Monthly Archives: March 2014

There’s Nothing Common about the Commons at Imperial Hotel

We love photographing fresh faces nearly as much as historical gems, and had the pleasure of both at the Grand Opening of the newly refurbished Imperial Hotel on Peachtree Street. Jason Hales led the AEP team in getting to know the Hotel, renamed “The Commons at Imperial Hotel,” which now provides permanent housing units for residents who have special needs or are working to overcome homelessness.

Mayor Reed and other community leaders and were on hand to laud the developers who made this possible: Atlanta-based Columbia Residential and National Church Residences of Ohio. A huge benefit of preserving the building for apartment homes is its downtown location, which gives residents access to public transportation, community services and jobs.

More than 200 guests enjoyed tours of the building. We all saw first-hand how supportive housing can function well–and look great!

I was amazed that a building first designed in 1911 as mid-priced lodging for business travelers could be reborn as LEED Gold-certified housing with up-to-date floor plans to suit modern life. We were especially impressed by the common and specialized areas, like a dedicated suite for case managers, a job training office and fitness facilities for residents. The remodel also prioritized energy efficiency to ensure affordable energy bills for residents and long-term sustainability.

The celebration recognized the value of the Imperial’s history and its important purpose going forward, which led to a night of toasts, good food and meaningful conversation. Talk of the Town Catering personalized their presentation with adorable cookies inspired by the building’s former life as a hotel. The pretzels were so good they were nearly half gone by the time we got to them! Peachtree Tents and Events provided much-needed cover on a rainy night.

Kudos to Nikki Graham at FDG Creative for coordinating a successful grand opening event!

Blogging, Design and Cocktails

Atlanta was fortunate to host the fourth annual Design Bloggers Conference, held at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead from March 2-4. The AEP team was even luckier to cover both the Cocktail Kickoff Party and the Conference After Party! Both the talented Sara Speert and I got to take part in the photo action.


The opener was sponsored by Sunbrella and Traditional Home at the “Fishbowl” at Atlantic Station Lofts. Attendees enjoyed cocktails and an Oscars theme while exploring how designer Alex Gaston used Sunbrella to create a modern and chic space at the loft. Alex is the star of Perspective Atlanta, a reality web series produced by Sunbrella, and Director of Design for Mark Cunningham Inc. in New York City.

The fabulous food sustained the guests through a lively scavenger hunt in the loft. Most attendees also joined the quest to win a “Sunbrella Oscars” gift bag.

On Monday the mixing and mingling moved to Alpharetta for the official conference after party at the newly redesigned Ethan Allen Design Center. Guests took a private tour of the showroom and enjoyed hors doeuvres catered by A Divine Event.

Dave Moore, Ethan Allen’s DVP and chief brand officer, spoke to the group. Traditional Home editor in chief Ann Maine mingled as well.

Ethan Allen highlighted their current focus on furniture as fashion and eclectic accents with bold displays mixing colors and styles. I hadn’t been to the showroom in a long time, and one thing immediately became clear: This is not your grandmother’s Ethan Allen!

Thanks to Meredith Corporation and Design Bloggers for including us. Next year’s conference will bring these new media moguls back to Buckhead, so we hope to be there to capture another vibrant event.