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Escape to Paradise Three-home Gated Compound in Inlet Beach, Florida $21 million or $6.5 million each Details on Page 4

Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate Member

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• Most elite and comprehensive luxury real estate network in the world • Hand-selected group with properties in more than 70 countries • Collectively sells over $300 billion in real estate annually • Named an industry leader by Forbes, The Webby Awards, Web Marketing Association, Maggie Awards, ADDY Awards, the Inc. 5000 List, and more

• Exclusive network of the world’s most elite luxury real estate professionals • Global collection of the finest real estate brokers in the world • Over 500 firms with 130,000 professionals in more than 65 countries • Collectively sells over $200 Billion in real estate annually • Average sale of $2,450,000

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LindaMillerLuxury.com | (850) 974-8885 | Linda@TheSmileOf30A.com

Real Estate Broker in Rosemary Beach® ROSEMARY BEACH® is a registered trademark owned by Rosemary Beach Holdings, LLC and is used with permission pursuant to a license from Rosemary Beach Holdings, LLC.


$21,000,000 COMPOUND OR $6,500,000 EACH Just as broker Linda Miller has created a legacy of luxury real estate on the Gulf of Mexico along Scenic Highway 30A, this property is poised to become a legacy beach home to enjoy for generations to come. The brand-new three-home gated compound on Escape Drive in Inlet Beach boasts sweeping views with 173 feet of Gulf-front white-sand beach, private rooftop pool, gourmet chef’s kitchens, and room to expand on a fourth lot if you desire. This up-and-coming residential neighborhood enjoys proximity to dining, shopping, entertainment, and outdoor adventures on 30A and in Panama City Beach. Available as a total luxury package or as three separate beachfront properties, this is your chance to make the great escape!


Celebrating 20 Years in Business on Scenic Highway 30A! Linda Miller is the Broker of Rosemary Beach Realty on Scenic Highway 30A. With 20 years of experience and wisdom as well as extensive knowledge of the local market, she has been the number one agent since 2015. Miller brokered the largest sale on 30A of $12.5 million in Rosemary Beach and has generated over $425 million in career sales with an average sale of $2,340,000. When you own property on 30A, you’ll be smiling too! LindaMillerLuxury.com | (850) 974-8885 | Linda@TheSmileOf30A.com ROSEMARY BEACHŽ is a registered trademark owned by Rosemary Beach Holdings, LLC and is used with permission pursuant to a license from Rosemary Beach Holdings, LLC.


Enhancing Mother Nature's Perfect View

Photo by Jack Gardner


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In this issue On the Cover

When Karen Waterfield of Sugar Beach Interiors in Miramar Beach, Florida, was commissioned by her returning clients Brenda and Ernie Franz to create the interiors for their new modern mansion in Lafayette, Louisiana, she knew it would be a massive but exciting endeavor. Waterfield drove six hours to the home many times during construction, spending a week at a time in Lafayette and working with builder Mike Landry to ensure the project was perfect for their clients, who love to entertain. Partnering with antiques dealers in the area, they were able to find beautiful pieces that are comfortable yet also reflect the interior’s modern antebellum feel. All of the doors in the house and many of the windows are antiques, and with reclaimed brick and custom woodwork throughout, the home beckons family and friends to come inside for some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality. Photo by Jack Gardner

82

TODD REEVES AND JORGE SAIZ TOOK A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE TO BECOMING THE PROPRIETORS OF ISIDRO DUNBAR MODERN INTERIORS AND DESIGNING HOMES FOR CLIENTS WHO WANT A MODERN TOUCH, BUT THEY’VE COME TO REALIZE THAT NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. PHOTO BY STEVEN T MANGUM

FEATURE 54 A Home Fit for a King and Queen: Southern Hospitality Reigns Supreme

VISUAL PERSPECTIVES 27 28 From Greece to the Gulf Coast: Bohlert

Massey Interiors

38 Think Beach! The Everyday Getaway

with Gray Malin

48 The Princess and the Pocket Spring:

116 A Modern Touch: There’s No Place Like Home 90 Island in the Sun: A Venice Retreat Like No Other 122 A New Life in New Orleans: Renovating an Artistic Retreat

128 Sitting on the Dock of the Bay: Perfection Is Yours

134 The Castellana of the Langhe: Italy’s Secret Guardian

Vispring Creates Masterpiece Beds

140 Eight Tips for Making Your Home BEAUtiful

LA MAISON 63

150 Building Hope: Changing the World

64 All Things Bright and Beautiful: Dawn

D. Totty Sets the Stage for Life

72 Born to Love Urbanism: The Story

of Seaside, Florida

82 A Modern Touch: There’s No Place

PUBLISHED BY

108 Designing Your Happy Place

Like Home

90 The Great Escape: Retreat to the Gulf 96 The Lovelace Lifestyle: Growing Her Brand

146 The Gold Standard for the Better

INTROSPECTIONS 157 158 Unplugged: Break Up with It? 160 If These Tables Could Talk 164 A Dream Home Comes to Life

AU REVOIR! 169

104 Growing an Empire: A Formula for Success TheIdeaBoutique.com info@theideaboutique.com V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 13


CREATIVE TEAM FOUNDER / EDITOR-IN-CHIEF LISA MARIE BURWELL Lisa@VIEmagazine.com

FOUNDER / PUBLISHER GERALD BURWELL Gerald@VIEmagazine.com

EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR JORDAN STAGGS Jordan@VIEmagazine.com

CHIEF COPY EDITOR MARGARET STEVENSON CONTRIBUTING WRITERS SALLIE W. BOYLES, MEL ANIE A. CISSONE, ANTHEA GERRIE, SOL ANGE JAZAYERI, SALLIE LEWIS LONGORIA, TORI PHELPS, SUZANNE POLL AK, NICHOL AS S. RACHEOTES, XENIA TALIOTIS, DHIRU A. THADANI, JANET THOMAS

ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY ART DIRECTOR TRACEY THOMAS Tracey@VIEmagazine.com

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS OLIVIA PIERCE HANNAH VERMILLION LUCY YOUNG

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS BRENDAN BABINEAUX, TOM BL AND, SARA ESSEX BRADLEY, TRE COLE, JACK GARDNER, L AUREY GLENN, FLETCHER ISACKS, ADAM JOHNSTON, GRAY MALIN, STEVEN T MANGUM, DIANA PAPPAS, ROMONA ROBBINS, COURTNEY KUENTZ PHOTOGRAPHY, DREAMTOWN PHOTO CO., MODUS PHOTOGRAPHY, PURE 7 STUDIOS, TIM KRAMER PHOTOGRAPHY

ADVERTISING, SALES, AND MARKETING DIGITAL MARKETING DIRECTOR MEGHN HILL BRANCH OFFICE MANAGER – IRELAND SHARON DUANE ASSISTANT TO THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ABIGAIL RYAN BRAND AMBASSADOR LISA MARIE BURWELL Lisa@VIEmagazine.com

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER TIM DUTROW DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR SHANNON QUINL AN

VIE is a registered trademark. All contents herein are Copyright © 2008–2018 Cornerstone Marketing and Advertising, Incorporated (Publisher). All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission from the Publisher. VIE is a lifestyle magazine and is published twelve times annually on a monthly schedule. The opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Publisher. The Publisher and its advertisers will not be held responsible for any errors found in this publication. The Publisher is not liable for the accuracy of statements made by its advertisers. Ads that appear in this publication are not intended as offers where prohibited by state law. The Publisher is not responsible for photography or artwork submitted by freelance or outside contributors. The Publisher reserves the right to publish any letter addressed to the editor or the Publisher. VIE is a paid publication. Subscription rates: Printed magazine – One-year $29.95; Two-year $54.95. Subscriptions can be purchased online at www.VIEmagazine.com.

14 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


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790 North Highway 393, Suite 2E, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

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Editor’s Note

YOU’RE WELCOME HOME!

M

y first trip to Ireland was in the summer of 1977 with my sister Laurie. I remember it vividly as it was the same summer Elvis Presley died. We were in a store in Galway City with our Irish cousins Peadar and Anne Marie Ryan who were showing us around the Salthill Promenade area when the news was announced over the radio. It was a shock that echoed around the globe—even in remote regions of Ireland, which seemed so far away from my home. The trip that summer was the first time my sister and I left home for such an extended period. The moment I heard the shocking news that the King of Rock ’n’ Roll died, it shook me to the core. I wanted to be back home to be in the comfort of my loving family, friends, and familiar surroundings.

VIE editor-in-chief Lisa Burwell Photo by Romona Robbins Below: Lisa Burwell (née Ryan) with her sister Laurie and their cousins Peadar and Anne Marie at Leisureland near the Salthill Promenade in Galway City, Ireland.

they, too, feel at home when visiting Ireland, so it may just be the country’s magical forces at work. Speaking of home, we have so many beautiful homes and places to reveal to you within this issue and hope that you marvel at the attention to detail and the talent of the architects, interior designers, developers, and visionaries that are showcased. Many of the stories you will read are about our advertisers who have partnered with VIE through the years. I’d like to extend a huge “thank you” on behalf of the team to all who have aligned with and supported us in creating something unique. The feeling of safety and security that a home conveys is a primal human emotion, and it can never be underestimated. Over the years since that first memorable trip to Ireland, I have learned that “home” can be almost any place where one feels safe and welcome—even in the most remote locations far away from your hometown or within a sea of strangers in an active city. I can’t get it out of my mind these past few years how grateful I am for everything but mostly just that I do have a home, friends, and family. That is all one needs to be happy. So, as you peruse the pages of this issue (and future issues) of VIE, imagine that you hear the words “You’re welcome home.”

One of the many heartwarming memories I have from that summer is that nearly everyone we met, either familiar or stranger, greeted us by saying, “You’re Welcome Home.” At the time, I found it to be a peculiar custom since it was obviously not my home, but the Irish are hospitable that way. Maybe they knew something that I didn’t at the time because many years later, I now consider Ireland my second home. So, when I travel there now and hear those words, they give me joy and comfort in a place where I now do feel like it is my home. I’m not sure if it’s because the Irish heritage is part of my DNA or if it is merely a feeling that I get when I’m there, but I cherish this custom of greeting that I once found to be odd. Others have told me

To Life!

—Lisa Marie Founder/Editor-In-Chief V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 19


local experts GLOBAL REACH

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OUR FEATURED EXPERTS 30A Blue Mountain Beach | 30Avenue Inlet Beach | City Market Bayside Destin EACH OFFICE IS INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED.

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La conversation

IT’S ALL TALK WE LOVE TO COMMUNICATE AND INTERACT WITH OUR READERS! AND WE LOVE IT EVEN MORE WHEN THEY PROUDLY SHARE THEIR STORIES AND POSE WITH VIE FOR A CLOSE-UP! THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT: SHARING, LOVING, AND BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS. WE THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH AND WE APPRECIATE YOU!

@Love GOGA ATL Thank you to VIE magazine for featuring Love GOGA ATL in their August publication. What an amazing opportunity. We feel so blessed that people around the country are starting to notice the magic happening in our little corner of the world. Thank you for all your love and support. Enjoy the article! @30a10k We are tremendously thankful for this note @viemagazine! We are also proud to welcome them as a new sponsor for our fun Thanksgiving race, ranked one of the top 5 Thanksgiving Day races in America!

@mark_schnell It’s fun to see my master plan for Alaqua Animal Refuge on the pages of @viemagazine. As always, @lauriehhood is doing amazing work. I look forward to seeing the new @alaquaanimalrefuge come to life!

@beyondbex Head to @viemagazine to read my article about the Bear and Wolf Sanctuary @arcturos and the fantastic work they do.

LET’S TALK!

@lauriehhood My incredible (and pretty cute) AND ultra-supportive family! It was an absolute honor to be featured in this month’s @viemagazine feature story written by my friend Wayne Pacelle! Thank you, Lisa Burwell and the entire VIE staff and team that came out for this shoot. Incredibly talented people!

Send VIE your comments and photos on our social media channels or by emailing us at info@viemagazine.com. We’d love to hear your thoughts. They could end up in the next La conversation! @amy_guidry_artist The new Animal Issue of @viemagazine arrived, and I’m honored to have an article about my work in there. Writer Sallie Boyles wrote a lovely piece and did a great job of conveying the story behind my art.

VIEmagazine.com

V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 23


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Visual Perspectives Photo by Adam Johnston Learn more or book your stay at ParadisoIbiza.com.

Visual Perspectives THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Move over, Miami! We’ve found everyone’s new favorite retro-inspired resort, and it’s in the heart of Ibiza! The tiny island in the Balearic Sea is known as one of Spain’s party hot spots, but the new Paradiso Art Hotel is taking the culture up a notch with an art gallery, a retro cinema, Andy’s bar and restaurant, and, of course, this gorgeous pool area. You can even become part of the art show when you book a night in the Zero Suite Project free of charge— the only catch is the walls are glass, and you’ll be on display for the duration of your stay (don’t worry, the baño is private).

V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 27


Visual Perspectives

FROM

GREECE G U LF C OAST TO THE

A fairy-tale blending of art, heart, design, and destiny

BY JANET THOMAS

A moody Gulf Coast sunset captured by Tom Bland; Bland and his wife, Diana Pappas, have an exclusive photo collection available for purchase at Bohlert Massey home store in Seacrest Beach, Florida.


Once upon a time, there was a group of interesting, sophisticated people who were passionate about art and design in the home. They were a dreamy lot if ever there was one. But the truly spectacular thing is that the characters in this story aren’t imaginary, and they aren’t actors. They’re the real deal, and this is a snapshot of their charmed lives.

Susan Bohlert Smith and daughter Bo Massey in the studio at Bohlert Massey Photo by Romona Robbins

Please allow me, your humble narrator, to set the scene and make the proper introductions.

SUSAN BOHLERT SMITH: A design queen, powerhouse, and matriarch, Susan was one of the first interior designers to move to Northwest Florida’s 30-A area.

BO MASSEY: The original little princess; meet Susan’s daughter—the namesake of the design firm and exquisite interior decor retailer, Bohlert Massey. DIANA PAPPAS: Thanks to her parents, Diana discovered the Rosemary Beach area of Scenic Highway 30-A as a fresh-eyed teenager many years ago. She developed a deep love of the coast and a keen eye for fine photography. TOM BLAND: Cue the knight in shining armor. Tom came into the picture, literally, when he and Diana met through their love of photography and then of one another. NARRATOR: And so the fairy tale begins. The stars align, and all four characters discover the same slice of paradise. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 29


Visual Perspectives

SUSAN: Growing up in the Southeast, my family always vacationed on the Florida Gulf and spent every summer here. I decided to make 30-A my home about twenty years ago and opened a design studio in Grayton Beach. Rosemary Beach and the east end of 30-A were just being developed when we bought our home nearby and moved our design office and store to Seacrest Beach. At the time, there were very few shops and resources for me as a designer to use for projects in the area, and that was the basis for me opening a store. There were many quality homes and communities being built on 30-A, but there was a big gap in the market for a full-service interior designer, which made it easy for Bohlert Massey to become established in the area. It was really the perfect time and place for me at that stage.

DIANA: I was fourteen the first time I visited Rosemary Beach with my parents in 1996. It was nothing more than a stunning empty beach, high dunes covered in scrub, a model home, and a sales office in a trailer. There wasn’t even a walkover to get down to the beach, but even in those nascent days, there was a real vision for what the town would become. Just a couple years later, that vision took off, and my parents leaped at the chance to own an unusually shaped lot on the Eastern Green with unobstructed views of the Gulf of Mexico. The architect recommended a few interior designers, one of which was Susan. My dad was adamant that Susan was the one for the job, based on her energy and passion—and how right he was. 30 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


NARRATOR: A shared vision and bond began to develop among these trailblazing pioneers.

SUSAN: I met Diana’s parents through their architect, Tom Christ, who I have worked with on many homes. They were building one of the first houses in Rosemary Beach. They found our little beach town through word-of-mouth—all the way from their home state of New Jersey. They needed a local designer that could help oversee construction and be their eyes while they were away. In the course of doing the home together, we became friends. That’s how I met Diana, who was a teen at the time. Diana’s family still owns that home.

DIANA: I remember boxes of sketches, swatches, and samples arriving in the mail. I also remember visiting Susan’s studio and seeing furniture and finishes reserved for our house. I recall being in awe of the finished product, seeing the integration of a dozen shades of paint, reclaimed barnwood floors, mosaics, antique armoires, imaginative lighting

It was nothing more than a stunning empty beach, high dunes covered in scrub, a model home, and a sales office in a trailer. fixtures, luxurious bed linens, and Turkish terra-cotta urns. The staircase lined with dozens of framed hummingbird illustrations welcomed guests into the home. Susan is a true artist and gifted us a serene, peaceful home that felt personal and magical down to the smallest detail.

NARRATOR: Enter the original little princess, Bohlert Massey, whom Diana remembers having her own desk in Susan’s studio when Bo was just a toddler. Proud mother and design diva Susan elaborates.

Above: Susan and Bo have amassed a beautiful collection of home decor, furniture, gifts, and more at Bohlert Massey. Seen here, a lovely rattan bed takes center stage with one of Diana’s photos displayed proudly above it. Photo by Romona Robbins Opposite bottom: Diana Pappas and Tom Bland Opposite top: Another of Bland’s seascape photos featuring the rolling tide along the coast of Northwest Florida

SUSAN: From the time Bo was little, she had pillow forts under our conference table, made of expensive fabrics she would find around the studio. She would go V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 31


Visual Perspectives everywhere with me—markets, jobsites, meetings, anywhere. That’s how I was able to work and spend time with her. My clients would be disappointed if I left Bo at home. We’ve really been a team since the beginning.

NARRATOR: Princess Bo grew up and joined her mother in the Bohlert Massey business.

SUSAN: It was a natural progression for Bo to join the business, because she’s always been very involved with it, especially in the last few years, and has seen its evolution. I’ve always felt like Bo understands me, my aesthetic, and what I do better than anyone, and she brings a youthful perspective to the team. The company name, Bohlert Massey, is Bo’s full name—I think I subconsciously always knew I wanted Bo to join the team! Right: No detail is too small when creating stunning decor, and the team at Bohlert Massey work closely with clients to help build a home they will love for decades to come. Below: Tom Bland’s grayscale palm leaf photo fits perfectly in this coastal-inspired living room without taking the beach theme too literally. Photos by Romona Robbins

BO: I recently graduated with a dual degree in English and art history from the University of Georgia, and thanks to my mom, I didn’t feel intimidated about pursuing creative degrees that inspired me. In college, I considered what I saw myself doing after graduation, and I would circle back to the fact that I really wanted to work with my mom—to help grow and modernize the business that I had spent my entire life watching her build. My passion for art history is a result of all of the art and design my mom exposed me to during my childhood. Interior design can be an art form by creating a beautiful space that people can reside within. To me, good design is just as timeless as good art. NARRATOR: Diana also grew up, became the photographer she longed to be, and met her prince, Tom Bland—through photography, of course. How

fitting it is that now the design duo Susan and Bo are spearheading a refresh of Diana’s family home in Rosemary Beach.

DIANA: After almost twenty years, the time is ripe for a renovation at our Rosemary Beach house. It’s been a time of transition for my family. My dad passed away six years ago, and this is an opportunity to re-create the home for our family as we are today—my brothers and I are all married, and my mom has three grandchildren and two more on the way. Who better than Susan—who knew my dad and deeply feels his loss—to work with my mom, reimagine our house, and bring new life to it? It’s a time of great possibility, and we’re lucky to have a designer who’s not only a great talent but also a wonderful friend to our family.

SUSAN: We want to continue the tradition of Pappas family vacations in Florida. After two decades of enjoying the property and work we did, I’m so happy that Diana’s mom, Stella, wants to work with us again to update and refresh the home. NARRATOR: Diana and Tom have also collaborated with Susan and Bo on a series of exclusive photography prints that are now available only at the Bohlert Massey store in Seacrest Beach.

SUSAN: We have always stayed in touch over the years, and I saw what a talented photographer Diana had become. I really loved her work and Tom’s, and that’s how the conversation came about for us to represent them in the area. 32 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


DIANA: Partnering with Bohlert Massey represents the kind of exposure that is meaningful and validating. Collectors get to see our artwork in context with beautiful furniture, finishes, and textiles in the showroom so they can easily envision how it would look in their homes. TOM: It’s really rewarding and satisfying when someone likes your photograph so much that they want to hang it on their wall—it justifies the effort you invested in creating it. Having our work available through Bohlert Massey compounds this and encourages us to continue exploring the Gulf Coast and to push our creativity further. SUSAN: Bo and I worked with Diana and Tom to put together a capsule collection of their work that we feel reflects the aesthetic of the store and our mutual interest in natural beauty and global inspiration. Tom and Diana both have an eye for images that feel effortless but have tremendous depth. Their photography is refined, timeless, and moody, which is what we aspire to achieve in our interiors.

I love that the collection intermingles the beauty of our Florida Gulf Coast area with that of exotic regions internationally.

BO: The photographs we have in the store by Diana and Tom were taken in Florida and in other countries where they’ve traveled. I love that the collection intermingles the beauty of our Florida Gulf Coast area with that of exotic regions internationally. Similarly, we combine our understanding of this region’s aesthetic with items and inspiration from around the world. We have antiques in the store from Europe (my grandmother is a direct importer of antiques) along with textiles and objects from Mexico, India, and Italy found during our travels. DIANA: These are special premium prints that we sourced specifically for Bohlert Massey. They’re printed on beautiful fine-art paper at sizes specified by Susan, ranging from twenty-four by thirty-six inches to thirty-six by fifty-four inches. Scale is important to get right with artwork, as is framing, so we were glad to work with Susan on all these elements to make bespoke works of the finest quality. Some prints are from Florida’s Gulf Coast area, and they selected additional photographs from our travels that fit their aesthetic. Together, these photographs

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Visual Perspectives represent a shared visual language—one we hope will continue to evolve.

NARRATOR: All four of our art-and-designsavvy leading ladies and gentleman are well-traveled, which enhances and informs their expertise. BO: “From Greece to the Gulf Coast” is a tagline I developed in trying to describe Tom and Diana’s stunning photography collection in-store. I thought it was nice to emphasize the fact that they are so well-traveled but continue to return our small town in Florida, which is sophisticated and beautiful enough to draw them back. DIANA: I’m from northeast New Jersey, and visiting the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast area for the first time in 1996 was a revelation. I love to embrace nature, to feel the sand between my toes, to look out at the horizon with nothing manmade in sight, to listen to the gentle lapping of the water on a calm day, or to face the furious spray of a churning Gulf of Mexico with dark clouds in the distance as a storm approaches. TOM: My family home in the northeast of England is inland and surrounded by forest and farmland, so although we would often have family day trips to

Northumberland’s dramatic coastline, the fact that the coast wasn’t my everyday setting is probably why I find that environment so stimulating now. I particularly love how strong winds can wipe a beach clean of all its footprints overnight and leave you with a blank slate the next day.

NARRATOR: Each of these artists has favorite, magical places they love to visit, but the 30-A area of Florida is a deep and lasting common denominator. DIANA: We love to travel for photography, food, and experiencing different cultures, but going to places where my ancestors lived is especially meaningful for me. My grandparents were immigrants—ethnic Greeks who were forced to leave their coastal village in Turkey in the aftermath of World War I, and then later left Greece for a better life in the United States. When I’m in Turkey and Greece, I’m closing a loop of a hundred years of displacement, and in that moment I feel an emotional and powerful connection to deep roots that go far beyond the short written records we have. On a personal level, I long for this feeling of belonging, and being able to experience these special places with my husband becomes part of our shared story together. TOM: When I met Diana, I was working as a photographer in London. We now frequently work together but also remain individual artists, which was important to us so we could develop our own projects and pursue different styles. I think what unites our work is how our photographic eyes gravitate toward the same things—we see the potential for a photograph in very similar ways, and our 34 | SE P T E MBE R 2018

Above: Diana says, “I took this photo on the Ionian island of Kefalonia in Greece, a place my grandmother went as a refugee for a short time. Kefalonia is a gorgeous island that was inspiring to photograph. I captured the diver by chance when I was swimming out from the shore of a secluded beach to explore and take pictures in a hidden cave. At Susan’s request, it’s printed at fifty-four inches wide, the largest I’ve ever printed one of my photographs—and it is absolutely stunning.” Left: A playful self-portrait of Diana and Tom


images have a similar visual language to them. The prints at Bohlert Massey all have a gracefulness to them, coupled with a kind of coastal style that we are drawn to—and we hope others are, too.

DIANA: Almost all our work is a product of curiosity and serendipity. A subject has to grab our attention in an arresting way. If it can be breathtaking, that’s even better. If it’s something no one else in the world would think of capturing in the way we have captured it, then it is truly ours as artists. TOM: Right now, we are focused on our fine art and editorial work, which can often overlap—we might be working on an editorial story somewhere and come across a scene or subject that is crying out to be printed, framed, and displayed on a wall. NARRATOR: The mother-daughter design team finds its taste and vision also overlap in uncanny ease.

SUSAN: Bo and I both have a fine-art approach to design. We do everything from new construction through furnishings, renovations, and updating

I thought it was nice to emphasize the fact that they are so well traveled but continue to return to our small town in Florida, which is sophisticated and beautiful enough to draw them back.

Above left: Diana captured this shot of Tom in his element taking photos from a lookout point in Istanbul. Above right: Stop by the Bohlert Massey showroom to browse more original art and photography. Photo by Romona Robbins

existing homes. We’re deliberate in avoiding trends and conscious of quality design that ages gracefully. To us, everything that goes in a home should have purpose and value, whether it’s an antique you inherited or an item you collected on your travels. Good design has layers and meaning. Style, for me, is steeped in tradition and history, with fresh perspectives on the placement of accessories, unexpected proportions that are balanced but interesting, and original and handmade pieces that give a space an intangible richness. If I were to give names or words to describe our style, I would call it artistic, organic, thoughtful, edited, and soulful. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 35


Visual Perspectives

Above left: An ethereal shot Tom took in the Berkshires, Massachusetts Above right: Bohlert Massey also carries jewelry and a variety of other gift items in the showroom at 10343 East County Highway 30-A in Seacrest Beach, Florida. Photo by Romona Robbins

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BO: It’s important to think about buying items for your home from the perspective that you’re investing in heirlooms you’ll one day pass on to people you love. We encourage people to have a collected home, filled with objects that inspire them.

NARRATOR: And welcome to the storybook, a

parents—to bravely make our work available to collectors who value it and to continue to travel and create as we have always done. We may have swapped one of our camera bags for a diaper bag, but our eyes are always seeking to create art wherever we go.

NARRATOR: A happy ending, indeed, as this dreamy fairy tale’s next chapter unfolds.

new little princess!

DIANA: In February, we came down to the beach with our four-month-old daughter and took her along to our meeting with Susan to discuss Bohlert Massey representing our work. It was only natural to bring her, as I vividly remember accompanying my parents to meetings at Susan’s studio and seeing Bo as a toddler there with her own desk. Another generation is now at the table, and it seemed fitting that she was napping in Susan’s arms throughout the meeting. The stakes are higher now that we are

Visit the Bohlert Massey design services and showroom website at BohlertMassey.com and find the work of Diana Pappas and Tom Bland online at PappasBland.com. Writer and editor (and narrator) Janet Thomas describes her work as a fairy tale. She’s traveled the world and penned luxury travel features for Modern Luxury, Dallas Morning News, Organic Spa, and Jezebel. She’s a former longtime editor-in-chief of American Airlines’ Celebrated Living premium magazine and often writes for VIE.


Visual Perspectives

THINK BEACH T H E E V E RY DAY G E TAWAY BY A BIGA IL RYA N PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF GRAY MA LIN

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reams start with a vision, a passion, and a desire to achieve a goal. When Gray Malin picked up his first camera in high school, he knew his inspiration. He longed to make people stop and smile and not think about the worries of life. Little did the Dallas native know, but that inspiration would lead to his becoming a New York Times bestselling author and a world-renowned photographer. Malin moved from Dallas to attend Emerson College in Boston, and he packed up his belongings to head west to sunny Los Angeles shortly after graduating with a degree in marketing and photography. He landed an internship at Paramount, meanwhile selling his photographs in West Hollywood for sixty-five dollars a print. This venture soon earned him a reputation, and collectors began to take notice. By 2013, he launched GrayMalin.com and started selling his prints of sunny beaches, palm trees, and other vignettes that certainly make people stop and smile. Now known for breathtaking aerial photographs of beaches around the world, Malin has described his style as “conceptual, yet approachable.” His work intends to welcome the viewer into the experience. The idea is never to intimidate them or make them feel excluded from his work. Malin says, “I want the viewers to feel joy!”

The Lifeguard Stand, South Beach from the À la Plage series Shooting from a doorless helicopter, Gray Malin photographed this series of beaches and pools around the world including the U.S., Brazil, and Australia.

Initially, Malin’s aerial photography started with the idea of photographing swimming pools and beaches from above. “It all began with my first flight to Miami,” he says. “My attention became transfixed on the beach. From above, the people with their umbrellas and towels created patterns that are eye-catching and unique in that they are mere moments in time that can never be captured again. After seeing the results of that shoot, I was hooked and quickly followed up with trips to Australia, Rio, Dubai, and Europe.” V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 39


Visual Perspectives

hrough the years, Malin has pushed his limits as an artist. He is continually physically pushing himself to go outside the box and venture off to new destinations around the world. “I’m inspired by my environment, so it’s a bit of an obsession to see as much as I possibly can, as I never know what might grab my attention,” says Malin. “I’ve always been galvanized to create work that looks great as decor inside a home.” When Malin set out to build his brand, he knew the importance of being himself, no matter where the job might lead. Even when collaborators were knocking at the door, he only took what he felt best represented him. “I love hosting at home, so acrylic trays and coasters were a natural progression into the home decor products,” he explains. “I’ve also always loved Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes, so I reached out to them and created the first Sperry x Gray Malin shoe collection. Same goes with Veuve Clicquot and many more.” Even now, Malin is eager to grow his brand. His vision is to create authentic and exciting lifestyle products that will allow patrons to live the essence of his motto: “Make every day feel like a getaway.” Interior decorating and traveling are both major passions of his, so it seems fitting that those arenas are also part of his brand. 40 | SE P T E MBE R 2018

I’M INSPIRED BY MY ENVIRONMENT, SO IT’S A BIT OF AN OBSESSION TO SEE AS MUCH AS I POSSIBLY CAN, AS I NEVER KNOW WHAT MIGHT GRAB MY ATTENTION.


Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club, Horizontal from the Gray Malin at the Coral Casino series Inspired by one of America’s premier social clubs with an oceanfront setting, this series pays homage to the splendor of a timeless day spent at the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club. Opposite: Bliss was taken in the Kingdom of Bhutan, the “Land of Happiness.”

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FOR ME, I SAW THE BOOK AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LET PEOPLE WHO ALREADY KNOW MY WORK IN ON A LARGER LEVEL, AS WELL AS AN AMAZING INTRODUCTION TO THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW IT.

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long with selling his photographs and home accessories, Malin has also explored the world of publishing. Commemorating his largest aerial series, À la Plage, Malin produced his first art photography book, Beaches. “It was something that I aspired to do from the beginning, so to make it into a realization was completely surreal,” he admits. “For me, I saw the book as an opportunity to let people who already know my work in on a larger level, as well as an amazing introduction to those who don’t know it.” Malin’s second book, Escape, brings together a collection of breathtaking images from his aerial and conceptual series, journal entries, and behindthe-scenes anecdotes. “It’s an amazing follow-up for any fan of Beaches, as it provides the readers with a more in-depth look into many different bodies of work I’ve created.”

Red and Blue Striped Umbrellas from the À la Plage series Shine Bright Like a Diamond from the Aqua Glam series Beaches, Malin’s first book, features his most popular aerial beach photographs and other images from twenty cities spanning six continents. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 43


Visual Perspectives

arlier this year, Malin introduced the latest addition to his assortment of publications, Be Our Guest! The inspiration behind this book came from the photo series Gray Malin at the Parker, which features a whimsical collection of circus animals including a monkey, an elephant, a lion, and more, all in colorful settings around the Parker Palm Springs hotel. “As I released the collection over the course of three years, I was delighted to see how pieces from this series were being used as children’s room and nursery decor,” says Malin. Following this discovery, the idea to turn the collection into a children’s book only seemed right. Appealing to men and women of all ages and walks of life, this photographic book brings a smile to everyone’s face. “My favorite part of this book is seeing all the children reading it and enjoying it! It has been such a joy seeing the positive response I’ve received. It brings me to tears seeing photos and videos of engaged children exploring the pages within the book.”

Aqua Glam was inspired by the elegance and glamour of synchronized swimming in the early twentieth century, featuring the Aqualillies as Malin’s muse. Mauna Kea Beach from the À la Plage series 44 | SE P T E MBE R 2018

MY FAVORITE PART OF THIS BOOK IS SEEING ALL THE CHILDREN READING IT AND ENJOYING IT! IT HAS BEEN SUCH A JOY SEEING THE POSITIVE RESPONSE I’VE RECEIVED.


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Visual Perspectives

The Patio from the Art of Living series

mong the many series Malin has completed throughout his career, we were curious to see which one he would claim as his favorite: “My most recent private collection series, Art of Living, was a tremendous undertaking,” he says. “Shot in Bora Bora, which is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the world, the concept was to create a juxtaposition of organic beauty with man-made designs. To accomplish it, we worked with local engineers to build a fifteen-byfifteen-foot mirrored platform; we also shipped all of the midcentury modern furniture utilized in the series to the location. It was a lot of work, but the results were well worth it.” The results are breathtaking. Recently, Malin completed his largest shoot to date at the Beverly Hills Hotel. This project was inspired by Malin’s interpretation of Hollywood’s Golden Era. Be on the lookout for more about this collection coming soon! To learn more about Gray Malin or to purchase products and prints from his collections, visit GrayMalin.com.

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Visual Perspectives

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THE PRINCESS and the POCKET SPRING Vispring Creates Masterpiece Beds

P H O T O G R A P H Y C O U RT E S Y O F V I S P R I N G

“Some days, it feels as though anything is possible. The rising sun seems to herald the fulfillment of all your inner desires. That precious sensation is our reason for being.” This is the promise of Vispring, the UK-based luxury bed manufacturer that invented the pocket spring in 1901 when founder James Marshall vowed to create a bed that would grant his beloved wife a perfect night’s sleep. His invention, which revolutionized comfort in mattresses, became the foundation for a legacy as his company evolved to offer fifty-eight distinct spring types made of vanadium steel and enclosed in natural cotton calico pockets for maximum breathability. These premium springs are laid out by hand in a honeycomb pattern, then stitched (once again, by hand) with natural twine and filled with the finest natural materials: silk, cashmere, bamboo, mohair, horsetail, wool, and cotton.

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V

ispring’s headquarters is located near the banks of the River Tamar in southwestern England, an idyllic setting that seems fit for a fairy tale. In fact, legend says there was once a fairy, Tamara, who was transformed by a spell into a bubbling spring that formed the river; her lover was later transformed into the River Torridge nearby. The locale seems perfect to reflect the love and devotion of Marshall to his wife and the princess-worthy bed he created for her.

"No one can beat what we do: a handcrafted product made from exceptional materials,” says Vispring master craftsman and instructor Danny Hannis, who joined the company in 1981. “You could never get the same quality from a machine. I’m very proud to be part of that. We have to keep these skills alive for the next generation.

The iconic mattresses have been used in luxury cruise liners and hotels, and it is their bespoke craftsmanship that sets Vispring apart. Available at fine retailers around the world, the mattresses come in all sizes—even a divan—offering consumers sweet dreams and the feeling of being refreshed upon awakening.

“When I’m training young people, I always tell them how lucky they are. When you make something by hand, you’re putting part of yourself into it, and that’s precious. I create objects that improve people’s lives. I get a lot of pride out of that. The fact that people are sleeping on something I produced really gives me a lot of satisfaction.”

In the Northwest Florida region, consumers can discover their perfect Vispring mattress at Oasis Rugs and Pearl Home in Miramar Beach, as well as at the Oasis Rug and Home showroom in Jacksonville. A Vispring master craftsman was on-site at both locations this past February to demonstrate the extreme attention to detail and skill it takes to create these mattresses—placing the springs alone can take up to eight hours.

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Discover the perfect night’s sleep and the last mattress you’ll ever buy when you visit Oasis Rug and Home locations or browse online at OasisRugandHome.com.


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Top: Photo description. Photo description. Photo description. Photo description. The Franzes greatly Phototheir description. enjoy outdoor pool Photoand description. oasis an expansive yard with views of the Photographer Vermilion River.credit. 54 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


King & Queen A HOME FIT FOR A

SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY REIGNS SUPREME

BY ANTHEA GERRIE PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACK GARDNER

At first glance, it looks more like several houses than one, with its charming jumble of gables, connected brick buildings, and long frontage facing Lafayette’s Vermilion River.

B

ut the Louisiana Low Country colonial that Brenda and Ernie Franz spent three years creating is a single home, built to entertain a huge extended family as well as the wider community of Cajun Country.

“My husband and I have just been chosen to be king and queen of our Mardi Gras krewe, Rio,” says Brenda. She and Ernie moved into their dream home this past March. “So next year’s celebrations will see us feeding a crowd and laying out all the food in that huge formal dining room, which was part of what inspired us to move from our previous home of twenty-two years and create a space in which we could properly entertain.”

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he focal point of the dining room, a table capable of seating twenty, was one of the major challenges facing the Franzes’ interior designer, Karen Waterfield of Sugar Beach Interiors in Miramar Beach, Florida. “It took us quite a while to find,” she says. “It’s an antique we eventually located in Baton Rouge.” Also vital to have in the home was a buffet that could accommodate the nineteenth-century china Brenda inherited from her great-grandmother, which for years had lived in a box in the attic of her previous house. “I use it as much as I can, given the signs of wear, and the table can seat most of the family, so everyone comes here when the family gets together,” says Brenda. “When all the cousins come, too, it’s more like thirty-five or forty for dinner!” Perhaps the most significant challenge for Waterfield and her team was the commute to the house, which is a six-hour drive from her office. “The Franzes have a home in Florida where I first met Brenda, and she really wanted me to do their new house in Louisiana,” explains Karen. “It was a case of working smart—I’d go there for a week at a time, and we’d cover as much ground as possible each trip.” There was no big rush, given the length of the construction project. “It took two years from the first day they poured concrete,” says Brenda. The house had to be built up five feet because of its proximity to the river, explains Mike Landry, who designed the actual building. “But the position 56 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


meant they’d never have to worry about neighbors at the back, as the river marks the property line,” he says. And for Brenda, a view over the bayou was nonnegotiable: “I just love to sit outside and watch the water flowing.” After securing the site and plotting out the optimal position for five bedrooms and bathrooms, an additional six half baths, two living rooms, two kitchens, and a formal dining room with a butler’s pantry, the next challenge was sourcing the wealth of old brick and wood that Brenda, who brought a treasure-trove of heirlooms to the house, was keen to use. “All the brick we used is old brick,” says Landry, citing the Old Birmingham used for the walls, retrieved from a torn-down factory in Alabama, and the Old Saint Louis for floors, which have been inventively laid in some places in a herringbone pattern and in others dovetailed and framed between panels of salvaged wood. This wood, used in ceiling beams as well as floorboards, came from an old industrial building in New York via a recycled timber source in Louisiana.

“My husband and I have just been voted king and queen of our Mardi Gras krewe, Rio.” of the bar stools at the kitchen island, “but not too much red anywhere else, as I really wanted the stove to pop.” The kitchen cupboards were all hand built from scratch by a local joiner, thanks to the level of craftsmanship that exists in the heartlands of Louisiana. Like the kitchen-cum-family room, which is forty feet long, Ernie also has a special two-story room of equal length that Brenda says is “his pride and joy. This is where he entertains his men friends when they come to play pool, and where the animal heads are displayed.” Many of these trophies came from Ernie’s hunting lodge in Missouri and two trips to Africa. “There is also a loft on the second floor where Ernie keeps a golf simulator for practice,” explains Brenda of the double-height den.

Opposite: Brenda and Ernie love entertaining their family and Mardi Gras krewe in the traditional dining room, which features a twentyseat antique table sourced by Karen Waterfield. It’s the perfect backdrop for Brenda’s antique china inherited from her grandmother. Below: The stars of the kitchen are the burgundy enamel-faced Lacanche chef’s range from France and custom backsplash by 8 Five 0 tile studio.

Then there were the antique doors Landry was also charged to find. “I wanted to use old doors throughout the first floor, and we have thirty-eight in total, including all the closets,” says Brenda. Many of the doors came from France and Belgium, but Brenda is fondest of the front door, brought from a mansion on Saint Charles Avenue in New Orleans when the property was torn down, and another that was fitted with new stained glass she designed herself and had made locally. “This is the door we go in and out of most often, as it opens to the breezeway.” Given Brenda’s penchant for entertaining, it’s not surprising that the house has two kitchens, one open to the elements with only three interior walls. “It’s so nice to be able to cook and still be outside with visitors,” she explains, “and on our travels in Italy, we found a beautiful hand-painted concrete table that can withstand the weather.” But it is the indoor kitchen, which also serves as a family room, that has the star feature: a fabulous Lacanche chef ’s range from France. “The whole room was designed around it,” says Brenda, who had the burgundy of the enamel picked up in the fabric V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 57


Opposite: The beautiful pale-green walls and accents in the master bedroom create a tranquil oasis reminiscent of an antebellum mansion. Below: The home’s spacious grounds provide plenty of room to spread out and enjoy hobbies both indoors and out. Roll Tide!

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Her own pride and joy is a sewing room on the second floor where she has plenty of space to display her exquisite handiwork. “I taught myself smocking when my first son was born thirty-five years ago, and my boys got to wear smocked clothes until they were old enough to say no!” laughs Brenda, noting her proudest achievement is a replica of her grandmother’s christening gown. “The original was made in 1903; my father and I and my three siblings got to wear it, and then our three boys. My youngest, who is now twenty-three, was the last. I framed it and made an exact replica, which nieces, nephews, and two of my grandchildren have worn.” Brenda enjoys having an airy, spacious room dedicated to her crafts, which also include embroidery, knitting, and quilting. As one would expect of a home large enough to cater to a couple’s individual hobbies, their private retreat space is delightfully expansive. The wood-beamed master bedroom, painted in a soothing shade of eau de Nil (a pale greenish color), has a sitting area

The wood-beamed master bedroom, painted in a soothing shade of eau de Nil, has a sitting area overlooking a wealth of tropical Louisiana greenery and what Brenda calls “the prettiest views.” overlooking a wealth of tropical Louisiana greenery and what Brenda calls “the prettiest views.” The master bath accommodates a sofa along with a large tub and a marble shower with twin heads. Sugar Beach Interiors’ guidance produced the exquisite marble and tile work that add such fine finishing touches to the rustic bones of this country mansion. “In the master bathroom, we merged two different materials—limestone and marble—to create a serene but stylish oasis for Brenda,” says tile designer Morgan Stimson of 8 Five 0 tile studio, who created a custom mosaic for both the tub backsplash and the shower wall.


Morgan chose crackled subway tiles laid in a herringbone pattern to complement the classic feel of the kitchen. “We wanted to honor the brick and felt that with an antiqued finish and imperfect edging, we could capture the true essence of this room,” she explains. And a little touch of Florida glam found its way into the bar backsplash, Morgan admits. “Even though we were trying not to stray from the style of the house, we knew we wanted a little bling in this one special area. We used a glass tile with gold leafing so the light would reflect its beauty and give Brenda that little bit of glitz she wanted.” Sugar Beach Interiors also injected a touch of sophistication by fitting television screens into several mirrors and installing a worktop and sumptuous materials even in the butler’s pantry. There is more than a little glamour in the beautiful pool situated between the colonnaded veranda at

Origi

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Girl

Kitty Taylor, Broker, GRI, CRS, CIPS Catherine Ryland, Broker Associate Cat C ole Ta y

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Selling Grayton and Beach Properties along 30A. Realtor of the Year 2017 for the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors 850.231.2886 | 850.585.5334 133 Defuniak Street, Grayton Beach, FL 32459 www.graytoncoastproperties.com


Right: Ernie’s trophy room is his favorite place to enjoy some “me time,” with a loft area that includes a golf simulator for practice! 60 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


the back of the house and the river. The couple’s dogs love to run into the bayou and swim—“but there’s a gator or two in there, so they need to take care!” laughs Brenda. The pups have plenty of choice for spaces to dry off; there is shade in both the poolside pergola and the “pigeonnier,” a brickframed gardening house with a sink where Brenda enjoys potting plants and will bring in the tender ones during winter.

sewing room are probably set to get more use than the beautiful formal living room with its marble fireplace, grand piano, and exquisite chandelier, which Brenda says: “We’ll keep mainly for special occasions like celebrating our family Christmas.”

Even when it comes to the outbuildings, there is a “his and hers” to complete this dream home. The garage is large enough to accommodate a workshop: “Because now that Ernie is semiretired, he wants to rebuild old cars,” explains Brenda. Given how busy the Franzes like to be, the garage, pigeonnier, and

Anthea Gerrie is based in the UK but travels the world in search of stories. Her special interests are architecture and design, culture, food, and drink, as well as the best places to visit in the world’s great playgrounds. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, the Independent, and Blueprint.

Visit SugarBeachInteriors.com to see more of the design firm’s work or to request a consultation today.

Above left: The cozy open-concept family room, where Brenda and Ernie can eat or just relax with family and friends, is the most-used space in the home. Above right: The formal living room features pops of red—Brenda’s favorite color—along with a beautiful chandelier and elegant furnishings.

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La maison

Photo by Laurey Glenn Visit BetseyMosby.com to see more of Mosby’s work.

La maison WHERE THE HEART IS

If you have ever wondered what all the hype is about when it comes to sororities at universities in the South, feast your eyes! The forty-thousand-square-foot renovated Delta Gamma sorority house at the University of Mississippi was completed in January of 2018 with interiors by Betsey Mosby of Jackson, Mississippi. “My team and I designed the entire interior of the house, procuring all furniture and decorations for the project, down to the mattresses and furniture for the residents’ rooms and four hundred chairs for the new chapter room in the basement,” Mosby says. “We also provided most of the architectural specifications for the project, including all flooring, paint colors, lighting, plumbing, and hardware.”

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& bright ALL THINGS

beautiful

D AW N D . T O T T Y S E T S T H E S TA G E F O R L I F E B y J O R D A N S TA G G S

f

P h o t o g r a p h y c o u r t e s y o f D AW N D . T O T T Y

or Dawn. D. Totty, curating unique interiors always seemed to be just a way of life. The designer, based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, has brought residential, commercial, and retail spaces across the United States to life for over twentythree years now. But she admits that it wasn’t until recently that she realized what inspired her love of design so many years ago.

Today, Totty is busy serving clients by being what she calls a problem solver, often hired to assist in taking a client’s vision for their home or commercial space, enhancing it, and making it a reality in a timely and affordable manner. The artistic gears that began to turn in her mind as she played with her dollhouse as a child have never quit. “My design doesn’t happen when I walk in through a client’s door; it begins when I pull in the driveway,” she says.

“My precious father built a custom, one-of-a-kind dollhouse for me with electricity, wallpaper, and even handmade doll furniture,” she says. “Little did I know then that the swanky dollhouse would stir a lifelong passion and a love of making all things beautiful!”

It’s clear her knack has hit its stride and then some, as Totty has racked up awards and recognition from national outlets including Houzz and Angie’s List, as well as the Huntsville Realtors Association in Huntsville, Alabama, and more. She is a creative force whose résumé includes having photographs published in Vogue and designing for HGTV star Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Home furniture showroom in Estill Springs, Tennessee.

Those “things” included not just homes, but also people. Totty graduated from the Interior Design Institute as well as the Staging Diva Institute in Toronto and began her career in the New York fashion industry, where she worked with top modeling agencies as a designer, stylist, consultant, and professional speaker. 64 | SE P T E MBE R 2018

We caught up with Totty to talk about design, life, and trends we might see in homes this year!


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VIE: What is your favorite part of your job on a regular basis? Dawn: There are truly so many aspects of my work that I favor; however, on the top of the list would have to be the “mystery makeovers.” These makeovers are, right up until the very end, a complete and total mystery to my client! So many clients become overwhelmed at the very thought of making all of the decisions that are necessary for a redesign or renovation that they say, “OK, Dawn, we trust your abilities and want you to do it all!” I can’t lie; it’s terribly fun but scary at the same time. It takes tremendous planning and creativity and the desire to know the client and create a signature space specific to them alone. Every design requires a keen listening ear and a caring heart for what really matters, not to the designer but the designer’s clients!

VIE: What is the most challenging part of your job on a regular basis? Dawn: By far the most challenging aspect of my design process is working to keep everything moving forward with a steady flow. When multiple contractors are all working on the same project, if everyone is organized and working together as a team, the final product always reflects quality and efficiency. VIE: How do you work with your clients on projects from start to finish? Dawn:

Designing with or for clients can vary, but I start with a comprehensive interior or exterior design consultation. During this consult, which can last up to four hours, my clients and I cover everything: paint colors, furniture selection and placement, lighting, flooring, art and accessory options, window treatments. They then have options: take the reins and complete the design themselves, work directly with me and what I call my “posse,” or turn over the entire project and experience the excitement and luxury of having the designer do all the work!

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This page and previous spread: “The Farmhouse” is Dawn D. Totty’s private residence in Jasper, Tennessee, which she describes as “a wonderful array of fun and excitement.” She has come a long way from decorating the dollhouse her father built when she was young! V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 67


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T H E Y T H E N H AV E O P T I O N S : TA K E T H E R E I N S A N D CO M P L E T E T H E D E S I G N T H E M S E LV E S , WO R K D I R E C T LY W I T H M E A N D W H AT I C A L L M Y “ P O S S E , ” O R T U R N OV E R T H E E N T I R E P R OJ E C T A N D E X P E R I E N C E T H E E XC I T E M E N T A N D LUXU R Y O F H AV I N G T H E D E S I G N E R D O A L L T H E WO R K !

VIE: Do you have a favorite project in your portfolio?

VIE: What is some advice you would give to a client looking for an interior designer? Dawn:

Credentials and degrees are great; however, finding a designer who listens to your likes, needs, and lifestyle, respects your budget, and delivers their promises on time is worth their weight in gold.

VIE:

What is the advantage to real estate professionals working with a professional designer?

Dawn:

Realtors contact me quite often in particular for out-of-town clients who are relocating to the area and have no idea where to start. In the case of home staging, the benefits are phenomenal since staged homes command a higher price with less time on the market. Higher real estate prices are good for neighborhoods, as every home sold is compared to the others in the area. Many properly prepped homes are so desirable to the home buyers that they enlist my design services to design their new home.

VIE:

Living and working in many Southern cities, would you say there is a distinct style to the region?

Dawn: I have designed all across the US, and, yes, indeed, the South does have its own style. It has a warmth and a traditional flavor with layers of browns and neutrals and a touch of floral and geometric patterns mixed in.

Dawn: Ha ha! I know this may sound silly, but I genuinely love all of my design projects. Every one of them is entirely different from the last, and I work hard to keep it that way. Custom one-of-a-kind designs are my signature. Currently, I am designing a medical spa, and, believe it or not, it is a complete mystery makeover for my doctor client—how fun and exciting it all has been! VIE:

How would you describe your personal style?

Dawn: My design style is that of uniqueness, one that reflects a non-cookie-cutter approach. Customizing furniture and light fixtures and using local artisans for art versus store-bought art creates a perfect opportunity for a one-of-a-kind custom home or office.

Left: Part of a recent “mystery makeover” for a spa, this dreamy reception area gives customers an immediate sense of serenity and luxury. Opposite top: The Farmhouse’s openconcept kitchen and dining room reflect the home’s contemporarymeets-French country style. Opposite bottom: The design of this condo living room in Chattanooga revolved around the metallic charcoal wallpaper with flecks of gold throughout.

VIE:

How does your style work with or compete with your clients’ styles?

Dawn: The client comes first. They are the boss. I am the trained professional, but their vision is always at the forefront of each and every design from beginning to end. Client collaboration is key. There is still room for some designer style and inspiration, which is part of the need for a design pro’s assistance. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 69


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Dawn D. Totty Right: The wall color in this bedroom is a custom-blended blue with a teal undertone to complement the jeweltoned textiles custom designed by Dawn.

VIE:

What are some trends for 2018–2019 that you see becoming “the next big things” in home design/decor?

Dawn:

Saturated color on walls, furnishings, and accessories is one of the top trends for the year to come, as well as a movement toward organic elements, such as wood ceilings and walls, and natural textures in cabinetry and furniture.

Visit DawnDTottyDesigns.com to learn and see more.


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BORN TO LOVE

An aerial view of the Seaside School expansion and twostory colonnade (digital rendering over an aerial photograph by Fletcher Isacks) Rendering courtesy of Thadani Architects + Urbanists


BY D H I R U A . T H A DA N I

URBANISM

I was born to love urbanism. I spent the first seventeen years of my life in south Bombay, within the colonial city. I continue to have a love affair with its magnificent assemblage of civic, academic, and cultural institutions, public parks, mid-rise apartment buildings, and tree-lined streets. I was, of course, unaware that my life was not typical. Within the burgeoning populous of the city, very few lived in agreeable urbanism. The rest of the city did not embody the same planning principles employed in my neighborhood. Over time, I gradually became conscious of another form of civilization—village India. Both the urban and village forms of habitation were formed intensely by a sense of community. The large city I was born in had many communities living in and around it, intermingled with each other.

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Opposite left: A detailed rendering of the Seaside Tower by Léon Krier Rendering courtesy of Léon Krier

Below: This aerial view of the beach access at the Coleman Pavilion obelisk illustrates the wedge shape of the stairs as they descend to the white sand, creating an illusion the sides of the ramp are parallel. Michelangelo used this technique at Capitoline Hill in Rome. Photo by Fletcher Isacks

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egardless of size, both forms of community cohered through the same method of mobility—walking. When I came to America as a teenager, I was shocked to find myself deprived of an autonomous life because I did not own a car. At first, I was able to immerse myself in the community that college life offered, but I longed for the true city. Upon graduation and beginning professional practice, I continued to be a student of urbanism. This study became more focused when I began to teach.

memorable block structure with walkable streets where pedestrians were given priority over cars. He argued that since the 1950s these building uses had been exported to suburban locations, and the current sub-urban land use and zoning laws forbade meaningful assemblage and thus prohibited the true making of place.

My relationship with Seaside, Florida, began in the early 1980s when Andrés Duany came to the Catholic University of America to lecture. He discussed the idea of making a town, the constituent parts of which included an integrated mix of uses that commonly support daily life—housing, offices, retail, and civic institutions such as schools, churches, a post office, and a community meeting hall—all arranged in a

Dismayed by the suburban landscape proliferating across America, fellow professor Peter Hetzel and I had started to incorporate urban contextual exercises in the beginners’ undergraduate design studios that we directed. We both had come of age in large cities, so the suburbs were somewhat foreign to us; although we had been there, we didn’t understand the attraction. After hearing Duany’s lecture, we became intrigued with the idea of using this yet-to-be-built town of Seaside as the framework for teaching physical and cultural context, climate constraints, and building morphology. Working with the Seaside master plan and the

In the Seaside plan, the actual areas of each constituent part were based on empirical research conducted by Duany and his partner, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, along with pioneering developer Robert Davis and his partner, Daryl Davis. These four progenitors had driven around the southern United States discovering and exploring small towns that were beautifully conceived and that provided their residents with a sustainable quality of life. Their study tour yielded source material that would be emulated and incorporated into Seaside.


then-embryonic form-based code, we embarked on a five-week design studio project. Although our students focused on the buildings they were designing, the Seaside plan and code were teaching them urbanism. A by-product of this exercise was a scale model of the entire town, with every building represented. For thirty years, I watched like a surrogate uncle as Seaside grew. Before 2011, my visits had been fleeting. In January of that year, I was selected to be an Escape to Create artist in residence in the town. During that stay, I was heartened by the amicable nature of the place, the welcome I received, and how easily I adapted to becoming a citizen. In contrast, my time living in Washington, D.C., had more to do with visual beauty, choices afforded, and access to cultural institutions. Life there could be described as urban anonymity rather than engaged citizenry. My bond with Seaside further solidified when I was honored with the Seaside Prize in 2011. Awarded annually by the Seaside Institute, the prize recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the quality and character of their communities and are considered thought leaders of contemporary urban development and education. Many of the prize recipients have been my mentors; they have inspired me to research, analyze, and share knowledge as they benevolently shared their philosophies and experiences with me. That group includes the dramatic, passionate, and erudite

Street artist Gaia painted this mural commemorating architect and professor Vincent Scully on the iconic purple wall at 25 Central Square in January of 2018. Photo by Jordan Staggs

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Above: Elevation rendering of the new bathrooms and relocated Post Office building that will be between Sundog Books and The Art of Simple Rendering courtesy of Thadani Architects + Urbanists Right: Seaside founder and visionary Robert Davis Photo by Brendan Babineaux Opposite: Digital renderings of the new boardwalk between the Coleman Pavilion obelisk and Bud & Alleys, which is currently under construction with carpentry by Jim Foley Rendering courtesy of Thadani Architects + Urbanists

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architectural historian Vincent Scully, who taught at Yale University for over fifty years and at the University of Miami for over twenty years. Scully’s death in November of 2017 inspired Robert Davis and me to commission a mural honoring him in Seaside. It was painted on an unadorned purple wall that faced Scenic Highway 30-A at 25 Central Square. Scully was an early supporter of the New Urbanism movement, he loved Seaside, and he supported the many planning and architectural talents who were responsible for challenging the status quo and making a livable environment based on traditional planning principles. The idea for my book Visions of Seaside was conceived during my artist residency there. I became aware of the numerous projects that had been designed for sites within the town but were never built. I knew of Léon Krier’s prolific drawings for Seaside, but my research unveiled a magnitude of design drawings of extremely high quality. Many architects, urbanists, and builders have been drawn toward Seaside, hoping to build there and share in its success. Indeed, countless design schemes were submitted for the twentieth-anniversary competition held in 2001. Captivated by this discovery, I discussed the idea of a book, at that time to be titled Unbuilt Seaside, with Robert and Andrés. They were more than encouraging, and after the first draft, we agreed to expand the scope to include essays, developmental drawings for the Seaside Plan, and imaginative interventions to complete the town.

Since the publication of Visions of Seaside, Robert and I have continued to explore interventions and to work on projects in Seaside. Master plans are living documents and should not be frozen in time. They should be reviewed every five to ten years as market forces, demographics, and regional context change. The economic success of Seaside and the 30-A corridor could not have been foreseen in the 1980s. It was unimaginable that Seaside would be the cultural center for the region. Today, the public realm of Seaside caters not only to its residents but also to twentyfold that number in daily visitors. Hence, the open spaces of Seaside need to continually be refurbished to accommodate day-to-day living. Our work at Seaside has primarily focused on the public realm. Along the Gulf Coast, I have designed a new walkway to the beach for the Coleman Obelisk Pavilion, a new beach access walkover for Bud & Alley’s restaurant, and a new public boardwalk between the two. These projects intend to visually and physically connect residents and visitors to the Gulf and the beautiful, fine white sand that graces the beaches. The Lyceum has been another focal point for development. In 2012, I was involved in the design of the Academic Village to provide affordable housing


These projects intend to visually and physically connect residents and visitors to the Gulf and the beautiful, fine white sand that graces the beaches. for students and scholars. Recent projects include plans for the expansion of the Seaside School to cater to kindergarten through eighth-grade classes. We have completed a two-story arcade that frames the Lyceum lawn, as well as an outdoor amphitheater at the north end. Under construction is Quincy Plaza, a pedestrian table that interrupts Quincy Circle between the Gateway building archway and the Lyceum lawn. The intent is to enhance the pedestrian experience and strengthen the axial relationship between Central Square and the Lyceum. To realize the long-term goal of building the Seaside Tower designed by Léon Krier, the Seaside Post Office must relocate. The decision to close Seaside Avenue’s connection to the Central Square created a viable site for the post office, which has become one of the town’s most iconic landmarks. Its new location also offered the possibility of building much-needed public bathrooms and bicycle parking in a plaza filled with palm trees.

Tom King Central Square Records Seaside, Florida


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I believe that the success of Seaside is based on love: Robert’s love for the land and the memories it holds; Daryl’s love for Robert and her willingness to move to a desolate part of Florida and aid him in realizing his dream; Andrés and Lizz’s love for humanity and their search for making a model sustainable community. It shows in the homeowners and the millions of visitors who fell in love with the town the moment they set foot there and in the residents of Walton County who love the place and identify Seaside as home. In a recent luncheon conversation with the world-renowned Danish planner Jan Gehl, we concluded that great places could only be created if clients and designers truly loved people. That sentiment is the essence of Seaside’s success, making beautiful places for all people to enjoy, where they can love and feel loved.

Right: Architect, visionary, and author Dhiru A. Thadani Photo by Brendan Babineaux Below: Stacia and Annamieke descending on the new Bud & Alley’s beach walkover Photo by Jack Gardner

Like any love story, Seaside is not perfect. It is, in fact, messy, funky, and full of missteps, lost opportunities, unintended consequences, and heartbreaks. Still, it attracts an excess of a million visitors each year. Additionally, over a million people have stayed in the town through the rental program and many return each year. Residents and visitors have experienced an environment where all age groups are welcome, where daily needs are within walking distance, and where you can live car-free. The town continues to introduce millions of suburbanites to the joys of urban living, furthering the love of urbanism, architecture, and art and the importance of a public realm. The development of Seaside over the past thirty-five years is closely allied with the three steps of smart change identified by the Russian thinker Peter Palchinsky. First, Robert and Daryl, with Andrés and Lizz’s help, created a new way to

develop coastal property, challenging the status quo. Secondly, they tried their idea on a small scale and with minimal debt, so that any failure would be survivable. Finally, being part of all decisions, they intuited a feedback mechanism to inform them of failures, successes, and the reasons for each. They munificently shared their findings with others so the development model could be promulgated. In this day of high-speed action, intense population growth, threatening climate change, and monotonous mass production, a place such as Seaside stands as evidence that good things take time, that small is beautiful, that democratic freedom can exist within a set of rules, and that beauty and love are essential to uplifting the human spirit.

Dhiru A. Thadani, AIA, is an architect and urbanist who has been in practice since 1980 and has worked internationally. He has been the principal designer of new towns and cities and urban regeneration, neighborhood revitalization, and infill densification projects. Thadani is the author of The Language of Towns and Cities: A Visual Dictionary and Visions of Seaside: Foundations/Evolution/Imagination/ Built and Unbuilt Architecture and the coeditor of The Architecture of Community by Léon Krier. 78 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


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T H E R E ’ S N O P L AC E L I K E

HO M E

This condo, located in Sanctuary by the Sea in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, reflects the original clients’ desire for a modern condo at the beach when they visited from Memphis. “It has since sold,” says Reeves, “but the new owners have been in the store for art and new pieces for the condo.”

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A MODERN T OUC H By M E LAN I E C I S S O N E Photography by STEV E N T M ANGU M

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. —Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz For those who roll their eyes when idMI cofounders Todd Reeves and Jorge Saiz mention that they earned their chops in home furnishings and interior design in Topeka, Kansas, Todd grins knowingly and dispels preconceived notions about his home state: “It’s a sophisticated, monied crowd there. Our Kansas clients have traveled everywhere.”

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uietly mimicking the sound of hillbilly banjo-picking, Saiz can’t wait to add, “Kansas is not what people think. It’s smack in the middle of the country, and that’s what makes it an easy trip to San Francisco, New York, or Chicago.”

The only modern furnishings and decor establishment in the Florida Panhandle, idMI, short for Isidro Dunbar Modern Interiors, is in Miramar Beach. Its owners lovingly named the operation for Saiz’s father, Isidro, and Reeves’s mother whose maiden name was Dunbar. A month away from celebrating twenty-five years in the retail furniture and decorating business, the partners and husbands —they married at New York’s City Hall in 2013— made their way to Northwest Florida twelve years ago on a circuitous route. And, like the rubyslippered beauty’s adventure, the journey began in Kansas. Born and raised in Topeka, Reeves graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in public relations. After a post-college year in Kansas City, he hightailed it to the Big Apple. And what a time to go to New York City! In his early twenties, the Jayhawker descended on Gotham at the onset of the 1980s MTV era. “I lived in Chelsea long before it was cool,” Reeves chuckles. Remembering his New York days, he says, “I really knew how to sell dresses.” For eleven years, he worked in fashion—first for Japanese haute couture legend Hanae Mori and later for evening-wear designer Stephen Yearick. Whether he was representing refined runway looks of the or the “glitter and glam,” as he calls it, Reeves traveled the United States marketing these brands to department and specialty stores. It comes as no surprise, with his fashion background, that Reeves makes astute comparisons between beautifully tailored garments and expertly fabricated

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furniture. With a penchant for the latter, Reeves outfits both the showroom and residential or commercial spaces he designs with American- and European-made furniture brands, many of which are exclusive to idMI. He and Jorge have expert awareness of the differences between well-made, on-trend modern furniture and the cash-and-carry budget varieties. Their dedication to their vendors and skillful showroom selections are evidenced in having been named one of Furniture Today magazine’s “Beyond the Top 100” list for the fifth time last year. The industry journal reports its prestigious list as “seventy-five furniture stores in the U.S. that are significant players in their markets.” “We’re platinum dealers for American Leather and have carried that premium line for over twenty-two years,” Reeves delights in saying about the number one vendor carried at idMI. Reeves met Saiz at a popular Chelsea dance club where Madonna was not only a regular but also appeared for the first time in public with bad boy Sean Penn. Saiz was in the stock brokerage business then. They have been together for twentynine years.

Reeves’s mother significantly informed his attraction to clean lines in furniture selections and room designs. “Her aesthetic was an early source of inspiration for me,” he says, recalling his childhood home. Saiz’s family fled Castro’s Cuban dictatorship in the mid-1960s when Saiz was about eight years old. The family immigrated to Northern New Jersey, which is where he was raised until attending Rutgers University and earning a degree in marketing and business. Most people, including Reeves, say his first name as “George.” With a slight accent, Saiz muses sarcastically, “I’m not going to argue with anyone who can’t do it,” referring to the pronunciation. New York City was Saiz’s backyard. “Everyone in my family worked in the city,” he says. He eventually made a career change from Wall Street to advertising, working at Young & Rubicam—one of the ad agencies on which Mad Men was based. Reeves’s mother significantly informed his attraction to clean lines in furniture selections and room designs. “Her aesthetic was an early source of inspiration for me,” he says, recalling his childhood home. “My mother was very modern. We had two black leather sofas and an ivory coffee table in the living room. My dad’s office had red leather chairs.”


When his mother’s health fell into decline, Reeves knew a return to Topeka was necessary. Committed to each other and to doing the right thing, he and Saiz exited their respective careers, packed up their New York City lives, and headed to the Midwest. During their early Topeka wanderings, they saw a “For Rent” sign on a storefront in the Westboro neighborhood. Having realized they couldn’t find stores like the ones they’d grown accustomed to shopping at in New York and their travels, a business plan was born. With a passion for modern and contemporary style and a beautiful 1930s Spanish Colonial Revival shopping plaza called Westboro Mart as the backdrop, they opened a home accessories store in October of 1993.

Above: Reeves says the owners of this home love to host cocktail parties, so the dining space was converted into an extension of the living room with four chairs perfectly set up for conversation. Left: While the exterior style of this home is Mediterranean, Reeves stresses that the interior doesn’t have to adhere to those restrictions, calling the project “Modernterranean.” idMI is set to work with the homeowners on their new house this year.

Store clients began asking for help buying furniture and decorating their spaces. In response, isidro dunbar Home Collections swiftly expanded into selling furniture and offering decorating services. Maintaining their enthusiasm for the modern style that launched them, Reeves and Saiz branched out to neighboring Kansas City. Referring to it as a “small big city,” Saiz remembers, “Kansas City lagged a few years behind places like New York.” By the time Reeves and Saiz were hitting their 1990s stride, the city was unearthing SoHo-like loft spaces that V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 85


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needed expert help. Reeves undertook the residential design of eight lofts there. Below and opposite: “This house took three years from start to finish, and idMI planned everything with the architect and the clients,” Reeves says. “Everything for the home was custom made to fit its spaces. The clients’ favorite color is red, and one of the two guest baths reflects that. The color is mostly brought into the home by the art, which is a common theme in many of our designs. We are lucky to be working with this client on a new home this year as well.”

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It was thirteen years before Reeves’s mother passed away in 2006. The two men were faced with deciding whether to grow their business in Kansas City or to relocate to Destin, Florida, where they’d vacationed for eight years and had the beginnings of a business presence through connections there. With the ocean coursing through his Cuban blood, Saiz quips charmingly, “I served my penance. It was an easy decision.” They moved to Miramar Beach later that year. It would be impossible to say they never looked back. Newly residing in Florida, Reeves and Saiz nurtured their longstanding professional relationships in

Kansas and continued to sell furniture and decorating services to their Midwest clientele. Loyal to their friends and Reeves’s Top City roots, many of those relationships evolved into cherished friendships that flourish today.

“Interiors follow fashion. Whatever’s trending on the world’s runways one year will be influencing interior and furniture design the following year.” Friend and client Terri Bond of Topeka reminisces, “Todd designed three houses for me and my husband, Duane. We’ve been in our current house for fifteen years, and guests continue to be wowed when they walk in; we still get compliments. Todd could read my mind, and I learned a lot from him. I had never worked with a designer before and haven’t worked with anyone other than Todd since. He gained our trust.” Underscoring their relationship, she says, “You Floridians are lucky to have Todd.”


Not deterred by the devastating housing market crash of the late 2000s, evaporating big-budget design jobs, or the oil spill of 2010, Reeves has continued to attend the High Point Market furniture shows in North Carolina twice a year, only missing two events in twenty-four years. Saiz supervises the back office of idMI. He manages finances, orders furniture, ensures that orders arrive damage-free and as specified, and helps coordinate the logistics of installations. Reeves’s declaration: “Interiors follow fashion. Whatever’s trending on the world’s runways one year will be influencing interior and furniture design the following year.” He continues, “We stay ahead of the game at idMI. Everything in our showroom is current—it’s this season, it’s now.” Reeves refutes anyone who says that modern furniture is uncomfortable and invites contrarians to have a sit. For inspiration, Reeves strolls first through InterHall at High Point Market, where they showcase the new, distinctive, juried product lines. He says, “I compare the InterHall exhibit to my pre-thinking about looks and go from there.” Color, shape, style, and print are drivers for the modern mastermind. “If something sticks in my mind after I’ve met with vendors and toured the market, I buy it for our store.” For Sue and Oscar Perez, a contrast in decor styles has been the basis for their twelve-year relationship with Reeves. The Sandestin, Florida, residents met him when idMI first opened. “Sue is more traditional,” Oscar says. “I’m far more partial to European modern minimalism and abstract art.” A retired pharmaceutical executive who spent six years living in Brussels, Belgium with his wife and youngest daughter, Oscar considers Reeves and Saiz family. Referring to his and his wife’s divergent styles and Reeves’s expertise at melding them tastefully and logically, he says, “Todd is perceptive. He listens and creates bridges. He is exceptional with people and knowing their buttons. I won’t pick a paint color without talking to him.”

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“Todd is so patient with us,” adds Sue. “He is a true treasure and a good friend.” Working one room at a time, Reeves has transitioned the Perez’s home, traditional in design and construct, into a dreamy modern refuge. Everyone is happy. Old friend or new, design client or one-time customer, colleague or vendor, the resounding theme among all who know idMI, Saiz, and Reeves is a profoundly overwhelming understanding that there’s no place like home.

idMIDesign.com Todd Reeves and Jorge Saiz

New York City transplant to the Emerald Coast Melanie Cissone has been a freelance writer for twenty years. A patron of the arts, she is inspired by beautiful architecture and design and loves learning about people’s backgrounds, especially over a dry Italian red wine.


JLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLK • CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS OF MODERN •


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Great Escape The

R ETR EAT TO THE GULF Photography courtesy of Linda Miller

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ESCAPE. Just the word can conjure visions of a vacation to faraway places, getting away from it all, and relaxing away from the hustle of everyday life. At the luxurious three-home beachfront compound on Escape Drive in Inlet Beach, Florida, that’s precisely what you can do. “When you own all three homes in the Escape compound, your entire family has a place to ‘play in private,’” says Linda Miller, broker of Rosemary Beach Realty, who represents luxury properties in Northwest Florida along Scenic Highway 30-A and the surrounding areas. “You have over an acre of land with 173 feet of Gulf-front to enjoy, plus a four-car garage with a private rooftop pool and cabana featuring a summer kitchen, bathroom, and air-conditioned living space.” Miller describes Inlet Beach as the “last frontier” in Walton County, which is known for its pristine white beaches and luxury destinations in several unique beach communities including Blue Mountain Beach, Grayton Beach, WaterColor, Seaside, Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, and more. Most recently, the east end of Scenic Highway 30-A between Rosemary Beach and Inlet Beach has seen tremendous growth with the addition of 30Avenue and other dining and retail centers. This “synergistic” east end of 30-A offers homeowners the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Gulf views and beaches without the higher price tags and architectural restrictions of other communities. “The old and new are being merged in Inlet Beach right now,” Miller says. “In the next few years, it will become gentrified, and, as Momma says, ‘you can still come to the party,’ meaning you can walk to the amenities of Rosemary and bike to Alys without the cost of living there.”

The luxurious threehome gated compound at 24–44 Escape Drive in Inlet Beach, Florida, is available for purchase. Visit LindaMillerLuxury.com to learn more. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 91


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usiness Insider recently listed Walton County as the sixthfastest-growing county in the United States, meaning real estate investments are a great idea right now. The Escape compound offers a legacy opportunity that whole families can enjoy for generations to come, with three ready-to-movein homes (one five-bedroom, five-bath and two four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath), as well as a fourth private lot on the property that’s perfect for playing outside and entertaining. The homes are built to last, designed to Fortified for Safer Living construction standards, which are developed to increase a home’s resistance to natural hazards where the house is located, such as hurricanes. Above and right: Gulf views are never in short supply at the Escape compound, which adheres to Fortified for Safer Living construction standards, a stringent set of building codes designed to protect homes from natural hazards. Opposite: Broker of Rosemary Beach Realty and “The Smile of 30-A” Linda Miller with her family at the Escape compound’s 173 feet of white-sand beach 92 | SE P T E MBE R 2018

“The property has a privacy wall and is gated, so the interior is secured and there is room to park over a dozen cars in the motor court and garages,” Miller says. The homes are priced at 6.5 million each or 21 million for the entire private compound. “As a rental compound, the income projections are over a million dollars a year if rented weekly. Another approach could be to buy the compound

The Escape compound offers a legacy opportunity that whole families can enjoy for generations to come, with three ready-to-move-in homes, as well as a fourth private lot on the property that’s perfect for playing outside and entertaining.


as an investment where you could make it an event venue for weddings, corporate retreats, and more.” No matter how new owners plan to use it, one thing is for sure: they’ll be smiling when they see the sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico and the 173 feet of beachfront on which the compound sits, which is more than any other private property in the area. Celebrating twenty years in the luxury real-estate business this year, Miller knows firsthand that living, working, and playing on 30-A is a joy—so much so that she has taken on the nickname “The Smile of 30-A.” “I love the fact that this is where people come to play, have fun, and get away from it all so they can unplug and spend time with their family,” Miller explains. “I recently heard someone talking about how people will just run to the Gulf when they get here, smiling all the way to the water. That is something many can’t wait to share with their family—to teach their children joy and build a legacy of memories at the beach. I love to find a client a legacy home that they can enjoy each year and make memories in for a lifetime.”

Consistently Delicious since 1995! www.cafethirtya.com

3899 East Scenic Hwy. 30A, Seagrove Beach · 850.231.2166 Online Reservations. Major Credit Cards. Open Daily At 5.


La maison Her decades of experience, area knowledge, and wisdom for the best practices in buying or selling a home have resulted in not only sales but also a great sense of trust with her clients. These types of homes have proven to be excellent investments in Miller’s tenure as the top sales representative on 30-A. Her decades of experience, area knowledge, and wisdom for the best practices in buying or selling a home have resulted in not only sales but also a great sense of trust with her clients. “I have repeat customers who have become friends for all these years,” she says. “One of my favorites is the Looney family from Dallas, who I met in 2001. I have gotten to see all three of their daughters grow up and get married on Rosemary Beach.” Below and right: The compound’s separate garage with rooftop pool, gated motorcade, and private beach access make it the perfect retreat for large families, events, corporate retreats, or just getting away from it all!

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For those looking to get away from it all, find their legacy home at the beach, and get the best help in doing so, they need only call Miller or visit her website. As she says, “When you own property on 30-A, you’ll be smiling, too!”

To learn more about the 24–44 Escape Drive compound or see more of Miller’s properties, visit LindaMillerLuxury.com today.


A

BOHEME

DESIGN

Le t u s h e lp y o u w i t h y o u r n e x t g u l f f r o n t h o m e

- 850.231.6803

www.aboheme.com

AA 26001879

2018 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED A BOHEME DESIGN, LLC/PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHAS GALLOWAY


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Glamorous elements are toned down with more casual textures and stone materials to create an earthy style in this living room designed by Lovelace Interiors. Heavy chenille fabrics warm up the cooler metals. 96 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


The

LOVELACE

Lifestyle GROWING HER BRAND

By Tori Phelps Photography courtesy of Lovelace Interiors

T

he payoff for decades of nose-to-the-grindstone work in which your name has become synonymous with excellence is, of course, the ability to slow down and enjoy your success. For most people, that is.

If you’re Susan Lovelace, founder and driving force behind powerhouse interior design firm Lovelace Interiors in Miramar Beach, Florida, it’s time to launch a second location. The move is only surprising if you don’t know Lovelace. Her seemingly boundless energy allows her to juggle a dizzying array of professional projects. Adding what, to most mere mortals, would be the all-consuming job of creating a new showroom from the ground up? It’s just another ball in the air, which she’s managing with her usual aplomb. While only about thirty miles from her flagship store, the new showroom in Inlet Beach is a crucial addition to an area that feeds hot-spot residential communities like WaterColor, Seaside, WaterSound, Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, and Carillon Beach. Lovelace had been on the hunt for a second location for several years as the firm added more and more projects along that stretch of the Emerald Coast. The problem was finding the right spot. But when plans for the Shoppes at Inlet Beach came across her desk, everything fell into place. Lovelace immediately grabbed two retail spaces at the yet-to-be-built shopping center and, at a trade show soon afterward, tripped onto the perfect lines with which to stock it.

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But the showroom will have more of a feel, thanks to furniture and decor that are a bit more

lifestyle

relaxed.

Opposite: A cream cowhide bed and warm wood tones offer a coastal vibe that is a welcoming approach to the expected white beach house. Below: This rope chair brings serious style to the typical outdoor chair. Furnishings that double as stylish and functional are perfect for beach homes.

From the beginning, she intended Lovelace Interiors Inlet Beach to be slightly different from the original. It will still be a licensed design firm with a highly skilled staff on hand to assist clients with anything from a single lamp purchase to a whole-house remodel. But the showroom will have more of a lifestyle feel, thanks to furniture and decor that are a bit more relaxed, as well as the introduction of products such as summer dresses, beach bags, hats, and jewelry. The effect, Lovelace says, is “a little bit less serious, a little bit more casual” than her flagship store. The five-thousand-square-foot showroom will focus on coastal furnishings and accessories, which may sound somewhat “been there, done that” until you remember that this is coastal done the Lovelace way. “We feel like we’re providing a new, exciting take on it,” she says. “We’ve always done coastal at the main showroom, but there, it’s just one part of a sophisticated sampling of many styles. The new showroom will be intensely

coastal, but with a contemporary spin that’s different from what you’ll find elsewhere in the area.” One way she plans to fulfill that pledge is by integrating unexpected elements into the sand-and-sea motif. Think outdoor chairs made with rope for a touch of mid-century flair or a slipcovered sofa paired with a Louis settee that melds coastal with traditional. Mixing it up a bit style-wise has long been Lovelace’s trick for ensuring her clients get a thoroughly customized look. But because she and her staff are licensed pros, there are proven design principles behind every decision. One of those principles is “harmony and unity,” which is why the pieces at Lovelace Interiors Inlet Beach are as practical as they are beautiful. This combination is a must, Lovelace says, for a beach home. She points to the shop’s line of furniture covered in Crypton, a stain-, moisture-, and odorresistant fabric that’s billed as practically indestructible. Coming in off the beach for a nap on the sofa? Sweet dreams. Kids or grandkids munching a red ice pop over the ottoman? No problem. And if you want the look of velvet without worrying about the dog tracking sand and mud onto the sofa, Lovelace Interiors Inlet Beach can set you up with a cotton velvet that’s—wait for it—washable. The staggering choices at Lovelace Interiors, not to mention the creativity of its crew, guarantee an entirely original result for every client. But don’t confuse “original” with “avant-garde.” Lovelace prides herself on carrying products that are right on the cutting edge without ever verging into over-the-top trendy. If you have seen something in store after store, you probably won’t see it at Lovelace Interiors; the veteran designer knows ubiquity is a sure sign that a trend is untrending—and that clients may be sorry they’re stuck with it next year. That’s not OK with her. Whether it’s a business, primary residence, or beach house, the Lovelace Interior design aesthetic is “classic.” So when a client asks for a purple polka-dot sofa, Lovelace may gently steer him or her toward wallpaper for a guest bath or throw pillows in a colorful polka-dot print. Because, while the client is always right, she wants them to love their design for years, rather than months. And by all accounts, they do. Her son, a realtor, recently toured a home for which

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While the stock will be more price conscious, Lovelace won’t compromise on

quality.

Lovelace provided interior design nearly twenty years ago. The verdict? It’s still beautiful after two decades! Lovelace’s recipe for classic yet exhilarating design has made her store the go-to home decor and design destination for people across the Emerald Coast. And it’s a recipe that will continue at the Inlet Beach satellite. While the stock will be more price conscious, Lovelace won’t compromise on quality. “When you’re a high-end design firm, people expect quality,” she assures. In addition to well-priced pieces fit for a beachy lifestyle, Lovelace will also tuck in some of the more upscale goods for which the main store is renowned. Her reasoning: You never know when an exquisite lamp, a piece of original art, or a stunning chandelier will elevate seaside chic to seaside spectacular. And if clients can’t find exactly what they want in Inlet Beach, Lovelace Interiors happens to have an even larger showroom just down the road—not to mention access to pretty much anything in the design universe, courtesy of incomparable trade contacts. Although the last months have been filled with decisions about their stock, Lovelace has also been absorbed in stocking the store with employees. Thankfully, she’s as good at selecting associates as she is at crafting gorgeous spaces. Continuing the tradition of her flagship store, which has attracted a cadre of astoundingly talented designers, Lovelace raves about the employees she’s bringing on board, calling their qualifications “over the top.” Among the new hires is her daughter-in-law, Hope

The new Inlet Beach showroom will bring in the Lovelace look with edgy and coastal-inspired finds! With a more subdued color palette and an earthy feel, Lovelace is putting its spin on coastal. A mix of design elements helps customers visualize their custom beach house. You'll find pieces for your home or your closet or even a gift for a friend! 100 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


Lovelace, who ran a successful home accent store in Mississippi, and manager Kim Lepone, a draftsman as well as a designer. Customers will get to meet the entire team when the store opens this fall. Lovelace knows there will be comparisons between the two showrooms, mainly because the vibe is slightly different in each location. But she’s confident that Inlet Beach will attract the same kind of dedicated clientele, many of whom come into the original shop a couple of times a month to glean inspiration from the constantly reimagined displays. Even before the grand opening, Lovelace is issuing an open invitation to residents and tourists alike to come for a roomful of furniture or an afternoon of browsing beautiful goods and enjoying a glass of wine with friends. “It’s going to be a fun, happening place to hang out,” she promises of Lovelace Interiors Inlet Beach. “And you can buy a sofa, too.”

LovelaceInteriors.com/inletbeach Tori Phelps has been a writer and editor for nearly twenty years. A publishing industry veteran and longtime VIE collaborator, Phelps lives with three kids, two cats, and one husband in Charleston, South Carolina.

Tile + Mosaics

Lighting Stone + Concrete 17 Uptown Grayton Circle Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 (850) 213-0000 · Q-Tile.com

Courtesy of Dekko

This chair exudes high style and, as a bonus, has a budget-friendly price! Blue velvet adds a luxurious feel while the cane texture provides a traditional yet casual design.


Award-winning design created with trusting clients and a collaborative studio.

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GROWING A FORMULA for SUCCESS

It doesn’t get much better than the view of the Gulf of Mexico from 4720 Ocean Boulevard in Destin, Florida! This seven-bedroom home with private rooftop pool and sundeck is for sale through Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty. Contact Blake Morar for information at (850) 231-6052. 104 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


AN EMPIRE Pho to g raphy c o u r te s y o f

S C E N I C S OT H E BY ’S I N T E R N AT I O N A L R E A LT Y

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O

nce thought of as a rural destination with little in the way of luxury, the Northwest Florida coastal region has boomed in the past decade, now boasting amenities, activities, dining, and events that match the celebrity clientele who often vacation or own homes there. Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty, the area’s top luxury real estate firm, is ready to introduce clients to “the new Gulf Coast.” An independently owned and operated affiliate of the esteemed Sotheby’s International Realty brand, Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty comprises a team of local real estate professionals committed to selling some of the most desired homes in Northwest Florida’s exclusive beachside communities including Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, WaterSound Beach, WaterColor, Seaside, and more. Broker/owners Chris Abbott and Blake Morar, along with chief operating officer Wes Madden and the entire team, are proud to celebrate twenty years in business this year. “The company has grown from a boutique inde­ pendent brokerage to a globally recognized brand through the affiliation with the Sotheby’s Inter­ national Realty brand,” Abbott says. “Although our growth and experience have evolved, the core values and culture we started with has remained constant and stays in focus of our personal and working lives daily.” Along the way, Abbott says, the most significant change in the growing real­estate industry these past two decades has been the way he and his realtors 106 | SE P T E MBE R 2018

connect with clients. The days when potential buyers drive past a For Sale sign and call the phone number on it for more information have been enhanced by Internet listings and agents’ access to property information online. When a potential cus­ tomer calls or emails, agents now have tools to provide excellent customer service no matter where they are in the world. “The way we communicate with buyers and sellers has changed, and the convenient access they have to online property information has provided us the opportunity work with more educated clients,” Abbott explains. “We have many lines of communication now, whether it be e­mail, text, or social media. Yet the fundamental benefits of using the good old­fashioned telephone still stand true in what our business and industry really encompass—building lasting relationships.” Morar stresses that the company’s affiliation with the Sotheby’s International Realty brand has also been integral in the success of their branch. “Our affiliation with the Sotheby’s International Realty brand allows us to present distinguished properties to well­qualified buyers worldwide—as well as down the street,” he says. “We’re set apart by our level of professionalism, strong results in the luxury segment of the market, experience and education in our local market, training and technol­ ogy, connections to our feeder markets throughout the world with other Sotheby’s International Realty affiliates, and the recognizable presence through a proven and historical brand.”


Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC reported in March that in 2017, its affiliated brokers and sales professionals achieved approximately $108 billion in global sales volume—the highest annual sales volume performance in the history of the brand. “The Sotheby’s International Realty brand is in sixty­nine countries worldwide,” says Philip White, president and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “The success of the global economy coupled with our strategic goals yielded outcomes better than we could have anticipated in 2017.” These advantages have also led Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty to develop what it’s calling “The Success Team,” a company­managed team program designed to serve as a recruitment and training tool for agents who already have experience in the real estate field, preferably in competitive feeder markets to Northwest Florida. These agents have proven track records, but the Success Team is set up to help them transition into their new market by giving them roles at Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty rather than them starting their career with another brokerage in the area. By providing these new recruits local market knowledge, generating leads, eliminating their startup costs, offering mentorship and training, and giving them access to the vast database of resources that the company has at its disposal, the company further grows its footprint in the area and the new realtors get the benefits of an internationally known brand and a talented, supportive team. By recruiting top talent in the marketplace, Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty has been equipped to serve over seven hundred families buying and selling real estate in the Northwest Florida market, with a sales production approaching $700 million leading the market in 2017. “Our favorite thing to do—and always our end goal—is to help people achieve success, whether that means helping our agents and staff do their best in their

“Our favorite thing to do—and always our end goal—is to help people achieve success, whether that means helping our agents and staff do their best in their careers or assisting buyers and sellers with their real estate needs.” careers or assisting buyers and sellers with their real estate needs,” Madden says. “We’re making sure they have a pleasurable and smooth experience in the process.” Abbott, Morar, Madden, and their team invite po­ tential buyers and sellers to strike while the market is healthy and inventory is doing well across the Florida Panhandle’s most desirable areas. No doubt they will discover what makes the Gulf Coast a real “happy place” for those all those who live, work, or visit here. “We are blessed working in this part of the world and appreciate it every day,” Abbott says. “The properties, the people, and the lifestyle all complement our philosophy in both life and business, and we look forward to another twenty years of success!”

Above: If you’ve ever wondered why people call Northwest Florida’s beachfront “the Emerald Coast,” take a look at the bright green hues of its clear Gulf water. Opposite: 4720 Ocean Boulevard, located in the gated community of Destiny by the Sea, features spacious covered balconies on each floor, a media room, a private courtyard, and a gourmet kitchen, complete with double ovens and a gas cooktop, that opens to this relaxing living room.

Visit ScenicSIR.com to learn more, view properties, or set up an appointment with a realtor. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 107


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y pp a H ace l P DESIGNING YO U R

By Sallie W. Boyles

Photos by Courtney Kuentz Photography

J

ackie Kennedy Onassis once decreed, “Pearls are always appropriate.” Exemplifying the virtues of understated beauty, her impeccable style continues to impact the way many perceive and embody fashion. Similarly, the world of interior design will always make room for less-is-more aficionados. The resurgence of midcentury modern is a prime example, although some designers use it more sparingly as an accessory.

By blending classic and modern elements, interior designer Melissa Skowlund, going for a “light, bright, and airy” effect, evokes the “Hamptons style, with a bit of a modern twist.” Like Jackie O’s pearls, Skowlund’s signature style, she has found, travels well and adapts easily to different environments. Skowlund views her design career as evolving “organically,” beginning with her owning a children’s store in Wisconsin. She no longer has that business, but when she did, she says, “people began asking for more.” Demand for her “fixer-upper” services ignited 108 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


The curved sofas in the home’s living room are perfect for having a conversation; their stain-resistant Crypton fabric also makes them family friendly!

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La maison after a local magazine featured an ambitious personal project that entailed the renovation of her family’s farmhouse and the barn-turned-pool house. “I’ve always been able to envision how things should look,” Skowlund says, confiding that architecture may have been her true calling. Instead, she studied design within the context of marketing in college. “My parents built a new home while I was in college,” she shares, “and I was always reviewing the drawings. I love the balance and the details of fine woodworking and molding that make a house more beautiful. I notice great craftsmanship.” She loves tackling a renovation project to reveal such hidden gems. “My passion is in making something beautiful that wasn’t,” she says. Along with her husband and two daughters, Skowlund now divides her time between their residence in Wisconsin and their vacation home on Florida’s Northwest Gulf Coast. “My husband and I are both from Wisconsin, and his family had been visiting this part of Florida since the 1970s,” she says. “When we had our first child, who is now seventeen, we started looking for places to vacation, and I found the WaterColor community in Santa Rosa Beach. The development was just beginning.” Eager for a new creative challenge, she opened Summer House Lifestyle as a retail outlet in Santa Rosa Beach almost a decade ago. After two years, she added interior design services.

As she ponders the possibility of developing a private label of her own—maybe a line of furniture, textiles, or bedding—Skowlund takes great care in procuring items for her “lifestyle boutique” that encourage living simply and surrounding oneself with beauty. “I started my store with the intention of having people feel better when they leave than they did when they arrived,” she says. In addition to appealing to the senses, her merchandise—including furniture, lighting, artwork, bedding, home accessories, wearable fashion, and children’s treasures—must deliver as promised. “I’m not a hard salesperson,” she insists, “but my quality is better because I am very picky about my sources and want to stand behind the products I sell. I wouldn’t have lifelong clients if I didn’t.” Her clients, in turn, trust her to guide them to budget wisely. “Telling the truth is a lost art,” she states. In other words, don’t spend much money on a trendy patio rug that “will get thrown away in a few years,” but invest in certain pieces so they last, like “good beds and good sofas.” Not one to fill rooms with unnecessary stuff, Skowlund says, “I learned the hard way that you have to let go of things.” Besides, she declares, “I can’t stand visual clutter. I can’t cook in the kitchen if papers are covering the countertop.” Accordingly, she favors a monochrome palette, often in shades of white, but must convince her clients not to run from light hues and simple patterns that won’t camouflage dirt. Introducing slipcovers and high-endurance, washable fabrics, she says, “I explain why they don’t need to be afraid.”

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Above: The peacockfeather textured wallpaper in the dining room was the catalyst for the space’s elegant yet colorful design. Left: A bright, cheerful breakfast nook reflects the home’s happy and refined aura.


First developed for the medical field, Crypton, for instance, is an innovative textile with “awesome” choices; one option has a look and feel of white velvet but easily wicks away spills and dirt. Skowlund also loves the assorted colors and textures now available from Sunbrella, once considered only for outdoor upholstery. “I have white slipcovers on my kitchen counter stools and wash them every two weeks!” she proclaims. “We felt really connected with her ideas,” says Summer House client Kelley Rogge. Based in Washington, D.C., Rogge and her husband, who have three children and two dogs, met Skowlund through their real estate agent after they purchased a vacation home in WaterColor that needed a facelift. “Melissa’s instincts were so impressive right off the bat,” Rogge says. “She presented simple things we could do to bring the place up to the next level.” Running the project with contractors, Skowlund painted over the home’s dark cabinetry and beige walls, renovated the baths, changed out light

“My passion is in making something beautiful that wasn’t.” fixtures, created window treatments, brought in white sofas, and transformed a wasted space into a wet bar. “She and her amazing team had full access to the house from Thanksgiving to March and did everything,” Rogge says, recalling her family returning and feeling as if they were part of an HGTV grand reveal. “It was a complete transformation and a dream come true. It’s been three years, and we still sit in that house and take it all in. Melissa made such excellent choices.”

Above: Soft blue tones throughout the home keep everything cohesive and create a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C.

Without question, the Rogges later wanted Skowlund to design the interior of the 1940s colonial they’d purchased for their family home in Washington, D.C. Taking the structure down to the studs, they shared the architectural plans with Skowlund, who also visited the house and verified measurements. “Over the summer, while I was in WaterColor,” Rogge recalls, “I had the chance to meet with Melissa and her design team at Summer House to go over fabric swatches, furniture, and lighting, and to get rough ideas for spaces. That’s when things started to feel real.” V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 111


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“I believe my job is to bring light and joy to my clients and to make their lives and surroundings more beautiful." Below: Skowlund says not to be afraid of mixing metals and other shiny materials, as they can bring life to the home, as seen in the brass and chrome bedroom accents, lucite and chrome in the powder room, and chrome kitchen fixtures (opposite).

As the process unfolded, fate seemingly played a role. Looking through swatches one day at Summer House, Skowlund remembers, “I had found a peacock-embroidered fabric, and a teal-colored grass wallpaper was right next to me. I thought it would be stunning on the dining room walls—traditional and very D.C. with a fresh quality.” Just then, Rogge arrived and exclaimed, “Have I told you how much I love peacocks?” She hadn’t, but the two instantly knew the dining room’s design would stem from those swatches. The focal point, an original painting by Rogge’s friend and D.C. artist Lanie Mann, was hanging in Mann’s home when Rogge spotted it. “We were so smitten with it,” says Rogge. “Lanie said I should have it.” As one who appreciates harmony, Rogge notes how the dining room’s blue trim continues into the adjacent butler’s pantry and powder room. Lucite accents also appear in different forms, but with some fixtures in brass and others in chrome,

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not all shiny objects are the same. Rogge, who was a little nervous about mixing metals, says, “Melissa was so sweet in holding my hand, and the variety is so much more interesting.” (Skowlund warns that too much of any good thing, whether a type of finish or a time period, “ties the home to a trend.”) Nevertheless, whites, icy blues, and wood flooring throughout the home grant continuity, and the overall effect is serene and inviting. That was always the intention. The Rogges’ home is all about allowing adults, kids, and canines to be happy where they are. As Rogge says, “Those gorgeous curved tufted sofas are covered in Crypton fabric! We’re proud to have guests over, and we’re not afraid of what might happen.” “Decorating should not be a stressful business,” Skowlund says. “I believe my job is to bring light and joy to my clients and to make their lives and surroundings more beautiful. If I have done that, I have done my job.”


Knowing that many people visit Summer House Lifestyle to gain inspiration, she welcomes people to drop in to see her latest room vignette and merchandise.

Readers can also follow or shop Summer House Lifestyle online at SummerHouseLifestyle.com and see more on Instagram (@summerhouselifestyle), Facebook.com/Summer-HouseLifestyle-104164356394993/, and Pinterest.com/shlifestyle.

SUMMER HOUSE LIFESTYLE 57 Uptown Grayton Circle Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 Phone: (850) 231-0133 Hours: Monday, by appointment; Tuesday through Friday, 10 AM–5 PM; Saturday, 10 AM–3 PM Sallie W. Boyles works as a freelance journalist, ghostwriter, copywriter, and editor through Write Lady Inc., her Atlanta-based company. With an MBA in marketing, she marvels at the power of words, particularly in business and politics, but loves nothing more than relaying extraordinary personal stories that are believable only because they are true.


MAKE IT YOUR

real FUNBeach LOBSTER FESTIVAL & TOURNAMENT September 17-23 PIRATES OF THE HIGH SEAS FEST October 5-7 PANAMA CITY BEACH OKTOBERFEST October 12-13 BLOODY MARY & MUSIC FESTIVAL October 20 18TH ANNUAL THUNDER BEACH AUTUMN RALLY October 24-28 EMERALD COAST CRUIZIN’ CAR SHOW November 7-10 For a full list of events, check out VisitPanamaCityBeach.com/Events.


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A Ve n i c e R e t r e a t Like No Other

B y X e n i a Ta l i o t i s Photography courtesy of Isola Santa Cristina

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’m castaway, adrift on my own island. An early morning mist has spun a cocoon around my mystic isle. Straining to see beyond the watery wilderness, I see nothing but slate sky merging with a slate canal to form a slate defense around my hideaway. I could be a thousand miles from civilization, hours away from the nearest human being. I could be—but I’m not. In fact, I’m just a half hour from Venice, Italy, on Isola Santa Cristina, a pearl in the hypnotic salty marshes of the northern lagoon that’s available for private hire. Despite its physical proximity to the push and shove of the city, the island is miles away from it in temperament. Where Venice is besieged by tourists, Santa Cristina beguiles with its tranquility;

where Venice stirs you with a sense of urgency and a compulsion to see and do everything, Santa Cristina soothes with a calm reassurance that it’s fine to do nothing. Rest, she implores. Take a seat by the canal and watch the shifting, striated colors of the water; float on your back in the pool and lose yourself in the vast Venetian skies; take a nap. When you’re done, the chef will have dinner ready for you. There’s no need to book a table, wait to be seated, or make polite chitchat with other holidaymakers. You and your party are the only guests. For just €3,200 ($3,780) per night, including the services of a chef (less than the price of a modestly proportioned room in a Venice hotel), you and up to fifteen friends can enjoy the ultimate luxury normally experienced only by the privileged few—vacationing in total seclusion and privacy on your own island.

Opposite: The 1920s Villa Ammiana is now a beautiful and sustainable eco-lodge just a half-hour boat ride from Venice on the private island of Santa Cristina. Left: Traditional Venetian cuisine served in a serene alfresco environment is a musthave when chef Anna Elisabetta is cooking at Isola Santa Cristina!

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Above, opposite, and next page: The Villa at Isola Santa Cristina features two master bedrooms along with seven more guest rooms, a spacious living room, a Venetianstyle chef’s kitchen, an expansive dining room that accommodates up to fifteen guests, two patios, and a relaxing swimming pool with scenic views of the lagoon. 118 | SE P T E MBE R 2018

eached by a quick sprint in a water taxi from Venice, Santa Cristina is one of the most historic islands in the lagoon and one of only three remaining in the Ammiana archipelago. It sits in an expanse of water where signs of human habitation fade, and nature comes to the forefront. Here you’ll find marshy mudflats spread above islands submerged by earthquakes a thousand years ago, where ancient monasteries stand silhouetted against a burning sun, and traditional fishing villages provide a plentiful larder for cormorants, egrets, herons, and flamingos. “Life is slow, gentle, timeless in this part of the archipelago,” says René Deutsch who, with his wife, Sandra, has transformed Santa Cristina and its immaculately restored 1920s Villa Ammiana into a sense-soothing eco-lodge. “We listen to nature and adhere to the historic culture of the lagoon because our intention is to create an ecologically sound, sustainable business that will restore and preserve its heritage,” he explains. “We’ve restocked the canals with indigenous species, have revived the vineyards and orchards, and have reintroduced bees, because without them, we have

nothing. It’s an ongoing endeavor, but we’re working with agronomists, with winemakers, with fishermen who have fished the canals since they were boys, and with scientists at Ca’ Foscari University to create a traditional lagoon garden island. We have planted 160 apricot trees, 50 prune trees, and 40 fig trees. I don’t know if we can ever be fully self-sufficient, but that is certainly our hope.”

“We felt we could do something special on the island by tapping into its serenity and spirituality to create a retreat for guests, while at the same time working with artisans to take the island back to a different time.”


Deutsch’s stepfather, Gernot Langes-Swarovski of the Austrian crystal-making dynasty, bought the island as a vacation home for his family in the 1980s, but over the years, only Deutsch felt a compulsion to return. “No matter where I was in the world, I always had a yearning to come back here, and when I met Sandra, she felt that pull, too,” he says. “We felt we could do something special on the island by tapping into its serenity and spirituality to create a retreat for guests, while at the same time working with artisans to take the island back to a different time.” The fruits of their labor are abundantly evident during my walk around the island, which measures just one mile in circumference. My amble takes a little over an hour. I see the orchards that are now yielding a generous harvest, the hives that last year produced the island’s first honey in decades, the free-running chickens that supply the best eggs I have ever tasted, and the wild peacocks that treat me to a spectacle I hope never to forget when they lurch into flight.


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Visit VenicePrivateIsland.com to learn more or book your getaway!

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G R EAT D ES IGN IS IN TH E D E TA ILS In Detail Interiors is a nationally recognized design firm offering a full-service approach to thoughtful and timeless interior spaces here on the Emerald Coast and all across the country. We cater our design services and project management principals to clients who are looking to capitalize on their investment but have no time to manage the logistics of the project at hand. Acting as a trusted advisor, our team offers the critical knowledge you need to execute a flawless project, have fun along the way, and enjoy access to some of the most unique high-quality materials and furnishings this market has to offer. CO M E D I S CO VER O U R S H OW R OOM I N TH E H E ART OF P E N S AC OL A! 1514 Nor th Ninth Avenue, Pensacola, Florida 32503 | (850) 437-0636 | indetailinteriors.com


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RENOVATING an ARTISTIC Retreat YYYYYYYYY

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NEW LIFE IN NEW ORLEANS

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By Anthea Gerrie Photography by Sara Essex Bradley

ith a large, sprawling family house to care for, designer Jill Dupré had long fantasized about a more pared-down life, a cozy place to downsize to when her children flew the nest. But before that happened, the mother of two stumbled upon a romantic, near-derelict little house in the eclectic Fairgrounds Triangle neighborhood of New Orleans. “It was such a special property with so much history and original detail,” says Dupré, who worked as a graphic designer in advertising before turning her hand to home decorating and accessory making. And what a project she created for herself, describing this little house of barely a thousand square feet as “a beautiful mess” when she and her husband took possession. “The previous owner called it the Art House, as she used to store stuff for her installations in it—and she also held some insane parties here, from what we were told.”

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Many potential buyers would have thrown their hands up at the challenge of making a rapidly deteriorating house habitable in a climate dogged by humidity and termite issues, but Dupré and her husband found the greenery surrounding the property simply irresistible. “It was the hundred-year-old date palm, the bamboo, and a wonderful canopy of trees sheltering the L-shaped backyard that persuaded us to buy it.” You get that seductive sense of a home cocooned by tropical foliage from the get-go, thanks to the welcoming shade of a banana tree in the front yard whose precise shade of leaf green has been picked up in floor-to-ceiling shutters. “We loved the worn look of the original front, so we chose to keep the sun-bleached aged appearance, giving the house a contrasting crisp, modern feel by painting the trim and shutters,” Dupré says.


It was such a special property with so much history and original detail.

“The Art House,” as its previous owner called it, became the perfect empty-nester retreat for designer Jill Dupré and her husband, who creatively retained much the home’s artistic charm during their renovations.

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We asked to keep the console

when we bought the house because

I

it was custom-made

nside, a wealth of dusty lath behind the original plaster walls was much more than a nuisance to clear away for Dupré, who with her magpie instinct envisaged it as material for the kind of wood-plank ceiling that’s common in the Caribbean. It has indeed been reused to give the bedroom ceiling “a life from its past” while a new four-poster bed with a spare, gold-accented black frame adds a touch of twenty-first-century romance. The wood lath also reappears on the bathroom ceiling, this time painted in different shades of gray. Dupré says, “I tried to reuse as much as I could from the renovation.” A wooden ceiling likely once also topped the large living room at the heart of the house, which before Hurricane Katrina had been divided in two. The previous owner did not add paint after the drywall was put in place to repair it, liking the primitive feel of an African fabric print suggested by the mud lines. This engaging geometry is paid homage to in a ceiling now freshly painted, like the walls, but with that muchadmired grid pattern casually daubed on afterward with a small roller. Wood is never far away in this house; it’s in the new floorboards, the old distressed baseboards left here and there to add texture, the original French doors, and the rough-hewn console table above which some of the couple’s fabulous collection of graphics are displayed. “We asked to keep the console when we bought the house because it was custom-made to fit on the wall,” Dupré says. It was not the only piece retained by the new owners. “A tree-stump stool in the bathroom, which I love, also came with the house.”

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to fit on the wall


Opposite: Dupré was sure to make use of space wisely throughout the small shotgun house; for example, the movable kitchen island doubles as a dining space. Above left and right: Wood laths salvaged from the renovation were put to use as a creative ceiling in the bathroom and bedroom.

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ld wood is also represented in the door that leads from the living room into the kitchen—New Orleans shotgun houses have no halls—although here a wall of white-painted brick above the prized vintage stove the couple inherited from the previous owner is the star feature. The curved lines of the stove inspired the purchase of a new Smeg fridge, making this room, like the others, an inspirational mix of old and new; note the painted screen (a thrift shop purchase) that sits beside IKEA shelving in the living room. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 125


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upré says the whole house reminds her of an adored summer camp in Holly Beach, Louisiana, that her grandparents rented when she was a child. So it’s no surprise that she has named the couple’s Airstream—the surprise star of the magical backyard—Ann, after her beloved grandmother. “We joke that we bought the house so Ann could have a home!” she laughs. “I never traveled as a child and had always dreamed of hitting the road in an Airstream after staying in one in Marfa,” confesses Dupré, recalling her grandfather addressing his own itchy feet with a call of “It’s time to hit the road, Ann!” This also explains the “Let’s Hit the Road” legend inscribed in a light box on the wall of the Airstream kitchen and the monogram mugs that spell out “A N N” hanging from a row of hooks. As well as an excellent place for children or guests to sleep, the silver trailer is an absolute delight of light, bright, witty design in its own right. Color and graphics are everywhere, including an indoor dining area that is undoubtedly only used when it rains, given that the yard paved with old brick provides such an enticing setting for alfresco meals. A lovely feature of the yard is an outdoor shower that complements the more conventional indoor one above the vintage clawfoot tub. Grandma Ann is not the only person to whom tribute was paid during the sensitive renovation; the original art studio in the backyard where the previous owner stashed her canvases is finding new life as what Dupré calls “a drinking porch” with recycled windows. But found art is hung inside and sometimes made there too. “From the day I walked in, this house was an artist’s vision, and I love it even more now it has transitioned into a space that sings to the future as well as hums with the past,” says Dupré. “It has texture and grit but is also warm and inviting, eclectic and modern, raw—but not stale.”

Anthea Gerrie is based in the UK but travels the world in search of stories. Her special interests are architecture and design, culture, food, and drink, as well as the best places to visit in the world’s great playgrounds. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, the Independent, and Blueprint. 126 | SE P T E MBE R 2018

Dupré’s prized Airstream trailer, Ann, was named for her grandmother. It provides a whimsical and cozy getaway right in her backyard.


COASTAL C U LT U R E A R T S A N D E N T E R T A I N M E N T E V E N T S A T G R A N D B O U L E VA R D

FOOD

BALLET 2 0 1 8

EVERY SATURDAY, 9A M – 1PM G RA ND B O U L E VAR D FA RME RS ’ M AR K E T

J A NUA RY 12 – 15 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL benefiting The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County

T H UR S – SUN , J A NUA RY 18 – 28 “ TH E A MISH PRO JE CT ” PE RFO RMAN C E presented by Emerald Coast Theatre Company at 560 Upstairs

ARTS

MUSIC

C A L E N D A R

O F

FAS H I O N

THEATRE

E V E N T S

MAY 1 2 – 1 3

OCTOBER 3 1

A RT S Q U E S T F I N E A RT S F E S T I VA L

H A LLO W E E N O N TH E BO O LE VA R D

official Art Week South Walton event produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County

MAY 1 6 – 2 0 N O RTH W E S T F LO R I D A TH E AT R E F E S TI VA L official Art Week South Walton event produced by Emerald Coast Theatre Company

NOVEMBER 1 7 – JANUARY 1 , 2 0 19 C O A S TA L W H I TE C H R I S T M A S H O LI D AY LI G H T S

NOVEMBER 2 0 H O LI D AY O P E N HO U S E & WA LK - A BO U T

MAY 2 4 WA G TH E F LA G benefiting Dog-Harmony

NOVEMBER 2 0 – DECEMBER 2 5 F E S TI VA L O F TR E ES

FEBR UA RY 8 MY FURRY VALENTINE benefiting Dog-Harmony

T H UR S – SUN , FEBRUARY 15 – MARCH 4 “ S YLV IA” P E R F O R M AN C E presented by Emerald Coast Theatre Company at 560 Upstairs

EVERY THURS DAY, MAY 3 1 – AUGUS T 2 TH E AT R E TH U R S D AYS presented by Emerald Coast Theatre Company

benefiting more than a dozen local charities

NOVEMBER 2 3 – DECEMBER 1 5 HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDES

JUNE 2 3 BA LLE T AT T W I LI G H T

Fridays and Saturdays in Grand Park

presented by Northwest Florida Ballet

NOVEMBER 2 4 – DECEMBER 1 5

MA R CH 23 – 24

AUGUS T 3 0

PHOTOS WITH SANTA CLAUS

PURSES WITH A PURPOSE

D O G D AYS O F S U M M E R

benefiting Shelter House

benefiting Dog-Harmony

MA R CH 29

S EPTEMBER 2 9

DOGGIE EGGSTR AVAGANZ A benefiting Dog-Harmony

Saturdays in Grand Park

SINFONIA SWINGS ON TH E BO U LE VA R D presented by Sinfonia Gulf Coast

A PR IL 26 – 29 SOUTH WALTON BEACHES WI NE & FOO D F E S T IVAL

OCTOBER 2 0 BEST OF THE EMERALD COAST

benefiting Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation

benefiting Junior League of the Emerald Coast

MAY 5

OCTOBER 2 5

CINCO DE MAYO CELEBRATION WITH CANTINA LAREDO

benefiting Dog-Harmony

A Howard Group I Merchants Retail Partners Development

These events are presented as part of the Coastal Culture Calendar of Events made possible by the Grand Boulevard Arts & Entertainment Program.

BA R K T O BE R F E S T G R A N D B O U L EVA R D . C O M/ E V E N T S


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Sitting of the Bay on the Dock

PERFECTION IS YOURS

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Photos by Tim Kramer Photography

It seems that people, by nature, are drawn to the water. Whether it’s a shimmering beach with waves lapping against the shore, a creek running through a thick wood, or a protected bay with all the promise of a playground for watersports, fishing, and more—the shore is irresistible. What could be better than making a home there? This stately residence on the scenic Choctawhatchee Bay in Destin, Florida, resides on over an acre and a half, providing plenty of play opportunities both on land and on the water. With expansive windows, oversized lanais, roomy balconies, and courtyard porches, it also offers the rare combination of views of both the bay and Marler Bayou. The brick-paved driveway meanders around century-old oak trees draped with Spanish moss as you approach this Mediterranean–inspired home with its three-and-a-half-car garage and six-space outdoor parking. It also comes complete with a sixteen-thousandpound deep-water boat lift. Floor-to-ceiling windows welcome you as you step through the front door, overlooking the home’s infinity-edge pool, sunset dock, and vast bay view.

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La maison The kitchen is the heart of any home, and this one is lined with beautifully kept Brazilian cherry cabinets and black granite countertops. With plenty of space, it houses double ovens and a gas range along with a large pantry with a built-in wine rack. The center island with bar seating is excellent for entertaining, as is the breakfast nook off the kitchen, which features a custom-made bench and table with a view of the pool deck. Located just off the kitchen are the formal dining room and the living room with a gas fireplace and custom cherry wood entertainment center with surround sound system for the entire house. Hurricane-proof sliding doors open to the pool and patio, expanding out to the sunset dock with a breathtaking view of the Choctawhatchee Bay. You will have all you need for a peaceful evening at home or a night of entertaining with family or guests!

You will have all you need for a peaceful evening at home or a night of entertaining with family or guests! The expansive brick-paved pool area features a kidneyshaped infinity pool with a Jacuzzi and outdoor kitchen perfect for barbecues. Seven hundred fifty feet of bay and bayou waterfront on the property ensures excellent views from the whole home. A seawall runs along the entire length of the property, from the bay to the bayou, protecting the spacious yard. The bay side features a sunset dock, while the bayou side houses the boat dock.

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with granite countertops, double vanity with custom cabinetry, soaking tub, linen closet, and a double shower framed in travertine tile.

At the end of a long day of fun on the bay or relaxing by the pool, retreat to the luxurious master suite in the northern wing of the home, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the pool deck. The suite also features a gas fireplace, sitting room, kitchenette, study, large walk-in closet, and a full-size laundry room. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without the accompanying master bathroom

At the end of a long day of fun on the bay or relaxing by the pool, retreat to the luxurious master suite in the northern wing of the home, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the pool deck. 132 | SE P T E MBE R 2018

Just off the dining room, you will find the second bedroom and bathroom with additional custom cabinetry for storage and a second laundry room with a half bath. Lighted stair treads lead you up to the second floor which features a third bedroom with a full bath and a billiard room, which could be a fourth bedroom. The billiard room includes a full bathroom, a pool table, a game table with chairs, custom cabinetry housing a Murphy bed, and floor-to-ceiling doors opening to a large balcony with more sweeping views of the pool and the bay. Perhaps the best part of this home is its location. This home offers 750 linear feet of bay and bayou access with stunning sunset views. It also rests in a lovely family friendly neighborhood. Bonus features include a deep-water protected boat dock with easy access to the East Pass and open waters of the Gulf of Mexico; perfect for the avid fisherman. Just a short boat ride will take you to enjoy a relaxing day at Crab Island, shopping at HarborWalk Village and Destin Harbor, and all the other amenities Destin has to offer.


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Meet the Realtor

Integrity, trust, and exceptional service drive Renee Ryan’s passion for real estate and remarkable client relationships. Her unconditional investment to her clients and unwavering commitment to providing the highest customer care distinguish her from others in the industry as she makes her clients’ needs her top priority. Ryan is responsive, attentive, and a professional problem solver to negotiate on your behalf throughout the entire real estate transaction. As an Engel & Völkers real estate advisor, the world is Ryan’s marketing platform. When she lists your home, she accesses the Engel & Völkers international network, promoting your home to prospective buyers in over 35 countries worldwide. With industry-leading technology, potential buyers can virtually tour your home no matter where they are located. Her real estate expertise and customer service coupled with the Engel & Völkers brand and global network are what makes her the perfect choice to represent you during the sale of a property or purchase of your home. Integrity, trust, and exceptional service are not just principles upon which she built her business; they are values that have served as a foundation for her life, family, and community. Visit ReneeRyan.evusa.com and search “413 Calhoun Avenue” or e-mail Renee.Ryan@EngelVoelkers.com to learn more or to request a showing.


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““Castellana” Denise Pardini is not only the owner/proprietor of Castello di Sinio, she is also the head chef. 134 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


ITALY’S SECRET GUARDIAN

CASTELLANA of the LANGHE BY SALLIE LEWIS LONGORIA PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF CASTELLO DI SINIO

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arrived at Castello di Sinio on a midsummer afternoon. As I stepped from the car, a thick haze of jasmine drifted over me from the flowering courtyard. Inside, a glass of cold prosecco was waiting at check-in, where I met the property’s Italian-American owner, Denise Pardini.

Born in San Francisco, Pardini is the powerhouse behind Castello di Sinio. The twelfth-centurycastle-turned-country-inn is located in the town of Sinio in Piedmont’s UNESCO-protected Langhe Valley. As both owner and manager, Pardini has successfully turned her love for the Italian countryside into a career, inviting people from around the globe to share in the lifestyle of Le Langhe. Though there are hilltop castles throughout the region, Pardini’s property, which is one of the

oldest castles in the Barolo wine zone, is different. Here, an atmosphere of genuine warmth and hospitality pervade. Castello di Sinio is a home at ease and in harmony with time. Growing up, Pardini was deeply influenced by her family’s Italian heritage. They come from the Tuscan town of Lucca, which is popularized by the massive stone walls that surround it. “I have always been very sentimental about being Italian,” she says. As one of ten children, she began helping in the kitchen from an early age. “We grew up Italian, sitting down for dinner every night and using china, silver, and crystal glasses every Sunday after church.” Her mother, a music and voice coach, and her father, a master butcher, placed importance on coming together around the table.

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t sixteen, Pardini entered the restaurant industry and put herself through college with her earnings. She and her brother eventually opened two successful restaurants, which they ran together for four years. Later, she moved to Silicon Valley, California, and worked in sales for more than two decades. Fast forward to the 2000 dot-com bust, which spurred Pardini to take a sabbatical in Italy. Though she’d been traveling to the country all her life, a calling to return and immerse herself in the culture proved a natural respite in a time of unfavorable circumstances.

“I WA S READY TO GO HOME, BUT WHEN I SAW THIS COMPLETELY DERELICT, FALLEN DOWN CA STLE, IT WA S LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, I WOULD DO ANYTHING TO MAKE IT MINE.”

At the start of the sabbatical, Pardini gave herself a two-week holiday in the Langhe Valley. “I absolutely fell in love,” she says, recalling her first visit to the region years prior. Over the course of a year, she studied at different language schools, assisted at local wineries, and participated in the grape harvest. During this time, she also invested in a farmhouse with the dream of turning it into an inn. Unfortunately, the investment failed, and Pardini was left burned from the experience.

As the new Castellana of Castello di Sinio, Pardini began the restoration, renovating the interiors and the grounds in one grand project. The process took almost five years, and the hotel was formally opened in 2005. “I tried to be true to the Castello itself and to listen to what it wanted,” she says.

As fate would have it, however, it was during this time of misfortune that she learned of the castle in Sinio. “I was ready to go home, but when I saw this completely derelict, fallen down castle, it was love at first sight,” she said. “I thought to myself, I would do anything to make it mine.”

A day at the Castello can be whatever guests want to make of it—perhaps relaxing in their luxurious suite or one of the property’s common areas (right) and later enjoying a gourmet alfresco meal on the patio dining area of Pardini Vini e Cucina, the hotel’s restaurant (opposite top and bottom).

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Castello di Sinio was built in 1142 by the Marchesi Del Carretto. Over the centuries, its’ ownership changed, most recently belonging to the Marengo family, who turned the property into a farm and agricultural estate. When Pardini learned of the property, 84year-old Armando Marengo was living there as the last surviving heir At the time, a local builder was courting him to sell, but when Marengo and Pardini met in 2000, a personal connection helped Pardini prevail.

Armando Marengo’s mother was widely known in the community as the “Castellana,” which translates as the “steward” of the castle. Meeting Pardini was a fortuitous moment for Marengo, who saw in her a modern-day Castellana to carry on the traditions and stewardship of the property for another generation. They finalized the sale two months later.

The furnishings in each of the twelve bedrooms pay homage to the castle’s ninehundred-year history while reflecting modern sensibilities. My garden-facing Junior Suite (Room 11) echoed the medieval age with its luxurious damask linens and heavy drapes. A painting of the Madonna and Child hung on the wall, as did a beautiful antique gilded clock. Carefully mixed with these luxe interiors were modern touches like blackout shades, a high-definition flat-screen TV, and a Bluetooth-enabled music system. “I want guests to wake up and know they are in Italy, in a medieval castle, but feel like they are home,” Pardini says.


The hillsides surrounding the Castello are laced with hazelnut trees and grafted with grapevines tended by local families for generations. Aside from wine and hazelnuts, the region is also known for its plethora of artisan food producers who make goods such as fresh cheese, salami, and specialty pastas like tajarin—a thin, flat noodle made with egg yolk. The Langhe is also home to truffles, including the proverbial white varietal, which is celebrated every fall with a month-long festival. The myriad flavors of the Langhe form a palatable playground for Pardini, who also serves as executive chef at the Castello’s restaurant, Pardini Vini e Cucina. Like the rest of the property, the stone dining room at Pardini Vini e Cucina has an air of relaxed formality and luxurious comfort. Once the castle’s medieval kitchen, today it is a romantic dining

“I WANT GUESTS TO WAKE UP AND KNOW THEY ARE IN ITALY, IN A MEDIEVAL CASTLE, BUT FEEL LIKE THEY ARE HOME.” destination complete with a heavy wood-beamed ceiling, a grand fireplace, and clothed tables dressed with fine china and glassware. On my first night, I sipped an aperitif of sparkling rosé while sampling a selection of small dishes including picadillo empanadas, chestnut vichyssoise, and a particularly memorable date with fontina and mint wrapped in crispy pancetta. Soon after, my dinner selections arrived. First came the soufflé of wild mushrooms with a light Parmesan fonduta and black truffle puree. The dish was savory and masterfully

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plated with miniature mushrooms sprouting from the top as if surfacing from the earth. Next came the potato gnocchi, a recipe from Pardini’s grandmother, served with a ragout of hand-chopped duck breast, oregano, marsala, and sweet green olives. Every course was cooked with intention and integrity, leaving an enduring memory. In addition to taking guests’ orders, Chef Pardini also cooks each night and every morning when the breakfast service commences.

Above: Strolling around the well-maintained grounds of Castello di Sinio is sure to be a delight as Pardini (opposite) plans her gardening so that there is something in bloom year-round.

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This dedication and attention to detail transcend the castle walls as evidenced by the flowering gardens, which Pardini also tends. “I absolutely love it, maybe as much as the cooking,” she says, insisting it is a choice, not a chore. Additionally, Pardini finds that flowers add a soothing component to the guest experience. “The ghosts like it, too,” she reveals. “They stopped opening and closing windows as soon as I started planting flowers and hanging geraniums.” Pardini plans her garden so that something is always in bloom, be it the azaleas in April, the geraniums in July, or the crepe myrtles in September. The inner courtyard is a tranquil Zen-like space with gurgling fountains, classic statues, planted terra-cotta pots, and a few castle cats who pad around the soft, sundrenched grass between naps.

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e it gardening, cooking, or personally planning her guests’ itineraries, Pardini is handson in every sense of the phrase. Through this effort, she has created a palpable aura of comfort, service, and intimacy that makes guests feel at home not only physically but also emotionally.

“I grew up in a big, close, loving Italian family and I think growing up in that house is what gave me the instincts to know how to do this,” she says. In many ways, Castello di Sinio serves as a symbol of life in the Langhe Valley. In the end, it’s about local food and wine, hard work and hospitality, comfort and communion—all things Pardini knows well and imparts upon her sixteen staff members. While Castello di Sinio may be one of Italy’s bestkept secrets, Pardini is generous with her knowledge


when it comes to local treasures. Over the years, she has found, folded in the quiet hillsides, her favorite restaurants, hiking trails, picnic sites, vineyard experiences, outdoor markets, gastronomic shops, and historic estates. Upon check-in, every guest receives her customized, carefully curated Mini Guide, complete with marked-up maps, insider tips, and personalized recommendations. Additionally, the Castello staff will happily organize a host of activities, from guided bike rides to chauffeured wine tours, Vespa rentals, hands-on cooking classes, truffle hunts, and much more. Relaxing on the grounds is another perfectly acceptable pastime, thanks to the inviting swimming pool and the cozy, cushioned spaces arranged both inside and outdoors. One afternoon, en route to the pool, I walked beneath the courtyard’s jasmine trellis. The fragrance, coupled with the muffled sound of nectar-drunk bees, drove away all my remaining tension. Golden

IN THE END, IT’S ABOUT LOCAL FOOD AND WINE, HARD WORK AND HOSPITALITY, COMFORT AND COMMUNION—ALL THINGS PARDINI KNOWS WELL AND IMPARTS UPON HER SIXTEEN STAFF MEMBERS. sunlight dappled the water and the daybed where I stopped to rest. Bells chimed on cue from the nearby clock tower, announcing time’s swift passage. At Castello di Sinio, days slip blissfully away. Luckily for me and for all who visit, Pardini has shown her guests how to relish every minute.

HOTELCASTELLODISINIO.COM

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Tips for Making Your Home

Photography by Romona Robbins

When it comes to creating a beautiful space that’s also functional and comfortable, some people might find the process overwhelming. The experts at Beau Interiors, a full-service design firm and home retail showroom in Grayton Beach, Florida, are here to help. Owner Margie Perry and her team assist clients every day with selecting and arranging furniture, accessories, mirrors, rugs, lighting, art, and more. With a comfortable yet refined coastal style that reflects the area’s whitesand beaches and emerald waters, Beau Interiors knows beauty inside and out. These tips from their experts will help you design a space you might never want to leave!

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The best starting point for a room is a beautiful rug or a great piece of original art. These pieces give you a foundation to design the room around.

We believe that investing in a unique piece of original art is better than filling your walls with prints that have no original style. That piece will have more impact and will be something you love seeing when you enter your space.

Texture is just as important as color! It is simple to add texture to your decor through pillows, throws, poufs, and accessories.

Natural elements such as a cowhide rug are timeless. Layering the cowhide over a basic natural jute rug adds texture, dimension, and interest to a space.

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Symmetry is important, but it is a good idea to limit the number of pairs in a space. Depending on the size of the room, too many pairs can be distracting and can appear too “fixed.” Break up pairs by adding a few singles and odd numbers of objects to keep the space interesting.

Select pieces that are in line with your personal style and fit well with how you use the space. Neutral sofas and furniture stand the test of time and are great foundations for layering more trendy colors and pattern through pillows and accessories that are much easier and less costly to swap out when you are ready for a change.

Don’t be afraid of white or light colors! With all of the performance fabric and washable options that are now available, it is simple to keep a white sofa looking beautiful.

If you are overwhelmed with where to begin in your home, seek an experienced design professional to help! It is well worth the investment and could save you time, energy, and money in the long run.

Visit BeauHomeInteriors.com to learn more, shop, or schedule a consultation with the designers, or stop by the showroom at 32 East County Highway 30-A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. 142 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


Stop by the extensive Beau Interiors showroom and home store in Grayton Beach, Florida, for examples of ways to use these tips in your home and chat with the experts for more ideas!

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Floral Designs flowersbymilkandhoney.com Hello@flowersbymilkandhoney.com


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gold THE

STANDARD

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Putting the finishing touches on a masterpiece can make or break the finished product. Take a bathroom sink, a shower, a kitchen, or a swimming pool, for example; adding luxurious details such as custom tile or mosaics can make all the difference in having a beautiful space and having one that’s simply breathtaking. With trends in home decor and finishes always coming and going, it’s important to consider timelessness when creating any part of a house, but especially when adding a backsplash or tiled wall, which will likely be there for years, if not decades. This year’s classic yet modern white-and-gold trend adds a wow factor that can adapt to almost any era and pairs well with various decor styles. Luxury tile purveyors including Artistic Tile and New Ravenna have created extraordinary mosaic tile designs that will liven up a space while also bringing a sophisticated air. Located in Grayton Beach, Florida, Q Tile is the area’s leading tile designer and tile company. With high-end brands in the showroom, consumers are welcome to browse and ask questions to ensure the experts can help find the right design for any home or commercial space.

Visit Q-Tile.com, stop by the showroom at 17 Uptown Circle in Grayton Beach, or call (850) 213-0000 and discover the endless possibilities to create a one-of-a-kind design for your home.

Above: Hudson is a stone waterjet mosaic, shown here in Venetian honed Calacatta Gold and Brass. It is part of the Trove collection for New Ravenna. Far left: Simone, another waterjet stone mosaic from New Ravenna’s Trove collection, is shown in honed Calacatta Gold, honed Thassos, and brushed Bronze. Left: Reve, a handmade mosaic shown in 24-karat Gold Glass and Agate and Quartz Jewel Glass, is part of the Aurora collection by Sara Baldwin for New Ravenna. Photos courtesy of New Ravenna V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 147


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This year’s classic yet modern white-and-gold trend adds a wow factor that can adapt to almost any era and pairs well with various decor styles.

Above left: Jardin de Versailles in polished Calacatta Gold and Brass is part of the Jardins Français collection by Caroline Beaupere for New Ravenna. Above: Hoffman, a waterjet stone mosaic by New Ravenna, is shown here in honed Calacatta Gold and Brass. Photos courtesy of New Ravenna Left: Channeling the daring industrial spirit of the early 1900s, the marble Aviator tile propels Artistic Tile’s Grand Tour collection to a higher stratus with a nod to vintage aircraft design. Photo courtesy of Artistic Tile 148 | SE P T E MBE R 2018


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Building Hope CHANGING THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER

B y Jor dan S t aggs P h o to gr aphy c o ur te s y of G r and Bay Const r uct ion

Creating exceptional homes is nothing new for Chris Burch. His dream to build things started when he was a boy and grew through the years until he formed his own company, Grand Bay Construction in Grayton Beach, Florida, which he launched in 2005 with financial partner Ed Lewis. His projects over the past thirteen years have spanned from one-car garages to multimillion-dollar beachfront homes designed by prominent architects.

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Grand Bay Construction has built in Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast area since 2005. This custom home in the Heritage Dunes neighborhood of Seagrove Beach boasts features that are just as incredible as its views. Photo by Modus Photography


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ut it’s the projects that stem from Burch’s heart of gold that are truly exceptional— shelters and orphanages, family homes, churches, medical clinics, community centers, and more—many in impoverished areas of Central and South America, Africa, and the Caribbean islands. Through partnerships with Atlanta–based Third Lens Ministries and other organizations, Burch’s buildings have helped people across the globe. His latest endeavor for good was a little closer to home. Burch first connected with World Changers, a Nashville–based branch of Lifeway Christian Resources that plans youth mission trips around

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the United States and abroad, in 2007 after tropical storm Olga decimated parts of Puerto Rico. World Changers works with construction professionals such as Burch to help rebuild and improve dilapidated neighborhoods by bringing teams of high-school and college students from various states to help with the process. This July 9–13, Burch spearheaded the second World Changers retreat in Panama City, Florida, to help citizens in the city’s Millville and Glenwood neighborhoods. “We worked with the local community redevelopment agency in Panama City, particularly with people living in Millville and Glenwood, to identify homes that needed repairs,” Burch explains. “Anyone in those neighborhoods can apply for the program, and there’s no cost to the homeowners.”

Below: Through World Changers, high school and college students can travel across the United States and abroad while helping repair homes for those in need.


“We went in and built wheelchair ramps, placed new siding, painted, replaced concrete sidewalks, did yard work, even gave a dog a bath—anything the kids could help with.”

Right and below: Students learn valuable skills and compassion through the World Changers program, while homeowners get the help they need at no cost. The organization works with builders such as Chris Burch, along with local community redevelopment agencies, to identify homes in need of repair.

World Changers partnered with First Baptist Church of Panama City to bring in over three hundred students from fourteen other churches across eleven states for the 2018 project. “We went in and built wheelchair ramps, placed new siding, painted, replaced concrete sidewalks, did yard work, even gave a dog a bath—anything the kids could help with,” says Burch. They worked on thirty-eight homes in four days. A woman’s bathroom floor had been falling in for years, her tub practically hanging down through it; the World Changers came to the rescue, and she

now has a working toilet in her home. Another woman had no air conditioning for ten years and can now relax, sheltered from the sweltering Florida summer. The team even demolished a collapsed shed in one homeowner’s backyard which had been the only thing impeding the family from getting approved for home insurance. Burch had met one of the homeowners on a fateful encounter while he was in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. “She was sitting there, and out of the blue, she said, mostly to herself, ‘I wish I had someone to help fix my house up,’” Burch recalls. “I looked at her and told her I was a builder, and we got to talking. I asked if she happened to live in Millville or Glenwood, and she said her home was in Millville. It’s kind of crazy, like it was meant to be. We were able to go in with World Changers and help her and two of her relatives. Later she left me the nicest voicemail thanking us for all the work done on her house and raving about how much she loved the kids. Being able to help people is fulfilling; I just enjoy doing it. I feel like I get more in return than anything that I may be trying to contribute; getting to know new people and hearing their stories is a true blessing.”

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In early 2019, Grand Bay Construction will open its second location. The mountain scenery and grand lake homes around Clayton, Georgia, present new and exciting opportunities for Burch and his team, who will still maintain their office in Grayton Beach, Florida. Photo by Modus Photography

"I feel like I get more in return than anything that I may be trying to contribute; getting to know new people and hearing their stories is a true blessing.” One of the best things about the World Changers project is how it impacts the whole community, Burch explains. Frequently, once improvements are made to a house, the neighbors are inspired to do the same to their own homes and yards. “It’s like a wildfire breaks out, and the whole street starts looking better by the end of the week.” Fresh off the World Changers repair week, Burch is back at work creating homes along the Gulf Coast; but he’s also looking to the future. In addition to planning another World Changers week for 2019, Grand Bay Construction will be expanding early next year as it opens a new location in Clayton, Georgia, headed up by Matt Ellington, who has worked with Burch since 2010. “It’s a great location for us to open up, with so many beautiful large mountain and lake homes in the area, and being conveniently located to Atlanta and other metro areas,” Burch says. “Matt’s been a key part of this team for eight years and he’s going to do a great job.” There’s no doubt that whether they’re helping someone with a basic need or building a beachfront mansion, Chris Burch and his team at Grand Bay Construction confront each project with a tremendous amount of heart and soul.

GrandBayConstruction.com

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2018-2019 SEASON SEASON SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW! A Midsummer Night’s Dream Oct. 13 @ 7:30pm Grand Boulevard

William Shakespeare’s tangle of plots and subplots about the loves and adventures of mortals and mystical beings. Brought to you as part of Grand Boulevard’s Coastal Culture series.

The Nutcracker

Nov. 16 & 17 @ 7:30pm Nov. 18 @ 2:30pm Mattie Kelly Arts Center The 39th annual production of the classic holiday fairytale with live music by the NFB Symphony Orchestra, led by NFB Music Director David Ott.

Lightwire Theater: A Very Electric Christmas Dec. 21 @ 7:30pm Dec. 22 @ 2:30pm Destin United Methodist Church Life Center Lightwire Theater, a former finalist on America’s Got Talent, will thrill audiences of all ages with this magical story featuring electroluminescent lighting set to timeless holiday hits.

New Moves March 8 @ 7:30pm March 9 @ 2:30pm & 7:30pm March 10 @ 2:30pm NFB Downtown FWB Studios A unique experience performed in a black box theater that includes the premiere of new cutting edge works in addition to an art exhibit featuring local visual artists.

Sponsored In Part By:


Introspections

Introspections THINK DEEPER

Rendering by Houben & Van Mierlo Architects Visit HoubenVanMierlo.nl to learn more.

The year 2018 has seen some exciting developments in home design, including a glimpse into the future of cost-effective housing: the first up-to-code 3-D printed house was erected by a robot in Nantes, France. Now, Dutch architecture firm Houben & Van Mierlo is upping the ante with plans for its “Milestone� project, featuring five unique homes to be made from 3-D printed concrete. They plan to build in the Bosrijk neighborhood of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in collaboration with Van Wijnen construction group, Eindhoven University of Technology, and the Municipality of Eindhoven.

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Un

plugged Break Up With It By Solange Jazayeri Illustration by Lucy Young

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Yes, I know, I know. I’m addicted to my smartphone. Worse yet, I’m raising the next generation of tech-savvy addicts. I am not particularly proud of this. Looking for support, I turned away from technology and bought a book: How to Break Up with Your Phone by Catherine Price. My only complaint was that the first chapter tried to convince me I was addicted to my phone. Isn’t this why I bought the book in the first place?! If you’re like me and only have a few minutes to spare on any topic, activity, or task, allow me to give you some quick and easy life hacks, inspired by the wisdom of Ms. Price, to help you ignore your smart (smarty-pants) phone. The first thing I did was have my two princesses (ages ten and seven) make an artsy sign that reads, “Mom, let’s snuggle instead.” I took a picture of them holding the sign and made it my lock-screen image. I found it to be a good source of mom-guilt. We’re a pretty affectionate family. Looking at their sweet faces reminded me to ask myself whether what was on that phone was as important or more important in that moment than reaching out for them and pulling them closer. There are some things smartphones can’t do. There isn’t an app for heartfelt snuggles. Believe me; I am not out to shame anyone. I speak for myself when I say my kids get jealous of my phone. I know the feeling because now I’m jealous of Minecraft. The time when my kids wanted to play with me over anything else in this world has passed. Digital gaming has trumped me. See the irony here? As we look for creative summer crafts for our kids, this “get mommy off tech” art project is as good as any. Plus, it allows us to be in conversation with our

children about what matters most, how to train our habits, and to focus on just that. Second, I set myself up for success. I’m a firm believer in the morning ritual—one that involves being intentional with every action and thought before the hustle and bustle of life gains control. Those early morning hours, before the kids and my husband wake up, is sacred ‘me’ time. More often than not, it’s the only time I’ll get to myself all day. I like to pattern my morning to be as soul searching and productive as possible. Let me give you an example that doesn’t relate to the phone to build a parallel. Every morning I have a hot mug of squeezed lemon and water. I do this so that I can start my day as alkaline as possible, so my next craving is not bread or sugar. One wrong choice begets the next. It works the same way with right decisions. Back to the phone. In the same vein as the tea, I attempt to keep my mind in a neutral state. To do so, per Price’s advice, I downloaded the Freedom app for my iPhone (QualityTime is comparable for Android devices), so the phone can block any website or outside app from becoming a distraction for a couple of hours. You would not believe how much writing time I have gained! More importantly, by not reading the news, emails, and pop-up advertisements, I am in control of my thoughts and what I consume as my first best choices of the day (as I am less vulnerable to distractions).

I love technology, but when my gadgets get in the way of “Mom, I’m ready to snuggle now” moments I know it’s time to put the phone away. When I get the urge to check my Instagram, I gulp and hydrate instead! If my FOMO is still thirsty, at least I’ve earned the little social media cheat. With summer upon us, we have the chance to revisit how we spend—or waste—our time. For me, summer means time for the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ talk. I love technology, but when my gadgets get in the way of “Mom, I’m ready to snuggle now” moments, I know it’s time to put the phone away.

Solange Jazayeri has an MBA in communication and leadership from the University of West Florida. As a writer, her research explores the intersection of love and identity in this new age of technology.

I may not be perfect the whole day through, but believe me, I am much better than I would have been had I not been so intentional in architecting my morning’s thought patterns. Lastly, because it’s easier to build a habit than to break one, I’ve begun placing bottled water next to the phone so that my bad habit can lead to a healthy one.

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Table decor by Flowers by Milk & Honey – Destin, Florida Photo by Dreamtown Photo Co.

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If These Tables Could Talk BY SUZANNE POLLAK

The table setting is a horizontal short stor y using objects instead of words. You can share your past, your passions, a grandparent, your family, or your mood right on the dinner table. As with any writing, you must use your imagination and channel what matters most to you. However, telling a stor y on a tabletop is much less labor intensive than writing with words—I promise!

Keep Grandmother on the table. If you were lucky enough to inherit silver, china, or knickknacks from a relative, do not ignore these treasures. If they are not precious to you, sell the lot. Otherwise, get these objects out of the felt storage bags in the attic and lay them on the table! Those knives and forks, plates, bowls, and other things have stories attached to them. Did your grandparents buy this piece on their trip to Athens? (Greece or Georgia makes no difference.) Did their flatware come from Denmark? Are those little crystal sculptures awards your grandfather earned throughout his career? Let the table tell the family tales. Allow the kids to have their say—and Dad, too, for that matter. Make everyone relevant by asking and expecting the people you live with to contribute instead of whining “What’s for dinner?” or “I’m not hungry,” blah-blah-blah ad nauseam. It’s a fact that

once people have labored, they have ownership of something. And when they work, they talk, even if only to explain their contributions. You have given these people something to be proud of. So what if the centerpiece is an ant farm and the plates are paper? It makes no difference whether or not the forks are to the left of the plate. What is important is that you make a big deal about the effort expended. Your compliments will lead to more offers of “Can I help?” Why, yes, you can! Things thieved can be centerpieces, too. When a neighbor leaves town or has yet to wake up, I might occasionally walk by his place, clippers in hand, and reach over the fence to do a little snipping. Yes, I am a thief; but plants keep growing, and my table needed that special color, texture, leaf, or flower that was hanging at the edge of his garden. Can’t we all share our bounty? V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 161


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here’s more to think about besides grandparents, kids, and crime. There’s repurposing. Two for dinner? That’s when I pull out my pair of antique silver porringers and pour the soup into these vessels. Silver keeps hot soup hot and cold soup cold. Just think about it: who was the last baby actually fed porridge from a porringer? Exactly! Porringers have no use in the current century, but if you own one, use it you must! Similarly, when was the last time anyone in the United States served demitasse—1972 maybe? If you have a set of demitasse cups—or if you don’t, buy one—and make chocolate pudding. Pour the mixture in the cups, bake, refrigerate, and voilà! Another fabulous blast from the past repurposed and doing a job for you. Bonus: the chocolate pudding takes twenty minutes to make, and you can assemble it the day before. Dessert is ready, rich, and original.

Right: Table decor by Flowers by Milk & Honey – Destin, Florida Photo by Tre Cole Opposite: Visit FlowersByMilkandHoney.com to see more of their work or discuss florals and decor for your next event! Photo by Pure 7 Studios 162 | SE P T E MBE R 2018

Desserts themselves can make lovely centerpieces. A homemade pie or a pyramid of stacked cookies, laid out for all to see, tantalizes us all. Edible arrangements remind guests to save room—not to mention that their host is organized and competent. The facts speak for themselves by the nature of such a delectable centerpiece. Do you own a large silver monteith punch bowl? Don’t wait for your son’s rehearsal dinner in twenty years to pull that monster out. Polish the bowl, plunk it in the middle of the table, and forget the punch. That dish is the perfect vessel for party favors or magnolias. (Magnolias look even classier a day later when the leaves turn a shade of mahogany, perhaps matching the table.) Did you know that beer bottles are useful for more than just holding liquid? Many hosts feel uncomfortable directing guests where to sit. However, you should make a seating plan, or else your dinner party can fizzle when people try to seat themselves willy-nilly. Intervene, making it a silly game by using beer bottles for place cards. There are three trillion new breweries, each trying to brand itself by its labels. Think of the males you invited and each of their defining characteristics, then match a label to each man. Mustache, photographer, playboy, real estate developer—you will no doubt find a label that speaks to that particular thing. While your men walk around the table finding themselves (or your version of them), tell the ladies where to sit (perhaps with


At nineteen, back in the United States, I became engaged. It’s now embarrassing to admit one of my first concerns was my china. What pattern would I choose? The minute I saw those eighteenth-century green- and gold-rimmed stacks of plates and soup bowls, it was love at first sight. The best parts were the three smallish tureens that matched. The trio of tureens lived on my dining table day and night. During dinner parties, I filled each one with three bunches of green onions. I just thought this was the chicest thing imaginable—and I still do. Sometimes the essence of one’s style doesn’t change, even as we pass through the seasons of life. The onions brought the formality of the pedestal mahogany table down a notch and had an element of surprise. Vegetables as the centerpiece? Yes, and just wait until you get a gentle whiff of the bulb.

Whether it’s with plants from your garden, family heirlooms, or an assemblage of objects, set a tabletop to get your party popping. The table setting is a way to honor yourself and those you love.

When I owned an eighteenth-century house with a ballroom, I kept the room empty so I could set up two eight-foot rental tables and invite twenty-one guests for dinner. Old brass candlesticks, or else a collection of antique silver cups, marched down the center of the tables covered with thick old linen sheets. Sometimes the cups were filled with orange-tree clippings, other times with blue hydrangeas grown for the sole purpose of using them in the blue-grey ballroom. My favorite fillings for the silver cups were the weeds plucked from my garden. Don’t you raise your nose and look down upon the lowly plant—weeds can bring a plucky personality to your table and announce to your company, without a word, that this host is resourceful, thrifty, and creative.

lip glosses.) Any male will be flattered that you spent time thinking about who they are. Who doesn’t like that kind of attention? Lay yourself out on your table. I can’t speak for your background, but since I came from Africa, I like to bring in the jungle—either from my garden or stolen from someone else’s. Sometimes I repurpose my African art by bringing it from the walls to the table. Roasted barracuda on banana leaves was my first foray into the art of setting the table. I was fifteen and living in Monrovia, Liberia. My father’s catch of the day was a mighty barracuda from the Saint Paul River. My sister and I stuck the gutted fish in a very hot oven while our brother found a banana leaf in the garden that was the length of our table. It served as the perfect platter for a whole fish to be admired, front and center.

Anyone can order arrangements from a florist, but sometimes you have to let you hang out on the table. Whether it’s with plants from your garden, family heirlooms, or an assemblage of objects, set a tabletop to get your party popping. The table setting is a way to honor yourself and those you love. It also sets the stage to create emotional connections and meaningful entertaining experiences. A dining room or kitchen table is a place to make sure you are living the good life—meaning a life well lived. It’s up to you to make that happen, and a table is as good a place as any to begin.

Suzanne Pollak, a mentor and lecturer in the fields of home, hearth, and hospitality, is the founder and dean of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits. She is the coauthor of Entertaining for Dummies, The Pat Conroy Cookbook, and The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits: A Handbook of Etiquette with Recipes. Born into a diplomatic family, Pollak was raised in Africa, where her parents hosted multiple parties every week. Her South Carolina homes have been featured in the Wall Street Journal “Mansion” section and Town & Country magazine. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 163


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A DREAM HOME COMES TO By Nicholas S. Racheo t es // Illu st ra t io n by Lu cy You n g

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n my corner of the American demographic, all sorts of real and imaginary homeowners live. To categorize them by age and wealth: First, we have the newly minted college graduates dragging the chain of indebtedness they formed in school back into their parental homes (at least until the squatters are on their feet). A sure sign of their standing tall is when they get their feet off the coffee table, find a well-paying job, and get the—well, get out of Mom and Dad’s house. Next come the “starter home people.” They made their way into a house too small for the family they intend to have just as soon as they reach the fiftyyard line in their mortgage payments. No fear—if the divorce bug doesn’t bite them first, their next stop will be an eight- to ten-room suburban palace complete with a nursery, a man cave, a sewing room, an office, a garden for pastime cultivation, and an expansive lawn. If the suburbanites stay healthy, wealthy, and wise enough to remain together, they will out-shrink that albatross of a luxury barn and head for an urban condo. Here, there’s no room for Junior and Miss to crash with a significant other or an insignificant pet, clamor to be put on the cell-phone plan, or forever take showers when the elders need the bathroom. Of course, if all goes ill, the second-to-last stop is assisted living. I love this term. What it really means is that for five figures a month, you get to share a room with someone you’ll never really know, eat food you never would have touched in your

life

unassisted life, and hang out in a common room with people who make you wish you were back in your starter home awakening for the nocturnal feeding of the new baby. So, in the circle of standard American real-estate life, where does the “dream home” business come in? Why, naturally, if and when you secure a second home. The mythical second home isn’t all about amenities or luxury finishes; now we’re talking geography. Northerners who can’t face another February on the snow side of Dixie head down south. How far south? That is the question. I believe many can be found wasted away in Margaritaville. Other landlubbers who want to be up to their pectorals in some ocean or another head for the seashore, be it to the east, south, or west. The standing joke is that all of Cape Cod is for sale—if not for sail—every autumn. And I can’t forget those who desperately want to “go country.” Beguiled by memories of camping and mountain climbing in their youth, they dip into the online real-estate listings to find a rural oasis. Can’t you just smell the wood smoke from the blaze in the fireplace? With a mixture of pleasure and sadness, I’m recalling vacations spent in motel rooms where the smell of disinfectant didn’t quite mask the odor of prior occupants. Before falling asleep, I’d wonder when and if my pillow would be nearby in a secondhome bedroom of my own. Well, it happened. And it was worth the wait.

Now the cross-breeze whispers in the curtains. There are no streetlights to challenge the stars for brightening the sky. An owl has decided to spread his gospel across the backyard. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Suddenly, I’m mindtraveling to those places where sisters and brothers take their rest under a bridge, find recreation in a public park, and dream among other sleepers in a shelter. Their dream homes might not be grand or nestled among sand dunes on the coast; more likely they provide security and simple comforts. It’s not a happy thought, but it does come with another. There’s a bit of wording over the front door that testifies to the power of simple thoughts: “Bless this house, oh Lord we pray. Keep it safe both night and day.” The next morning, but not too early, children splash in the pool next door. Coffee is brewing and bacon is frying. Someone is walking a dog and talking through her smile to a neighbor. “Another beautiful day!” I guess you really can dream a house into a home.

Nick Racheotes is a product of Boston public schools, Brandeis University, and Boston College, from which he holds a PhD in history. Since he retired from teaching at Framingham State University, Nick and his wife, Pat, divide their time between Boston, Cape Cod, and the Western world.

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Photo courtesy of Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura Visit RicardoBofill.com to see more projects.

Spanish architecture firm Ricardo Bofill took inspiration from both North African casbah and Arab Mediterranean styles for its La Muralla Roja (“The Red Wall”) residential complex built in Calpe, Spain, in 1972. The precise geometric plan for this colorful compound was based on the typology of the Greek cross with arms five meters long, grouped in different ways with service towers (kitchens and bathrooms) where the arms intersect. The ensemble of interconnected patios provides access to fifty apartments, while the roof terraces are home to solariums, a swimming pool, and a sauna for residents’ use.

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