A peek inside artist Leonard "Porkchop" Zimmerman's loft apartment in downtown Augusta. It will be on the tour May 3-4. Photo courtesy Leonard Zimmerman.
A peek inside artist Leonard "Porkchop" Zimmerman's loft apartment in downtown Augusta. It will be on the tour May 3-4. Photo courtesy Leonard Zimmerman.

Loft tour gives glimpse into downtown living

It’s probably not an event that would be lifechanging for many people, but Historic Augusta’s annual loft tour was just that for Carmen Bindues.

“When I first moved to Augusta, I took the loft tour. I was interested to see how people lived downtown,” said Bindues, chairperson for the 19th annual Loft and Living Tour scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, May 3 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Union Lofts on James Brown Boulevard. Photo courtesy Historic Augusta

The thought of living in downtown Augusta entered her mind then, and when her beloved dogs passed away, she and her husband were ready to make the move into a loft on Broad Street over what is now the home of Pineapple Ink Kitchen.

 And not long after the move, they volunteered their home to be part of it. Their loft became a hub where people often gathered, and she made many new friends – all because of that first trip on the tour.

 She’s continued to chair the event for several years and participates in other Historic Augusta events. She enjoys the tour because of her love of downtown Augusta.

“I want people to know that it’s o.k. to live here,” she said.

She’s excited about this year’s tour because not only are there lofts that people are currently living in, but there are other buildings being repurposed to provide more spaces for people to live. The Union Lofts on James Brown Boulevard and Kahrs Grocery on Greene Street are examples of the renovated spaces.

One of the current loft dwellers whose home is on the tour is artist Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman. His previous apartment dubbed “The Happy Den” at the Cobb House was on the tour twice.

His decor reflects lifestyle.

“You can tell a lot about a person by what they surround themselves with.  Clean, pristine and minimal is not how I roll. I make my art in my apartment, and I surround myself with things that make me happy,” he said.

Sites on the tour Friday and Saturday include 1002 Broad St. (Artus Loft),1010 Broad St. (3rd Floor), 920 Greene St., 513 James Brown Blvd. (Union Lofts Augusta) and 416-418 Eighth St.

Sites on the tour Saturday only are Augusta Jewish Museum, 525 Telfair St.; Olde Town Inn and Fox’s Lair, 349 Telfair St.; and Kahrs Grocery at 401 Greene St.

Tickets are $25 per person. Tickets and booklets can be picked up the day of at the Loft Tour HQ which is located at the front of the J.B. White’s Building, 936 Broad St. Advance tickets are available here.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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