chef America series) is nationally known. He’s one of ours, and I do love him. There’s also Hugh Acheson, who is a James Beard winner and was a judge on Top Chef, and his restaurant is Empire State South. And then there’s Kevin Gillespie (the chef behind Gunshow), who was a runner up on Top Chef.
What do you do on your days off?
Amy: I enjoy the park that I live on, Memorial Park. I love to grab a spot on the patio at Bistro Niko with friends. I also like to shop. I’ve recently been working on my home, so if I have the day off, I’ll come back to ADAC or I’ll antique.
For higher end antiques, I like Parc Monceau. The owner, Barry Hunter, sells fabulous antiques. There’s also Interiors Market (above, photo via Facebook), which has forty to fifty dealers. It’s a lot of fun to go here because you’ll never know what you’ll find. Once a month we have a large Scott Antique Market that sets up thousands of vendors just south of the city. It’s unique and special, and dealers come far and wide to sell and buy.
What is Atlanta best known for?
Amy: I always describe Atlanta as Southern hospitality all dressed up. Designers who come to ADAC say, “We love to work with you guys. You’re just so nice.” I’m quoting a myriad of designers. We have a real strong arts support in Atlanta, and if that’s something we’re not known for, we should be.
Robert Woodruff (former president of The Coca Cola Company and a native Atlantan) left a huge endowment, and we were able to combine our High Museum of Art (above, photo via Wikimedia Commons), the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Alliance Theatre under one big umbrella. The arts is really a center of activity.
If a visitor were coming for only one day, where would you send them?
Amy: I would either come to ADAC or I would go to the High. I’m an art person. I think just driving down West Paces Ferry is great. There are some historic residential homes in the neighborhood (above is the historic Swan House, built in 1928; photo via Wikipedia), then stop at the Atlanta History Center, see some beautiful architecture, and then stop at the Governor’s Mansion. West Paces Ferry dead ends into Peachtree Street, and everything happens on that street. It’s our main artery and the lifeblood of the city. And then have lunch somewhere fantastic.
What is something unique about Atlanta that it can claim as its own?
Amy: We have roots and we have wings, and we have a really strong center of gravity in terms of people who are from here and who have been here a while and love the city. But we have a huge, now growing, very diverse group of people moving here from all over the place that are bringing a lot of what they have to Atlanta. So we have this tradition versus this growth and diversity, and I think it really works here and makes it interesting. We have a really strong design community that’s different from other places I’ve been, where everyone supports each other.
Tell us more about ADAC.
Amy: ADAC (above, photo via Facebook) is owned by John Portman, who has designed most of downtown, and it’s the only design center owned by a single entity. He’s a native Atlantan who designed it, and he still owns it and manages it. ADAC is ground zero for all things beautiful and the very best quality of craftsmanship in all things interior design. It’s not only a design center; it is THE design center. We have the best of the best in terms of design products. Since we’ve opened the doors to the public, we want people to know what’s here because there’s so much. We’re a huge supporter of designers and their businesses, and the more people know how much there is for them, the more they’ll be apt to hire designers and take advantage of Atlanta’s design professionals.
During our tour, we learned that Sarah Ferguson wrote about us coming through town in her lifestyle blog, Duchess Fare. It turns out that Sarah, an antique vendor, also has a passion for interior design and loves seeking out great shops, restaurants and fun things to do in Atlanta. She kindly gathered up a “must-hit” list for us, organizing it by neighborhood. Thank you so much, Sarah, and see you at ADAC next week!
Shopping: Stanton Home Furnishings (above, photo via Facebook)
Indulgence: Sugarcoat (nail and beauty bar)
Eating: Empire State South (above, photo via Facebook)
Shopping: Kelly’s Closet
Eating: Candler Park Market
Coffee: Dancing Goats