Erected on the banks of the babbling Chattahoochee River, Columbus, Georgia is a vibrant patchwork of Antebellum homes, historic brick buildings, and shiny new development. While Downtown Columbus has long been the main artery of growth, thriving communities have recently been shifting inland. With easy access to the urban center, yet populated with more green spaces and high-end amenities, these communities cater to the sensibilities of many modern Georgian families.
One of these budding communities is Old Town Columbus. Established by the Woodruff group in 2013, Old Town boasts 300-acres of sprawling residential and commercial development. Charming residences line the streets—many have sugar-sweet names like Confetti Blush Drive and Punkin Street—and the neighborhood has its own town hall, chapel, community swimming center, upscale shopping, and eateries. Named the 2016 Southern Living Inspired Community of the Year, Old Town Columbus is where “southern charm and hospitality meet the modern conveniences of today.”
Family-owned for over 100 years, the Woodruff company is a prominent property management company in the Southeast. Dedicated to their community, the company has constructed several public spaces like the Woodruff Riverfront Park, a riverside promenade on the Columbus State University campus. Leigh Mowry, owner of local favorite Olive Interiors, was enlisted to design a highly anticipated community space at the Woodruff-owned Swallowtail Flats luxury apartment complex.
The Mill at Swallowtail Flats is a hub for community affairs. With neighborhood residents aged one to one-hundred, creating an engaging community clubhouse was a tall order. For this important project, Woodruff granted Mowry a carte blanche; the design and amenities were completely at her discretion. With this freedom, Mowry designed a community wonderland. With enticing features like a soda fountain, movie screening room, DJ studio, indoor slide, and pool table, neighbors of all ages and interests flock to the communal space.
The entire clubhouse was “a blast to design,” according to Mowry, but she does favor the bright exterior and lively outdoor spaces. “The pool is fabulous—like a high-end resort,” she glows. Old Town’s signature aesthetic—“modern living with a southern twist”—was incorporated into every facet of the Swallowtail Flats property, including the pool deck. Mowry selected Summer Classics Contract furniture with bright crimson textiles in order to create an “impact with color” while preserving classic southern style. The project’s challenges? There weren’t many. With Woodruff’s blessing and a “very realistic” budget, Mowry had free reign to implement her playful, colorful vision.
Standing on The Mill’s upper deck, visitors enjoy a luxurious view of the swimming pool, outdoor lounge, and adjacent lake. The furniture completes this picturesque setting: “We wanted luxury, which Summer Classics always provides.” Mowry notes that the outdoor selections “enhance” the natural surroundings without competing for attention.
Of course, beauty would be nothing without function. Summer thunderstorms frequently roll through the Georgia hills, bringing high winds and heavy rain. To protect the outdoor space from potential weather threats, Mowry selected furniture from Summer Classics Contract, sourcing durable frames, resilient fabrics, and heavy-bottomed umbrellas. Hand-woven wicker Rustic Chaise Lounges and Charleston Chaise Lounges rest poolside, just close enough to enjoy the cool water without getting splashed. A pair of coastal-inspired Marina Sofas flank the stone fireplace, and on the porch, a lovely line of Marina Lounge Chairs overlook the swimming pool.
With “one foot in the past, and one foot in the future,” designer Leigh Mowry believes the Woodruff group is well-equipped to lead their beloved Columbus into the future. Blending cheerful nostalgia with tradition, and modern amenities with wholesome values, Mowry’s skillful design seem to fulfill the same ethos.
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