I arrived in Atlanta in 2002. I was a freshman at Georgia State University. I lived at The Village freshman year, survived almost exclusively on Quiznos and Cup of Noodles, and met some of the people closest to me. 

Fifteen years later, I noticed a trend in various online groups in which female-presenting individuals consistently said these two phrases back to back: "Hi, I'm new to the Atlanta area" and "Where can I go to make friends?"

All of the answers were always the same: yoga, spin class, hot yoga, book club, knitting club, wine club, boot camp, pilates, the list just went on and on. Quickly followed by the list of places to not go as a single woman alone in the city: literally, any place where people are supposed to be able to socialize freely with one another.

It hit me. There isn't a single solitary space in this city a woman can go that was created for them that wasn't based on self-improvement. Each suggestion was an event or class focused on bettering yourself in some aspect. A place that was created for the enjoyment, safety, and comfort of marginalized groups, especially the people of color in said groups simply wasn't. So I decided to create it. 

! Darling Josephine - Logo - Black - Whi

Of all the things I have been fortunate enough to create, I must admit my two children are what I'm most proud of. When trying to imagine what this space could be, I kept coming back to what sort of space I hope they have when they're finally old enough to move to a brand new city and strike out on their own. 

 

It is only fair that I named the project after them. And I hope, more than anything, that Lola Darling and Lillian Josephine find their own Darling Josephine wherever their journeys takes them. 

The Space

I am a firm believer in good bones and if this project does not encompass that phrase, I don't know what does. George W. Adair Elementary School officially opened its doors on September 9, 1912, and was later expanded in 1937, but it closed its doors in 1973. Integral to the community of the time, the school is located at the heart of the Adair Park neighborhood and was originally constructed to be the gathering place for the community. After almost fifty years, untouched, and using the very same bones, the goal is to create a gathering place that reflects the current surrounding community. 

Do I experience a deep, reverent joy knowing that I am creating  an inclusive space for everyone, especially Black and Brown folks, in a neighborhood that was historically once heavily segregated? I sure do. 

The Vision

Using a historically accurate Art Deco design to bring the space for Darling Josephine to life, while elevating the concept of community. 

Art Deco began in the early 1920's and was a prominent design concept throughout the 1930's. The food concept of Darling Josephine will be on the bottom level of the building, directly below the school auditorium that will now house our 5000 sqft event hall.(The Hall at Darling Josephine) From the bright, light, airy hall, you walk down the stairs to an intimate space, using the original casings and openings in the walls to create different zones that will have sleek banquet seating, intimate two-tops, four-tops, and seating at the bar. Although the lower level is above ground, natural light is limited and the use of strategically placed mirrors will allow the space to still feel welcoming during the day. 

Exterior Space

For the exterior, we create a seamless transition to the outside space by keeping with the Art Deco design, but also bringing in the elements of the famous courtyards in Miami and Los Angeles that created during this time period. 

Bushes, topiaries, wrought iron fence, and a tiered privacy wall will create a layered, organic perimeter to the courtyard, creating an ideal space to study during the day, enjoy dinner service by our chef in residency, or to  throw an intimate event such as an engagement dinner. The glass enclosure will ensure the space can be used year-round. During warm days we can open the glass to allow the heat to escape. During the cold, we'll close those windows and get the heaters going. Our space will continue to be lush and a true retreat for anyone in the city. For our neighbors, our coffee window will shave minutes off of your weekday routine, as well as be the perfect stop on your way to hop on the Beltline on the weekend. For those looking for a reprieve in the city for an intimate wedding with thirty of your closest family and friends, this outdoor space will be the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable night.