A cover line on the new magazine LoftLife claims "foreclosures and rural seclusion may lead to a rebirth of city living." Is this a subtle reference to squatting? Or will prices fall so much that an expensive loft, sheer luxury in Manhattan, becomes doable? And I don't mean the housing equivalent of shopping at Sears. I mean a disgraced hedge-fund manager who squirreled away money in Treasury bonds and escaped prosecution can move in. A quick perusal of this lovely pub is a gentle reminder that the good life doesn't come cheap.

  LoftLife has published two issues to date; both are focused on Atlanta, a city enshrined in cinematic memory, thanks to the burning scene in "Gone With the Wind." Each showcases slick design, beautiful photography, stunning spaces and a Zen-like disdain for clutter. The "Wanted" section offers nifty furniture that I'd have to sell my organs to afford.

The first issue sported a layout from the revamped Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills: the converted loft space now known as The Stacks. The new apartments, complete with exposed bricks, wood ceilings and big windows, are seriously sleek. The residents of La France Street lofts are equally blessed with warm, inviting abodes. One spread boasted butterscotch leather couches, red walls and greenery. The floors sparkled! I'm sure the publicist would say you could eat off them; personally, I prefer plates.

If you lived here, you'd be -- literally -- sitting pretty. Or maybe not.

Gibril Wilson, who plays for the Oakland Raiders, is a case in point. He could live anywhere, but chose Atlanta, due to "the abundance of beautiful women," then insisted on an "Asian-inspired theme with a touch of Miami" for his midtown high-rise. Asia in Miami? Wilson clearly hasn't seen "Dexter," the riveting miniseries set in a Cuban-flavored Miami that features the most datable avenging angel in history. OK, some call him serial killer. But in my office, he's considered a dream date -- sensitive and protective. And he cooks.

But to prove his Orientalist bent, Wilson's "condo stylist" added a bodhisattva Buddha, which sits on a kitchen counter. It's striking, but next to where you chop veggies? For those eager to be wooed where the sacred meets the profane, this is it.

Similarly, a giant hand sculpture rests on a glass living-room table atop what looks like a recycled-paper throw rug, index finger pointed to the sky; the mudrahands are, per his stylist, symbolic gestures from Hinduism and Buddhism that suggest the power of nonverbal communication. The effect, coupled with the brown Sixties-like circle leather chair, is surprisingly tacky. The space is gorgeous; the décor not so much. Using religious symbols as design accents? The next hand purchase should be a thumbs-down.

Published quarterly in 2008, LoftLife plans to go bimonthly in 2009 and promises a 60/40 national, regional focus. Who is the readership? The design community is a big draw; LoftLife is published by the same group that owns Metro, a daily newspaper, and The Black Book, a source book for photogs and illustrators. The mag embraces Jane Jacobs' belief that society can prosper if there is "a flourishing city at its core."

Best known as the author of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," Jacobs is equally famous in activist circles for her smackdown of Robert Moses, the New York City transportation czar whose handiwork, the Cross-Bronx Expressway, destroyed a once-charming New York City borough. She knew that vibrant cities celebrate culture, diversity, great food and possibility. If you're lucky enough to live in one, count your blessings -- with or without a loft.


Published by: LoftLife, Inc.

Frequency: Quarterly

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