Steve and Marie Nygren discovered the property now known as The Inn and Farmhouse at Serenbe on a Saturday outing to explore a 1905 historic farm and to introduce their three daughters to the Georgia countryside. To their surprise, they purchased the farm that afternoon and weekend getaways led renovations of a two bed, one bath cottage built for farm workers in 1940 (Mimosa Cottage). During those early years, they also renovated one of the historic barns into a three bedroom, four bath guest house (The Guest House) for friends and family.
Weekend visits for the family transformed their lives, and three years later they sold their Atlanta home and relocated full-time to "The Farm." They restored the main 1905 historic farmhouse, including an expansion that included a glass & screened porch (The Farmhouse Dining Room), and a family pool, complete with diving board and water slide, which have since been removed.
Ryan Gainey designed the framework for the gardens throughout the grounds and enlisted Keith Summerour, at the time an aspiring architect, to draw The Farmhouse Garden.
Marie’s mother, Margaret Lupo, sold Mary Mac’s Tea Room (after 32 years) and decided to follow the family to the country. The Lake House was built for her and her sister. After Margaret’s death in 1999, the four room Lake House was added to The Inn’s accommodations and her sister moved into the Main House.
A bedroom expansion was completed for the three daughters (Rooms 2 - 6) which also allowed one of the daughters to move out of the smallest bedroom (converted to a powder room in The Farmhouse) and a media room was added (The Hawthorne Conference Room).
When the 1996 Olympics came to Atlanta, so many friends wanted to stay with the Nygrens that they posted Bed & Breakfast rates to manage requests to stay in the guest houses. In the early days, guests would come up to the screen porch for Marie’s home cooked breakfast, and they cooked their own dinners in the guest houses or ventured to nearby towns.
During the summer, the daughters decided offering a limited dinner menu would be an opportunity to serve guests and earn extra money. They asked Marie to teach them a few of her favorite dishes and created the first dinners at The Farmhouse.
Due to the popularity of the B&B, a competition was launched to design an environmentally friendly two bedroom cottage. Three designs were selected and two were built, featuring the architecture of Peter Block and Marc Mosley, which are now the Magnolia and Dogwood Cottages.
The community broke ground in 2004, the Nygrens moved to the first Serenbe hamlet, Selborne, and The Inn property was rezoned as a Country Inn with family bedrooms and guest rooms available for stays. The Farmhouse Restaurant also officially opened, and the summer living room was turned into the main dining room, and their original dining room remains available for private parties. Steve, who founded the Peasant Restaurant Group, and Marie’s extensive hospitality experience of growing up at Mary Macs prepared them for this next chapter. The Farmhouse was one of the first restaurants focused on farm-to-table cuisine, sourcing ingredients from local area producers and its own kitchen garden.
The original farmhouse with the 1994 expansion was renovated once again to add a veranda wing, expanding the seven guest rooms to 15 in the Main House. The Oak Ballroom was also added providing additional space for conferences, dinners and indoor weddings and the family living room was turned into The Farmhouse Bar. The Inn grounds now include a total of four conference rooms and 29 guest rooms.
A second pool and hot tub are opening soon adjacent to the Main House veranda wing specifically for ages 21+. This pool complements the all ages pool and hot tub next to The Pool House.