R AT I N G
ST L I F E
DWELLING WELL Twelve Oaks Plantation
GONE WITH THE WIND ANTEBELLUM MANSION SELLS
& J I M AC C O Y L UZ
FRANKLY, SCARLETT, I DONâ€™T GIVE A DAMN
AT HOME WITH SUZY & WILDE
VIE BEACH HOUSE A S H OW H OM E
SPACE. WATER. SAND. October 2019
WHEN the BAHAMAS Is ALL YOU NEED
BRINGING BEACH CHIC to A NEW LEVEL of COOL in 2020
THE SMILE OF 30A HAS MOVED TO THE HEART OF 30A! With over 20 years of experience, as well as extensive knowledge of the local market, Linda Miller has been the number one agent in sales since 2015, with over $525 million in career sales along the 18 miles of Scenic 30A. She is thrilled to announce her new brokerage and office conveniently located in Seagrove Beach. “My dream came true, and you can be smilin’ too!”
Call Me! (850) 974-8885 5417 East Scenic Highway 30A, Seagrove Beach, Florida LindaMillerLuxury.com | Linda@TheSmileOf30A.com
LIVING THE DREA M ON R O S E M A R Y AV E N U E
LindaMillerLuxury.com | Linda@TheSmileOf30A.com | (850) 974-8885 5417 E County Hwy 30-A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
13 9 R O S E M A R Y AV E N U E ROSEMARY BEACH – $4,250,000 “Tyson’s Corner,” where Rosemary Avenue and East Water Street meet, is so close to the beach! This home was renovated by A Boheme Design in 2012 with an open-plan living area great for the entire family. Separate dining room opens onto a covered porch and private courtyard with room to add a pool. A wonderful kitchen and walk-in pantry off the mud room keep the cook happy. The huge second-floor master suite has French doors that open onto porches on the south and east sides. First floor den/bedroom has great natural light an adjacent full bath while the upstairs “kids” bedrooms share a Jack and Jill bath. Adorable carriage house has a balcony overlooking Rosemary Avenue and two-car garage below. This one won’t last!
3 2 R O S E M A R Y AV E N U E ROSEMARY BEACH – $4,750,000 This private residence in the heart of Rosemary Beach is 4,000 square feet of elegance in the perfect location, just steps from Main Street and the white-sand beach! The Caribbean-style beauty was renovated by Jade of New Orleans with fabulous new tile and fixtures, light-filled gathering spaces for the entire family, and a separate den that’s perfect for a kids’ hangout. Classic French doors open onto 1,000 square feet of covered wraparound porches overlooking the boardwalk. Adjacent courtyard garden was designed by The Plant Gallery of New Orleans, and the garage and charming two-story carriage house apartment are brand new. Don’t miss sunsets from the third-floor master suite and tower!
A N E W R E S I D E N T I A L E N C L AV E C o m i n g s o o n t o D o w n t o w n F r a n k l i n , Te n n e s s e e
For more information, contact realtor Laura Stroud, French King Fine Properties: Laura@FrenchKing.com | S P L E N D O R R I D G E . C O M
KITCHENS • BATHROOMS • LAUNDRY ROOMS • HOME OFFICES CLOSETS • MEDIA ROOMS • OUTDOOR KITCHENS • LIBRARIES 5597 Highway 98 West, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 (850) 267-2290 • MarquisIndustries.com
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114 Logan Lane, Suite 4, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 BurwellAssociates.com | (850) 231-6377
Florida LIC AA0003613
In this issue On the Cover
Homeowners Suzy and Jim Accola, who also own Q Tile design studio and Coastal Elements Construction, always wanted to convert an old barn into a house. Their “modern beach barn” in Seagrove Beach, Florida, is a new build with all the rustic charm they had hoped for, and it’s perfect for their family—including the four-legged members. The VIE team is excited to work with Q Tile, Coastal Elements, and other incredible partners on the VIE Beach House – A Show Home, coming in 2020! Photo by Brenna Kneiss Vie is a French word meaning “life” or “way of living.” VIE magazine sets itself apart as a high-gloss publication that focuses on human-interest stories with heart and soul. From Seattle to NYC with a concentration in the Southeast, VIE is known for its unique editorial approach—a broad spectrum of deep content with rich photography. The award-winning magazine was founded in 2008 by husband-and-wife team Lisa and Gerald Burwell, owners of the specialty publishing and branding house known as The Idea Boutique®. From the finest artistically bound books to paperless digital publication and distribution, The Idea Boutique provides comprehensive publishing services to authors and organizations. Its team of creative professionals delivers a complete publishing experience—all that’s needed is your vision.
WHAT BEGAN AS A QUAINT BEACHSIDE RETREAT FOR BACKPACKERS IN THE 1980S IS NOW AN EXPANSIVE RESORT COMMANDING 920 FEET OF BEACHFRONT IN THE HIP MEXICAN TOWN OF PLAYA DEL CARMEN. FIND OUT WHY THIS TOP DESTINATION ON THE YUCATÁN IS CALLED MAHEKAL—WHICH MEANS MAGICAL IN MAYAN.
Photo courtesy of Mahekal Beach Resort
26 Modern Beach Barn: A Rustic
96 Go Ask Alys
100 ¡Viva la Mahekal!
LA MAISON 25
108 Live like a Local: Welcome to the
34 Timeless Treasures
116 Space. Water. Sand. When That Is All
40 One if by Sand, Two if by Sea
45 L’intermission: Red, White, and Blue 46 Southern Hospitality: Paula Deen Shares
122 The Sanctity of a Mountain Hideaway
BON APPÉTIT! 129
52 Dreams Bloom
130 A Plateful of Happiness: The Business
58 A Secret Garden on Sea Island
of Good Food
63 L’intermission: The Fabulous ’50s
64 Still Leaving His Mark: An Architect’s Legacy 70 A Movie Icon Gets a Makeover: Twelve Oaks Antebellum Mansion Sells
138 Walking into a Perfume Bottle 142 Blessed Insurance: Turning a House
76 Thirty-One on 30A: Redefining Luxury
into a Home
81 L’intermission: Stay Frosty
LA SCÈNE 144
82 Letting the Beauty In 86 One Brush of Color at a Time
THE LAST WORD: HOME AND GARDEN 149
C’EST LA VIE CURATED COLLECTION: THE POWER OF PINK 90
AU REVOIR! 153 V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 11
4 4 B R I D G E WAT E R L A N E – 5 B R /4 . 5 B A
10 E . S PA N I S H T O W N C O U R T – 4 B R /4 B A
This beautiful, recently updated home in the gated Watersound Bridges community offers serene views of both the Gulf of Mexico and Camp Creek Lake. Includes ample parking with two-and-a-half-car garage and carriage house a short walk from the community pool and the beach.
Experience Gulf-front living in Rosemary Beach! With amazing views and private neighborhood beach access, this spacious home is perfect for the whole family or as a rental investment. Other highlights include finished carriage house, expansive courtyard, gourmet kitchen, and more.
LOC AL EXPER T. GLOBAL REAC H.
18 S A N D C L I F F S D R I V E – 5 B R /4 . 5 B A
334 CANNONBALL L ANE – 5BR /6BA
This home is 3,343 square feet of luxury in the secluded community of Sand Cliffs, just west of Alys Beach. Equipped with the latest home technology, large private pool, neighborhood beach access, and more. Open kitchen and third-floor bonus room offer plenty of space for everyone.
Spacious and bright, this home is nestled within the quiet community of Watersound Origins with its own pool and huge screened porches. Highlights include 12-foot ceilings, outdoor fireplace, Wolf kitchen appliances, carriage house, and abundant neighborhood amenities.
413 C A L H O U N AV E N U E – 3 B R / 6 B A This Destin bayfront residence is situated on over an acre and a half of land and offers a rare combination of expansive views of both the Choctawhatchee Bay and Marler Bayou. This fully furnished home is ideal for boat lovers, water-sport enthusiasts, and those who love to entertain!
4 9 2 3 A E A S T C O U N T Y H I G H WAY 3 0 A S A N TA R O S A B E A C H , F L 3 24 5 9 ( 8 5 0 ) 25 9 - 8 9 6 0 © 2019 Engel & Völkers. All rights reserved. Engel & Völkers and its independent franchisees are Equal Opportunity Employers and fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act. Each property shop is independently owned and operated. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. If your property is currently represented by a real estate broker, this is not an attempt to solicit your listing.
R E N E E . R YA N @ E V U S A .C O M 3 0 A G U L F C O A S T H O M E S .C O M
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 FELICIA FERGUSON, ANTHEA GERRIE, FRANCO GRIMALDI, REBECCA HALL, SALLIE LEWIS LONGORIA, MADRA MCDONALD, MYLES MELLOR, KELSEY OGLETREE, CAROLYN O’NEIL, SUZANNE POLL AK, COLLEEN SACHS, JANET THOMAS
ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY ART DIRECTOR TRACEY THOMAS Tracey@VIEmagazine.com
SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS OLIVIA PIERCE HANNAH VERMILLION
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS JEAN ALLSOPP, HUNTER BERRY, TOMMY CROW, JACK GARDNER, CAITLIN HARRIS, STEVE HERUD, DONN JONES, BRENNA KNEISS, NICHOL AS MATHEUS, ROMONA ROBBINS, M. K. SADLER, MARK STAFF, ELECTRIC MACHINE, GETT Y IMAGES, GW YNE GRAY PHOTOGRAPHY, SHUTTERSTOCK
ADVERTISING, SALES, AND MARKETING DIGITAL MARKETING DIRECTOR MEGHN HILL ASSISTANT TO THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ABIGAIL RYAN BRAND AMBASSADOR LISA MARIE BURWELL Lisa@VIEmagazine.com MARTA RATA Marta@VIEmagazine.com
AD MANAGER OLIVIA PIERCE Olivia@VIEmagazine.com
DISTRIBUTION MANAGER TIM DUTROW BRIGHT STAR MENTORSHIP PROGRAM HATTEN HUFF – AUBURN UNIVERSIT Y, FINANCE AND MARKETING OLIVIA MANTHEY – TROY UNIVERSIT Y, MARKETING
VIE is a registered trademark. All contents herein are Copyright © 2008–2019 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 $49.95. Subscriptions can be purchased online at www.VIEmagazine.com.
14 | O C T OBER 2019
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LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE
Show Us the Way
veryone has differing opinions on what living their best life looks like. Some want to experience all the world has to offer— to live a nomadic life, free of the encumbrances that come with growing roots in one place. At the risk of making a blanket statement, this seems to be the lifestyle to which many millennials and younger generations subscribe. And, to some degree, they have proven that such a lifestyle is actually possible.
Creating a better way of life is an aspiration shared by all emerging generations. I’ve given this a lot of thought, having recognized the desires of, and the choices made, by these young adults who, in a nutshell, don’t want to play by the same rules their parents did. I am thrilled by the fact that wireless communications allow them to work from practically anywhere in the world, affording them more flexibility in choosing their work terms. When I started my career, such options were not available to me—that wasn’t how the world worked then. These new age torchbearers are living their best lives, and I applaud their courage to conquer whatever they set their minds to. Thankfully, not all are globetrotters and some do remain planted, but they nevertheless are doggedly reshaping the status quo. If you haven’t yet received the memo, the definition of the American Dream has been thoroughly redefined. It used to mean putting in twenty years with a large company while supporting a family and a suburban home, and then retiring with a pension to enjoy the golden years. With the advent of the internet, the wealth of knowledge and information is no longer relegated to a select few but is now available to anyone with a web browser. Hence, the American Dream seems to belong to the people with the ideas—the ones who can successfully get the proverbial spaghetti to stick to the wall. So, I challenge the younger generation to be the champions of change: show the world your passion, creative energy, and heartfelt desires. As we strive to cope with and better understand this ever-changing world, new ideas about well-being have spread across all generations. Over the past decade, these ideas have manifested through immense changes in our food, health, and environmental industries. Our youth seem to possess in their very DNA a global consciousness for preserving our environment, a need to be philanthropic, and a desire to be generous, all with the common goal of making the world a better place. What I am trying to say is that I marvel at our country’s youth and what they are capable of. Sadly, our nation is facing unprecedented gun violence issues; the problem has crept into every sector of our lives: work, schools, places of worship, and leisure outlets like stores and concerts. Our youth are being forced to watch classmates and loved ones brutally gunned down in the prime of their lives.
VIE editor-in-chief Lisa Burwell Photo by Gerald Burwell
A groundswell of outrage that this cannot and will not continue is growing within them, as they have the passion and discipline to resolve what the older generations, unfortunately, continue to turn a blind eye to. Our nation stands on a legacy of courageous and righteous ancestors, and there is no reason for its citizens to be held ransom by fear of violence. When I am in my home, I often think of it as a refuge from the outside world, a place where I find rest and safety. And I think of my community as an extension of my home, a place where I worship, conduct business, exercise, shop, and attend concerts. It’s a beautiful slice of paradise on the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida with a vibrant sense of community and very little concern of crime. It’s a good life—one that I am very thankful to have. I pray for this nation to embrace a powerful desire to end this senseless violence so that every American can enjoy the same peace and safety. To a Better Life!
—Lisa Marie Founder/Editor-In-Chief V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 17
The Creatives We collaborate with talented photographers, writers, and other creatives on a regular basis, and we’re continually inspired by how they pour their hearts and souls into their crafts. Follow these creatives on social media and don’t forget to check out our account, @viemagazine.
Writer, “Walking into a Perfume Bottle”
Bright Star Mentorship Program Participant
IN THIS ISSUE, WE ASKED THE CREATIVES: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ROOM OR SPACE IN YOUR HOME AND WHY?
The dining room! It’s the most magical room in the house—and it might be going the way of the dinosaur. Like the bedroom, the dining room is about pleasure and relationships as well as community and communication—if people would only use the room to its fullest capacity. One thing you must do is get a dimmer for your dining room lights! Chandeliers and other lighting set too high can ruin everything, and that’s a shame given all the possibilities a dining room can offer.
My favorite room in the house is my bedroom. It’s the one special room that is entirely geared toward me and my preferences. I feel safe and calm when I’m in my room, and that’s a really big deal when the day is hectic! My favorite part of the day is when I can snuggle up under my homemade quilt and turn on my favorite reality TV show.
SOME OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS ARE OUR BERTAZZONI GAS RANGE AND THE AMAZING LIGHT THAT POURS IN FROM STAINED-GLASS WINDOWS SIXTEEN FEET UP.
SERENA ROBISON Owner, Peach Creek Blooms
@peachcreekblooms Owner, Q Tile and Q Studio
In my house, my favorite room is undoubtedly the kitchen. During our remodel, we changed from a 1980s-style home with separate dining, living, and kitchen areas to an open floor plan. We used a thirty-two-foot truss to completely replace the existing walls and allow free flow and visual continuity between the living, dining, and kitchen areas. We were also generous in terms of spacing, with more than six feet between counters. It gives us more than enough space to work together. Some of our favorite things are our Bertazzoni gas range and the amazing light that pours in from stained-glass windows sixteen feet up. We love to cook, so this room allows us to connect with each other and our friends and family—including our two yellow Labs.
As I write this, I am sitting in my favorite spot in my home. I am drawn to our dining area, which is set between the kitchen and great room in a lofted, open space. The fireplace is directly next to “my” spot and is such a treat on cold days or evenings. Whether it’s because we love the warmth of the fire or the dining table built with love by my husband, it seems we all sit here quite often. Since we’ve lived in the home, the kids do their homework at the table, we eat as a family whenever possible, and we just sit to have coffee or tea by the fire. What’s more, this space just seems to spark creativity!
SALLIE LEWIS LONGORIA Writer, “Timeless Treasures” @sallielewislongoria
My favorite spot in our house is what we call “the blue room.” It’s a very cozy space. The blue lacquered bookshelves are filled with lots of happy memories and collected keepsakes from our travels, such as crystals from Chamonix, good luck bulls from Peru, and a carved duck from La Tour d’Argent in Paris. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 19
JLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLK • CELEBRATING 26 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS OF MODERN •
Thanks for Sharing! 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! @eodconfections Throwing it back to working with @kylerynicki and @romonarobbinsreynolds in the kitchen for @viemagazine! We love our creative friends who help us evolve our brand and keep things looking fresh!
@mingle30a While we’re busy prepping for this week’s events, please enjoy another view of our event balloon setup for @viemagazine and @dgalysbeach.
@hapiart Thank you @viemagazine for the incredible feature in your Arts & Culture issue! So honored to be among such amazing artists! The cover made me so happy when I saw it. Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Dreams come true—please keep on dreaming! Photo by @chelseamazurphoto, styling by @jenniecornell
@lisamburwell Good morning, Monday! Love wearing my @ibumovement Columbian woven bangles! Check out this amazing movement and founder Susan Hull Walker in @viemagazine’s June 2019 issue.
@kikirisaclothing Grab @viemagazine and relax in this go-to look! #wearnow #itshot #itshotpink #viemagazine #keepitlocal #destin
LET’S TALK! Send VIE your comments and photos on our social media channels or by emailing us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear your thoughts. They could end up in the next La conversation!
@shantell_martin Crew from back in 2015 when my studio was at 368 Broadway and my art was on a cover of @viemagazine. #Crew #AreYouYou
@thezoogallery SUMMER 1979–2019: August 8 marks our 40th birthday, and what a ride it’s been! This accomplishment could not have been possible without all of you. Photo by @brennakneiss.co for @viemagazine
V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 21
PHOTOGRAPHIC FINE ART Medium to large-scale artwork focused on the waterways of the Gulf Coast. J o n a h A l l e n .c o m | @ J o n a h A l l e n St u d i o J o n a h @ J o n a h A l l e n .c o m | (850) 739- 0 929
La maison WHERE THE HEART IS
Photo by Jean Allsopp Styling by Eleanor Lynn Nesmith Visit TraceryInteriors.com to learn more about the company.
Designer Paige Schnell and her team at Tracery Interiors often work on remodeling homes in the charming New Urban beach town of Seaside, Florida; however, this Seaside project, a new build, offered a fresh perspective. “It had different opportunities,” says Schnell. “Our clients love neutrals and subtle colors and textures. Throughout this home, we mixed metals and natural elements to create interest.” Tracery Interiors worked with architect Brian Stackable of Stackable + Mracek Design Group to create a final product that has the serene feeling of a beach house but with a modern, sophisticated edge. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 25
The great room in the “modern beach barn,” owned and designed by Suzy and Jim Accola in Seagrove Beach, Florida 26 | O C T OBER 2019
A RUSTIC COASTAL RETREAT
Modern beach Barn BY
J O R D A N S TA G G S
V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 27
“AFTER LIVING IN WISCONSIN FOR NINE YEARS, WE LOVED T H E I D E A O F R E N O VAT I N G A N O L D B A R N S O M E D AY A N D A D D I N G M O D E R N T O U C H E S , ” S AY S D E S I G N E R S U Z Y A C C O L A , O W N E R O F Q T I L E A N D Q S T U D I O I N G R AY T O N BEACH, FLORIDA.
he nearby Seagrove Beach cottage that she and her husband, Jim, created might not be an old barn, but the incredible wooden support beams and the upstairs flooring are made of reclaimed wood from a barn in Ohio. “In this home, we were able to mesh a modern beach barn with rustic and eclectic elements.”
The residence, tucked among lush vegetation and nature trails winding through flatwoods in the area locally known as Old Seagrove, highlights the design and decor prowess of this married team ( Jim, the co-owner of Coastal Elements Construction, built the home) and the talents of architect Gregory D. Jazayeri.
Right: Suzy Accola with Wilde Opposite left and bottom right: The great room combines living room, kitchen, and dining room beautifully, with clear pendant lighting adding a delicate balance to the rustic marble floors and reclaimed wood beams. Opposite top: The master bath reminds Suzy of the ocean—the shower and walls are adorned with deep-blue custom glass tiles from Artistic Tile laid out in a foliage pattern. 28 | O C T OBER 2019
Inspired by the scenery of Northwest Florida and the couple’s love of nature, the heart of the home is an expansive open-concept living room, dining area, and kitchen. Its thirty-five-foot vaulted ceiling also opens up the second-floor gallery with built-in shelving and a gaming area. Windows on the first and second levels of the great room allow lots of natural light to stream in and views of the surrounding landscape from every angle. Accents throughout the space are a testament to the Accolas’ attention to detail and creative taste. “One of our favorite ideas, which truly makes us happy every time we sit in our living room, was hanging the clear Murano glass lights in Neo-Moroccan shapes at various lengths among the wooden beams,” Suzy says. “When they’re dimmed at night, my daughter calls them our ‘fairy lights.’” The main level flooring is made of ash-colored vein-cut and brushed marble in a chevron pattern. With three kids and two dogs, Suzy says she appreciates the distressed and lived-in yet timeless look of natural stone.
Jim and Suzy found unique accent pieces from antique restoration shops in California, where Suzy spent her childhood. When looking for the key furnishings, Suzy collaborated with Melissa Skowlund, owner and designer of Summer House Lifestyle. “We had fun playing with the textures and colors to find the perfect furniture to fit the home,” Suzy says, “and the rug from Oasis Rugs & Pearl Home pulls the living room together.”
V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 29
Right and opposite: As befits the owner of Q Tile design studio, custom tile is everywhere you look in this modern beach barn and adjacent carriage house! Opposite center: Wilde is on the move! “He is the sweetest dog ever and is training diligently now so he can start hanging out at the showroom,” says Suzy. “We named him after Oscar Wilde.” The Accolas love the quote often attributed to the author: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” 30 | O C T OBER 2019
im built the dining table himself using antique French metal gateposts for the legs, and it flawlessly reflects the space’s combination of farmhouse and modern styles.
Approaching the kitchen area, the first thing that catches the eye is the gorgeous geometric brass-toned chandeliers above the island bar; these were found in a small shop in Los Angeles. “The angles play on the angles of the backsplash,” Suzy points out, referring to the gorgeous white dolomite and river shell Joie tile by New Ravenna. “As the room was so open, we did not want the kitchen to look overly busy, but we incorporated a lot of ideas. The white BlueStar range and hood have an enamel finish, so we had Grimes Cabinets create a lacquered ‘car finish’ on the cabinets and the walls surrounding the pantry, refrigerator, and sandwich bar.” Suzy collaborated with designer Cindy McCarley, who provided beautiful drawings for the layout of the kitchen cabinets. “We left the island in a natural, lightly stained wood to add a rustic feel and to complement the ladder that reaches the upper cabinets.”
BRIGHT GREEN LACQUERED CABINETS GIVE THE CARRIAGE HOUSE A FRESH, MODERN FEEL, WHILE T H E B L A C K-A N D -W H I T E PAT T E R N E D C E M E N T T I L E S ADD A CREATIVE BUT TIMELESS EDGE.
Steps away from the home, the carriage house offers a colorful contrast to the coastal white, blue, and tan tones in the primary residence. “We had fun treating the carriage house as a separate apartment,” says Suzy. “I think of it as a happy retreat for visitors, or for our kids later when they’re returning from college and in need of a little extra space before going out on their own completely.” Bright green lacquered cabinets give the carriage house a fresh, modern feel, while the black-and-white patterned cement tiles add a creative but timeless edge. Large hexagonal whitewashed porcelain floor tiles lend a rustic element that ties the space to the main home. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 31
lso located in the quaint residential community of Seagrove Beach is the site of a new project for the Accolas, who are teaming up with VIE magazine for the VIE Beach House – A Show Home! This brand-new single-family residence will showcase a beach house-meetsBohemian style designed to promote an ideal coastal lifestyle. Custom finishes and furnishings, inspired artwork, and top-of-the-line amenities will converge in a peaceful oasis near the Gulf of Mexico. “I have so much respect for the Accolas after working with them six years ago on our first show home, Maison de VIE in the WaterColor community,” says Lisa Burwell, founder and editor-in-chief of VIE. In addition to that project, VIE produced the Modern Minimalist show home in Santa Rosa Beach and the Legacy Home in WaterSound Beach, Florida, making the Beach House its fourth rendition of a show home. “It’s going to be the best one yet. The lineup of sponsors and brand partners we have curated and chosen to align with is stellar!” Partners will include Q Tile and Q Studio, Coastal Elements Construction, Gregory D. Jazayeri, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, American Leather, Brown Jordan, Summer House Lifestyle, Lovelace Interiors, SICIS, Porcelanosa, Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights, Jonah Allen Studio, Frank’s Cash and Carry, Beach Group
“ I H AV E S O M U C H R E S P E C T F O R T H E ACCOLAS AFTER WORKING WITH THEM SIX YEARS AGO ON OUR FIRST SHOW HOME, MAISON DE VIE IN THE W A T E R C O L O R C O M M U N I T Y. ” Properties, Cindy McCarley Designs, Grimes Cabinets, New Ravenna, Sabine Hill, Artistic Tile, and the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits, with more to be announced leading up to the home’s debut in the fall of 2020. “It isn’t your typical waterfront home—it’s set only a block from the beach among the rustic landscape of Seagrove,” Suzy adds. “We love the sense of privacy, which lends itself to a courtyard feel in the backyard. The pool area will be a big surprise with the help of one of our favorite tile vendors and an amazing local artist. We are really looking forward to getting the creative energies flowing and rolling up our sleeves!”
Visit Q-Tile.com to learn more about Q Tile and Q Studio. For information on the VIE Beach House – A Show Home, sponsorship opportunities, and other inquiries, head to VIEmagazine.com/BeachShowHome.
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SALLIE LEWIS LONGORIA PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF
34 | O C T OBER 2019
porcelain garden grows inside the New Jersey home of artist Vladimir Kanevsky. On a crisp April day, I stepped inside and saw hollyhocks and hydrangeas, foxgloves and fringed tulips rising from the windowsills and clothcovered tables. Kanevsky lives and works from his home in Fort Lee, which he shares with his wife and business partner, Edita. After walking through the living room past dahlias, blackberry bushes, and potted hyacinths, we sat down for lunch. “You have to approach the subject like a scientist,” he says of his sought-after sculptures, which are available to order on Moda Operandi and through private commission. Science is a passion for the artist, who dreamed of being a physicist in his youth. Instead, he studied architecture in his hometown of Kharkiv,
Ukraine, drawn to its balance of both art and engineering. Over the next twelve years, Kanevsky worked in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg today) as an architect while dabbling in painting, sculpting, and interior design. In 1989, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, he left his home, stopping in Austria and Italy on his way to New York. While in Europe, he painted Russian Orthodox icons. “I’m not religious at all, but I was closest to religion at that time because it was really scary,” he remembers of his journey. When he arrived in New York, Kanevsky had just one hundred dollars in his pocket. One day, while visiting a local ceramic shop, he saw an advertisement placed by Howard Slatkin. The revered interior designer was looking for an artist to create a porcelain melon tureen. Despite his halting English and lack of experience, Kanevsky jumped at the opportunity and completed the job over the next two months. Soon after that, a relationship formed, and he decided to try making porcelain flowers. “It’s a fascinating topic for an artist,” he says. With his background in architecture, Kanevsky quickly saw parallels between buildings and Mother Nature. By studying the insides of flowers and branches, he noticed they had everything a good building did in terms of structure and physics. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 35
anevsky’s first flower was a blue carnation, and not long after that, Charlotte Moss picked up his first porcelain lily of the valley. Most recently, he finished a large tableware commission for fashion designer Tory Burch. Lilacs are particularly poignant for the artist, who remembers them growing in thick, fragrant clusters near the KGB building back home in Ukraine. Perfecting them in porcelain took years, and clients took note. While most flowers fade with the changing seasons, Kanevsky’s collectors see his blooms as timeless treasures, enduring for generations.
The incredibly talented sculptor Vladimir Kanevsky (right) creates lifelike blossoms in all shapes and sizes out of porcelain. His gorgeous creations are often implemented in the work of interior designers and photographers, and each one is unique. 36 | O C T OBER 2019
After lunch, we passed back through Vladimir and Edita’s living room turned porcelain garden before taking the stairs to the studio on the second floor. Here, the creative space stretches across multiple rooms, each dedicated to different parts of the artistic process, from sculpting to metalworking, painting, and firing. In every direction, there were tables topped with weathered terra-cotta pots, shelves of sorted porcelain flower parts, tubes of paint, and trays of freshly fired petals. In another room, loops of copper hung from the walls next to welding tools
and tiny drawers filled with metal insects and leaves. Layered on the doors and vacant surfaces were tear sheets blooming with colorful flowers and fruit trees. Natural light flooded in from the window, spilling over trays of work blossoming with new life. Kanevsky admits he’s formed an almost spiritual connection with his subjects. “Flowers talk,” he says, adding, “and I talk to them.” Despite his reverent approach, he reveals that working with porcelain—a medium he likens to “regular clay with a very bad attitude”—keeps him focused, cautious, and humble. “You never know what waits inside the kiln,” he says. The finished pieces that are born of Kanevsky’s seven kilns are striking, though he asserts it’s not physical beauty he’s after. “It’s not enough for me,” he confesses. The real beauty of his work is its feeling, which begs people to stop and reflect. “I never follow the exact truth, otherwise they look too formal, too dead,” he says. “I need different qualities.” On closer inspection, one realizes the depth of his sculptures—the fragility of life so masterfully expressed in porcelain.
The blemishes are a metaphor for all of life, a representation of the humble beauty that reveals itself through the cracks and flaws.
Kanevsky’s work is also designed to convey the beauty in imperfection. The artist hopes to one day write a book about the nuances of porcelain, including the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi. “Imperfection is what makes eighteenth-century porcelain so warm and beautiful,” he says. The blemishes are a metaphor for all of life, a representation of the humble beauty that reveals itself through the cracks and flaws. “It tells the eye it’s alive.” While every finished flower is a rewarding addition to the Vladimir Collection, Kanevsky shares that he’s happiest doing the work. “I like the process,” he says. He imports his porcelain clay from France and England and draws from myriad influences, including trompe l’oeil. Over the years, the artist has honed his craft, mixed techniques, and created a style uniquely his own. Kanevsky’s artistic process varies depending on the flower and the problems he is trying to solve. Often, it begins by disassembling the flower and studying its interior blueprint before sketching and sculpting the individual parts. Then, the porcelain is fired, painted, and assembled on the tole frame. “I don’t have a real stable procedure,” he says. “No rules.” When Vladimir and Edita take a break from the studio, they find inspiration in multiple places. Some of their favorites are the glass flower collection at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the sculpted bronze blooms adorning the Baptistery of Saint John in Florence, and the New York Botanical Garden. “I love being in the garden,” he says. He also loves studying the masters of yesteryear and is inspired by the works of Brunelleschi and Michelangelo, the latter of which he calls the “greatest architect of all time.” V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 37
is most significant accomplishments to date include the limited edition flower collection he released with Meissen in 2012 and his 2017 exhibit at the State Hermitage Museum, which Kanevsky walked by every day when he lived in Leningrad. Little did he know at the time that his work would one day fill the institution’s hallowed halls. Still, his pride is bridled with profound humility. He is refreshingly grounded, at times self-deprecating, and seemingly unaware of the magnitude of his talent. This modesty is best expressed in his poetic homage to nature, with her sagging stems and insect-torn leaves. Kanevsky’s story is an inspirational one, and his success in America is a source of great pride for the artist. Indeed, he knows what it means to struggle, to survive, to re-create himself, and to do it all with grace and raw beauty.
Vladimir Kanevsky and his wife and business partner, Edita
At the end of our meeting, Edita and Vladimir handed me a single porcelain sprig of lily of the valley. The ivory bells were so delicate and plump I could almost smell their perfume. Their generous gift took me back to my wedding day, when I walked down the aisle in a cloud of white chiffon, clutching a flower as symbolic, beautiful, and ephemeral as life itself. After good-byes and profuse thanks, I turned to leave, feeling grateful for artists like Vladimir Kanevsky, whose work reminds us all to stop and smell the flowers.
Visit TheVladimirCollection.com to learn more or view Kanevsky’s work on Instagram @vladimir.kanevsky. Sallie Lewis Longoria is a Texas-based freelance writer. She has a master’s degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University and is currently at work on her first novel.
Photo by Berkshire Hathaway
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One if by Sand,
Two if by Sea
BY JORDAN STAGGS
40 | O C T OBER 2019
P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y JAC K G A R D N E R
hen you live, work, and play in the same area—even one as beautiful and inspiring as Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast—it can become easy to fall into a style rut. For the talented designers at Lovelace Interiors, staying fresh and unique when it comes to each client is the key to creating residential and commercial spaces that look incredible and stand the test of time. No two projects ever look the same, and owner Susan Lovelace and her team are proud to collaborate closely with home and business owners to make sure each client’s vision is flawlessly executed. “Designing spaces with different vibes is one of our strong points as professional designers,” Lovelace says. “We do not have a certain look; we believe that our job is to execute the elements and principles of design and to give the clients their style. We work with them to make livable and comfy spaces that define how they live—it’s about their needs and, naturally, that changes with every client.” Two stellar examples of Lovelace Interiors’ residential designs are found along the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. The first, the Murphy residence, was designed by the late architect Dawn Thurber—it was one of her last projects, which makes it extra special for the homeowners as well as the interior design team. A “typical beach house” often means muted colors or all-white everything; this beach house is not typical. Instead, the client preferred a more sophisticated design with bold color in exaggerated coastal hues on a white backdrop. Lovelace and the team worked with the homeowners from the blueprint phase of the home to the finish selections, including flooring, tile, lighting, cabinetry, countertops, appliances, stair railings, paint colors, and furnishings.
The Murphy home’s traditional facade gives way to more contemporary interiors, and Lovelace began
DESIGNING SPACES WITH DIFFERENT VIBES IS ONE OF OUR STRONG POINTS AS PROFESSIONAL DESIGNERS.
its design process by selecting fabrics and patterns for custom draperies and bedding to distinguish the personality of each room. Bathroom and accent tiles coordinate with the scheme for each space, with several tile accents throughout the home providing focal points that are not only beautiful but also functional for life at the beach.
Above: The coastal vernacular in the gated community of WaterSound Beach is evident in this beautiful home designed by architect Dawn Thurber. Opposite: Susan Lovelace and her team implemented the bright blues and greens of the Gulf of Mexico throughout the Murphy home.
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Above: Lovelace Interiors began its design process on the Murphy residence by selecting fabrics for custom bedding and draperies in each bedroom.
Above right: The floating staircase, accented by a beautiful sideboard and artwork, became a focal point in the Murphy home. Right, opposite top, and opposite bottom: The design mission for the Nunnery residence in Grayton Beach was to showcase the architecture of Carey McWhorter while creating a “modern beach-shack” vibe and keeping the furnishings and finishes vacation rental-friendly. 42 | O C T OBER 2019
his was the client’s vacation home—a place for their family and extended family to gather from all over the country,” says Brooke Williams, interior designer for Lovelace Interiors. She worked on the home with lead designer Susan Lovelace and designer Lindsay Cannon. “We created two main entertainment areas for them, with different occasions in mind.” The downstairs living room is warm and cozy, with a huge wraparound sectional sofa and a wet bar—perfect for movie and game nights. The second-floor living room is well suited for dinner parties in the large open kitchen and dining room, where stackable doors open to fabulous views from the south-facing porch. The floating central staircase offers a beautiful focal point within the home. “This was an architectural element that evolved into a design statement,” says Williams. It is accented by a three-story staggered pendant light fixture, sourced from Q Tile in Grayton Beach, Florida. All of these features—not to mention the fireplaces, the detailed ceilings, the arched exterior entry, and the pool area—combine to make the home a real work of art. Every masterpiece needs the perfect setting, and this one has it: it is ideally situated along a boardwalk and near white-sand dunes. Perhaps competing with the Murphy residence for the best views, the Nunnery home boasts unobstructed vistas overlooking the dunes of Grayton Beach State
Park and the Gulf of Mexico. Its “contemporary meets coastal casual” vibe is reflected in the grand façade, designed by architect Carey McWhorter, who sadly passed away recently from a rare form of Parkinson’s disease. “My husband, Phillip, and I have always admired Carey McWhorter’s work,” says homeowner Brenda Nunnery. “While we both love contemporary construction, I am drawn to beach shacks—we owned one on this same street for twenty years.”
THE DESIGN HAD TO HOLD ITS OWN AGAINST THE STRONG AND BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE YET NOT TAKE AWAY FROM IT.
While creating the plans, McWhorter asked Brenda what a “modern beach shack” meant to her. “I replied, ‘a modern home with a lot of screened porches.’ He drew an incredible house with four porches and a courtyard, and when Anthony Vallee came to finish the plans, we all stayed 100 percent true to Carey’s original drawings. We are honored and humbled to own this wonderful Carey McWhorter home.” When the team from Lovelace Interiors came in to work with Brenda and Phillip on their modern beach shack, comfort, function, and durability were the top priorities. Taking inspiration from the Gulf of Mexico and the state park outside, they developed a palette of various blue shades and included green glass tiles for the showers in each bathroom. Each bedroom’s design stems from those hues but with unique implementations. Rattan, wood, seagrass, and other coastal textures round out the beach-shack vibe in an elegant way through furniture and decor accents. “The design had to hold its own against the strong and beautiful architecture yet not take away from it,” says Williams. As the family planned to rent the home to vacationers before eventually moving in full-time, the Lovelace team made sure that the quality and durability of the items in the house did not compromise its aesthetic. All materials, while beautiful, also hold up to wet bathing suits! Not only are the acrylic dining chairs and barstools durable furnishings, but they also bring out the contemporary side of the home. A few special pieces of artwork and furniture, such as a picnic table that was once in Brenda and Phillip’s old beach house, add a personal, lived-in touch that makes this the perfect modern beach-shack getaway.
Visit LovelaceInteriors.com to see more of the firm’s portfolio of work or to contact Susan Lovelace and the team about your next project. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 43
Red, White, and Blue
Seaside Sweetness by Tamera Massey As an architect, interior designer, and artist, Massey has helped shape the vernacular of the iconic New Urban town of Seaside, Florida. See more of her art at StudioSoLoStyle.com.
Now this is a Seaside pool party like youâ€™ve never seen before!
Love, VIE xo
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Paula Deen Shares Her Retreat
46 | O C T OBER 2019
PAU L A D E E N S H A R E S H E R R E T R E AT By ANTHEA GERRIE P h o t o g ra p h y c o u r t e s y o f PAU L A D E E N
onsidering how much she loves to cook and entertain, the room in which well-known Southern foodie Paula Deen chooses to spend most of her time at Riverbend, her stunning estate near Savannah, Georgia, is surprising.
It’s not her elegant main kitchen, awash with commercial-grade appliances. Nor is it the fabulous outdoor kitchen pavilion with three grills, four refrigerators, and a smoker (which her husband has commandeered). And it’s not even the formal dining room where she loves to serve feasts to her large family.
one-bath house when I was a child.” The house itself has only two bedrooms, but the estate can accommodate a crowd. “Really, it’s a compound,” she says. “There are so many cottages we can sleep a lot of people here.” Two guest cottages lie within the grounds along with a three-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a ten-thousand-square-foot barn that has been converted to an eight-car garage. There is also a dock house beside the property’s deepwater mooring.
“It’s my bathroom,” laughs the television food show presenter and owner of Savannah’s celebrated Southern restaurant The Lady and Sons. “It’s actually a bathroom-cum-living room, so spacious I have managed to fit three sofas in there along with the tub.” Nearly every aspect of Deen’s life is conducted in this sanctuary. She goes through paperwork with her assistant while overlooking the greenery of the English-style garden to which the bathroom opens up. Hair and makeup for her public appearances are done at the dressing-room-style vanity along one wall, and deep relaxation occurs in the bathtub in the middle of the superspacious room. The lavish master suite, which also includes a huge walk-in closet, occupies one wing of the romantic 14,500-square-foot French Caribbean–style house. Deen confesses it is “of a size I never thought I’d own, growing up in a modest three-bedroom, V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 47
Previous page: The daybed in the great room of Paula Deen’s Savannah, Georgia, home came from the Scott Antique Market in Atlanta and was dressed by decorator Carolyn Hultman in velvet from Brunschwig & Fils. The buffet separating the living and dining areas contains both refrigerated and warming drawers, plus others to store place mats and napkins. Below: For the master bathroom—Paula’s favorite place to relax—Hultman designed custom cabinetry, painted in Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams. Countertops and flooring are all made from Calcutta Gold stone.
ut it was less the size of the plot than the location—on a river bend reminiscent of the one in Albany, Georgia, where Paula spent her formative years on her grandparents’ estate—which drew her to the home she has named Riverbend in tribute. It enjoys an enviable threehundred-foot frontage on the Wilmington River, and from the water, the house indeed resembles the kind of island-style colonial architecture that caught Deen’s eye on trips to the Bahamas and influenced her brief to the architects. She explains that a complete rebuild proved inevitable when the property came up for grabs ten years ago. “We saw we couldn’t do what we wanted there with renovations, so we bought it as a teardown and started again,” says the restaurateur, who lives in the house with her husband, Michael, who pilots large ships in and out of Savannah’s busy port. As Deen’s life has changed, so have her priorities. At
the peak of her career, which included entertaining 250 people at a time, broadcasting on the Food Network, and giving cooking demonstrations in her kitchen, she designed the house to help fulfill her commercial obligations. “But now I’ve found it works perfectly for my large family,” she says of her two sons, two stepsons, their spouses, and her nine grandchildren—including triplets.
The vast room has a high vaulted ceiling—inspired by her trips to the Caribbean—a wooden table and chairs for intimate meals, a formal dining area on one side, a beautiful living room on the other, and two fireplaces. Never happier than when she’s cooking, Deen made sure the open kitchen was the heart of her main house. The vast room has a high vaulted ceiling—inspired by her trips to the Caribbean—a wooden table and chairs for intimate meals, a formal dining area on one side, a beautiful living room on the other, and two fireplaces. Adjoining is Deen’s second-favorite room—a butler’s pantry reminiscent of those found in stately English homes, fitted with antique dressers and shelves to hold everything from china and silver to her armory of cookware. “I swore I’d never again have to get on my knees to pull a pot out of the cupboard,” she laughs. Her prized possessions in this room are a silver cupboard and a shelving unit in the center, both antiques. Deen, who cherishes beautiful old things, also bought wood from a two-hundredyear-old Savannah restaurant to reuse for flooring in all the interconnecting hallways of the house. In addition to accommodating guest quarters in its second wing, the main building leads out to that fabulous outdoor kitchen that Michael regards as his territory. “I prefer to cook inside and keep cool, and he likes it out here,” laughs Deen, pointing out
48 | O C T OBER 2019
Deen, who cherishes beautiful old things, also bought wood from a two-hundred-yearold Savannah restaurant to reuse for flooring in all the interconnecting hallways of the house. A breakfast area furnished with a rustic antique table and chairs links the kitchen with the outdoor porch. Wallpaper by Pierre Frey in a chicken-wire design and the distressed ceiling embody the rural spirit of the room, and at top left are four rooster pictures Paula inherited from her mother.
her farmhouse dining table, which can seat twelve, in addition to the eight barstools where guests can perch and converse with the cook. Beyond the outdoor kitchen is a pool boasting a dive-in theater with popup screen for bathers who feel like watching a movie while keeping cool. “It’s fun, but really only comes into its own when it gets dark enough outside,” Deen admits. Always keen to make sure she is catering to her guests’ every whim, she also installed a soda fountain with an ice-maker in the outdoor entertainment area. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 49
La maison If the property feels more like a private resort than a family home, with its croquet court and a wellstocked pond, as well as the pool and its alfresco theater, that’s intentional. “The original Riverbend on the Flint River was my grandparents’ hotel, restaurant, and pool, where everyone came back in the day,” remembers Deen of that other resort in Albany, Georgia. “It’s where I spent the first ten years of my life before moving to Savannah, and I was so, so happy there. I’ve aimed to re-create that feeling of a place you come to have fun here, and I like to think we’ve succeeded.”
The large eat-in kitchen features gray distressed custom cabinets that hold the chef’s silverware, glassware, and china. Paula’s beautiful collection of copper pans is echoed in a pair of copper sinks on the island.
Visit PaulaDeen.com to learn all about the chef, find recipes, and more. 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.
al G ra
yton Gi rl
Kitty Taylor, Broker, GRI, CRS, CIPS Catherine Ryland, Broker Associate “Grayton Girl Team” Selling Grayton and Beach Properties along 30-A Realtor of the Year 2017 for the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors
850.231.2886 | 850.585.5334 133 Defuniak Street, Grayton Beach, FL GraytonCoastProperties.com
52 | O C T OBER 2019
By Madra McDonald Photography by Romona Robbins
ocal, fresh, and sustainable. At area farmers’ markets and select neighborhood restaurants in Northwest Florida, these three words are often associated with the area’s bounty: Gulf seafood, produce, eggs, and even honey. This past spring, two residents decided to introduce locally harvested specialty flowers to that mix. Serena Robison and her husband, Jonathan Douglas, followed their passion for growing fresh blossoms, and it led them to create their South Walton–based garden, Peach Creek Blooms.
STARTING PEACH CREEK BLOOMS JUST SEEMED LIKE SUCH A LOVELY THING TO DO. JONATHAN AND I REALIZED WE COULD WORK TOGETHER AS WELL AS DO SOMETHING FOR OUR COMMUNITY.
Tucked away on a half-acre property near Point Washington State Forest, Peach Creek Blooms is entering its third official season along the Florida Panhandle. “We grow what works in our climate,” says Robison, a retired executive for Hawaiian Tropic sun care. “This year, we grew bachelor’s buttons, bells of Ireland, cosmos, poppies, marigolds, nigella, dahlias, gomphrenas, larkspurs, lisianthuses, ranunculus, snapdragons, stocks, strawflowers, sweet williams, yarrows, zinnias, and rudbeckias. Next year we will be adding more flowers to continue to offer our customers more variety.” Since March 2019, Peach Creek Blooms has offered its stunning bounty of fresh-cut flowers at the popular Seaside Farmers Market. The market stand features a “flower bar” design element—flowers in clear cylindrical vases that give customers an idea of what they can create. Customers are invited to make their own bouquet from an assortment of flowers priced by the stem. It is an interactive experience that has created a buzz among locals and tourists alike.
The Peach Creek Blooms team displays monochromatic stems of the weekly crop in individual black buckets categorized by floral varietal. Market-goers have the freedom to build a bouquet in à la carte fashion or select from ready-made wrapped bouquets created by Robison and Douglas.
“It’s amazing how some people just dig in with glee because they can create whatever they want,” Robison shares. “I’m amazed at how many children are encouraged to pick their flowers, and they know exactly what they want. I’m in awe and always make sure they know the names of the flowers.”
An added heartfelt offering is the handmade strawflower headbands made to order by Robison’s ninety-four-year-old mother, Hilda McDonald. McDonald’s longtime residence is a stone’s throw from the budding flower farm, which offers comfort to both mother and daughter.
Serena Robison (opposite) and her husband, Jonathan Douglas, founded Peach Creek Blooms organic flower farm in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, in 2018. Since March of this year, they have offered their beautiful blossoms at the Seaside Farmers Market every Saturday. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 53
tarting Peach Creek Blooms just seemed like such a lovely thing to do,” says Robison. “Jonathan and I realized we could work together as well as do something for our community. There was an obvious lack of freshly grown flowers in our area. It also puts us in very close proximity to my mother, so I’m able to see her almost every day.”
Serena and Jonathan (opposite) built a quaint garden shed at the flower farm (below) where they hand cut stems, make bouquets, and keep their blooms refrigerated so they will be fresh for the market and florists.
54 | O C T OBER 2019
Each market reminds Robison that their efforts are appreciated and that they are offering something special. “Everyone smiles when they see our flowers. We are amazed at all the memories our flowers evoke in people—from their personal experiences in childhood or their home country. We have people come back and tell us how much the flowers meant to their sick friend, their dinner host, or their mother on her birthday.”
WE ARE CONSTANTLY LEARNING DIFFERENT GROWING AND HARVESTING METHODS TO GET THE VERY BEST LOCAL FLOWER AND VASE LIFE.
Robison’s passion for flowers began from the time she was a young girl growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana. “I’ve always loved flowers and grew them when I was a little girl,” she says. “When I was in North Carolina several summers ago, I saw a whole table full of dahlias at a farmers’ market, and they took my breath away. It evoked something in me, and I knew I had to grow flowers!” Robison’s in-laws were also heavily involved with gardens and flowers: her father-inlaw raised orchids as a hobby, and her mother-in-law was on the board of numerous garden organizations. As is typical with any new venture, Robison and her architect husband have learned several lessons along their journey of flower farming. She discovered early on that the flower waits for no one. “When a flower is ready to be harvested, you had better be out there in the field,” explains Robison. “We built a fabulous workshop and walk-in cooler, which have allowed us to cut flowers when they are ready and store them for the market. We are constantly learning different growing and harvesting methods to get the very best local flower and vase life.” In addition to the Seaside Farmers Market, during the week customers can also purchase Peach Creek Blooms’ latest harvest at 1920 & Co. and Bella Flora 30A. Their blooms grace the tables and various displays at Bud & Alley’s Restaurant, The Bay restaurant, Grayton Corner Cafe, Christ the King Episcopal Church, and A Simple Faith Church—all are among the roster of loyal wholesale customers, not to mention several interior designers and wedding planners. Peach Creek Blooms is looking forward to offering a subscription service (flowers by the bucket) in the near future and continuing to build upon their regular customer base.
obison is quick to note that she and Jonathan are farmers first and foremost—not florists or designers. The many early-morning and early-evening bugfilled hours spent tending to their farm have spanned the summer’s intense heat waves, the seasonal yellow flies, and the ever-unpredictable Florida rainstorms. Despite nature’s challenges, being outside and getting their hands in the dirt are what they love most about what they do. “It took us three years to prepare the soil, put in all the infrastructure, and test grow a variety of flowers to see how they performed in our climate,” Robison recalls. “We had to haul in all the compost and worm castings, dig a well, set up irrigation, grow cover crops, lay silage tarps, and so much more. It was backbreaking work, but worth it! We started the crop we have today in the ground in early fall of 2018 and started selling the flowers at Seaside Farmers Market in the spring of this year. We will now have continuous production of flowers through most of the year.” While Robison understands that florists will continue to buy from international wholesalers, they hope for Peach Creek Blooms to become a major source for flowers that can be marketed as local and sustainably grown. “There are no airplanes used in the production
of our flowers! People are concerned where their food comes from and prefer organic and fresh, and I think they are now starting to think about where their flowers come from. We want people to know these are locally grown using organic practices.” To accomplish this, Peach Creek Blooms has set a goal to create a collaborative association of Northwest Florida flower farmers to establish better community access to specialty cut, sustainable flowers. Business aside, one is left to wonder what sort of flower is a personal favorite for Robison. “I am in love with lisianthus,” she says. “It is one of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. It looks so delicate, but it is very hardy and has a long vase life. It is also native to North America.” As for the retired couple, why go to all the effort of creating a new business—one that is experimental and in its infancy industry-wise? “There is something so great about being outside early in the morning and being surrounded by all the beauty of the unfolding flowers, the birds, and the bees!” Robison says. “We even had a bear visit at the farm several weeks ago!”
Visit Facebook.com/PeachCreekBlooms to learn more and keep up with the farmers’ market schedule! V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 55
P H OTO BY JON AH ALL EN
D e b u t s
2 0 2 0
FOR SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES PLEASE VISIT
A Secret Garden on
SEA ISLAND By A N T H EA G E R R I E P h ot o g ra p hy c o u r t e sy o f A R C H I T E CT U R A L ACC E N TS
For a designer who grew up among the traditions of English homes and formal gardens, the chance to bring the best of European artistry to a grand property in Sea Island, Georgia, was irresistible. “My head is crammed full of images from the past, and that’s where most of my ideas seem to come from,” says Charles Nevinson, who went to prep school with Prince Charles. His Atlanta-based firm, Architectural Accents, offers interior design consultancy and landscaping, often involving salvaged materials with a rich heritage. The whimsical landscape design of this Sea Island, Georgia, residence was created by Charles Nevinson of Architectural Accents.
One example is the supply of Savannah gray bricks that Nevinson sourced to form the building blocks of John Imhoff ’s grand Sea Island cottage. They were essential to refurbishing, extending, and completely relandscaping the 7500-square-foot house on a prime double waterfront lot.
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he renovation started with a barely used deck when Imhoff, an eye surgeon, moved into the house twenty-five years ago. “It was ghastly and in appalling condition,” explains Nevinson, who placed an inviting new patio and deck around the existing pool and an outdoor kitchen and dining area overlooking the marsh. He also created a fabulous formal garden around the owner’s collection of bonsai trees, complemented by the live oaks Imhoff has trimmed and trained over the years to give them a bonsai-like quality.
Right: Imhoff prunes the live oaks around his pool to mimic his collection of bonsai trees, for which Nevinson created ipe and teak tables that line the pool deck. Below left: Savannah gray brick was sourced to connect the double outdoor staircases and extend the landings for them. A large English lantern hangs in the entry above stone sills, French doors made of Virginia longleaf pine, and stainless steel trellises. Below right: The wooden building with its second-floor balcony in the middle of the brickpaved formal garden was inspired by English follies—eccentric or extravagant structures built just for the joy of the beholder!
Now the good doctor, who according to Nevinson “never really enjoyed the deck,” spends most of his evenings enjoying every facet of the outdoor living space, which takes up an entire lot. “I go into the formal garden when I get back from work and enjoy the different viewpoints with my dogs,” explains Imhoff, who raised a son in what he considers an outstanding family home, but equally enjoys living there alone with his furry companions. “I love to cook, and Charles has made me a fabulous outdoor kitchen where I like to do that,” he continues. “After
dinner on the rear deck, I sit and watch the sun go down over the marsh, and I’ll relax in front of the fire pit even in summer.” As the sun goes down, Imhoff says, “it’s like watching the sunset over the Serengeti, where I used to spend time every year.” He then retreats to the woodbeamed second-floor library, which has become his favorite room in the house. “It’s where I end every evening, doing a bit of paperwork and reading the newspaper before I retire to bed.” Nevinson installed a brick floor in this sumptuous room, as well as a wealth of white-oak paneling in which speakers are embedded. A cast stone mantel conceals a television
Because of the tides here, I overlook every day the kind of savanna that reminds me of Africa, and at another time of the same day, I see nothing but water. The views over the marsh here are unique.
that will rise when needed. The zebra rug in the library is reprised with another in the exquisite master bathroom, redone by Nevinson in a wealth of white marble, mirror glass, and exotic dark wood. It segues into an opulent sanctuary of a walk-in closet whose cupboards and drawers are decorated with fauxglazed Venetian paintwork. Imhoff no longer spends a portion of every year in Africa, where he was involved with a conservation project, but he loves the way his property in Georgia reminds him of that landscape. “Because of the tides here, I overlook every day the kind of savanna that reminds me of Africa, and at another time of the same day, I see nothing but water. The views over the marsh here are unique.” Hunting, now limited to birds, still has enough hold on Imhoff ’s heart that the game room and kitchen of his Sea Island home are decorated with trophy heads. He enjoys cooking indoors as well as out and hosts dinners in his grand formal dining room. “This is a great house for entertaining,” he says, pointing out the excellent flow from the deck to the pool and the marsh overlook. There is also considerable privacy, ensured by an eight-foot-high brick wall around the property. The formal garden, by comparison, is a more intimate space for contemplation. Nevinson explains, “I put in a fair amount of hardscape to give some order as
well as create focal points on which to install the Japanese-inspired ipe display tables.” A grand second-floor balcony with a new roof of Vermont slate, new balusters, and hurricane shutters overlooks the new deck (also trimmed in ipe) and the marsh beyond. Heralding that view is a cast bronze fountain depicting Castor and Pollux mounted on a limestone plinth that stands in a small angular pond. To the left are the fire pit, dining area, and that full outdoor kitchen where Imhoff so likes to sit and remember the Serengeti—although here on Sea Island, he is truly out of Africa.
Visit ArchitecturalAccents.com to see more of Nevinson’s work.
Above: “The secondfloor library, John’s favorite room, is paneled in quartersawn white oak, polished but left unstained to reflect more light,” says Nevinson. “Despite the lack of visible knobs, pulls, or hinges, the paneling conceals cupboards and a television to minimize clutter and provide a better showcase for John’s collection of Moulthrop bowls made in Georgia.” Above left: Nevinson built Imhoff a new deck overlooking the marsh; the outdoor fireplace is where he likes to spend time after dinner.
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.
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The Fabulous ’50s
Hello SunShine “My art is inspired by the allure, appreciation, and passionate love for the coast, coupled with the frolics, fun, opulence, and glamour of beach couture in the fabulous ’50s era,” says artist Tamera Massey. Shop now at StudioSoLoStyle.com.
You’re never fully dressed without a smile, and this artwork will certainly put one on your face!
Love, VIE xo
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STILL LEAVING HIS MARK
AN ARCHITECT’S LEGACY
BY KELSEY OGLETREE
he Gulf-front resort town of Seaside in Northwest Florida is well known to residents of the Southeast as an idyllic long-weekend escape. But only a few decades ago, this icon of New Urbanism was just sketches on desks. Alongside visionaries Robert Davis, Andrés Duany, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, the urban planners who designed the community, there’s another man who’s largely to thank for many of the beautiful beach homes that characterize Seaside: Tom Christ.
Left: New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton entrusted the design of this stunning Bermudianstyle courtyard home to 30-A’s preeminent architecture firm, Christ & Associates. Photo courtesy of Christ & Associates
Having worked in the region for more than thirty-five years as the founder and principal architect of Christ & Associates Architects and Planners, Christ was duly recognized this past February with the Seaside Prize. The Seaside Institute gives out the awards once a year to individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to the quality and character of the community. “It’s a big honor,” says Christ of the recognition. In addition to the Seaside Prize, Christ has made a name for himself at other institutes around the country. His designs have been exhibited at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and his early work in Seaside is featured at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture in Notre Dame, Indiana. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 65
riginally from Miami, Christ began working in architecture at the age of sixteen, when he got a job doing basic drafting with an architect on Key Biscayne. “I remember that every afternoon, he’d put the pencils down and go sailing,” he says. “I thought, ‘This is a really nice profession.’”
Above: The Payton residence also features interior design by Tom’s wife, Jamie Christ. Top: Crystal Blue Persuasion cottage on Pensacola Street in the heart of Seaside, Florida, designed by Tom Christ Photos courtesy of Christ & Associates 66 | O C T OBER 2019
While the sailing-every-afternoon lifestyle didn’t turn out to be reality, Christ still found it to be his calling and worked his way up in the design/architecture scene in the city. It was in his role with Duany and Plater-Zyberk at their firm, DPZ, where he got involved with the final stages of land planning for Seaside. Fatefully, this was also when he met his wife, Jamie, who was working for a commercial interior design firm at the time. “We had a common friend, and she made a list of eligible architects for me to meet—Tom was third on the list,” remembers Jamie. “I didn’t think it was going to work out, but thirty-seven years later, we’re still together.”
After they married, the Christs moved to Seaside in 1984 at the request of Robert Davis, the founder of Seaside, who asked Christ to serve as town architect for one year. Little did the newlyweds know at the time they’d end up staying much longer than that. In the beginning, strategizing the early existence of Seaside was challenging. Christ worked with a team of architects designing houses around a new type of code while also defining a specific Southern vernacular style that the area would become known for. They pushed the envelope to test how far the design code could go, he says. Since then, Christ has designed at least eightyfive private residences in Seaside. The firm doesn’t have a signature look; instead, they let the destination shape the style of the projects they’re working on, according to Jamie. They do, however, always abide by classical proportions. “We work in several styles, and I think that’s healthy for an architect to be able to do that,” says Christ.
Aspri Villa courtyard home in Alys Beach, Florida, designed by Tom Christ Photo by Jack Gardner
Christ has designed many of the large homes that are part of The Retreat, a new gated community in Blue Mountain Beach along Scenic Highway 30-A. The theme of the neighborhood is understated elegance, with architectural features such as archways, large roof overhangs, oversized dormers, and incredible outdoor spaces. “The Retreat is special because it doesn’t really have one defined architectural style,” says Christ. “Instead, it has traditional and contemporary styling as found in Bermudian, Caribbean, Low Country Louisiana, French, and Spanish Colonial styles of architecture. I believe it to be the most interesting collection of homes along the beaches of 30-A.” He’s also designed homes in nearby Destin and Miramar Beach and the more contemporary communities of Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach, which he describes as “refreshing” to work on. “Those are all concrete homes—contrary to Seaside, which is all wood,” he says.
“Tom Christ has been a part of the architectural fabric in South Walton for the past thirty-five years,” says Tom Dodson, vice president of sales for Alys Beach. “I first met Tom in the early nineties while working with Sandestin, and I was fortunate to continue this working relationship with Tom at the St. Joe Company as The Retreat, WaterColor, and WaterSound Beach were being developed. Since joining Alys Beach, I have been very pleased to have They pushed the envelope engaged Tom in our residential design efforts to test how far the design and bring in his talents to continue our efforts in delivering unique architecture to code could go, he says. Since Alys Beach and 30-A. He is a professional at his trade and a pleasure to work with.” then, Christ has designed
at least eighty-five private While the communities along the east end of 30-A such as Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, and residences in Seaside. Inlet Beach have experienced major growth recently, Christ says he sees a new movement coming in Seaside that may draw him back again. “In the coming years, more of the earlier homes will be torn down and replaced with new designs that are more sophisticated and classical yet still modern,” he says. “Back in the early days, Andrés Duany always said, ‘Watch Seaside; it’s going to change.’ And it is.” V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 67
La maison We look forward to seeing what comes next for the area and for Christ & Associates as they continue to raise the bar for New Urbanism and architecture as a whole.
VISIT CHR ISTA ND A SSOCI ATES.COM TO L E A R N MOR E, SEE MOR E PRO JECTS, A ND CONTA CT THE FIR M. Kelsey Ogletree is a Chicago-based writer covering travel, wellness, and design for publications that include Robb Report, Shape, Architectural Digest, and more. Always on the hunt for stories and forever a notetaker, she never leaves home without her mini Moleskine and at least two pens.
TOM ’S FAVORITE BUILDING
The BoatHouse at WaterColor, designed by Tom Christ Photo by Jack Gardner, courtesy of St. Joe Club & Resorts
One of the most treasured buildings Christ has designed is not, in fact, a residence, but what’s now known as The BoatHouse at WaterColor, part of St. Joe’s WaterColor Inn & Resort in Santa Rosa Beach. Originally designed to house racing sculls, it’s known for its large overhangs, and is now home to the town’s paddle club, while the neighboring LakeHouse, also designed by Christ, serves as a venue for weddings and parties. “It’s so different from anything in Seaside,” Christ says. He remembers the buildings as difficult yet fun projects to do, as they required using heavy timbered wood that had to be cut and notched. Today they stand as two of the most beloved buildings in the community.
Courtesy of New Ravenna
Tile + Mosaics
Lighting Stone + Concrete 17 Uptown Grayton Circle Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 (850) 213-0000 · Q-Tile.com
Twelve Oaks, the antebellum bed-andbreakfast in Covington, Georgia, was built in 1836 by Judge John Harris. The property underwent an extensive renovation, which was completed in 2017, and recently sold at auction. Photography courtesy of Twelve Oaks / Target Auction
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A Movie Icon Gets a Makeover
Twelve Oaks ANTEBELLUM MANSION
Sells to the Highest Bidder By Fra n c o Gr i m a l di
“ F R A N K LY, MY D E A R , I D O N ’ T GI V E A DA M N.” —Rhett Butler’s famous line in the film Gone with the Wind
ne of America’s most iconic mansions has sold at auction to the highest bidder. A distinctly Southern property, Twelve Oaks was built in 1836 and a $2 million renovation was completed in 2017. With twelve bedrooms and twelve and one-half baths, this ten-thousand-square-foot beauty also offers a grand dining room, a formal parlor, informal dining and living spaces, and a chef ’s dream kitchen. Other features include hardwood floors, period lighting, eleven-foot ceilings, and twelve fireplaces all modernized with remote controls. A private home early on, it more recently served as an award-winning bed-and-breakfast, an event venue, a tourist destination, and a stunning backdrop for over fifteen films.
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The Scene Was Set Margaret Mitchell was an American novelist and journalist who wrote only one novel, published during her lifetime: the American Civil War–era story Gone with the Wind, for which she won the 1936 National Book Award for Most Distinguished Novel and the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. As Mitchell’s book was being adapted into the movie Gone with the Wind (David O. Selznick’s 1939 epic), she saw a photo of Twelve Oaks in Covington, Georgia, in the Atlanta Journal and sent a clipping of it to the film’s production team with a handwritten note saying, “I like this for Ashley’s home.” The movie would become a classic, receiving ten Oscars at the twelfth Academy Awards ceremony. Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell saw a photo of the mansion in the Atlanta Journal in February of 1939 when David O. Selznick was working on his film adaption of her novel. She sent him the clipping and wrote, “I like this for Ashley’s home.” The property later became known as Twelve Oaks in homage to Ashley Wilkes’s plantation.
While the real-life mansion now known as Twelve Oaks in Covington is considered an exemplary piece of antebellum architecture, the plantation’s portrayal in the film (shot on sound stages at what is now Hollywood’s Culver Studios) was greatly exaggerated. The movie version bore more likeness to the grandiose Colonial Revival style that was popular in the early twentieth-century South than an antebellum plantation. During the film’s preproduction stage, this discrepancy raised mild disapproval from
A PRIVATE HOME EARLY ON, IT MORE RECENTLY SERVED AS AN AWARD-WINNING BED-AND-BREAKFAST, AN EVENT VENUE, A TOURIST DESTINATION, AND A STUNNING BACKDROP FOR OVER FIFTEEN FILMS.
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Mitchell, as she envisioned a more ordinary and historically accurate house like the mansion in Covington. Production continued, however, and even today the film’s stately mansion set—with its grand staircase, high ceilings, and library—serves as the iconic image for Gone with the Wind, rather than the more restrained Greek Revival house described in the novel.
The Closing Credits The auction was held on-site at the Covington, Georgia, property on July 25 this past summer. According to Target Auction Company of Gadsden, Alabama, which handled the auction, the starting
bid was $1 million. In January of this year, Chubb Masterpiece Group estimated that it would cost over $6.3 million to rebuild the mansion at current prices. According to a Target Auction representative, operating permits for a bed-and-breakfast, an event venue, and a historical tourist site are already in place, and the property receives television and movie contracts on an annual basis. Just last year, the readers of Southern Living chose Twelve Oaks for their 2018 Best of the South awards, and it was one of the top ten inns in the US selected by BedAndBreakfast.com.
The Twelve Oaks bed-and-breakfast has been celebrated as one of the best inns in the US; it is also an award-winning venue for weddings and other special occasions.
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La maison “We have always felt we were a steward of this piece of history and hope that it will be loved and maintained for generations to enjoy,” said the former owner of Twelve Oaks, who hopes to pursue other business ideas immediately following the sale. “We feel we’ve accomplished what we set out to do, and we are ready to start a new adventure.” The new owner plans to reopen and continue to operate Twelve Oaks as a luxury bed-and-breakfast. “We hope to continue to bring business and awareness to the great city of Covington while upholding the highest standards of community service,” said the buyer. Frankly, my dear, we do a give a damn and will be sure to make reservations at Twelve Oaks as soon as it reopens.
VISIT TARGETAUCTION.COM TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS MOMENTOUS SALE.
THE ZOO GALLERY
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Grayton Beach Grand Boulevard T h e Z o o G a l l e r y. c o m
ELI T E P R O P E R T Y MANAG EM EN T
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Choosing Elite 30A as our property management company was the best decision we have made! It’s their personal approach in communicating with guests and homeowners, in addition to maintaining our property to such a high standard, that makes Elite 30A produce happy guests and happy homeowners. — NORMA R. (ELITE 30A HOMEOWNER)
ELITE30A.COM | (850) 797-0533 |
Redefining Luxury Photography courtesy of PR E M I E R PR O PE R T Y G R O U P
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n a market full of vacation rental homes and condos focused mainly on renting by the week, especially during the busy summer season, Thirty-One on 30A seeks to change the game. This new luxury condominium building just south of Scenic Highway 30-A in Seagrove Beach, Florida, is the brainchild of leaders at the prestigious real estate and development firm Premier Development Group (PDG). The building’s location on 335 feet of white-sand beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico already makes it desirable to potential condominium owners, but it’s the attention to detail, the large customizable units, the on-site building manager, the top-of-the-line finishes and appliances, and the thirty-day minimum on rentals that take the property to the next level. The late well-known Florida conservationist M.C. Davis owned the land where Thirty-One sits; he had already obtained a development order and designed the building. Naturally, Davis’s plan was to create a beautiful property while preserving as much of the setting as possible. He passed away in 2015 before seeing his plan realized.
“Premier Development Group bought the four-acre parcel—one of the largest and last undeveloped ones on 30-A—with those plans, and we are fortunate to have it,” says Keith Flippo, realtor with The Premier Property Group and founding partner at PDG. “For the twenty-seven units there, having this much Gulf-frontage is huge.” Of those twenty-seven, nine residences remain for sale at Thirty-One. “Three of those are ‘white boxes,’ which can be customized by the buyers with the cabinetry, flooring, fixtures, and lighting of their choice, along with other elements,” Flippo explains. “Most condos in the area have similar floor plans, but because this property was built around wetlands and was designed to preserve that, we have some unique designs and characteristics.” The other six units for sale are move-in ready, and a representative is on-site daily for anyone who would like to book a showing.
Left: Thirty-One is a new luxury condominium community located along Scenic Highway 30-A in Seagrove Beach, Florida. Its twenty-seven residences offer the ultimate in privacy, amenities, style, and incredible views of the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Tommy Crow V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 77
Above and right: Each residence is equipped with hardwood floors, topof-the-line appliances, quartz countertops, a wet bar with a wine fridge, and more. Photos by Tommy Crow Opposite: The floor plan in three of the remaining residences for sale at Thirty-One is open for customization by the buyer. Opposite inset: Having 335 feet of beachfront on 30-A is a huge amenity for the owners and guests of this new community created by Premier Development Group. 78 | O C T OBER 2019
he residences themselves are not your typical units, but more like luxury homes. They range from 2,458 to 4,539 square feet with ten-foot ceilings, plus oversized beach terraces and windows offering panoramic Gulf views. A standard unit (which is anything but standard) includes top-of-the-line appliances by Wolf and Sub-Zero, quartz countertops, a wet bar and wine fridge, elegant hardwood floors, large walk-in closets, and a laundry room with a full-sized washer and dryer and a sink. Private elevators take owners and guests right to their condos, beach services and golf carts are included as an amenity, and common areas include a fitness center, an owners’ club, and a catering kitchen— not to mention the gorgeous curved resort-style pool and terrace overlooking the Gulf. The team at PDG worked closely with DAG Architects and the builders to ensure that the four-acre property was developed mindfully. “Premier worked hand in hand with everyone on the design and construction team to cast a vision for the look, tone, and feel of Thirty-One,” says Jason White, chief operating officer at The Premier Property Group and Premier Development Group. “We had to make sure that what was designed could actually be built, and we accomplished that through a very collaborative work environment. The desire was to create something clean, simple, and modern but with elements of familiarity.”
Nestled in a perfect spot across the road from local favorite Café Thirty-A, the property is secluded thanks to its layout and landscaping but still offers the excitement, activities, shops, restaurants, and nature that people love about 30-A and South Walton. “The best way for owners and guests to make of the most of it is to spend more time here and commit to trying something new and different each time they come,” says White. “Whether it is trying a different restaurant or retailer or visiting one of the state forests, there is plenty to discover.”
“It’s been refreshing to see how our owners commune with each other; it seems to be a like-minded group with a real sense of camaraderie. We’ve been so proud to be part of creating this community.”
the wonderful sense of community that has developed among the owners and the building manager,” says White. “The homeowners truly enjoy being with each other and they really enjoy interacting with the building manager, whose actions frequently go above and beyond expectations.” The current Thirty-One building manager even drove to DeFuniak Springs to retrieve a lost diamond after a homeowner realized it had fallen out of her ring in a restaurant where they had stopped on their way home to Louisiana. Because guests must rent for a thirty-day minimum, they become more like residents, and often the building’s occupancy is less than 40 percent at any given time, even during summer. This, along with the shielded layout of the property and the lush landscaping, has brought a sense of peace and privacy to Thirty-One. What both White and Flippo say they didn’t expect—but are incredibly pleased about—is the sense of community among Thirty-One’s condo owners. “Given the fact that this is primarily a second- or third-home property, we did not anticipate
Flippo continues, “It’s been refreshing to see how our owners commune with each other; it seems to be a like-minded group with a real sense of camaraderie. We’ve been so proud to be part of creating this community.”
Discover Gulf-front living perfected and become part of the community. Visit 31on30A.com to learn more and contact the sales team. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 79
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Frothy Bites by Tamera Massey Mixed media (photography, acrylics, collage, and digital art) on deep-edge gallery-wrapped canvas, 24 × 24 inches See more at StudioSoLoStyle.com.
Who can resist the whimsy and deliciousness of a frozen treat from the Frost Bites Airstream food truck in Seaside, Florida?
Love, VIE xo
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B eaut y In LETTING THE
J ea n A l l sop p
This Gulf-front home on Scenic Highway 30-A was a collaborative design between Tracery Interiors and A Boheme Design architects. “When designing on the Gulf, we always design the home to enjoy the views of the Gulf—from your morning cup of coffee all the way to your glass of wine at sunset,” says Paige Schnell. 82 | O C T OBER 2019
Above: “Our client on this condo renovation owns Marmi, a stone imports business in Atlanta, so we worked with him on the selection of beautiful stone throughout the home,” Schnell says. “The stone offered color and design inspiration for this modern condo.” Left: The dining room in a serene, beachy yet modern new-build home in Seaside, Florida, designed by architect Brian Stackable and the team at Tracery Interiors
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When it comes to homes, Tracery Interiors specializes in the art of Southern design, according to owner and principal designer Paige Schnell and her team. Over the years, Tracery has not only been featured in numerous design and lifestyle publications but also worked on exclusive show homes, been recognized nationally for their inspired residential and commercial designs, and expanded to include two boutique-studio locations along Scenic Highway 30-A in Northwest Florida. Schnell has designed spaces across the country since joining Tracery Interiors in 2004 and subsequently taking over the firm in 2005. Her portfolio includes cozy lodge retreats and modern urban homes, but her prowess for taking inspiration from the coastal landscape along the Gulf of Mexico and bringing that serene feeling into her clientsâ€™ homes is still what drives much of her business. She and her team consistently harness the beauty, atmosphere, and colors of the Gulf Coast, and then spin them to weave new stories through plans, furnishings, fabrics, and finishes. Most importantly, they bring smiles to their clientsâ€™ faces time after time. Get a taste of the coastal style as you peruse these three unique projects by Tracery Interiors.
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Above left and right: Working directly with the architects of Stackable + Mracek enabled Tracery Interiors to create an elegant and sophisticated home overlooking the Gulf. Left: Rustic, natural materials and sleek, clean lines converge to create a modern beach home in Seaside.
One Brush of
Color AT A TIME
Wouldn’t Be Me Without You 36 × 48 inches
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I NTERVI E W BY OLIV I A M A NTHEY ART WO R K BY K ATHE FR AGA
rtist Kathe Fraga comes from a long line of creative women. Painting, drawing, and creating seem to be in her DNA. Her first career after graduating from the Université Grenoble and the University of Washington was in advertising as a writer. She worked in this field in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Honolulu. “It was a joy to combine my love of writing with design,” she says. Fraga’s colorful writing and storytelling meld with her current view as an artist—her paintings are visual stories of color, pattern, and motif.
“What I paint is filled in by the people who view and collect my work—it’s always wonderful to hear what viewers and collectors see in my art and what ‘stories’ my paintings evoke for them. That’s the magic.” Take a glimpse at her many multilayered hues, her vision, and the personal and intimate stories shared through her art.
VIE: How did you get started with a career in the art world? Kathe Fraga: Growing up, I had the opportunity to live in a variety of places that have influenced my inspiration and the direction of my art. I was always drawing and creating. (I still have my original little green metal box of colored pencils that I used to create countless pictures that would cover the walls of my bedroom wherever our new home might be!) From a young age, I lived in South America, both coasts of the US, and in Europe. The stained glass and gilded interiors of old-world Quito, the pinks and golds and pastels of Paris, the bright reds of Copenhagen, the easygoing style of beach towns in California, and the buttoned-up vibe of New York have all been a part of my direction and influence. But one moment was enormous—my father returned from an overseas trip to Japan. He loved to shop and bring home gifts—it was like Christmas! He surprised my mother with the most beautiful dark-green silk kimono jacket with the most exquisite chinoiserie patterns in bright orange, red, pink, blue—an unexpected pairing of hues and motifs—and I was in love. It opened a new door to the joy of combining lovely dense patterns and blocks of colors, which you’ll see in many of my paintings. (And, yes, years later, mom gifted me with that glorious kimono jacket.) VIE: What is your primary source of inspiration when it comes to painting? KF: When I’m asked about my work, here’s my response: “My work is inspired by the romance of vintage French wallpapers and chinoiserie with a modern twist.” Color reacting to color is a big influence for me. It’s exciting, for example, to paint
a bold wide swath of red and then layer it with bright orange and then add a subdued branch of soft little pink blossoms to create a surprising mix of modern and sweet, small detail. Nature also inspires me. From the overwhelming beauty of the blooming Yoshino cherry trees at the University of Washington to the multicolored little forest mushrooms that spring up along our wooded trails in the fall, the colors of the Pacific Northwest are wonderful inspirations. (That fluorescent-green moss in our island forests is the most spectacular green ever!) Our island beaches, rich with oyster and clam and mussel shells, also hold hidden treasures—soft and gently sea-washed china shards reflect the island’s history and the many generations that have come before: we find blue-andwhite chinoiserie-patterned pieces, pastel glass in light blue, purple, and pink, white china with little blooms. I bring these pieces back to the studio, study their patterns, think of their history. And then I paint, layer upon layer of color, story, wee little florals. We live in a 110-year-old Bainbridge Island home, built with barnacled beach rock and weathered gray shingles. The house’s old fir floorboards, milled from surrounding trees, remind me on a daily basis of the love and whispered patina of time—the sound and scent of the forests that surround us. With their decay and rebirth in every season, they send their message to my art as I explore how the fresh beauty of the “new” evolves, over time, into something far more V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 87
La maison floor of our old home once acted as a ballroom), so I can see what it looks like from far away—are color, pattern, and story visible? Then, I prop it up close to see the hidden details—a blossom peeking out underneath the paint, a design you might not have noticed from afar. It’s all about the storytelling. I’m painting a tale, through layers and layers of color, paint, and imagery, but it’s up to the viewers to find their own stories in that painting and make it their own. That’s what is important to me.
VIE: Where can our readers view or purchase your art? KF: I’m fortunate and honored to have been represented by wonderful galleries that have inspired and encouraged my work over the years. Currently, my work is represented by Nikki Sedacca Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard; Museo Gallery, Langley, Washington; Roby King Gallery, Bainbridge Island, Washington; 530 Burns Gallery, Sarasota, Florida; Artisan Crafted Home, Langley, Washington; Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Bainbridge Island, Washington; and Flowering Around, Bainbridge Island, Washington.
VIE: What do you believe makes something “art” and why do you believe art is important to the world?
KF: I often refer to this wonderful quote by the amazingly gifted and imaginative artist Odilon Redon (1886–1905): “My drawings inspire and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.”
Above: Pink Perfume and Blue Butterflies 48 × 36 inches Opposite left: Kathe Fraga’s Loving You painting (36 × 24 inches) also comes printed on a vanity tray (inset, this page) as part of her home decor line. Opposite right: Artist Kathe Fraga
interesting and dramatic. Worn surfaces and distressed textures combine to create a sense of something soft and lovely and familiar; but yet, I feel the need to add a bold swath of color to add the modern and unexpected. It’s a resting place for the eyes, a welcome disturbance as something reinvented emerges: gentle old meets dynamic new.
VIE: Do you ever experience “painter’s block”? How do you get through challenges when it comes to working?
KF: My joy and inspiration for creating are to keep working, keep at it, keep trying. Because my paintings are inspired by the layers and layers of vintage times past—old wallpapers, many generations—I am always patient with how a painting will evolve. I start with an image and then I paint over that image, I sand and reveal the original image, I paint more detail over that image—so that there are ultimately so many stories to see once the painting is finished for me. When I work, I look at the painting from a very long distance (the first 88 | O C T OBER 2019
I would never compare my work to Redon’s colorful masterpieces, but I respond to his sentiment. My work is about feeling and emotion, color, and design. The best thing I can hear is that one of my pieces has made someone feel happy. One of the most treasured emails I ever received was from someone who was in a waiting room at a doctor’s office, and she wrote to tell me how much my painting, in that stressful waiting room, had offered her comfort and joy.
VIE: Tell us a little about your brand collaborations and home decor products. KF: In 2017, I was invited to collaborate with world-renowned makeup artist and Clé de Peau Beauté creative director, Lucia Pieroni, to create the limited-edition holiday packaging and promotional materials for the brand’s Nuit de Chine collection. Lucia’s vision was inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit China: Through the Looking Glass, and I was asked to help bring it to life. We met
I bring these pieces back to the studio, study their patterns, think of their history. And then I paint, layer upon layer of color, story, wee little florals.
with the team in New York and on Bainbridge Island to create imagery, based on my art, for makeup coffrets and skincare, nail lacquer, and eye crayon packaging, as well as store displays and PR collateral. Since then, I have shown my work at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in the Beacon Gallery and introduced a new collection of silk and linen pillows and a new silk scarf collection based on my art. I continue to design and create from my studio, nestled in the woods in a dark 1905 craftsman-style home on Bainbridge Island. I’ve been welcomed into the wonderful 530 Burns Gallery for a solo show this past year in Sarasota, Florida, and the Nikki Sedacca Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard, as well as the galleries previously mentioned.
VIE: Do you have any news you’d like to share for the coming year?
KF: Thanks for asking! In addition to new work in the studio, I’m adding to the silk and linen pillow collection for Kathe Fraga Home, and I also have silk scarves, boxed greeting card sets, and birch vanity trays in a variety of sizes and motifs to hold your favorite collections—all based on my paintings. New collaborations to come! I have an upcoming solo show in February 2020 at 530 Burns Gallery in Sarasota, and my work will continue to be represented by all of my galleries in the year ahead. Yet the joy of color and stories all comes down to painting in the studio—one brush of color at a time, more color on color, and a little dreaming mixed with magic. Stay tuned.
Visit KatheFraga.com or follow on Instagram @kf_paintings to learn more. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 89
C’est la vie
THE POWER OF PINK
As this is the October issue, we would like to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month with this special all-pink C’est la VIE Curated Collection. We celebrate the warriors who fight the battle against breast cancer, offer our prayers and support for all who need them, and honor those who have succumbed to this terrible disease. We hope this pretty-in-pink collection puts a smile on your face.
Spray All Day
Garden Glory Rusty Rose Garden Hose (Nozzle and Wall Mount Sold Separately) $99 – gardenglory.com 90 | O C T OBER 2019
La sieste en rose
Marc Ange Le Refuge Daybed theinvisiblecollection.com
Return to Tiffany® Love Bugs Collection tiffany.com
Athleta Empower Daily Mastectomy-Friendly Bra $59 – atleta.gap.com
Gucci Princetown Leather Slippers $695 – gucci.com
BeautyBio The Protector Daily Defense Cream SPF30 $55 – nordstrom.com V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 91
C’est la vie
Rosé-Colored 7 Glasses Crate & Barrel Set of Four Rosé Wine Glasses $40 – crateandbarrel.com 92 | O C T OBER 2019
How Do You Do?
Hello, Cookie Dough: 110 Doughlicious Confections Cookbook $28 – cookiedonyc.com
Have a Seat
Monroe Armchair in Pink Velvet $2,730 – 1stdibs.com
Petal to the Metal
Asprey 167 26cm Handbag in Rose Petal Python and Patent Oyster Crocodile $13,850 – asprey.com
I’ll Toast to That
SMEG 1950s Retro-Style Two-Slice Toaster $160 – smeg50style.com
Eau de Perfection 12
Guerlain Le Bouquet de la Mariée, 4.2 ounces $1,000 – neimanmarcus.com
Sipping Pretty 13
Mignonne Gavigan Madeline Earrings in Ivory and Rose Gold $225 – mignonnegavigan.com
M de Minuty Rosé Ruby Taylor Limited Edition minuty.com/en V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 93
See more incredible destinations in “The Most Beautiful Places in the World” at VIEmagazine.com/blog.
SEE THE WORLD
In the rocky desert region of Cappadocia, Turkey, there’s a city carved from stone. This ancient region is a UNESCO World Heritage site and includes the Göreme National Park, known for its conical rock formations called “fairy chimneys.” During the Bronze Age, homes were carved into the mountainsides, and the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu are two of the area’s main attractions. But the real treat is viewing Cappadocia from above— dozens of hot-air balloons take flight from Göreme daily. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 95
Go Ask Alys W H AT â€™ S C O M I N G U P I N A LY S B E A C H , F L O R I D A
P h o t o g r a p h y b y M . K . S a d l e r, courtesy of Alys Beach
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or those who live or vacation in the area surrounding Scenic Highway 30-A in Northwest Florida, the steady growth and new construction are often points of interest. What will be created next? How many new hot spots will be cropping up in the coming months? In the fashionable and unique resort town of Alys Beach, the answer is a lot! VIE caught up with the team at Alys Beach to discuss plans for the new beach club, the recently opened ZUMA Wellness Center, upcoming events, and other news on both the commercial and residential sides of real estate. Get the scoop below, and don’t forget to check out the town’s beautiful brand-new website at AlysBeach.com! VIE: What’s new and exciting in Alys Beach this year? It seems like the town is really coming to life! ALYS BEACH: So much activity is happening throughout town—new homes under construction, the Beach Club coming to life, condominium buildings under way, new retail and dining options soon to be announced, and a lot of planning for the future. We’re introducing a signature October event called Firkin Fête that we know will become a fun annual tradition for many as we usher in the crisper, cooler temperatures of fall.
ALYS: The Beach Club, which will be a private club for Alys Beach homeowners only, broke ground last November. The venue, beautifully designed by Hart Howerton out of San Francisco, will have three pools, dining and lounging areas, and breathtaking Gulf and sunset views from a rooftop bar and terrace—not to mention an adjacent plaza that will be the primary beach access for owners and resort guests. VIE: The Town Center is growing quickly! Its new commercial and residential buildings are beautiful. Can you tell us a little about The Camden & Whitby? Where is this pair of buildings located, and are there still residences available for purchase?
VIE: We see that ZUMA Wellness Center has opened and is in full swing! Can you tell us a little about how homeowners and guests have received it, and what its offerings are?
With new events, residences, shopping destinations, dining options, a state-ofthe-art fitness center (right), and a beach club well on the way, the gorgeous resort town of Alys Beach is experiencing a major period of growth.
ALYS: The stunningly designed ZUMA Wellness Center has been well received by our owners and guests. Hundreds of people pass through its doors each day to exercise and train, get a massage, swim, or just relax in the serene outdoor setting. ZUMA has also become a place for friends and neighbors to connect over a cup of coffee or a delicious smoothie. VIE: Can you give us a progress update on the Beach Club? What are some exciting features it will include?
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Right: ZUMA Wellness Center opened in spring of 2019 and offers top-of-the-line fitness equipment, a multitude of classes, world-class spa treatments, and more. Below: The Caliza Pool and Restaurant remain favorites among homeowners and guests in Alys Beach, serving cool beverages daily and dinner (open to the public) Tuesday through Saturday with gourmet creations by Chef Drew Dzejak.
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So much activity is happening throughout town—new homes under construction, the Beach Club coming to life, condominium buildings under way, new retail and dining options soon to be announced, and a lot of planning for the future. ALYS: The Camden & Whitby, also designed by Hart Howerton, are located on the west side of the Amphitheater, right in the heart of town. They will add new energy to Town Center with retail on the bottom floors and residences on the top three levels. Our initial release yielded great results, and there are still two- and three-bedroom residences available. A variety of retail options are being considered right now, as a way to bring life to that section of the community. VIE: Where did the names for The Camden & Whitby, The Lucian, and The May come from?
ALYS: Camden and Whitby are names that our design team created. The Lucian and The May are named after the original homesteader of this land, Lucian May. VIE: Where can our readers learn more or book their trip to Alys Beach? ALYS: If you’re interested in learning more about Alys Beach, be sure to visit our brand-new website at AlysBeach.com. It will truly give you a sense of what to expect and hopefully entice you to visit this special place.
SHOWROOM & DESIGN STUDIO 183B King Street, Charleston, SC 29401 (843) 327-8304
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ON THE ROAD: New York, NY October 8 –11 New Orleans, LA November 21– 22
a l a v i
V ยก The view from Las Olas pool and restaurant at Mahekal Beach Resort is one that guests just might want to look at all day (and they can). 100 | O C T OBER 2019
The M A G I C of M E X I C O
B Y J O R D A N S TA G G S
P H OTO G R A P H Y C O U R T E SY O F M A H E K A L B E AC H R E S O R T
t seemed like a coincidence that “magical” was the adjective many of my family, friends, and colleagues uttered immediately upon seeing photos of Mahekal Beach Resort while I planned my trip. (I soon learned the resort’s name comes from the Mayan word for “magical.”) After visiting the palapa-style retreat on 920 feet of beachfront along the Caribbean Sea, I realized it wasn’t a coincidence at all—it was just the truth. Just a forty-five-minute drive south of Cancún, Mahekal Beach Resort is nestled among the white sand and palm trees in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The small fishing town gave way to tourism thanks to its ferry service to the island of Cozumel, a world-renowned diving destination about a mile off the coast. It stayed popular because of its beaches, laid-back atmosphere, shopping, restaurants, nightlife, and
events. As Playa del Carmen is an up-and-coming destination when compared to Cancún, it’s no wonder celebs are often spotted strolling along the artsy Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue). Some—David Guetta and Tory Burch, for example—have even decided to call the town their home away from home. Although it’s within easy driving distance of Cancún, Tulum, the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá, and the Xcaret eco park, visitors might become so enamored of Playa del Carmen—and more especially of Mahekal Beach Resort and its peaceful hammocks on every private patio—that they find it difficult to leave.
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he resort’s beginnings are humble, and its mission has hardly changed since the location’s first six bungalows were built in 1984 as a retreat for backpackers. Today, following a significant renovation and expansion completed in 2016, Mahekal still offers authentic beachfront accommodations, albeit with a few more amenities. Guests staying in any of its 202 rooms or casitas have access to four resort pools, seven restaurants and bars, a full-service spa, a dive center, a fitness center, a boutique, an ice cream shop, beachside yoga classes, authentic Mayan cultural and dining experiences, and more. With semi-inclusive packages, meeting and event areas, and plenty of activities daily, the sprawling property is well suited for any respite, whether it’s a family vacation, a girls’ getaway, a honeymoon, or a corporate retreat. With all the resort has to offer, though, the most magical part of Mahekal is its wonderful and knowledgeable staff. Director of sales and marketing Maria Elena Armenta and the team have an obvious love of the resort and Mexico as a whole. They can wax poetic about the history and culture of the area while recommending a good Mexican wine. The country’s warmth and hospitality show through in every member of the staff at Mahekal, especially VIP concierge Rosa, whose smile was contagious and who never failed to greet me by name each time we crossed paths throughout the resort. The team is on hand to offer tips on what to do and where to go in town, assist in making dinner reservations, book excursions and activities, and take care of logistics, such as laundry services, internet upgrades, and any other needs guests might have. Tucked among the thatched palapa rooftops and swaying palm trees are four exquisite swimming pools—the Las Olas pool and hot tub, the Itzi pool (this one is for adults only and the only one on the property with a swim-up bar), the Fuego pool and hot tub, and the Treehouse pool. Several of the resort’s casitas and haciendas also include private plunge pools. 102 | O C T OBER 2019
The Las Olas and Fuego pools, both expansive and beautiful, are named for the restaurants adjacent them—and those are perhaps even more enticing. The Las Olas and Fuego pools, both expansive and beautiful, are named for the restaurants adjacent them—and those are perhaps even more enticing. Director of food and beverage Urs Bacsa, a Swiss native who has been with Mahekal for nearly fourteen years, is another resort treasure. His expertise and knowledge of the local cuisine shine through in each pairing. Executive chef Crescenciano Nerey and the culinary team truly do make magic along the Caribbean coast in Playa del Carmen. Start your day at Las Olas, the largest dining room on the property, where you’ll find a well-stocked breakfast buffet packing a variety of favorites as well as local fruits, chilaquiles, and conchas (a Mexican sweet bread more like a cookie than a roll). Lunch, featuring sandwiches and more, is also available at Las Olas, but dinner is served only on select nights, so consult your weekly activities calendar upon check-in!
The resort’s open-air lobby has a comfy seating area with fireplace. Above and opposite bottom: Palapa-style accommodations are beautifully appointed and offer garden or beach views. Opposite top: Mahekal Beach Resort boasts four unique resortstyle pools. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 103
inner at Cocina, Mahekal’s take on a typical Playa del Carmen eatery, includes an expansive buffet of Mexican, Mayan, and Latin American dishes. The resort-casual atmosphere is perfect for grabbing a meal with the family and enjoying time together while sampling fresh ceviche and other coastal favorites. The culinary star of the show at Mahekal Beach Resort is its newest dining outlet, Fuego Restaurante y Cantina. Fuego means “fire,” and this beachside bar and grill lives up to its name with a Tulum-style wood-burning oven, a farm- and sea-to-table menu prepared by Chef Nerey, delicious signature cocktails, and a wine list with plenty of Mexican blends. House dinner specialties include New Zealand rack of lamb, risotto, paella, Mayan octopus, and grouper Fuego. Meanwhile, any guest seeking their Italian-food fix will love Fuego’s wood-fired pizzas and homemade pasta. As if that weren’t enough, this open-air hot spot has views of the Fuego pool, the beach, and the Caribbean. Fuego features live music on select evenings and happy hour specials daily; breakfast and lunch are also served. If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience when it comes to dining, head to the Sandbox area of the beach near Fuego restaurant every Saturday around noon for the Catch of the Day. Grab a special Allende Mahekal Pilsner cerveza from the cantina, and watch as Chef Nerey and his crew await a small boat of local fishermen who deliver their day’s haul to the beach. The culinary staff will expertly choose the best selections of seasonal seafood, such as grouper, red snapper, octopus, and more, and then weigh and clean it right on the beach! Guests can choose from the selection and tell the chefs how they’d like it prepared for dinner that evening. Even if you don’t pick a fish, the process is worth watching. Last, but certainly not least, is the Mayan Culinary Casita, tucked into a secluded garden on the property. Guests may reserve a private lunch experience for four or more people that includes a hands-on Mayan cooking demonstration and cultural lesson. The meal begins with refreshing xtabentún, a liqueur made from fermented honey, anise seeds, and rum. Fresh peppers and lime go into the delicious chickenlime soup appetizer. The entrée is local fish prepared in banana leaves and cooked in the traditional tikin xic style in an earth oven within the Mayan casita. Of course, venturing outside Mahekal, guests will also find a fabulous array of restaurants and bars along Calle 38 Norte, the street that bisects the resort property. Find more incredible Mayan and Mexican cuisine in a chic, alfresco jungle atmosphere at Amate 38, where you might find a staff member making tortillas by hand right before your eyes. Or join the throng waiting outside La Cueva del Chango for breakfast and brunch on the weekends. Offerings here include fresh 104 | O C T OBER 2019
Cenotes—underwater caverns with freshwater running through them—dot the landscape of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Your Mahekal resort concierge can arrange an excursion for snorkeling or swimming in a nearby cenote! Right: Delicious drinks and snacks are never in short supply! Below: Fuego beachside bar and grill at Mahekal Beach Resort
fruit juices, yogurt, granola, huevos rancheros, and more—but it’s the chilaquiles that keep people coming back for more. After a day or evening of shopping in the colorful bodegas, boutiques, and artist stands along Quinta Avenida, drop by La Bodeguita del Medio for a different kind of Latin American experience. Cuban flavor abounds in this lively cantina whose menu includes an array of mojitos and Cuban dishes. Live music in the bar will almost certainly have patrons off their seats and salsa dancing as if they were in Havana. Those seeking adventures in the outdoors—particularly the water sports for which the area is well known—need only take a short stroll through the gardens at Mahekal Beach Resort to the Vida Aquática Dive Center. The experts there can arrange dive lessons and excursions, certifications, snorkel tours, and other
The Mayans used the cenotes mainly for drinking water; now, you can visit them for a snorkeling or diving experience in the crystal clear underground springs.
opportunities for visitors to explore the underwater wonderland surrounding Playa del Carmen. Stop by the Vida Aquática beach palapa for sea kayaks, standup paddleboards, boogie boards, or fishing information and equipment. A real aquatic experience in the Riviera Maya must include at least one cenote tour. Thousands of these water-filled caves lie throughout the Yucatán Peninsula, where freshwater has seeped through the limestone surface and created a system of underground rivers and caves with more than three hundred miles of passageways. The Mayans used the cenotes mainly for drinking water; now, you can visit them for a snorkeling or diving experience in the crystal clear underground springs. Cenote Sac Actún (White Cave) is one of the most beautiful and is only about a forty-five-minute drive from Mahekal Beach Resort. (I have to give a shout out to our snorkeling guide, Rodrigo, whose documentary film–worthy narration and intimate knowledge of the cenote made this experience a highlight of the whole trip.) V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 105
ack at the resort, you might find you’re in the mood for some pampering after a long night out or a morning adventure in the water. Revive Spa at Mahekal is going to be your new favorite place in the world. The tranquil oasis among the palms and flowers was designed in a round Mayan configuration intended to bring peace of mind and body to all who enter. Guests can indulge in the spa Jacuzzi before enjoying any of the spa’s incredible treatments, which include facials, massages, exfoliation, body wraps, and the signature Revive Spa Five Senses rejuvenation. Packages are available for couples, wedding parties, and other groups, and the spa also includes a private suite, a beauty salon, and a fitness center with yoga classes. Whether relaxation or fun is the vacation goal, it will almost surely take more than one trip to indulge in all that Mahekal has to offer. Painting Mexican pottery at the Artisan Palapa with Juliana and her team is a tranquil way to spend the afternoon, while other experiences are as simple as enjoying a sunset cocktail or local brew from any of the charming bars and cantinas scattered throughout the property. Sweet treats include ice cream, fire pit s’mores, and coffee or after-dinner drinks at Agave Bar—not to mention the decadent chocolates that will be waiting in your room before bed. 106 | O C T OBER 2019
The tranquil oasis among the palms and flowers was designed in a round Mayan configuration intended to bring peace of mind and body to all who enter. When the time comes that you must sadly say adios to Mahekal Beach Resort, it will really seem more like hasta luego, as every guest becomes family and many can’t wait to return. For me, heading back north of the border on Cinco de Mayo was especially disappointing. But as I sat in Cancún International Airport, I reminisced over a long weekend full of rest and rejuvenation, authentic Mayan cuisine, exploring the gorgeous Riviera Maya landscape, and getting to know some fantastic new amigos y familia. That invaluable experience far outweighed the loss of one Americanized holiday and a few margaritas. In fact, the memories are nothing short of magical.
Plan your escape at MahekalBeachResort.com.
Photography by Blake Ruden
• Winner of 2019 Seaside Prize • Exhibited by the Smithsonian Museum • Featured in Architectural Design, Architectural Record, and Veranda • Homes have been featurded on HGTV’s Homes Across America 1701 E County Hwy 30-A, Suite 201-C, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 ChristandAssociates.com | (850) 231-0883
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O C LIVE LIKE A
WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD The bright colors and patterns found throughout 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord in Paris mirror the mix of cultures in the cityâ€™s tenth arrondissement.
By REBECCA HALL P h o t o g r a p h y c o u r t e s y o f 2 5 H O U R S H O T E L CO M PA N Y
Photo by Nicholas Matheus V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 109
here is a fear that when new tourism ventures, including hotels, open in a neighborhood, the local population will suffer. This has been witnessed in various places across the world; for example, small islands, towns, and villages have become overrun with demands for a certain standard of service, thereby taking away local character and authenticity of the place. Not with 25hours Hotels. Enter a new concept in city vacations that shuns the uniformity a majority of chain hotels offer and instead fosters an urban and cosmopolitan style in keeping with the neighborhoods in which they operate. This is central to the 25hours philosophy: to create a brand that uses the neighborhood as its inspiration and then work together with the local population to enthuse locals and visitors alike.
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This is central to the 25hours philosophy: to create a brand that uses the neighborhood as its inspiration and then work together with the local population to enthuse locals and visitors alike.
25HOURS HOTELS – A HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY Originally a brand that focused on German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), 25hours Hotels opened its first hotel in Hamburg in 2003. It has since directed its expansion worldwide through a partnership with leading European hotel company AccorHotels. Dubai is due to open in 2020, along with European destinations such as Florence. The latest 25hours destination, Paris, was fully completed and opened its doors to the public in January of 2019.
Above: Decorated ceramic wash basins and artistic lighting in the guest rooms continue the worldly vibe of the hotel, while decor elements such as mannequins and rolling luggage carts in lieu of closets are inspired by travel and the bustling Gare du Nord train station across the street (opposite). Left: The business center is impeccably designed and a perfect spot to mingle with other guests or settle in with a book or a laptop and a coffee from the hotel’s Café Corner. Photos by Steve Herud
As mentioned before, the philosophy behind the 25hours brand is to incorporate, not alienate, the local environment and people within. Upon digging deeper and speaking with CEO and partner Christoph Hoffmann, it becomes apparent that he is a man of the people who believes in employing local staff at all locations and, more importantly, reinforces the belief that if you treat the local community well and envelop them into the venture, guests appreciate this, and the right clientele will be attracted to the brand. He utilizes local architects, building firms, and interior designers, and most of the staff are local. The knowledge they offer is evident with a stay at the newly opened 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord in Paris.
T HE T E NTH A RRO ND IS S E M E N T Paris is arranged into twenty arrondissements or neighborhood districts. The first seven include most of the tourism landmarks, and hotels in these areas tend to be very expensive and touristy. From arrondissements eight through twenty, we see a more Parisian style of living and gastronomy, while the tenth, historically, has been and is home to the working class and immigrants. It became especially popular in 2007 with the start-up revolution in France, as its abandoned warehouse spaces were ripe for use. The Gare du Nord—the busiest train station in Europe and the second busiest in the world—is the beating heart of this neighborhood. With some seven hundred thousand people using it daily, the Gare du Nord services trains traveling around V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 111
NENI is the signature Mediterranean restaurant of 25hours Hotels and was named for chef/founder Haya Molcho’s sons: Nuriel, Elior, Nadiv, and Ilan. Photo by Steve Herud Below right: General manager Xavi Vega
the city and to and from northern France, the UK (Eurostar), the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. Built in the early 1860s, the station’s neoclassical design and facade are impressive—the most notable features are the nine statues that represent cities where the original train company operated: Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Warsaw. Fourteen smaller statues represent French cities. s one might expect, the area around Gare du Nord is eclectic. Many travelers equate a railway station to a terminus, an end to your journey that you’ll quickly move away from to explore a city further. They are often perceived as dirty places full of vagrants—so why choose to locate a hotel directly opposite a station, as 25hours did with its first French property? Because the station and surrounding area are spirited and exuberant; they could be considered a city within a city. All manner of shops and nationalities exist here, ranging from Tamil Sri Lankan grocery stores to Afro-Caribbean hairdressers, Congolese restaurants, and the Little India district with restaurants and shops. Immigrants from North Africa, India, and China lend character to the urban landscape with their businesses. It’s buzzing 24-7, with commuters relying on its diversity of shops and cafés to spend their money as they pass through, and the businesses thrive on this. Hoffmann and 25hours wanted to encourage guests to explore Paris beyond the overly touristic areas, to seek out the alternative neighborhoods and experience the flavors of the city’s culture.
25HOURS HOTEL TERMINUS NORD Situated exactly opposite the Gare du Nord, the hotel occupies a historic building in the classic belle époque style. In fact, the hotel’s facade rivals that of 112 | O C T OBER 2019
the station. Built in 1870 shortly after the opening of the station, its six floors radiate a unique ornate style; the wraparound balconies on the upper levels and the wrought-iron latticework are atypical of the French capital. A hotel since its inception, the building was acquired from midscale hotel chain Mercure. 25hours completely redesigned and renovated the lobby and the 237 rooms of different categories to fit its own brand. Key to the interior design was the Parisian art consultancy agency Visto Images, which specializes in curating art collections. Its cofounder Alex Toledano wrote his thesis about the tenth arrondissement, its people, and its history. With his intimate knowledge of the
Each room has been lovingly designed with special touches, such as African and Asian style elements in five color schemes representing the two metro lines and three regional lines that operate at Gare du Nord. area, he was the perfect candidate to create an interior concept that included wall art and a large-format Neighborhood Heroes portrait series book in which fifteen people characteristic of the neighborhood are immortalized—hairdressers, mechanics, train station announcers, musicians, and artists were interviewed to tell the area’s story. Each room has a book laid open on the bed, inviting guests to browse its pages and then go out and explore to see if they can spot these characters. Copies can be purchased from the reception desk, which is reminiscent of a traditional Parisian kiosk and adorned with the classic tiles of the metro stations.
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Worldly dishes and delicious drinks are served up daily at NENI (right) and the Sape Bar (below) at 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord. Photos by Steve Herud
andering the corridors of 25hours, you might find the wallpaper reminds you of the metal shutters in front of many businesses and shops in the area. Portraits of the aforementioned neighborhood heroes decorate the walls and show guests to their rooms. Each room has been lovingly designed with special touches, such as African and Asian style elements in five color schemes representing the two metro lines and three regional lines that operate at Gare du Nord. Patterned carpets and fabrics and strong wall colors, plus wallpapers with floral motifs, ensure a cozy atmosphere. Ceramic washbasins give the bathrooms a worldly touch. Instead of closets, mobile stands are provided, inspired by the classic hotel trolleys on which garment bags were once transported. In my extra-large balconied room on the fourth floor—complete with a view of the station—I enjoyed stage lights around the bathroom mirror, cute extras such as a travel trunk adorned with stickers from around the world, and an African/Indian vibe from its green-and-purple color scheme. (I was also fortunate enough to have one of only eight rooms with a freestanding bathtub.) As standard, each room comes with air conditioning, sustainable toiletry products, a flat-screen TV, a minibar, a UE Boom Bluetooth speaker, and free high-speed Wi-Fi. An added touch for me was a
free internet pack to use for wandering the city, meaning no eating up my cellular data. This was especially useful as I used Google Maps to navigate my way to Sacré-Coeur, the Place de la République, and Canal Saint-Martin, all within walking distance.
NE N I RE S TAU RA N T The signature restaurant in all 25hours hotels, NENI, was created by an Israeli family, the Molchos. Its name reflects the first letters in the names of the founder’s sons: Nuriel, Elior, Nadiv, and Ilan. 25hours saw that NENI reflected its philosophy as the founder, Haya Molcho, asserts she “cooks for the world, not individual nations.” NENI is open to the public, and the menu is primarily Mediterranean cuisine. When booking your Parisian city break, forsake an impersonal hotel in the expensive tourist district and instead gain a priceless local experience. And if you haven’t been to the usual Parisian hot spots, it’s only three miles by train to the Eiffel Tower, easily accessible from the beautiful train station right outside your door.
VISIT 25HOURS-HOTELS.COM TO LEARN MORE OR BOOK A TRIP! Rebecca Hall is an English language teacher turned travel writer and novelist living in Greece. She writes for various online publications and maintains her travel blog, Life Beyond Borders. Her debut novel, Girl Gone Greek, was released in 2015. 114 | O C T OBER 2019
W H E N T H AT I S A L L YO U N E E D B Y C A R O LY N O â€™ N E I L PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF ELEVEN EXPERIENCE
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Casually sophisticated Harbour Island is one of the small but lively Out Islands of the Bahamas. Itâ€™s one of the oldest Bahamian settlements and was once the capital. This Caribbean jewel is only three miles long and a half mile wide, with charming Dunmore Town its only village. Quaint streets lined with colorful colonial-style buildings hark back to the days of British rule and lead the way to the islandâ€™s legendary pink-sand beaches and turquoise waters. Of course, the crystal clear Bahamian waters are the main focus of activities; these include snorkeling, swimming, kite surfing, fishing, or just cruising along in a guide-driven skiff with a cold beer in hand.
Left: Bahama House bonefishing guide Patrick Roberts Opposite: The gorgeous beaches and turquoise waters of Harbour Island in the Bahamas V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 117
Tours past pretty pastel cottages, historic churches, and beautifully landscaped resorts will be on island time—the only way around is via golf carts. Don’t forget to drive on the left, and don’t be surprised if you see other carts festooned with birthday or wedding balloons. Harbour Island is known as a destination for family celebrations, and many have been vacationing here for generations. If you don’t have a yacht, getting to Harbour Island requires a short cruise across the glistening harbor via water taxi from Eleuthera Island. The tiny North Eleuthera Airport services nonstop flights from major gateways such as Miami and Atlanta.
AT HOME IN THE BAHAMA HOUSE One of the loveliest and most welcoming places to stay on Harbour Island is the elegantly restored Bahama House. An intimate hotel with eleven plantation-style suites surrounding a bougainvilleafilled courtyard and a coral stone swimming pool, the main building was originally a shop for schooner builders in the 1800s. Guests can step back into the island’s storied history here while enjoying the lavish touches of a modern hotel. Interiors have a vintage feel: rattan, bamboo, and mahogany furnishings punctuated by artisan-made
Above right: The elegant plantationstyle architecture of Bahama House Right: Breakfast at Bahama House is always a treat! Opposite top: Horseback riding along the pink-sand beaches is a unique way to see Harbour Island. Opposite bottom: Eleven Experience adventure specialists lead fishing trips on the saltwater flats.
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accent pieces locally crafted from coral, shells, and driftwood. You can even sip a bit of history in the clubby Rum Bar, stocked with small-batch and rare Caribbean rums.
YOUR DAY, YOUR ADVENTURE The real vacation treasure lies within the unique guided experiences led by the expert staff of the Bahama House, one of the luxury adventure lodges operated by Eleven Experience. Personalized itineraries for daily adventures are a specialty here and whether you’ve got fly-fishing for bonefish or swimming with sea turtles on your Bahamian wish list, they’ve got the speediest boats and the best local insight. Feeling extra adventurous? Experience manager Richard Bullard will take you on a tour of neighboring Eleuthera Island and lead you to a freshwater-filled limestone cavern called Sapphire Hole, so named because it glows a brilliant blue in the sun. As he did as a boy growing up here, he jumps in and then yells for you to follow. Or you can join lodge manager Giorgia Ravilli, a marine biologist, on a snorkel hunt to identify varieties of starfish around the harbor. Bahama House sits on a small hill in town with a fabulous view for sunset photos. But, if you want to while away the afternoon on that famous pink sand, not to worry—the resort has a private beach area equipped with chairs, umbrellas, towels, sunscreen, and YETI coolers (filled with beer, water, and chilled wine). The beach enclave is moments away by golf cart or a short walk. There is also a selection of games and beach toys to choose from, including lacrosse sticks. Grab a beach chair and an ice-cold local beer and stay awhile!
BAHAMIAN CUISINE Whatever you choose to do each day, Bahama House executive chef Nikoya Lightbourne (one of the youngest executive chefs on Harbour Island and the only female one) is ready to whet your appetite with enlightened culinary experiences inspired by the taste traditions of her native country. Her Bahamian banana pancakes with sausage and lobster eggs Benedict are breakfast favorites. Lunch on the wide covered veranda might be stone crab tacos with mango salsa or blackened red snapper with confetti jasmine rice. And at happy hour, when guests gather to mingle at the Tiki Bar and sip a Goombay Smash or a refreshing gin and tonic, Chef Niki
presents nightly “après” snacks—think shrimp ceviche, conch fritters, and guacamole with plantain chips. If you see pineapple on the menu, such as Chef Niki’s pineapple galette for dessert or pineapple skewers garnishing your piña colada, know that this delicious treat is fresh from the pineapple fields on Eleuthera. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 119
Voyager EVENING STARS ON HARBOUR ISLAND When the setting sun dips into the harbor and the tree frogs begin to sing, the star-filled night comes alive. Chic restaurants and open-air bars fill with the animated conversations of guests who crave Harbour Island’s local seafood and live music. The Bahama House serves dinner upon request, but when guests want to plan a night on the town, the concierge can make reservations at popular spots such as Dunmore House, Rock House, and The Landing. Ready to dance under the stars? Don’t miss the festive nightlife scene at Gusty’s Bar and Daddy D’s Nightclub. You’ll probably see half the people you met on the island that day.
Or relax with a rum toddy on your private terrace at the Bahama House. In a few more hours, your dreams about Chef Niki’s banana pancakes will sweetly come true again.
POSTSCRIPT: SERVICE ABOVE AND BEYOND The experience managers at the Bahama House know the lay of the land on Harbour Island. That includes access to important local cell phone numbers in case your airline mistakenly sends your luggage to Nassau instead of North Eleuthera. This happened to me, and the general manager of the Bahama House told me not to worry, that they’d make all of the necessary calls to local officials to get my bag delivered to the hotel as soon as possible. Not missing a beat to get me through the afternoon and evening, a member of the staff took me shopping. I bought a bathing suit and a sundress at a cute little shop nearby called Dilly Dally. If I had booked an online vacation rental, I would have been doing all the legwork to locate my lost bag, complete with
Above: Chickens do cross the road on Harbour Island! Right: Water sports for all ages abound in the Bahamas. Opposite left: A colorful cottage in Dunmore Town Opposite right: The coral stone swimming pool at Bahama House
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international calling charges and long hold times with the airline. Thankfully, I was a guest at the Bahama House. Like clockwork, my bag showed up at breakfast the next morning. This is another reason to value the expertise of hoteliers who are prepared to provide personalized service to their guests. Happily, the airline reimbursed me for the bathing suit and dress, which have become two of my favorite travel souvenirs!
Visit ElevenExperience.com/ Bahama-House-Harbour-Island to learn more or book your trip. Carolyn O’Neil is an award-winning Atlanta-based food writer who specializes in culinary travel and healthy lifestyles. She believes that travel is the ultimate way to learn about the people of the world and cuisine is the most exciting way to learn about their histories and culture. Visit her blog at TheHappyHealthyKitchen.com.
tweens, womens, gi�s 104 north barre� square RO S E M A RY B EA C H , F L
THE SANCTITY OF A
M O U N TAI N BY JAN E T T H OM A S
R E A DY T O B E N U R T U R E D B Y N AT U R E ? Head for the hills and these six destinations with six unique personalitiesâ€”all designed for the intentions of wellness, rest, and rejuvenation and all undeniably good for the soul.
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H I K I N G H E AV E N : T H E S WAG IN NORTH CAROLINA Slow down and enjoy the two-and-a-half-mile private drive that climbs more than a thousand feet and is shrouded in forested scenery. The approach is part of your journey to the proverbial and literal mountaintop here. Awaiting you is The Swag (TheSwag.com), a peaceful, luxurious respite just outside Waynesville, North Carolina, offering fourteen accommodations in handcrafted log cabins. Many of these romantic quarters boast fireplaces, steam showers, whirlpool tubs, and large balconies with mountain views. The Swag rests on 250 acres at five thousand feet up along the Cataloochee Divide, with views of four of North Carolina’s highest mountain ranges. Nearby sights include the fivehundred-thousand-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway, and the wonderful, whimsical town of Asheville. The story behind the creation of The Swag seems fit for a movie. Deener and Dan Matthews originally
built it as a family home in the 1970s, having old log buildings relocated from around North Carolina and Tennessee. The largest, once a church, now serves as the inn’s main living and dining rooms. After thirtyseven years in the caring hands of the Matthewses, ownership passed to family friends and former guests David and Annie Colquitt, who are lovingly refreshing the hideaway while respecting its history. Guests settle into The Swag like it’s their own family retreat, enjoying the many vistas and hiking trails with thoughtfully placed hammocks and Adirondack chairs. Event leaders educate and entertain guests with songs, stories, and special events, such as bear hikes, birding hikes, cooking lessons, nature walks, and photography hikes. Rates are sublimely all-inclusive, with hearty breakfasts, dreamy picnic lunches, and four-course family-style dinners that are perfect for making new friends. E A S Y, L A I D - B AC K L I F E S T Y L E : S TOW E F L A K E I N V E R M O N T Any time is a good time to visit Vermont, and the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa (Stoweflake. com) in the heart of beautiful Stowe is a lovely place to unplug, unwind, and enjoy nature. Located nearby is the popular Stowe Recreation Path, winding on and off the banks of the Little River and offering mountain views, picnic areas, and access to several restaurants, cideries, breweries, and shops. Stoweflake Mountain Resort offers familyowned hospitality at its finest, as generations of the Baraw family have owned and operated it for more than fifty years. The Spa at Stoweflake encourages pampering. Begin with the Aqua Solarium overlooking the Green Mountains, where you’ll melt into the Bingham Hydrotherapy Waterfalls—inspired by and named for Stowe’s natural Bingham Falls. The Hungarian Mineral Soaking Pool eases any lasting tension, as will spa treatments such as the Thermal Mineral Kur with its full-body exfoliation and deep massage.
Left and opposite: With rustic and cozy lodge accommodations and breathtaking vistas outside, a stay at The Swag near Waynesville, North Carolina, will not disappoint. Photos courtesy of The Swag V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 123
The spectacular Kanu Dining Room at Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York, is the perfect place to make new friends while enjoying a great meal. Photo courtesy of Whiteface Lodge
As your energy returns, check out the fitness classes, racquetball and squash courts, indoor-outdoor pool, tennis courts, outdoor Jacuzzi, and golf. Pedal, jog, or walk the recreation path for a heart-healthy tour of the area or go for an invigorating hike on countless nearby trails. Don’t miss Mill Trail, the spectacular Bingham Falls, and Smugglers’ Notch State Park. Annual highlights at the resort include the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival and the fun Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival—not to mention Vermont’s leafpeeping spectacle in the fall. The Fly Rod Shop offers unique fall foliage experiences via boat along the picturesque Waterbury Reservoir, ideally situated between two mountain ranges with stunning scenery. Owner Bob Shannon and his team of experts also offer hundreds of fly-fishing trips year-round. Back at the ranch, enjoy drinks and dinner at Charlie B’s Pub & Restaurant, a classic Vermont tavern with a fireplace and an inviting wraparound bar. Cuisine 124 | O C T OBER 2019
ranges from perfectly prepared steaks and seafood to serious comfort food (I thoroughly enjoyed my first-ever poutine, this one with Vermont cheddar cheese curds and Cold Hollow apple cider chicken gravy smothering the fries). C R I S P A N D C A L M : W H I T E FAC E LO D G E I N U P S TAT E N E W YO R K Why not tag team your soul vacation and visit two calming destinations in one blissful trip? Drive from Stowe through vibrant Burlington, Vermont, and then cross gorgeous Lake Champlain as you head to Lake Placid in Upstate New York. The fascinating drive takes less than three hours—just enough time for an enjoyable, stress-free jaunt. Crossing Lake Champlain, the sixth-largest lake in the country, on a ferry is a welcome way to slow your pace. With miles of shoreline showcasing Vermont’s Green Mountains and New York’s Adirondacks, it’s like releasing a deep, pulse-lowering breath.
Upstate New York’s restorative respite is none other than Whiteface Lodge (TheWhitefaceLodge.com) in Lake Placid, an enchanting setting with peaceful gardens in the six-million-acre Adirondack Park. Families have enjoyed the traditions of Whiteface Lodge for years, many arriving on private planes
Enjoy wine tastings and tours at the Cellar Door as the expert staff waltz you through a multitude of flights and options, including Château Élan’s sparkling brut wine.
for activities such as canoeing, ice skating, boating, golfing, fishing, and cycling. Kids of all ages love the evening bonfires and s’mores. A movie theater, an ice cream parlor, an indoor-outdoor pool, and a full-service spa with hot tubs, steam rooms, wellness classes, and fitness center round out the pampering indulgences. Whiteface Lodge is reminiscent of an Adirondack Great Camp, with spacious, all-suite accommodations. Kanu Restaurant and Peak 47 are great gathering spots, offering fine dining and socializing at their best. Veer way off the information highway and onto one of the many trails for a tranquil walk or an exhilarating hike. The concierge can recommend several, such as the Brewster Peninsula Trails along the shores of Lake Placid or the popular Cascade Mountain hike. Majestic Lake Placid and the Whiteface area are best known for hosting the 1932 and the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. Many of the sports complexes are available for public exploration. UPSCALE UNWINDING: C H ÂT E AU É L A N I N G EO R G I A For a refined pause with panache, ease into Château Élan Winery and Resort (ChateauElan.com) in Braselton, Georgia, about fifty miles northeast of Atlanta. This resort wows even the most road-weary soul (think European-style health spa, forty-five holes of championship golf, restaurants, an expansive winery and tasting area, cooking classes, and forty thousand square feet of meeting space).
An epic renovation will be completed this year on public spaces as well as the 275 rooms within the resort’s inn. Reserve a handsome guest suite at the Spa Mansion and you’ll be steps away from serenity and treatments like the Château Winery Ritual, which includes a wine bath and crushed grape-seed scrub for the ultimate body exfoliation. The impressive spa space boasts thirty-five thousand square feet and thirty-five treatment rooms, making it one of Georgia’s premier destination spas. A full menu of fitness and wellness classes could also be on your agenda. Enjoy wine tastings and tours at the Cellar Door as the expert staff waltz you through a multitude of flights and options, including Château Élan’s sparkling brut wine. At Marc Bar and Restaurant, you’ll find standout specialties like house-made pappardelle and dry-aged ribeye with blue cheese port butter.
Above: Georgia’s Château Élan not only includes world-class spa and wellness programs but also a fully operational winery, forty-five holes of championship golf (opposite), amazing food and cocktails at Marc Bar (above left), and more. Photos courtesy of Château Élan
Take a drive to explore some of Georgia’s wonders, such as Pine Mountain, Toccoa Falls, Helen, or Blue Ridge. Brasstown Bald, at 4,784 feet, is the highest point in the state, with views of four states from the summit and various hiking trails. Want bragging rights that you’ve hiked on the Appalachian Trail? Take a visit to Amicalola Falls State Park, about fifty miles from the chateau. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 125
Voyager A TA L E O F T WO B E A R S I N T E N N E S S E E : DA N C I N G B E A R A N D G R AY B E A R The tagline for Townsend, Tennessee—“the Peaceful Side of the Smokies”—is well suited indeed. Approaching the Dancing Bear Lodge and Appalachian Bistro (DancingBearLodge.com) there, you’ll notice three whimsical dancing bears on the entryway, a nod to William Holbrook Beard’s famous painting depicting the bears of Wall Street. Private cabins offer feather beds, stone fireplaces, and hot tubs, and the trails and grounds at Dancing Bear are lush and calming. Ideal for weddings, the property’s Appalachian Bistro transforms easily into an event space worthy of a special celebration. Award-winning chef Shelley Cooper has brought major attention to the lodge with her upscale take on Southern and Smoky Mountain cuisine. The Travel Channel’s Food Paradise, the Wall Street Journal, and the Cooking Channel’s Southern and Hungry have all taken notice. Check it out for yourself at the bistro’s Sunday brunch or their stellar wine dinners. For more casual fare, stop at Apple Valley General Store and Cafe for an incredible burger or sandwich and snatch up some delectable souvenirs like F.R.O.G. jam (figs, raspberries, oranges, and ginger). The new Dancing Bean café offers locally roasted coffees, kombucha, Italian sodas, and gourmet baked goods from Appalachian Bistro. Nearby Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Smokies (and Tennessee). Walk to the observation tower for a spectacular view of several states. A leisurely Smoky Mountains driving tour includes mountain tunnels, layers of blue and gray ridges, and
This page, left: Chef Shelley Cooper whips up incredible country favorites, such as chicken and waffles, at Dancing Bear Lodge and Appalachian Bistro near Townsend, Tennessee. Photo courtesy of Dancing Bear Lodge This page, right: Don’t miss the mud wrap at the spa at Whiteface Lodge for the ultimate pampering experience. Photo courtesy of Whiteface Lodge 126 | O C T OBER 2019
numerous rivers, waterfalls, and creeks. For a jaw-dropping drive, Newfound Gap ranks as one of the best. Cades Cove is another popular hiking destination, and, should you crave civilization, try action-packed Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. Last, but by far not least, Gray Bear Lodge (GrayBear. org) outside Hohenwald, Tennessee, gently—and quite organically—transforms a stressed soul from burned out to blissed. The prescription at this off-thegrid retreat includes few distractions to drain your energy, with rest and wellness being paramount. The setting is intentionally rustic but refreshing (one of the owners likes to make it clear that Gray Bear isn’t a swanky resort and isn’t for everyone), with four hundred acres of rolling hills, trails, an exquisite hidden waterfall, winding boardwalks, and an outstanding yoga and meditation room that rivals some of the finest. By living simply and restricting ourselves in some ways (there’s little signal for electronic devices here), we calm the nervous system, and it becomes easier to enjoy quiet. One begets the other, and we become content with less clutter, both physically and mentally. It’s like an undoing of sorts from what many of us call normal. Workshops and yoga and meditation retreats are available in the spring and fall. Warm and welcoming owners and partners Adam and Diann have opened their Tennessee home for this purpose for more than two decades. Numerous repeat guests tap into this pure, authentic place that helps them peel away the layers and “defrag” their brains a bit. A filmmaker from California, several well-known yoga instructors, and professionals from all walks of life swear by Gray Bear’s restorative power.
A leisurely Smoky Mountains driving tour includes mountain tunnels, layers of blue and gray ridges, and numerous rivers, waterfalls, and creeks.
Fall 2019 events at Gray Bear include exploring juicing and raw foods, a moonlight gladness retreat, and a laughing bodies retreat. Spring 2020 blooms brightly with Pafford’s Roots and Shoots retreat.
I had the great fortune of immersing myself in Mary Pafford’s intensive yoga training and retreat, Calm in a Crazy World, with days of yoga, seated and walking meditations, and caring instruction and philosophy. Hours were spent “in presence”—complete and welcome silence. The only sound I heard one starlit night was a hauntingly beautiful melody from a whip-poor-will. Add to that a kitchen that serves incredible healthy vegetarian dishes, a wood-fired sauna, natural springs, a hot tub, and massage and watsu treatments available daily, and you can see how one might return home renewed and rejuvenated.
Upon “reentry” from my Gray Bear Lodge soul vacation, I settled into stillness at home as Pafford sagely suggested. Gazing at the night sky, I heard a distant whippoor-will for the first time in my neighborhood. Had it followed me from Gray Bear? Or perhaps it had always been there, and I’d just been too “noisy” to recognize it.
VIE contributor Janet Thomas has penned articles for Modern Luxury, Dallas Morning News, Organic Spa, Jezebel, and several other publications. She’s a former editor-in-chief of American Airlines’ premium magazine, Celebrated Living, and travels the world for good stories with heart and soul. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 127
Get this vegan strawberry lemonade tart and other fabulous recipes at Bakerita.com! Photo courtesy of Bakerita
Bon appétit! THE ESSENCE OF LIFE
We’ve heard of things looking “good enough to eat,” but what about food that looks too good to eat? This absolutely gorgeous vegan strawberry lemonade tart with hazelnut crust has us seriously questioning if we want to ruin its beauty with a fork (but we’ll surely get over that hesitation). This creation was a collaboration between Rachel Conners of Bakerita and Meghan Rosko of lifestyle Instagram blog @nutmegandhoneybee. It’s also gluten-free and paleo diet–friendly!
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A PLATEFUL OF
HAPPINESS The Business of Good Food
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BY COLLEEN SACHS PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF
SPELL RESTAURANT GROUP
he words “change in ownership” can give restaurant lovers cause for concern when applied to their favorite restaurants. But when that change comes by way of the Spell Restaurant Group, diners can rest assured that their favorite places will retain everything that made them that way. The heart behind the Spell Restaurant Group is daughter-father team Christy and Rick Spell. At first glance, this pair from the corporate accounting and finance world might seem like an odd fit for a group with seven successful restaurants in its stable. But with a more in-depth look, it all makes sense. Instead of getting into the restaurant business by way of having worked in restaurants, the Spells came to it from the business side. “We are numbers people,” Christy explains. “Everything is a math equation for us. We buy successful businesses and don’t make lots of changes.” That those successful businesses are well-loved restaurants is a happy turn of events for diners—and for Christy, who relates that she had always wanted to be in that business. “The first thing we do when adding a new restaurant to our group is nothing. The restaurants that we have purchased over the years were already successful. We don’t want to come in and rock the boat too much.” She goes on to relate that their goal is to continue to build on the years of hard work of the previous owners, making changes only after lengthy study.
THE FIRST THING WE DO WHEN ADDING A NEW RESTAURANT TO OUR GROUP IS NOTHING. THE RESTAURANTS THAT WE HAVE PURCHASED OVER THE YEARS WERE ALREADY SUCCESSFUL, SO WE DON’T WANT TO COME IN AND ROCK THE BOAT TOO MUCH. restaurant was moving on, they suggested Rick consider buying it, and the Spell Restaurant Group was born. Several years later, Christy made a move from her accounting position to that of a full-time restaurateur. She describes how different the two endeavors are. “Accounting is structured: the same thing every day. The restaurant business is something different every day,” she says, adding, “I never imagined how stressful—or rewarding—it could be.”
Opposite: The fresh seafood and other delicious menu items at George’s at Alys Beach are divided into two categories: “Behave” for healthier choices and “Misbehave” for more indulgent dishes. Below: Gulf seafood, steaks, and more are served up in an elegant courtyard atmosphere at Edward’s Fine Food and Wine in Rosemary Beach.
The Spells’ first foray into the business came with Brookhaven Pub and Grill in their hometown of Memphis. The already successful restaurant with an emphasis on sports, hearty pub fare, and good drinks was a favorite lunch place for people in Rick Spell’s office. In 2004, when they learned the owner of the
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ALL THE CHEFS ARE GIVEN THE FREEDOM TO DEVELOP NEW THEMES AND DISHES FOR THEIR RESTAURANTS. WHEN THEY HAVE PERFECTED THEIR POTENTIAL NEW ITEMS, THEY HOST A TASTING FOR US BEFORE THE MENU IS FINALIZED. a new dish yet,” remarks Christy, “even the roasted crickets at La Cocina.”
Above: Dessert is always a good idea at La Crema Tapas and Chocolate in Rosemary Beach! Opposite top left: The newly remodeled interior of Edward’s was inspired by the Gulf Coast with blues, neutral tones, and unique seashellshaped lighting. Opposite top right: Christy Spell and her husband, Drew Terry, who is a project manager at Spell Restaurant Group and mixologist at Brookhaven Pub and Grill. Photo by Gwyne Gray Photography Opposite bottom: Mexican fare and an array of margaritas are worth celebrating at La Cocina in Seacrest Beach.
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n 2014, the Spell Restaurant Group was ready to grow, and they were approached about the availability of George’s at Alys Beach, Florida, and La Cocina in nearby Seacrest Beach. While the Spells didn’t have a history in the Florida Panhandle, Christy says, “After a few visits we were sold on the area and knew this would be the right place for our expansion. When the restaurants opened for the 2015 season, we were the new owners, and we haven’t looked back.” Then came Saltwater Grill in Panama City Beach, along with La Crema Tapas and Chocolate and Edward’s Fine Food and Wine, both in Rosemary Beach. In keeping with the “don’t rock the boat” philosophy, some of the restaurants have had only slight changes to their menus. Most of the dishes from the previous menus at La Crema, Edward’s, and Saltwater Grill are still there. The chefs at these restaurants create specials to expand the menu offerings and keep things fresh. Having come from outside the restaurant industry, the Spells work closely with the talented staff of each restaurant. “All the chefs are given the freedom to develop new themes and dishes for their restaurants. When they have perfected their potential new items, they host a tasting for us before the menu is finalized,” Christy explains. “I don’t remember saying ‘no’ to
With a focus on seasonal ingredients, Chef Camille Withall at George’s develops new menus twice a year. Christy says, “My favorite two days at George’s are the spring- and summer-menu tasting days because we know we are going to have lots of good food.” One of the best changes to George’s is the addition of a two-story waiting area where diners can enjoy a view of 30A and a glass of wine while waiting for their table. George’s menu is still divided into sections titled “Behave” and “Misbehave.” At lunch, choose to behave with the spa-inspired Abundance Bowl, which features black beans, red rice quinoa, vegetables, blueberries, and an egg. Or misbehave with a wonderful fried grouper sandwich. Dinner offers more tempting choices. But whatever the decision, dessert is not to be missed. Options are always innovative, whether it is the cornbread bread pudding served with a horchata paleta or the longtime favorite Warm Chocolate Toffee Goo. La Crema was purchased in 2016 and remodeled and expanded in 2018. Christy describes the restaurant as “small but vibrant, with a passionate following from both locals and visitors to the area.” With a menu dominated by small plates, she recommends the serrano-wrapped figs and the ceviche. For dessert, she notes, “The chocolate fondue with peanut butter and the chocolate-dipped bacon are the best ways to wrap up a meal.” Edward’s is known for its casual elegance. Its recently remodeled interior features the blue of the water and the white of the sand accented with undulating shapes
along the ceiling and walls that evoke sand dunes and waves. Chef Josh Smith’s menu is all about farm and sea to table. Starters include jumbo lump crab cakes and the melon and tomato salad. When it comes to entrées, Edward’s shines with the Cheshire pork chop served with succotash and fried oysters. Edward’s also boasts a beautiful wine selection and has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 2017.
In 2018, Saltwater Grill in Panama City Beach was also remodeled. Christy says that acquiring “this beautiful restaurant with its twenty-five-thousand-gallon aquarium was a big decision, but it fits perfectly into our group.” She describes it as “the perfect coastal dining experience,” and says Chef Chris Joyner’s menu “truly has something for everyone.” Her notto-be-missed meal there starts “with the house-made lobster bisque, before enjoying one of our hand-cut steaks paired with a twice-baked potato and creamy Parmesan risotto.” La Cocina has had the most significant menu changes. Chef Eric Bartholomew has taken what was already a delicious Tex-Mex restaurant to the next level with innovative Latin fare. Christy says, “You can’t miss with the achiote fried wings or one of our ten different taco options with Mexican street corn,” known as esquites. Among the taco options are pork belly with pasilla barbecue sauce and pineapplejicama salsa and chili-butter poached lobster with charred corn relish and roasted red pepper sauce.
The most recent addition to the group is Grits and Grind. The breakfast place, which shares dining and kitchen space with La Cocina, opened in 2017. Christy explains, “Grits and Grind is very special to us, as it is an original Spell Restaurant Group concept.” The name is perfect for a breakfast spot but has an even deeper significance. Fans of their hometown professional basketball team, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Spells honor the team whose style of play has been described as “all heart, grit, grind.” The restaurant’s logo depicts a grizzly together with the Florida sun and palm trees of Christy’s adopted home. Chef Erik Kellison, a former sous chef at George’s, has developed a menu that has a little of George’s behave-or-misbehave attitude. On the lighter side is avocado toast with roasted tomatoes and an over-medium egg, while more substantial appetites can enjoy braised short ribs with grits and doughnut holes served lollipop-style on a stick with Nutella sauce. In keeping with the La Cocina theme, the Chilaquiles Stack features mouthwatering layers of scrambled eggs, chorizo, cheddar, and tostadas. With six thriving restaurants in the area, the Spells have made a big mark on the Florida Panhandle. Many diners have chosen Spell Group restaurants for special occasions, such as wedding rehearsal dinners and receptions, which Christy says means a lot. “To be chosen to be part of such a memorable day V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 133
is always special.” She notes, “We have regulars who come every time they are in town, and we strive to give each of our guests the best experience possible each and every time they visit.” And the Spells haven’t forgotten their beginnings with Brookhaven Pub and Grill in Memphis. In discussing the recent remodel of that restaurant, Christy remarks, “It’s been a great spot for us, and we feel very lucky it gave us a great start in this business.”
VISIT SPELLRESTAURANTGROUP.COM TO FIND ITS COLLECTION OF AMAZING EATERIES ACROSS THE SOUTHEAST. Stop by Saltwater Grill in Panama City Beach for great food and a look inside the twenty-five-thousandgallon aquarium!
Colleen Sachs loves food and traveling around the world and has been writing about both for twenty-five years. She lives with her spouse and a multitude of pets in Santa Rosa Beach and Pensacola, Florida.
MAKE IT COLORFUL
Return to the sugar-white sands and turquoise waters of Panama City Beach for endless family fun, eco-adventures, nonstop thrills and weekend escapes. And discover even more incredible things to do at our real FUN fall events. Come make Panama City Beach your Real. FUN. Beach.
VISIT NOW VisitPanamaCityBeach.com/make-it-yours
Introspections THINK DEEPER
Visit TownandCountryUS.com to learn more. Photo courtesy of Town and Country Conservatories
It seems that conservatory-style glass pool houses are having a major moment, and we love it! This gorgeous traditional-style pool house in Highland Park, Illinois, was created by Town and Country Conservatories. It is approximately one thousand square feet and features stacking entry doors that provide an open view of the pool, while the rear of the structure is a service wing containing bathrooms, storage, and a fully equipped kitchen.
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The Elizabeth Barnwell Gough House in Beaufort, South Carolina, built in 1870
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Perfume Bottle Walking into a
By Suzanne Pollak
Photography by Mark Staff
The history of the place was both sacred and profane. The exterior was magical: the walls were three feet thick and made of tabby (oyster shells, lime, and sand). Inside there was cypress paneling, and the floorboards were eighteen inches wide. I wanted to restore the home properly when I bought it, so we used materials like old wavy glass, Savannah gray bricks, and plaster walls. I filled it with eighteen-century American antiques, silver, and porcelain, as if related generations had lived in the house for two hundred years.
The concept of garden rooms expanded my mind exponentially. I thought a space had to equal four walls, but Frances designed ten rooms across four different areas on the almost one-acre plot. I named the outside “rooms” as if they were interior ones. We had an entryway, a formal room (an English garden for my daughter’s wedding), a dining room (inspired by the jungle), a ballroom, and five hallways (one for meditation, one for afternoons and spring, one for mornings and winter, one for pots of vegetables and winter lettuces, and one for the nursery and more cuttings). There was an allée used for bar setup during outdoor parties in the “ballroom” and the oyster-shell “driveway,” which turned into a place for pig and oyster roasts. The magnificent live oak in the back had limbs sturdy enough for my youngest son to climb and sit in, like a treehouse escape.
I wanted the historical renovation to spill into the garden but didn’t know about plants and garden design or how to match the magic of the building. To carry out a project of this scope required an expert. Frances Parker was my guru. She blew my mind! Frances’s scheme was garden rooms, green on green and more green with bursts of white—all antique, fragrant plants. She said, “Let’s think of walking into the inside of a perfume bottle!” She made cuttings of her antique varietals, and from those tiny stems, we grew hedges, topiaries, and potted plants.
Guests got their first impression of the garden from down the street and through the gate, as the air was laden with jasmine, honeysuckle, and gardenias so strong the breezes carried the scent blocks away. It was the exact opposite effect of a woman wearing too much perfume, enticing guests to come inside rather than repelling them.
he Elizabeth Barnwell Gough House, my former house in Beaufort, South Carolina, was built shortly after the American Revolution in 1780. It was the boyhood home of the Father of Secession, Robert Barnwell Rhett. Two years after the firing on Fort Sumter, the building became Union Hospital Number 10, serving the wounded from three of the most celebrated black regiments fighting for the Union. Civil War–era photographs show the grounds with no plantings. Only two trees survived: an ancient live oak at the rear of the house and a giant Lebanese cedar at the front.
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but open to the sky where anything seemed possible: a place for sitting still or dancing among a crowd. One wall was an avenue of thirteen twenty-foot holly trees, and another was a line of five black cement pillars with gigantic pots of pink sasanqua trees shaped like umbrellas. (This was the view from the kitchen table.) Two clipped hedges formed the north and south walls. Four pots of standard orange trees stood in the corners. Ballrooms look grand with a piece of art, so we installed a sculpture—a seven-foot-long hippopotamus bench made of Pennsylvania granite. It was created by Judy Kensley McKie, an artist associated with the American studio furniture movement. Another sculpture, also by McKie, was a bench in the shape of a dove made out of French limestone. The dove sat at the far eastern corner of the property surrounded by antique camellias and an orange tree, a throwback to 1921 when the house was a parsonage with a citrus grove. The orange tree produced no fruit for years, then three oranges. It didn’t look happy, and I couldn’t bear to part with it, so I carried it to my walled garden in Charleston. After several years, that tree gave us more than three hundred oranges one winter!
Suzanne Pollak in the ballroom of the Elizabeth Barnwell Gough House, her former home
Guests got their first impression of the garden from down the street and through the gate, as the air was laden with jasmine, honeysuckle, and gardenias so strong the breezes carried the scent blocks away.
The formal English garden on the west side was four walkways of Savannah gray brick that converged to create a large square. In the center was a Maine millstone topped by a large armillary. This grid (one of the oldest basic design principles in architecture and gardens) contained white blooms year-round and was the view from the dining room’s wavy glass windowpanes. The trees and shrubs softened the grid, and the beds were full of camellias, hydrangeas, and oak hydrangeas. Bamboo planted along the street created privacy. Every so often, surprises sprang up—orange ginger lilies and Asiatic lilies of the most fantastical colors, such as deep eggplant or blood red, rose higher every year. They reached six feet before we moved. To the right and left of the home’s entrance, the twelve-foot-high pittosporum hedge borders terminated with Lutyens-style benches painted bright blue. For the western allée, George Betzel (landscape designer for the Frick garden who wore his signature bow ties supposedly so he could charge more) drew plans for two reflecting pools on a napkin. The reflecting pool allée— protected on three sides by blooming hedges with an intoxicating orange fragrance—was Zen-like and austere, perfect for meditating on the bench and gazing at the shallow cement pools edged with stone rectangles. These spaces transported me far away from Beaufort and back to my early years spent in the Middle East and North Africa’s Moorish gardens.
A ballroom needs structure to contain its empty party space, and a garden ballroom is no different. These four “walls” were a way of containing the area 140 | O C T OBER 2019
At the rear, we installed a jungle garden as a reminder of my years growing up in Africa. Ginger, hardy orchids, and elephant ears grew interspersed with large olive oil jars and four Versailles planters with standard Meyer lemon trees. Even the ceiling was magical with the overhanging live oak branches. From those we hung antique crystal chandeliers with fish wire or, for different moods, Chinese paper lanterns with candles. Creating an authentic historic private garden means taking the best from the past in terms of design, hardscape, and plantings and imagining the garden in ways that work for contemporary life. But most importantly, it means getting advice from experts!
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.
TURNING A HOUSE INTO A HOME
By F E L I C I A F E R G U S O N
urchasing a house is an exciting time. Hopes and dreams intermingle with the practicalities of hiring moving companies and changing schools. Within those four walls are a blank canvas and a fresh start that belongs solely to the new owners (well, and maybe the mortgage company). They can’t wait to make it their own in more ways than signatures on a deed. But once the boxes are unpacked, walls are painted, and accessories are in place, there is still one thing that can be done to turn a house into a home.
“house,” an inviting, safe place where a family resides might come to mind. According to Young’s Bible Dictionary, a “blessing” is a request for divine favor or gifts from God or man. House blessings, then, request goodwill for the home and family. They are an active practice of entrusting it and the owners to the protection of a higher authority. Think of it as an extra line item on an insurance policy—but you don’t call Allstate for this coverage.
It is a house blessing.
Objects of blessing are the most prominent type. Displays of framed or stenciled Bible verses are popular in Christian homes—especially those for whom farmhouse chic is more than a passing nod. One of the most famous verses is Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It not
House blessings may not be discussed as part of the home construction or sales paperwork, but they are practices rooted in centuries of tradition across many faiths and cultures. When one thinks of the word 142 | O C T OBER 2019
House blessings may be an object, an activity, or both. They may also be more than a one-time event.
only consecrates a home space, but it also proclaims the family’s devotion and commitment to God. Another trend is to set out an entry doormat with a statement of blessing printed on it. Framed prayers, icons, or crosses may be displayed throughout the home as well.
Photo by Brenna Kneiss
But a true house blessing is something altogether different. Depending upon your faith confession or affiliation, house blessings may be formal rituals or simple prayers. Formal ceremonies are found in Jewish, Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions, while nondenominational believers have created their own routines. Even Buddhist and Hindu faiths have house blessing customs. In Jewish homes, a formal ceremony to place a mezuzah and establish the house as a Jewish home is performed. The mezuzah is a small case or container that is attached to the doorpost of every living space. Inside is a parchment inscribed with scriptures from the Torah. Its purpose is to remind the members of the household of their commitment to operating by a particular set of rules, rituals, and beliefs. Another more recent trend in blessing a Jewish home has been displaying the Birkat Habayit. Although the origins are unknown and the Hebrew used is a modern dialect, the sentiments evoked offer blessings and peace to the family as well as visitors in their home. In Christian denominations, formal house blessings are performed by a pastor or priest. The owners may invite other family members and friends to participate in the ceremony. The pastor or priest will lead them through the house while praying blessings over each room. Nondenominational believers will also pray over the new home. Christian blessings may include writing Scripture on the walls behind pictures or furniture. Or, if the house is under construction, verses may be written on the studs, in the foundation, or on the subflooring. Catholic and Orthodox faiths will often include the sprinkling of holy water or the diffusing of incense during the procession. For Catholics, the application of holy water when entering a church is a sign of recommitting to their baptism. When used in the house blessing, it is a sign of recommitting to their family. Relatives will often provide religious symbols or icons to display in the home, representing a continuation of the Catholic faith.
NOW, THEREFORE , LET IT PLE ASE YOU TO BLESS THE HOUSE OF YOUR SERVANT, THAT IT MAY CONTINUE BEFORE YOU FORE VER; FOR YOU, O LORD GOD, HAVE SPOKEN IT, AND WITH YOUR BLESSING LET THE HOUSE OF YOUR SERVANT BE BLESSED FORE VER. —2 SAMUEL 7:29 NK JV Buddhists and Hindus also perform house blessing ceremonies. These Eastern rituals include requests to protect the family. However, they are more centered on the owners’ financial prosperity and warding off evil spirits than declaring allegiance to their deity. Hindu blessings vary greatly but are always performed before the owners move in. A priest will chant mantras, and a cow is led through all of the rooms. The ceremony ends in the kitchen with the boiling of a portion of the cow’s milk. Buddhist traditions may involve sprinkling water throughout the home then tying a string around it. A variety of food items will also be incorporated and, in some countries, the blessing may be performed twice a year.
asking for and declaring a higher power’s protection over your home and family and then acknowledging his authority. Because despite the variety in house blessings, there is a common thread: staking a claim for the family in the new home. By doing so, the new owners can change the spiritual atmosphere and turn a building of walls, plumbing, and electricals into a home of life, love, and safety. So, before you unwrap Great-Grandma Ida’s prized Fostoria punch bowl or assemble the latest Swedish import from IKEA, take a few minutes to settle into the home on a spiritual level. It’s insurance of a supernatural kind.
Despite differences in beliefs, faiths across the spectrum perform house blessing rituals as a way to change a house into a home. But what if you don’t have a faith community? What if you’re not sure about all of the traditional practices and rituals? Can you bless your house yourself ? Absolutely! As the owner, feel free to follow any one of the above traditions—or even create your own. All that’s required for a house blessing is
Felicia Ferguson holds master’s degrees in healthcare administration and speech-language pathology but is currently a freelance writer and author. She finds inspiration in lakes and gardens and is blessed to have both at her home in Destin, Florida. More details can be found at FeliciaFergusonAuthor.com. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 143
GUCCI CRUISE 2020 RUNWAY SHOW & AFTER PARTY You might already know that nobody does a runway show quite like Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele. The brand’s Cruise 2020 collection presentation afterparty proved that Gucci’s celeb-studded events are not to missed either! After the show at the stunning Musei Capitolini in Rome, the crowd headed to Palazzo Brancaccio for a stylish soiree featuring DJ Zumi Rosow—not to mention a surprise performance by Stevie Nicks and Harry Styles. Photography courtesy of Getty Images for Gucci
Harry Styles, Stevie Nicks, and Bella Hadid Michele Alessandro 144 | O C T OBER 2019
Marco Bizzarri and Naomi Campbell
Jodie Turner-Smith, Taylor Russell, and Lucas Hedges Sir Elton John and David Furnish
Harry Styles and Stevie Nicks
?? Salma Hayek and Franรงois-Henri Pinault Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego Zumi Rosow
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Dan + Shay Photo by Hunter Berry/CMA
Maren Morris Photo by Caitlin Harris/CMA
Tim McGraw Photo by Caitlin Harris/CMA
Luke Bryan Photo by Hunter Berry/CMA
Billy Ray Cyrus Photo by Electric Machine/CMA
Carrie Underwood Photo by Donn Jones/CMA
Kelsea Ballerini Photo by Donn Jones/CMA Thomas Rhett Photo by CMA
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Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X Photo by Donn Jones/CMA
Keith Urban Photo by Hunter Berry/CMA
Miranda Lambert Photo by Caitlin Harris/CMA
CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2019 Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini, along with special guest Bobby Bones, took the stage at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium to host the 2019 CMA Music Festival. Performances by Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Carrie Underwood, and so many more country superstars truly made it the summer’s biggest country music event. Meanwhile, the Chevy Riverfront Stage and Budweiser Forever Country Stage kept the party rocking with free concerts for the public by even more of the genre’s biggest acts.
Florida Georgia Line with Morgan Wallen Photo by Hunter Berry/CMA
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The Last Word 7
Solution on next page
HOME & GARDEN BY MYLES MELLOR
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Popular style for living room or kitchen design (2 words) Addition, of a sort Mountain home Breakfast pan Pops Use sprinklers, for example Exercise area British princess Window type A light purplish blue Invigorate Cut back “___ Not Unusual,” Tom Jones hit Herbs and shrubs Warm climate shrub with yellow or white flowers Powertrain capability on Jeeps and Land Rovers Places for new plants to grow Actor brothers Rob and Chad _____
Colorful and elegant indoor flower Fireplace remnant Recyclable container Small bulb in the bedroom (2 words) Give off Favorite toy (2 words) Snow transport South American animal Carpenter’s cut with the grain Dirt Leave out Bargain hunters’ mecca (2 words) Window accessories Mirror holder Bro’s sibling Pretty ___ picture Carpentry tools The clawfoot type is popular Data storer Top exec (abbr.) Promotional effort V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 149
The Last Word
There is no place like home. — L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
FABULOUS KIDS’ FASHIONS & TOYS 62 main street ROSEMARY BEACH,FL gigisfabkids.com 850.231.0110
THE ORIGINAL LOCAL MARKET EXPERTS
2019 SALES PRODUCTION: $100M 30A Realty is proud to celebrate 30 years of service in the local market. Our team of real estate advisors offer comprehensive experience, unique to 30A. Our evolving marketing strategies, well-developed database, intimate market knowledge and network of relationships give us the opportunity to successfully represent the sale of incredible properties across the 30A area. 30A Realty consistently performs as the top producing brokerage locally, producing $80M in sold volume in 2018 and $100M sold/pending in 2019 thus far. We invite you to stop by and meet our team of advisors at our new headquarters; 4042 E Co Hwy 30A in Seagrove Beach!
Au revoir! BEFORE YOU GO . . .
Visit DallowayTerrace.com to learn more or book your reservation. Photo courtesy of Dalloway Terrace
Book it to Bloomsbury for a garden party like no other at the Dalloway Terrace. This adorable London cafĂŠ is the perfect destination for a chic tea party with the girls. The abundant blossoms and greenery on the patio are thanks to the Dalloway Summer Estate collaboration with Ramsbury Gin and Vodka. The striking floral installation by celebrated florist Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart is accompanied by a cocktail menu made with ingredients grown at the Ramsbury Estate in Wiltshire. V I E MAGAZ INE . COM | 153
Beer & Ballet Tickets On Sale Now! October 12 @ 7:00pm Grayton Beer Company
A mix of contemporary, neoclassical and classical pieces from guest choreographers and the NFB repertoire in a more casual atmosphere.
Box Office Ticket Prices: Adults â€˘ $37 Children 12 & Under â€˘ $17 *Minors must be accompanied by an adult to attend.
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