New Urbanism and a New Urbanist

Published: March 28, 2019 | Updated: March 2, 2020


Surrounded by nature, community and inspiring design, Rebecca Cartwright is right at home.

Just south of Atlanta, the Serenbe community is engaged in a purposeful experiment in healthy, sustainable living. Based on the principles of New Urbanism, the 1,000-acre planned community gracefully combines modern architecture and design with a relaxed, back-to-nature way of life. Designer Rebecca Cartwright was recruited as the interior designer of a project home in Serenbe, but what she found there was much more than another job. So smitten with the community and home, she bought it and moved in.


The open-concept kitchen and dining area combines materials and shapes to create a warm, inviting space.

One of the defining characteristics of Serenbe is its emphasis on community and personal interaction. Homes are built small and close together, neighborhoods arranged in clusters around commercial centers designed more for walking than driving, and even mail boxes are grouped in a common area — all for the purpose of bringing neighbors together. In that spirit, Cartwright designed her kitchen to be a microcosm of the community, arranged and built for casual, lively entertaining.

Designed for making guests feel comfortable and welcomed, the thoughtfully designed kitchen includes a Prolific™ workstation sink paired with a Purist® semiprofessional faucet that makes kitchen prep work easy and efficient. To create a relaxed yet sophisticated aesthetic, designer and homeowner Rebecca Cartwright built a dynamic mosaic of materials, colors and finishes that strikes a delicate balance between modern minimalism and familiar coziness. The warm ambers of the wood floor and ceiling complement the rich, deep teal of the cabinets, with both colors being put into relief by the monochrome grays and whites of the counters, tables and walls. Discover more of the home here.



Neutral tones establish a soft calmness in the master bedroom.

A relaxed, laid-back vibe is central to Serenbe’s culture. The community supports its residents’ well-being and minimizes stress with a yoga studio, spa, arts programs, abundant natural areas and a multitude of boutique businesses that cater to mind and body health. Cartwright fosters her own inner harmony with a neutral color palette, thoughtful details and nature-inspired art in her master bedroom.

Combining purposeful technology with clean, minimalist colors, materials and finishes, the master bath creates both a calming and rejuvenating retreat.Soft, neutral tones are punctuated with a reserved use of black and white, resulting in a design story of comfortable sophistication. Discover more of the home here.



Centrally-located community horse stables bring neighbors together and help them connect with nature.

With more than 70 percent of the community’s land preserved as green space, horse stables located at the nexus of Serenbe’s three hamlets connect to miles of riding trails, offering recreation and a way to connect with nature, both flora and fauna.


Sustainable farming and healthy food choices support both the community and residents’ well-being.

Serenbe was founded with a belief in the connectedness of humans and their environment and that both thrive under respectful, sustainable practices. Serenbe Farms, a 25-acre organic farm, grows more than 300 varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers that residents can enjoy at several farm-to-table gourmet restaurants, by visiting the Saturday farmer’s market or through membership in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.


A fully functional kitchen helps guests feel at home in the lower level

Cartwright’s home includes a self-contained terrace-level living area, including its own entrance, kitchen, bath and common space, that can be locked off from the main home and used for hosting family, guests or even as a rental unit.


Product design often draws inspiration from architecture

Cut from the same design cloth as the horse stables’ spiral staircase, the articulating Karbon® pot filler adds functionality and convenience along with its modern style influence. Throughout the home, faucets with clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic were chosen to add an orderly, calming influence.

The clean minimalism and smooth surfaces of the guest bathroom reveal a stark beauty, free of unnecessary adornment and excess, yet distinctly luxurious and inviting. From the rainhead and handshower combination to the sleek one-piece vanity top and lighted mirror, this room’s details were selected to delight guests with their beauty and functionality. Discover more of the home here.



Every element of the home’s design was chosen to harmonize with Serenbe’s community vision.

Selecting the perfect combinations of colors, materials and finishes can be a time-consuming process. Cartwright worked with KOHLER representatives to identify elements that complemented the home’s unique combination of the natural and technological.


Large patios in front and back invite interaction with neighbors and nature

In keeping with the Serenbe approach of looking to nature for architectural and design solutions, the home was constructed with vertical cedar planks using a Japanese preservation technique in which the wood is charred to make it more durable and waterproof. Cartwright’s affection for the home and community is sure to be just as enduring.