The Anti-McMansion

In this architectural age of McMansion hell, a house like this one is good for the symmetry soul.  The balance, the  the proportions, the rhythm – all perfect.   The materials and craftsmanship – all sound.  The house was built in 1919 and still looks as good, arguably as gorgeous, today.

I love a good, light-filled landing.  Today this entrance would be opened up with impossible-to-reach windows and a monstrous light fixture.

The house was built to maximize light and like Gil Shafer‘s “thinner builds”, this house doesn’t look more than 2-rooms deep.   And, because this house was built at a time when proportion of land to house was important, the views out each window are magnificent.

Most rooms in the house have a fireplace.  Even if you don’t use them, they add so much architecturally to a room.  Imagine this house at Christmastime!

A third-floor bedroom with charming ceiling lines.  

And my favorite spot – the courtyard.  Look at that wall!

The house sits on 10 acres and the trees are immense.  This is a patio off the sunroom.

Coffered ceiling and so much potential!  I would paint this room white, replace the floor and throw gorgeous parties here by candlelight.

The house has great flow, light and generously-sized rooms. And doors!  I love doors to close for privacy, heat/cooling conservation or just because.

You can see the full listing here.


This is a laundry room.  Laundry room!!  The friend with whom I drove to the middle of the Earth for that very special faucet is nearing the finish line.  The cabinet doors are yet to be hung but the room is coming together and beautifully.  The counters are soapstone as is that pretty farmhouse sink.  Best part is this is the back of a 3rd car garage bay.  The front half still left with plenty of room to store bikes and scooters.  So smart.

Photos of my laundry room would break the Internet so I will spare you all but suffice it to say I am green with envy.  This is the perfect landing spot for everything that collects throughout the house and drives one batty.

I finally bit the bullet and bought the myrtle topiaries I have been eyeing at Terrain for the past couple of months.   I am hoping this is not one of those sad topiary stories.  I moved them outside for some sun and watering yesterday.   It’s been two weeks  . . . longer than I thought to keep them alive so pretty darn proud.

I recently requested a catalog from Forbes and Lomax and these light switches will put all your others to shame.  Designer light switches – does it get any better than that?

The air is warming a bit and it’s time to start thinking about outside, namely patio trees.  I have some ideas for quick shade.  More to come  soon . . .

Boxwood: Part II

In the years before Danielle Rollins filed for divorce and left Boxwood, she hired Miles Redd to work his magic with the interiors.  You may recognize some of these pictures as they are well-loved and pinned!

This is the entry hall.  This is probably one of those spaces that you have to see in person to really appreciate the textures and the color.  Redd covered the matching console tables in a persimmon-colored velvet which is probably beautiful in person.


Miles told Veranda that he always longed to decorate Boxwood, it is his favorite house in Atlanta.  Clearly he is not alone! He kept with his signature style by infusing bursts of saturated color throughout but said he called upon the 1950s and that glamorous time to inspire his design.

“To me, there’s a ’50s sensibility to the decorating, with nods to Babe Paley, Brooke Astor, and the Duchess of Windsor,” says Redd, who grew up in Atlanta and had ogled Boxwood since childhood. “We were definitely looking back in time to look forward.”


Miles and Danielle were a perfect pairing.  Danielle has her own beautiful sense of interior style and is not afraid of color.  This butler’s pantry is glamour head to toe and a space that has made its way around the Internet and back again. The zodiac ceiling is a nod to Grand Central Station’s and then there’s all that brass.  Miles Redd was doing brass when most of us were still eschewing it as sooo 1980s.

via New
via New

Danielle wanted a room just like Redd’s at his own house – a tented room and that’s what she got but with a slight modification.  Danielle was very worried that her three young children would make a mess of this beautiful Bennison striped fabric and probably rightfully so.  Redd laminated the fabric and no one is the wiser.


This may be my favorite room in the house.  The turquoise walls and rich velvety brown is such a pretty combination.  And, no, that’s not paint on the walls it’s satin.  When describing this room, Miles told Town and Country that satin when stretched is not ballgown shiny but matte and in the evenings light bounces off the walls in a way that you cannot get with paint.

Francesco Laguese
Francesco Langese

Rollins reportedly spent $4 million on renovations and decorating.  I wonder how it wasn’t more, quite honestly!

As much as I love the interiors, I am still partial to the exteriors but before I write a bit more about John Howard and his talents, next I’ll take you through Danielle’s most recent project – another house in Atlanta, this time smaller but just as beautiful in its own way.  Part III to come.

A Visit to the Low Country

This past Monday we handed over the rancher keys to the new owners and promptly left town for Charleston. We arrived just as the azaleas and cherries were blooming. The air was warm and the mosquitos were few and far between.  I’ll take a March day in Charleston any day!


We stayed in the historic district on Meeting Street and a short walk away from some of the prettiest houses I have seen in my travels.  The Charleston Single house was a fast favorite. The Charleston Single is similar to the Philadelphia Row House both with their long and narrow footprints, but the Charleston Single sets itself apart with double porches that run perpendicular to the street.  The street-side door or privacy door opens onto the porch or piazza with the front door to the house off this piazza.  Before the advent of cars, the piazzas mostly looked out onto green space.  Now those small lawns and gardens are sometimes driveways.  Still, just as charming.

Photograph by Brie Williams

I left my nicer camera in Pennsylvania but I was able to take a couple of pictures with my phone.

This house had everything going for it.  Beautiful brick courtyard, iron gate and gas lamps. Gorgeous!



One of the grander houses on the street.


A closer look at the Charleston Single’s outstanding feature – the piazza.



So many pretty pretty details.


Narrow brick paths


and lots of color.



I spotted this house on Church St.  I drove by twice just to make sure it was the same one. And, sure enough it was the house featured in Southern Living’s March 2014 edition and again in March 2015 (though just the door in that issue!) and it is every bit as pretty in person.  The owner is an East Coast transplant who has her own blog – Laquered Life.

via Laquered Life

The house recently went up for sale.  Here are some of the listing pictures off of Zillow and Luxury Real Estate.

You can see the privacy door off the street leads onto the porch with the front door into the house painted the same brilliant blue.

Come on in!

Original floors.  Gorgeous.  The house was built circa 1780 and is known as the Russell-Dehon Tenement.  The house was completely restored beginning in 2011 and won a Charleston preservation award in 2013.

And, the house as photographed for their feature in Southern Living.

via Laquered Life



This house would be hard to leave.  The location is wonderful as it is situated on the quieter part of Church Street.  The water is a block away and the best parts of the city are within walking distance.

I was hoping to bring more of Charleston home in the way of antiques but there just wasn’t enough time but we did stop at one local salvage and antique store on our way out of town.  Flat Stanley suffered an unfortunate fate.


This fixture was tempting but I had 10 minutes to explore 4000 square feet so had to move on quickly.


If I were a collector, I would probably collect doors.  This would be a good starting point.


We left empty-handed but I am determined to bring a bit of Charleston back home and into the garden.

I nearly put some Spanish moss into a baggie to bring home.  I read that it has been found as far north as Delaware but I would need to see that to believe it.  Spanish moss grows on Live Oaks whose branches are often covered in Resurrection Ferns.  Our Middleton Plantation carriage driver explained that Resurrection Ferns will brown and shrivel in dryer times and with the first rain restore themselves to the green, vibrant plant you see below.

via Fine Art America

No Spanish moss, but I am armed with Charleston garden, gate and courtyard pictures that will hopefully iinspire our garden transformation this spring and summer.  Stay tuned!