WHERE CREATIVITY MEETS COMPASSION. At Arbor Acres, the art of living is about bringing joy and a generous spirit to every moment, including long term health care. Our residents at Asbury Place Assisted Living and Strickland Place Skilled Nursing enjoy compassionate, professional care in a nature-inspired environment that encourages independence, preserves dignity, and gives peace of mind to residents and families. Arbor Acres is where life connects to beauty and purpose, always.
Accepting residency applications for assisted living and skilled nursing. For more information, call 336-724-7921.
Arbor Acres is a Continuing Care Retirement Community affiliated with the Western NC Conference of the United Methodist Church. arboracres.org â€˘ 1240 ARBOR ROAD, WINSTON-SALEM, NC 27104
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Winter 2020 FEATURES
30 Young Creatives
Six Millennial artists making names for themselves in the Triad and beyond
52 The Edge of Heaven
By Ross Howell Jr.
High Point designer Leslie Moore just might have found it
64 Purveyors of Beauty
By Cynthia Adams
A kitchen straight out of Larry Richardson’s wildest dreams
70 Hunt & Gather
30 6 In This Issue 9 From the Editor By Jim Dodson
By Lynn Donovan
Snapshots of this snow-laced season
STYLEBOOK 10 The Hot List By Kara Cox 12 Botanicus By Ross Howell Jr. 15 The Garden Guru By Cheryl Capaldo Traylor 18 Prime Resource By Ross Howell Jr. 22 Hidden Gem By Jim Dodson 30 Almanac by Ash Alder LIFE&HOME 74 House for Sale By Ashley Wahl 79 The Language of Home By Noah Salt 80 HomeWords By Jennifer Bringle
Cover art: Golden Age by Rankin Willard
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The weather outside may be frightful..... but at home in Welden Village, life is delightful!
SEASONS â€¢ STYLE & DESIGN 5
IN THIS ISSUE
Vol. 5 No. 3
ne of the most extraordinary things about winter is that, seemingly out of nowhere, tender new blossoms will suddenly blanket the Earth, and a surge of new life will ignite us with wonder. Winter surprises us. A bulb cracks open beneath the soil, a field of daffodils in the making. Our Winter 2020 Issue is no different. In the dead of this bare-branched season, these pages teem with life and promise. Especially “The Young Creatives” feature, which celebrates six Millennial artists making a name for themselves in the Triad and beyond: An abstract painter whose work offers glimpses of the human spirit. A mixed-media artist whose contemporary works are a trove of personal artifacts. A master of minimalism whose bright and poppy treasure are gaining attention worldwide. A free-spirited watercolorist whose botanically-themed prints are nothing short of a celebration. A fiber and natural dye artist who lives and breathes her craft. And a wedding and brand photographer whose images are, simply put, stunning reflections of her gratitude and beauty. Each left us utterly inspired. We hope you enjoy meeting them as much as we did. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” In this case, we hope so. Our world needs this kind of vision and beauty now more than ever.
1848 Banking Street Greensboro, NC 27408 www.seasonsmagazinenc.com Publisher
David Woronoff Jim Dodson, Founding Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Ashley Wahl, Editor 336.617.0090 • email@example.com Amy Freeman, Style & Design Director 336.456.0827 Andie Rose, Art Director firstname.lastname@example.org Lauren M. Coffey, Graphic Designer Alyssa Rocherolle, Graphic Designer CONTRIBUTORS
Cynthia Adams, Ash Alder, Harry Blair, Jennifer Bringle, Kara Cox, Lynn Donovan, Amy Freeman, Peter Freeman, John Gessner, Ross Howell Jr., Noah Salt, Cheryl Capaldo Traylor, Bert VanderVeen
Hattie Aderholdt 336.601.1188, email@example.com Amy Grove, 336.456.0827 firstname.lastname@example.org Glenn McVicker, 336.804.0131 email@example.com Larice White, 336.944.1749 firstname.lastname@example.org Brad Beard, Graphic Designer
The Shoe Fits We slipped up. “The Hot List” in the Fall 2020 Seasons featured a leather slingback sandal from Main & Taylor that was both out of season and, woops, out of stock. But here’s a winter shoe for you: the Donald Pliner Smoking Slipper ($228). Find it at Main & Taylor Shoe Salon, 1616 Battleground Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 851-5025 or mainandtaylorshoes.com.
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Emily Jolly, Advertising Assistant email@example.com
h Darlene Stark, Circulation Director 910.693.2488 Steve Anderson, Finance Director 910.693.2497 SUBSCRIPTIONS
OWNERS Jack Andrews, Frank Daniels Jr., Frank Daniels III, Lee Dirks, David Woronoff
©Copyright 2020. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Seasons Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC Winter 2020
INTERIOR DESIGN R E S I D EN T IAL
SEASONS â€¢ STYLE & DESIGN 7
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FROM THE EDITOR
A Time for Dreaming The joys of a winter gardener By Jim Dodson
ILLUSTRATION BY HARRY BLAIR
wo days before Halloween, I sat in my home office over the garage — I call it my “Tree House” — watching the swirling winds and rain from Hurricane Zeta sweep over my backyard’s unfinished garden with December pleasantly on my mind.
Actually, as any self-respecting gardener knows, that phrase — unfinished garden — is a contradiction in terms because a garden is forever changing and never truly “finished.” As an ancient Gospel reminds, every ending contains the seeds of its own beginning. Nothing embodies this truth better than the turning of the seasons from autumn to winter, a time for healing and rest beneath the soggy, leafstrewn ground. A time for planning and dreaming, too. My only grievance on that rainy autumn day was that it delayed the arrival of a ground shaper who was scheduled to finish something I’d started a couple of years ago: clearing the overgrown backyard of the midcentury bungalow my wife and I purchased in the neighborhood of my boyhood. The first two years were devoted to restoration work inside the house, plus a complete redo of the front and side gardens. That meant transforming it from a neglected suburban yard with overgrown shrubs and dying trees into a peaceful glen of shade trees and a classic English cottage garden full of hydrangeas, shrub roses, sages and ornamental grasses. As summer’s lease wound down, it was rewarding to have neighbors and strangers pause from their evening walks to comment on how fine the property looks these days. By nature, all gardeners are shameless show-offs, hoping others will take note and praise their efforts. Now, following a year of working almost exclusively on my evolving backyard, an Asian-themed garden lies beneath towering white oaks, with stone pathways that thread through painted ferns and the lusty hostas I imported from my former garden in Maine. There is also young Japanese cedar — Cryptomeria japonica — that somehow survived being moved twice only to thrive in the heart of the garden. This holiday, it will glitter with tiny white lights. But before I jump all the way to Christmas, earlier in the week — the second week of November — a landscaper named Dominic showed up with his friendly crew and a large Bobcat loader to help me finish what I started long ago: clearing the tangled mess of overgrown shrubs and vines in the backyard. In order for them to safely navigate the path that leads from the side garden to what I called the “Lost Kingdom,” I first did some quick spadework, and then hastily Winter 2020
relocated several lavender shrubs and society garlic plants. Little by little, over a three-year period, with sweat of brow and help from a young fellow with a strong back, I managed to clear away the jungle. But scraping the area bare of roots and stubbles and a stubborn tree stump — and then covering the space with a foot of clean topsoil that included a half-circle berm for privacy shrubs — would be the final step to achieving the blank canvas of earth I needed and desired for creating what may wind up being my most ambitious garden yet. Botanically speaking, this moment is both thrilling and, if I’m honest, a little intimidating. Yet this uncertainty is half the fun of being a winter gardener. Its real joy comes from pondering the possibilities, researching plants, turning to other gardens and their talented keepers for inspiration and working up potential schemes. One’s garden lives in the imagination long before it lives on your own good patch of earth. And so, as the days shorten, the last leaves filter down and the cold creeps in like a lullaby on the frosty breath of a Norse god, I shall be toiling toward spring in both mind and body, digging in the soil and delving in the soul, planting, revising and mulling, not to mention praying for a little snow to provide an extra quilt of comfort for my new garden’s winter sleep. And when spring finally arrives, that ancient maxim of renewal will once more be revealed — that every ending contains the seeds of it own beginning — a return that will include a gifted new editor for this publication, a young woman I am honored to call my protégé. As I gratefully step aside to write and spend more quality time in my garden, I am certain that you will learn to love Ashley Wahl the way I do for her poetic grasp of language, her deep understanding of the human spirit and her passion for all things related to home, garden and design. Welcome, Ashley. Spring awaits!
Jim Dodson is the founding editor of Seasons and its sister publications, O.Henry and PineStraw. SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 9
STYLEBOOK THE HOT LIST
Modern Mountain Retreat
Winter just got a lot hotter — and cozier, too By Kara Cox Every winter, the Tennessee mountains are my getaway of choice. With the Great Smoky Mountain National Park only a few hours away from the Triad, pack a bag and head out for a relaxing mountain weekend with all the luxuries of modern living.
Where to Go
BLACKBERRY MOUNTAIN. If you’re looking for a mix of pampering and mountain minimalism, Blackberry Mountain offers luxe accommodations and renowned, award-winning chefs while focusing on land conservation in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tenn. Stays from $1,045 per night. Reservations: blackberrymountain.com/book
What to Read
In a year when travel is hard, letting our minds wander is a good alternative. MOUNTAIN MODERN: CONTEMPORARY HOMES IN HIGH PLACES ($35) offers
inspiration for modern, minimal mountain living. Available at Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro, (336) 763-1919.
How to Decorate
Want to bring a little of that modern mountain style back home? These Malta Teak Lounge Chairs by Summer Classics pair perfectly with the sleek concrete rectangular fire pit from West Elm. Up the cozy factor with a modern take on a classic alpaca throw. Wrap up on cold nights in this chic, 100 percent alpaca DIP DYED FRINGE THROW ($450) from Johanna Howard Home, www.johannahoward.com. MALTA TEAK LOUNGE CHAIR BY SUMMER CLASSICS ($2,026), available
through Furnitureland South, 5635 Riverdale Dr., Jamestown, (336) 822-3000.
CONCRETE LIPPED 60-INCH RECTANGLE FIRE PIT
($2,720), available at West Elm, Friendly Center, Greensboro, (336) 323-7901.
10 SEASONS •
What to Wear
This season’s trends are perfect for a glamping getaway. Pair modern lug sole boots with a warm faux shearling shacket for the chicest winter wardrobe. A faux fur scarf keeps you snuggled up on the coldest days.
The Boots LEO BOOTS BY BY FAR ($618), available at Shopbop.com
The Furs FAUX SHEARLING CHARLEY SHACKET
($138), available at Anthropologie, Friendly Center, Greensboro, (336) 834-2633. LUNA FAUX FUR SCARF in Camel
($85) from Rebecca & Co., 1724 Battleground Ave., Suite 104, Greensboro, (336) 292-2455.
What to Drink
There is nothing better than a hot toddy by a warm fire on a winter night. This spiked version of CHAI-SPICED TEA is the perfect evening elixir. Start with loose-leaf black tea ($11 for 35 servings) from Vida Pour Tea, 412 State St., (336) 609-4207.
Chai-Spiced Hot Toddy from Epicurious.com Yield: 6 cocktails Ingredients: 8 cups water 2 teaspoons cardamom pods, crushed 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, whole 11 cinnamon sticks, divided 1 2-inch piece of ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced 2 medium oranges 6 tablespoons honey 3 bags black tea 9 ounces dark rum Toast cardamom, coriander, peppercorns and 5 cinnamon sticks in a large pot over medium high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ginger and 8 cups water. Using a peeler, peel orange zest into long strips, about 3 inches each. Reserve 6 pieces for garnish, then add remaining zest to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in honey and tea. Let steep 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl or pot. Divide among mugs and top off with rum. Garnish with reserved orange peels and cinnamon sticks. Tea mixture, without rum, can be made 1 week ahead; cover and chill until ready to use.
SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 11
Oh, Christmas Tree!
How North Carolina became the fertile crescent of the Fraser fir By Ross Howell Jr.
hances are the tree you decorated for your home this holiday season is a descendant of natives in the North Carolina mountains. The Fraser fir, Abies fraseri, owes its name to an enterprising, “indefatigable” botanist, a Scotsman named John Fraser (1750–1811). Fraser was born in Tomnacross, near Inverness, Scotland, and moved to London in 1770. There he pursued various trades before — through frequent visits to the Chelsea Physic Garden, founded in 1673 as the Apothecaries’ Garden — he hit upon his true interest, horticulture. Fraser took up a career in botanical exploration and collecting. After returning from his first voyage to Newfoundland in 1780, he founded a commercial nursery in London to sell the plants he brought back. On later expeditions he trekked the Appalachian mountains, following Native American hunting and trading trails, becoming the first European to discover the Rhododendron catawbiense, which he was able to propagate in England, selling the plants for “five guineas each.” During his career Fraser would travel the world, locating plants for clients as diverse as William Aiton, the director of The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, to Catherine the Great, empress of Russia. Fraser is credited with introducing his eponymous fir, along with about 220 other plant species from the Americas, to Europe. The firs John Fraser discovered grow wild only at high elevations — 3,900 feet and higher — in the Appalachian chain from northern Georgia to southwestern Virginia. Mature trees may reach a height of 30 to 40 feet. Their needles are flattened, like the native hemlocks growing at lower altitudes. From September through November, they bear cones upright on their branches, like candles on a nineteenth century Christmas tree.
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North Carolina is the center of the Fraser fir’s habitat, and that’s important. According to carolinanature.com, trees can be found wild in nine counties of the Old North State, but in only one county in Georgia, and in only two counties in Virginia and Tennessee. That’s it. Sadly, like our native hemlocks, Fraser firs are under attack. The number of trees in the wild is being diminished by acid rain, air pollution, and especially by nasty little creatures called balsam woolly adelgids. These insects have wiped out whole stands of the Fraser fir, leaving behind only “skeleton forests” on the high slopes of the mountains. Of course, we don’t clamber over bare rock faces on the steep pinnacles of western North Carolina to harvest Fraser firs today. Remember I said it was likely the tree in your house is a Fraser fir? Just how likely is it? The North Carolina Christmas Tree Association notes that more than 50 million Fraser firs are grown in our state, and they represent 90 percent of all the trees grown in North Carolina for use as Christmas trees. These commercially grown Fraser firs can get hefty — as tall as 80 feet, with a trunk diameter of a foot and a half. When you’re relaxing at home this holiday, and you’re admiring your Fraser fir’s lights and its sweet balsam fragrance, take a moment to imagine its ancestor, high on a cold North Carolina peak, an upright cone or two pale in the moonlight, reaching toward stars so close they seem to be tangled in its wild boughs. h Ross Howell Jr. grew up in the mountains of Virginia, where his family usually harvested a native white pine Christmas tree from the farm woodlands, along with running cedar and spicewood berries for decoration. Winter 2020
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SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 13
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THE GARDEN GURU
Its glory dazzles year-round, even in the heart of winter By Cheryl Capaldo Traylor
he beloved Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) has been celebrated in prose and poems for centuries. The late critic and writer Clive James memorialized this special tree in his valedictory farewell poem “Japanese Maple,” where he muses on the cycle of life and his approaching death. Of the tree in his garden he writes:
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame. What I must do Is live to see that. Those of us who have one in our gardens fully understand James’ sentiment. These magnificent trees enhance our lives Winter 2020
as much as they enhance our gardens and we eagerly look forward to their stunning autumn splendor year after year. While it may seem strange to sing the praises of deciduous trees in the heart of winter, especially trees known and celebrated for their dramatic autumn colors, I would argue it’s also the perfect time. In the winter landscape, you see, it’s the bones of the tree that shine. Without foliage, the Japanese maple’s unique branching patterns and contorted limbs are on full display, and the appealing bark color of some cultivars is a true sight to behold. To happen upon the intense red winter branches of a coral bark maple (A. Palmatum “Sango-kaku”) reaching upward in contrast to a Carolina blue sky, for instance, is more than just a beautiful scene. It’s a sacred experience. And late winter also happens to be the perfect time to plant one, two or three in your garden. Other Acer (meaning “maple” in Latin) species are also SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 15
May your spirits be bright this holiday season. It’s the most joyous time of year at Salemtowne as we celebrate the Moravian spirit of Christmas. Meaningful holiday traditions warm the hearts of residents throughout our community. In the coming year, we invite you to visit Salemtowne and learn more about a future at our special community.
F R O M SA LE M TOW NE
16 SEASONS •
190 MORAVIAN WAY DRIVE WINSTON-SALEM, NC 27106 SALEMTOWNE.ORG · 336.714.2157 Salemtowne is a nonprofit, Life Plan Community that provides the highest standards and options for seniors at all stages.
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known by the common name Japanese maple, including A. japonicum and A. shirasawanum. Over one thousand cultivars and varieties come from these Eastern Asian natives, providing countless variations and the promise of a tree that is sure to appeal to even the fussiest of gardeners. I’ve not met anyone immune to its charm. The species’ epithet, palmatum, from the Latin “shaped like a hand,” refers to the leaf with five or more fingers, or lobes. Leaf shape offers a dizzying array of variety. Some are lacy, deeply dissected and delicate-looking. Others are broad and have a fairly typical maple-leaf shape. In spring, new foliage emerges in a range of colors: yellow, green, red, purple and variegated. Flowers are not showy, but appear as small puffs that later turn into winged seeds known as samaras. You may remember the whirling-twirling helicopters we chased around the yard in childhood. Japanese maples comprise a diversity of forms, including vase-shaped, weeping or cascading, and compact. Some of the smaller cultivars like A. palmatum “Orangeola” and A. palmatum “Butterfly” make excellent container plants, as long as they have proper drainage. Despite their delicate appearance and finicky reputation, Japanese maples are particularly long-lived, and if given appropriate conditions and care, they will reward you for many autumns to come. A few growing tips: Plant October through February in organically rich, well-drained soil. Site in sun to filtered shade. Mulch well after planting to keep soil moist and cool, especially in our sizzling southern summers. Keep watered Winter 2020
during dry spells, but be careful not to overwater (they do not tolerate wet feet). Pruning, if needed at all, is best done in late winter. And since each cultivar has specific growing requirements, do your research before you purchase. Noninvasive root systems allow for companion planting with perennials, annuals and bulbs. Place individual specimens around the garden as focal points, or try planting groups of different colors and textures to create an astonishing display. The endless possibilities of these landscape darlings are quite vast and thrilling. From the tried-and-true classic “Bloodgood” to the recently introduced Velvet Viking (A. palmatum var. dissectum “Monfrick”), there is an Acer palmatum for every garden. Be forewarned, once you’ve planted your first Japanese maple you’ll be hooked. Your garden will be fuller, your bank account emptier. Alas, the struggle is real for serious gardeners. With its outstanding form, elegant texture and variety of dramatic colors year-round, this horticultural marvel guarantees four seasons of beauty and nonstop pleasure in every garden it graces. Clive James was right. Although there is much to love about this extraordinary tree, the highlight has to be the flaming symphony of foliage colors that crescendos in autumn. h Cheryl Capaldo Traylor is a writer, gardener, reader and hiker. She blogs at Giving Voice to My Astonishment (www.cherylcapaldotraylor.com).
SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 17
The Road Less Traveled To witness an orchid bloom is a lesson in patience By Ross Howell Jr.
adley Cash, founder of Marriott Orchids (named for a relative on his mother’s side who was killed in World War II), has been breeding orchids professionally in Kernersville for more than 30 years. His hybrids have been selected for some of the highest awards of recognition by the American Orchid Society, and fellow enthusiasts have invited him to speak at gatherings across the United States, in England and Europe — even halfway round the world, in Taiwan. Not bad for a lanky fellow from east Tennessee who doublemajored in English and Spanish at Wake Forest University and bought his first orchid to brighten up his bachelor pad. Since orchids flower annually, he got the idea to buy specimens blooming in different months so he’d have at least one orchid adding color to his apartment year round. “I thought that would be kind of cool,” Cash says. As he bought more orchids, he read a lot about them. “In college I discovered that if you learn to read and absorb
18 SEASONS •
what you’re reading,” Cash adds, “you can learn to do anything.” He also joined the American Orchid Society (aos.org) and the Triad Orchid Society (triadorchidsociety.org) and discovered the benefits of learning and networking with other growers. Cash started with Cattleya orchids, the big, showy ones often used in corsages, and soon was winning prizes with his plants at orchid shows. In time, he became interested in Paphiopedilums, a genus of “lady slipper” orchids related to the native lady slippers found in the mountains of North Carolina. (Interestingly, Paphiopedilum literally translated from the Greek means Aphrodite’s slipper.) “Paphs,” as they’re called, are special. They require less light than other orchids. They can be finicky about their care and nurture. And unlike other genera that can be “cloned” — where a single orchid’s buds are used to reproduce identical offspring — paphs can only be reproduced by pollination. It takes two to tango, making each paph offspring unique. First Cash must remove the slipper part of an orchid’s bloom Winter 2020
SEASONS â€¢ STYLE & DESIGN 19
so it can be pollinated. The fertilized pod that develops requires months to ripen. Then Cash sends the ripe pods to specialty growers who cultivate them in “flasks.” Some two years will pass before the flasks are returned. Cash then moves the orchids from the flasks into community pots. As they grow, he separates and repots them into smaller communities, until finally, each orchid has an individual pot of its own. You’d think Cash would be anxious to see what the blooms of these progeny will look like, especially if they’re a new hybrid. Well, he has to wait five years for that. Cumulative time from pollination till one of the new kids displays her first slipper? Seven years. Seven. English major Cash has an explanation for that kind of persistence and patience. He harks back to the poet Robert Frost. “Doctors, lawyers, scientists, janitors, farmers, people from any socioeconomic group — there’s one commonality in every single person who becomes a lifetime orchid grower,” Cash says. “They tend to be the type of person who takes the road less traveled in life.” h You can follow Hadley Cash and his orchids on Facebook at the handle James Cash (Marriott Orchids) or visit his greenhouse by appointment only. Ross Howell Jr. is a novelist, freelance writer and geezer gardener. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
20 SEASONS •
NAVIGATING YOUR EVERY MOVE
CW LT R E A L E S TAT E
©2020 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker® and the Coldwell Banker logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Each office is independently owned and operated.
A Shop for Ever y Season of Childhood 1 2 10 N. Ma in Street • Hi g h Po i nt , NC 27 26 2 Mon–Fri 10 A M–5: 30 PM • Sat u rday 10 A M– 4 PM
SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 21
A few minutes with a holiday decorating pro
or Greensboro native John Herron, Christmas begins the day after Halloween. That’s when the owner of the popular Herron House Flowers in Thomasville begins fielding calls from new and longtime customers across the Triad eager to have his firm decorate their houses for the holidays. “It happens like clockwork,” Herron says. “They call up wanting something new and exciting for their parties or family gatherings.” Given the fast pace of American life these days, that doesn’t surprise Herron: “Holiday decorating takes time and creativity. Everyone wants something beautiful and memorable, larger and grander than last year — but something they can take down and put away when the holidays are over.” Fortunately, Herron has both the talent and the chops to deliver. He cut his teeth working in flower shops around the Gate City and opened his first flower shop
22 SEASONS •
in Charlotte at age 22. Following a stint in the Army, he worked for a major wholesale floral supply company and built a loyal customer base on the QT by custom-decorating showplace homes for special events and holidays in some of the region’s most desired neighborhoods, from Greensboro’s Irving Park to High Point’s Emerywood, from Winston-Salem’s Buena Vista to enclaves in Blowing Rock. Herron’s shop sits in the shadow of the Thomasville chair. On a recent rainy afternoon, we dropped by to see if we could pick up a few tips on holiday decorating trends and found Herron taking a brief five-minute breather before the busiest weeks of his year begins. During a typical holiday season he will decorate anywhere from half a dozen to 15 homes across the Triad, some taking up to a week to achieve the desired Christmas magic. “Back in the 1980s and early ’90s, the trend was to Winter 2020
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF JOHN HERRON
By Jim Dodson
decorate with lots of live material. We did parties you wouldn’t believe with fresh boxwood garlands and wreaths, pine cones, seasonal flowers, white lights and so forth.” But all that changed with 9/11, he says. Since then, there’s been a big shift toward high-end, artificial decorations that look amazingly real but are easier to put up and take down and store. “That industry has really grown in recent years. You can find beautiful artificial trees and garlands that look absolutely real.” He mentions a longtime customer in Lexington who carefully stores her decorations in a temperature-controlled attic, and others who rely on Herron House to create something new and different with their own ever-expanding gallery of designer decorations. “Sometimes it’s a blend of both,” says Herron. “We’re fine with that. What they want is something joyful and perfect!” He’s also noticed an interesting trend that is tied to the nation’s economic state. When the economy is doing poorly, he says, customers tend to reach for the glitter. “They want something shiny and glamorous — to elevate their spirits, I think. In the early 2000s, for instance, when things were kind of Winter 2020
SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 23
STYLEBOOK shaky, lime green was a very popular color for Christmas. Shades of lime green were everywhere.” By contrast, when the economy is doing well, he explains further, customers tend to be more understated and traditional in their decorating tastes. “What about a year like 2020?” we were bold enough to inquire. Thomasville’s decorating guru smiled. “This year, it’s all about faith, comfort and joy — lots of traditional reds and greens. Something that feels reassuring.” How about Christmas lights, we wondered, pointing out what seems to be a growing public fascination with large colored lights a la 1950s America. Surprisingly, he says, most of his customers still prefer little white lights. “They are elegant and calming. And here’s a trick we always use if a customer does want colored lights on a tree. We put white on first followed by the colored lights, because the white lights make the colors really pop. Christmas is all about bringing light against the dark.” We couldn’t have said it better. Bring on the comfort and joy. h Herron House Flowers is located at 18 West Main Street, Thomasville. Information: herronhouse.com
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SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 25
Winter Almanac By Ash Alder
inter is a treasure trove of fragrance and memory. One whiff of cinnamon and I’m back in Grammy’s kitchen, watching the birds through the sunny window as cinnamon sticks simmer
on the stovetop. “Is that pesky critter back?” she asks, squinting as she scans the front yard, feeders swinging like wobbly pendulums. “Oh, for Pete’s sake,” she says, watching a plump, gray squirrel balance like a clumsy acrobat between a crepe myrtle branch and a hanging tray. “Hand me that squirt gun, would you?” Incense takes me back further still: to the children’s nativity play at Catholic Mass, frankincense and myrrh wafting up toward the vaulted ceiling as toddlers slink from laps to kneelers, climb from kneelers to creaky wooden pews. As the organist fires up Joy to the World, all I can see is Christmas dinner (sliced ham, soft rolls, green beans, potato gratin), with a smorgasbord of cookies and an ocean of neatly wrapped presents to follow. And then — yes, there it is — the scent of Fraser fir. I must have been 11 when my folks brought home that first real tree. Until then, unfurling and shaping the plastic branches of our trusty artificial was, for me, the highlight of the holidays. But once the house smelled like a lush woodland forest, I was a convert. Although I had neither the words nor the reference for it, it was some kind of awakening. Our days of plastic trees were done. Hot chocolate, citrus, peppermint bark, homemade pie . . . The aromatic ghosts of Christmas past are merely a whiff away.
Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness. — Mary Oliver
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The Lenten Rose
When a plant blooms in the dead of winter, it is neither ordinary nor meek. That plant is miraculous. Also called the “Lenten rose”, the hellebore is a beloved and shadetolerant herbaceous or evergreen perennial (not a rose) that so happens to thrive here. Some species more than others. Take, for example, the bear claw hellebore, which is named for its deeply cut “weeping” leaves. Late winter through early spring, this herbaceous perennial displays chartreuse green flowers that the deer won’t touch, and you shouldn’t either (read: toxic when ingested). As the flowers mature, the petal edges blush a soft, pale ruby. Talk about subtle beauty, but more for the eyes than for the nose (its crushed leaves are what give it the nickname “stinking hellebore”). On behalf of every flower-loving soul, aching in their bones for the coming spring, thank you, hellebore. You’re a true queen.
In the Garden
Bare branches against bright sky in every direction, and yet a closer look reveals flowering witch hazel, camellia and daphne, hellebores, apricot and winter jasmine. In the garden, now’s time for preparation. Prune what’s asking to go. Fertilize beds with wood ash. And when the soil is dry enough, plant asparagus crowns for early spring harvest. Soon, a sea of spring vegetables will grace the garden. English peas, cabbage, carrots, radish, turnip, rutabaga. But now, patience. Patience and faith.
Warm Your Bones
Winter blossoms make the cold hard to shake. Crocuses burst open like paper fortune tellers, hellebores whisper prophesies of spring, and in the backyard, where a speckled bird is kicking up fresh mulch, winter daphnes blush like bright-eyed maidens in faded terracotta planters. All of this, yet winter feels deep-rooted, endless. As if her flowers were cruel illusion. As if your bones could be forever yoked to this chill. As if soup is the only answer. The following recipe from DamnDelicious.net is sure to warm you to the core.
Spinach and White Bean Soup Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 onion, diced 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 4 cups vegetable stock 2 bay leaves 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta 2 cups baby spinach 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed Juice of 1 lemon 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in thyme and basil until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in vegetable stock, bay leaves and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Stir in orzo; reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add spinach and cannellini beans and continue cooking until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Top it all off with lemon juice and parsley; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately
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28 SEASONS •
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Winter What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness? â€” John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
Scraps of Remembrance The Mixed Media Brilliance of Jon Rollins By Jim Dodson • Photograph by John Gessner
30 SEASONS •
n a golden Indian summer afternoon not long ago, mixed media visual artist Jon Rollins, 29, stands with a visitor in the middle of a quiet gallery room at High Point’s innovative COHAB space talking about the power of being an underdog. This is hours after the soft opening of Rollins’ first solo show in his home state, and the second since his first solo show of his contemporary abstract paintings in New York City in early 2019. In a normal year, at the height of the fall High Point Market, the COHAB space and this gallery would both be bustling with buyers and sellers.
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But 2020 is anything but a normal year. Several of Rollins’ large and striking contemporary abstracts on display around the stark, white room were originally meant for a private showing by a corporate client that got delayed by the COVID crisis, prompting COHAB owner John Muldoon to propose a last-minute public showing at the popular shared space facility on West English Road. “It means a great deal to have my first showing in the state here in the town I call home,” Rollins quietly explains. “There’s a bit of the underdog mentality about High Point which I’ve always been drawn to.” High Point, he says, doesn’t have a terribly strong art vibe the way, say, Greensboro, Winston-Salem or the Triangle do. “On the other hand, that strong underdog ethos can be a great motivating factor in a place like this. You see it going on all over this town, a kind of awakening. I am pleased to be part of that.” This thoughtful son of a Wesleyan minister grew up in several smaller central North Carolina towns before graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.F.A. in 2013. He made a beeline for High Point, where he took possession of a house near the campus of High Point University that belonged to his late grandparents, transforming it into both a home and studio. He relates to the mind of the underdog, he explains, because he wasn’t exposed to much visual art growing up, and while he fell in love with printmaking during his high school days, he went off to college thinking he might actually study journalism. It wasn’t until his junior year at Carolina, in fact, that he became a committed “inner art nerd.” Whatever insecurities Rollins may have had about his new calling, he found a way to brilliantly metabolize and transform them into dramatic abstract canvases using a variety of materials from his past, a trove of what he calls “personal artifacts and scraps” that tell the story of his journey including childhood scribbles, doodles, rags, tape, old sketches from high school, newspaper clippings, forgotten notes, table coverings, even pieces from abandoned works. “Some of these [scraps] are from last week, others from 20 years ago,” he explains in a fascinating 12-minute YouTube film he made of his process of creation last spring, one he compares to playing chess. “I’m never quite sure where a piece is going to lead me,” he amplifies as his visitor follows his eye around the gallery. “I sometimes think of this as someone learning to dance for the first time. It’s uncertain, fragile, unknown even to me.” Part of the allure of his craft is the breadth of his chosen working materials. The introspective scope of his works are presented with a variety of mixed elements ranging from ordinary house paint to crayon, from toner ink to masking tape, from charcoal to chalk, from pen and pencil to cardboard and old receipts, forgotten notebook entries and so much more. Black is a recurring color, he notes, simply because it speaks to his first love as a printmaker. “All printmakers love black ink,” he says with gentle understatement. Remarkably, the unpredictable fusion of these everyday scraps and elements produces compelling textures and bold images that are laden with surprises that grab the eye and set the viewer on his or her own imaginative journey within. On this particular afternoon, a quiet work called Ground catches this visitor’s eye along with a pair of magnificently subtle and related abstracts full of architected lines named House, Ascending and House, Descending — perfect for a bare wall that need a little personal introspection. And so the journey begins. It’s a bit like learning to dance. A kind of awakening that the viewer is very much a part of. h Search “Jon Rollins: Scrap Painting” on YouTube to view the artist’s documentary of the making of a work titled Ponk. His show, undo, may be extended into December and may be viewed at COHAB Space, 1547 W. English Road, High Point. See more from Jon Rollins at jonrollins.com.
Cavern (Basement Oracles)
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The Essence of Being Human Krystal Hart’s soulful contemporary visions By Ashley Wahl • Photograph by Bert VanderVeen
here’s something about 35-year-old Krystal Hart’s abstract paintings that is, well, abstract. And so, you sit with them. You study the delicate textures and how the light dances across the surface, sporadically catching a scrap of silver leaf or some shimmering pigment or mineral. You notice what feelings arise as you heed wild scribbles of dark ink against blotches of muted colors. You notice your body respond to subtle tension. You breathe and you notice until something happens — a gentle shift of perception — and somehow, you begin to perceive her paintings in a different way. Like an intuitive download, an inner knowing that the brain cannot fully grasp. “Some things are just meant to be felt,” says the artist. Because Hart’s medium largely includes organic materials like regional soils and sumi and walnut inks, whatever chaos or heaviness you may sense within her work is somehow made softer, more graceful. Like how time smooths a scar. And within each of her paintings, there is a common thread of hope. This is the signature of Krystal Hart: Hope and a glimpse of the human spirit.
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Hart was born and raised in Greensboro, where her family owns a fish market on East Bessemer. A career in art felt impractical, but she earned a B.F.A. in computer graphics from New York Institute of Technology — the next best thing. At age 24, Hart was living in Orlando, Fla., and doing mission work with the Jesus Film Project. She was happy enough, but there was a vague longing inside her, a vision of her future she could not shake. She shot this prayer into the ether: I want to do my first art show before I’m 25. “I wasn’t even making art,” says Hart. But if there was a chance that this distant vision of being an artist could actualize, “I wanted to know.” One week later, a friend placed a “Call for Artists” on her desk. It was an application for a weeklong artist residency program hosted by New York City’s Limner Society complete with a stipend that would cover all expenses. You can guess what happened next. “At the end of the residency, I had three paintings,” says Hart. One of her paintings was selected for the gallery’s emerging artists exhibit. Another caught Winter 2020
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the eye of a collector: An inhospitable landscape revealing the slightest possibility of life. A Touch of Hope. He bought it for his daughter. “They invited me into their home,” Hart recalls of the collector and his wife. “I see Picasso . . . I see Matisse . . . they compared my work to Dalí.” Hart’s vision wasn’t a pipe dream. It was already happening. This was 2009. The following year, Hart survived a major car accident that has since challenged her to explore who she is on a soul level and how she communicates and heals through her artwork. “With abstract art I feel like you can move beyond boundaries,” reflects Hart, who often includes debris or what she calls “castaways” in her works to give new life and purpose to what was once broken. Her healing journey led her to explore nontoxic mediums and has deepened her sensitivity to other people, whose lives, traumas and prayers also
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filter into the artist’s work. Hart doesn’t try to hide the scars on her left hand and shoulder. They are a part of her story. And her story, she recognizes, like everyone else’s, is rich with the deep and tender moments that make us human. In the artist’s words: My work seeks to capture and express the delicate balance of loss and finding . . . What starts as an empty expanse becomes an environment of healing, excavation and regeneration. Explore one of her paintings and you will feel this. h Krystal Hart’s artwork is on display in Winston-Salem at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art’s DRAWN: Concept & Craft exhibit through February 15. Visit her website at krystalhart.com. Winter 2020
Live In The Already 2338 hr
Predecessors in Technicolor Some Crazy Times
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The Art of Fun Rankin Willard’s bold and playful signature
By Ashley Wahl • Photograph by John Gessner
igh Point artist Rankin Willard can throw a knockout punch. Consider Hotdog + Avocado = Sushi. Or Pineapple = Egg – Chocolate. He aims for the playful space between realism and minimalism — a place marked by exaggerated light and shadow — and then wham. The delivery is so quick, so precise that it hits you before you ever see it coming. That’s Rankin for you. And his signature style paired with his vibrant colors and a bold sense of immediacy smacks you with an instant dose of joy. Take Beagle, for example. Just look at that huge adorable snout, those wide unblinking nostrils, those dewy puppy eyes. It is, perhaps, the only thing cuter than an actual beagle. Like, seriously. “When it comes to visual art,” says Willard, who speaks thoughtfully with
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gentle inflections, “you really only have one moment.” He then begins to describe a parlor game from his college years, Celebrity. The first round is similar to Taboo in that you can say anything but the celebrity’s name to get your teammates to guess who you’ve drawn from the hat. The subsequent rounds require more precision, more brevity. And by the fourth and final round, Willard explains, you draw a name, close your eyes and strike one pose. “That’s what you have with art. You don’t have a novel or a film’s worth of information. You only have one image to get across to people.” A thick slice of bacon, for instance. A paper plane. A red, white and blue Rocket Pop. Willard’s bright and poppy images, many of which he created as paper Winter 2020
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collages, have landed in private and corporate collections around the globe, including New York, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas, London and Australia. In 2016, a friend told him to check out a house tour featured on ELLE DÉCOR’s website, where a sunny chartreuse room inside fashion designer Christian Siriano’s swanky Connecticut home featured not one but two Rankin Willard dog prints. For someone who had watched Project Runway in its entirety, “that felt pretty good.” Willard, now 32, grew up in nearby Thomasville with close ties to the High Point Market. “My mother is an interior designer,” he explains. And yet, “I wouldn’t say that I was a happy artist as a child.” In grade school Rankin argued with his art teachers. “‘Just fill up the white space,’ they would say, and I did not want to. I felt like that was ridiculous.” After graduating from High Point University with an individualized major — part theater, part writing, part visual art — Willard landed an internship with gallerist Sandra Gering in New York, where he discovered the Alex Katz painting that awakened the artist as we know him. “That was the impetus for most of what I’ve done since then.” No, his art didn’t take off overnight. But after New York’s One Kings Lane plugged Willard’s work in an online flash sale, things shifted. Willard’s paper collages, prints and paintings have since been featured in national publications like Home Accents Today, Good Housekeeping, Parents and Real Simple, plus a Turkish lifestyle magazine and an online magazine in Spain. His art gained regional traction thanks to High Point’s Mill Collective, a talent platform for modern design that connects artists and makers with designers, architects and retailers. But Willard’s favorite arrival story doesn’t involve a celebrity, a collector or a glossy magazine. It starts with a phone call from an old friend who’d just gone on a first date. “When he opened his door,” the friend said to Rankin, “I looked down the hallway and saw one of your pieces on the back wall.” Rankin still laughs in sheer wonderment. “Just marry them already,” he told his friend. “I mean, what else do you need to know?” h
Dog Series — Border Collie
Vases Series — Greek Urn
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Learn more about Rankin Willard and his artwork at rankinwillard.com. Winter 2020
Road Trip Series —Open To New Friends
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Weaving with Intention Fiber and Natural Dye Artist Kelsey Brown By Ashley Wahl • Photographs by Bert VanderVeen
n a rainy evening in late October, tropical storm Zeta steadily gaining momentum in a quiet neighborhood in Winston-Salem, fiber artist Kelsey Brown, 31, is sitting on her covered porch, cradling a mug of hot tea with both hands. She looks bohemian yet casual — stylish round glasses, no makeup, long brown hair in a messy top knot. Even her clothing is unassuming until you realize that the T-shirt she is wearing didn’t come from Target. She made it herself — silk noil hand-dyed golden-yellow with osage shavings she got from a local woodworker. Since discovering weaving at Warren Wilson College in 2009, Brown has explored many ways to create beautiful and functional art using natural, sustainable and recycled materials. It’s the stories behind her creations that most inspire her. Was the fabric salvaged or locally sourced? And how was the dye made? With goldenrod from a sunny hillside? Indigo from the garden? Black walnuts from a neighbor’s backyard? Everything Brown makes is infused with her loving intention. And while her demeanor is gentle and nonchalant, a short conversation reveals something about Brown that then seems obvious. This artist is not separate from her craft — she lives and breathes it. And, naturally, her passion for connecting with the fibers and pigments she uses weaves into almost every aspect of her life. “Part of the beauty of handmade things and textiles is that they might change over time,” says Brown, pausing to take a thoughtful sip of tea. “Will you hang this in the sun? Will you wash it? The purpose affects the intention.” Brown grew up in Kentucky. Her mother, who was always making a quilt “for me or one of my one million cousins,” taught Kelsey to sew well before middle school. In vivid detail, she recalls making “little stuffed cats” and dreaming of someday being an artist. At Warren Wilson, a private liberal arts college near Asheville that focuses on work-learning, Brown enrolled in several art classes — drawing, painting and ceramics — but she didn’t see her first loom until her sophomore year, when the college revived its Fiber Arts Crew, defunct since 1969. Winter 2020
Kelsey Brown in her handmade clothing. Jumpsuit was dyed with madder root. Jacket was made from a thrifted bedspread, dyed with osage and iron. Quilt made of recycled scraps.
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Naturally dyed silk.
“What is that?” Brown exclaimed, eying the wooden apparatus as if it were some kind of time machine. “That is amazing!” And, she realized: It was some kind of time machine. Brown became utterly fascinated with learning the ancient craft of making functional things that were also beautiful. Not unlike her mother, she realized. But much more rebellious. “I like to break rules,” she admits. She also likes to make what she needs, when she needs it, commenting on how wasteful and environmentally toxic the fashion and textile industries have become. Earlier this year, for instance, Brown made her own wedding dress, sourcing her materials as ethically and consciously as possible. “I’ve never been a very fashionable person, but our clothes say a lot about us.” After college, Brown was hired as a fiber fellow at WWC, where she ran the studio and brought in renowned fiber artists to facilitate workshops. Then she worked with a weaving co-op in Guatemala, where she also learned to make shoes using handwoven fabrics. In 2015, she moved to Winston-Salem to work with the nonprofit Arts for Life NC.
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“It’s a great job,” says Brown, who teaches visual arts to children and families in the pediatric cancer center at Brenner Children’s Hospital — now through Zoom. Due to the time-consuming nature of most fiber arts projects, they rarely appear in her lesson plans. But volunteer work through the Garden Club at the Ken Carlson Boys & Girls Club and the Crossnore School & Children’s Home has allowed her to share her love of growing and using natural dye plants with children. She’s also a fiber instructor at Sawtooth School for Visual Art. “I’d like to see the ‘knowing-where-your-clothes-come-from’ movement really take off,” says Brown, adding that her vision of the future includes a large homestead with fiber animals, a textile studio and a farm — perhaps a place she can lead community building projects on a larger scale. “I’m not necessarily doing anything brand new,” says the artist. On the other hand, her passion is a breath of fresh air. h Learn more about Kelsey Brown and her artwork at kelseybrownart.com. Winter 2020
The artist with one of her woven blankets. Winter 2020
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Beauty for Beauty’s Sake HighBrow Hippie Jessica Yelverton
By Jim Dodson • Photographs by Bert VanderVeen
t the top of a narrow staircase, late October sun falls like a benediction through the western window of a cozy room where a gray tiger cat named Britin keeps a calm, watchful eye on a visitor who has climbed the steps to meet with watercolor artist Jessica Yelverton. “This room,” says the artist, known to her devoted website and Instagram followers as the HighBrow Hippie, “is my special place where I can think and work and create beautiful things for people. I always dreamed of having my own quiet space like this where I can do what I love best — create.” This beautiful room, her working studio — on the second floor of a charming 1941 bungalow in Sunset Hills that the artist and her husband, Joel, purchased seven years ago and began artfully transforming — might well serve as a working metaphor for Yelverton’s life in general. The youngest of four daughters of a Burlington Baptist minister and his wife who was home-schooled before she went off to earn an art degree at Bob Jones University, Yelverton is a beautiful paradox that becomes more compelling the closer you look at her creations. She’s also no slouch as a writer. Her company website eloquently provides answers to her clever name: Winter 2020
“Why ‘HighBrow Hippie’? Well, to sum it up, I’m a questioner of the status quo but also a lover of tradition; a free spirit but entirely too snobby about my sheets to have participated in Woodstock. Authenticity is important to me — loving things truly for their own sake, not for the image they create or the box they help you fit within. It’s not bucking the trends or fitting right in, HighBrow Hippie is about the authentic juxtapositions of the things that call to your soul: classic, modern, highbrow, lowbrow, whatever they may be — it’s beauty for beauty’s sake.” Four years ago, after almost a decade of working as a designer and sales rep in various quarters of the home furnishings industry and taking a master’s degree along the way, Yelverton heard the call of a muse that has summoned her since childhood. “From as far back as I can remember, watercolor has been my favorite medium,” she explains. “I kind of closed the door on it for many years after college until one day I realized this is what I am meant to do. I decided to combine my love of fine fabrics and sewing with my art.” As her website elaborates, “I fell in love with watercolor because of its wildness: the tension of suspended pigment in water . . . the balance of control and chaos. It’s how I paint and it’s how I want to live.” SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 47
With a gorgeous (and symbolically perfect) moth as her company logo, the artist’s first step into the commercial business world was to create elegant linen tea towels and decorative pillows printed with her original watercolors of flowers and other botanical themes. Their acceptance with a growing audience inspired an expansion of her talents into several collections of original watercolor paintings and botanicallythemed prints that have steadily grown her audience and customer base, a medium she calls “floriography.” Personalized stationery with her images came next, including a first holiday card with a timeless rendering of a traditional Christmas tree that sold like cozy slippers on Etsy. This year, explore her website and find an equally stunning Christmas card featuring a stag called “Holly, Ivy & Antlers” that is sure to please her audience. “I feel a special bond to them,” she says of her patrons, “because they seem to understand what it is I find so endlessly interesting about the immediate world around me — my garden, our house, even this studio.” Back in April, feeling the need to turn her art to good purpose, she set off on a quest to produce a painting a day during the pandemic. “I don’t really know where I got the idea,” she allows, “which was initially intimidating but also lots of fun.” She laughs and adds, “Somehow I did it and my audience really responded. It was a joyful month of creativity.” Her curious eye captured everything from garden plants and herbs to vegetables and fruits, even items on her own gorgeous sketchpad. Every day she put a new work up for sale on her website for $50 apiece and sold them all within minutes. Half of the proceeds were donated to the Greensboro Chapter of Church World Service that works with refugees in the community “at a time when they are even more vulnerable due to the economic and COVID crisis.” Prints are still available on her website. What’s next for this beguiling contradiction of the elegant Bohemian and classic artist with the highbrow tastes?
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“I don’t know exactly,” she allows. “But that’s really the joy of what I am able to do now — to respond the only way I know best to such beauty around me.” h A selection of Jessica Yelverton’s works are available at the shop at GreenHill Center for North Carolina Art in Greensboro, Visual Index gallery in Winston-Salem and Mélange Arts Studio & Gallery in Greenville, SC. Visit her website at highbrowhippiestudio.com.
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The Power of Gratitude and Beauty Life through the lens of Lindley Battle By Jim Dodson
he moment the front door of the cozy white house on a leafy street in Greensboro’s Old Starmount opens, you feel the energy and charm of Lindley Battle, a brilliant young branding expert and special events photographer whose talents are quietly taking the world by storm. Begin with the house, an older bungalow she purchased five years ago and has slowly transformed into an elegant retreat of cool, light-filled rooms decorated with earth tones, personal artifacts from her world travels and soothingly simple furnishings. A former living room that looks out over the back garden is artfully claimed as her master bedroom. A front bedroom, meantime, is her office, home to design boards and cameras, including a vintage single-lens model in a leather carrying case that belonged to her late grandfather, Norman Garrett, a Greensboro physician. “Upstairs there are two more rooms,” she mentions with a merry laugh, “But we rarely go up there. I’ll eventually get to them, I suppose — when I have more time.” Another infectious laugh ensues. The “we” means Lindley and her two beloved travel mates, dogs Mika and Kiah. With a stable of at least a dozen local and national companies relying on her exquisite photo magic to shape their commercial identities, and spectacular destination weddings claiming more of her talents every year, managing her time is increasingly important to Lindley Battle. On this particular autumn evening, for example, with a goblet of red wine
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in hand, she’s winding down from back-to-back single day round trips to Charleston and Atlanta with a side trip to see a client in Hilton Head. “I don’t mind driving,” she points out. “In fact, I love driving because it gives me time to think about my clients and how amazing all of this has been. Everyone has a story and I see myself as a storyteller.” Her own story and rapid rise is most captivating. Growing up in Winston-Salem, she knew from an early age that art would be her calling. At 16, she received a camera for her birthday, an inexpensive Canon, “and went around taking pictures of everything.” After photographing and putting together a presentation of historic items in high school, her digital arts teacher suggested that she may have found her niche. She went on to become the school’s sports photographer. Off she went to an arts college in Maryland, but dropped out after just one year. “I discovered that I didn’t need to learn about art so much as I wanted to learn about my art.” Her desire for self-discovery took her and her camera to Uganda for nearly two years where she worked as a missionary with Youth With A Mission, scrubbing floors, plowing fields, teaching English in a remote village and working with HIV victims. “It changed my life,” she says emphatically. “I realized that I have a calling for humanitarian rights that is very strong and will always shape my life. I also took some heart-stopping photos.” Winter 2020
The experience prompted her to consider becoming a photojournalist. She returned to Greensboro and took a degree in religious studies from UNCG, working part-time at a local hair salon, and for Great Outdoor Provisions Co. and Lululemon, an athletic apparel maker where she started doing product shoots by age 24. In 2014, Battle decided to strike off on her own in business. A local nursing shoe company became one of her first big clients (and remains so today), but soon the creative, hopeful, outdoor vibe of her branding photography attracted clients from California to the Virgin Islands, an ever-expanding portfolio that includes furniture companies, business coaches, interior decorators and spas, just to name a few. Two years ago, she flew to Paris to take a course in wedding photography and launched a separate platform, specializing in bespoke weddings from Charleston to the Hamptons. “In everything I do,” she says, “whether it’s for helping companies create compelling branding for their products or people, I look for the story behind the subject. For me it becomes very personal.” Her dual websites for branding and weddings reflect her deeply ingrained values of gratitude and beauty. In the meantime, a job that allows her to travel all over the world reminds her of her commitment to humanitarian justice. She is currently working on a master’s degree from Harvard University in sustainability and global development. “I’m a happy girl,” she says simply and from the heart. “There’s so much I want to do yet.” Look out, world. This Battle has just begun. h Learn more about Lindley Battle and her photography at lindleybattle.com. Winter 2020
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The Edge of Heaven High Point designer Leslie Moore just might have found it By Ross Howell Jr. • Photographs by Amy Freeman
top a steep escarpment with majestic views of Grandfather Mountain to the south and the Watauga River Valley to the north, Echota on the Ridge bills itself as a resort community providing homes “at the edge of heaven.” Sales hyperbole? Maybe. But I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so I’m partial. I’ve come to Echota to have a look at the year-old condominium that residential interior designer Leslie Moore of L. Moore Designs of High Point has created for family and friends. Moore’s been a professional designer for more than 20 years. Born in Florida, she attended high school in New Jersey, then received an art history degree at Vanderbilt University. Following graduation, she worked for Union Camp, which had a plant near Nashville that produced shipping packaging. “Learning about manufacturing has been very important in my approach to design,” Moore says. She feels she’s better equipped to understand how well something is made. She moved from Nashville to Jackson, Miss., where she worked as a commercial designer. There she decided to go back to school part-time to learn more about interior design. She completed all the courses for a design degree and interned with a Jackson interior designer whose specialty was antiques. Winter 2020
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oore’s husband, David, is an ear, nose and throat physician but he also plays bass guitar, standup base, and I admired one of his watercolors as I came in the front door. Before going into practice, he was offered a pediatrics fellowship at the University of Virginia Medical Center, and the couple moved to Charlottesville. “We lived in a place up on Observatory Hill, a mountain overlooking the univer-
sity,” Moore says. In Charlottesville she set up a business importing antiques. When her husband’s year-long fellowship was completed, the couple moved to High Point, where they’ve lived for 27 years, where Moore continued to pursue her interest in antiques and residential interior design. Her first clients came to her through word-of-mouth. “I have many long-term clients,” Moore says. “Some of them are among my very first.”
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When they decided they wanted a place in the mountains, they found a condo still under construction, which meant she was able to specify some of the materials and finishes. “We were on a budget,” Moore says, “so I wanted to stay with the builder’s specifications wherever I could to save money.” She only asked for upgrades where she thought they were absolutely necessary. “David appreciated that, of course,” she continues. “He doesn’t care a thing about furniture anyway.” The only thing her husband insisted on was that they have a place with a good view of Grandfather Mountain. Although she was creating a space for herself, she hired artist Becky Clodfelter of Clodfelter Studio in Greensboro to produce renderings of the rooms as she envisioned them, just as she would do for her own design clients. “I communicate visually,” Moore says, adding that computer-generated views just don’t do it for her. “Becky’s watercolors really help.” Moore specified the granite for the countertops and backsplash, the color of paint and stain finishes, the texture of the bedding and pillows, the hardwood flooring and carpets. She searched tirelessly for each light fixture and lamp. She selected with care every stick of furniture — all with the goal of achieving Winter 2020
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simplicity in a 1,200-square-foot space — so a visitor might do just what I’m doing now: enjoying an undistracted view through the big living room windows onto a spacious outdoor entertaining deck and beyond, to the knobby peak of Grandfather Mountain. Though there are many windows in the condo, very few have window treatments. And that’s by design. Ragged clouds scud along the old man’s face, with rays of light peeking through to cast moving spotlights of brilliance on his shoulders. A few ochre leaves still cling to the oaks on the mountain, and poplars offer a sprinkling of yellow leaves to the sun. Dark groves of rhododendron and fir are clearly visible, as are gray stone outcroppings. The door to the deck is open, even though the wind’s rising and the temperature’s brisk. We step outside. “See the chaise lounge there in the corner?” Moore asks. I nod. “I told you David doesn’t care a thing about furniture, but he moved that chair I don’t know how many times to get just the right view,” she says. “That’s his spot.” Moore tells me they spend hours on the deck, watching the light change on the mountain, and then smiles. “I guess that tells you how old we are,” she says. We turn back into the living room. By the door is an attractive banquette, dining table and chairs. The Universal Furniture table and chairs are simple and clean, with elements of Danish design. Moore considers the banquette essential to the arrangement, not only for the cozy feel it lends the dining area, but also for the extra seating it provides. “We’ve seated 11 people here for dinner, with plenty of room,” she says. Straight ahead is the kitchen, with two bar chairs at a counter finished with buttery colored granite streaked with black and flecked with gold. It’s striking. “I did specify an upgrade for the countertop,” Moore says. “But all the cabinets are builder specified.” To our right is a stone fireplace that rises to a vaulted ceiling. The hearth is modest. Along the outside wall by the hearth a lovely sofa and table are placed. “I really did splurge on the sofa,” Moore says. She tells me she purchased it from Verellen, a Belgian luxury furnishings manufacturer with a plant near High Point.
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There are two stylish cloth-covered recliners that look nothing like recliners. Moore demonstrates one for me. Standing, Moore tells me they wanted a condo on the top floor not only for the view it provided, but also for the high ceilings which enhance the feeling of openness. And her insistence upon simply designed, spare furniture and lighting makes the feeling of space all the stronger. “There’s no room for clutter here,” Moore says. And there isn’t any. She shows me a framed piece on a wall of the kitchen. It reads “hygge.” Moore explains it’s the Danish word for a feeling of coziness and contentment. Her design has completely nailed that mood. We continue on. She shows me the airy master bedroom – with a wonderful view of Grandfather — and a beautifully tiled shower. “Another upgrade,” Moore says. We take a look in the cozy guest bedroom on the front side of the condo, then Moore leads me upstairs — the bannisters are stainless steel cable — to the loft. It’s big, with plenty of space for a sleek, comfortable-looking easy chair from West Elm and two queen beds. For efficiency, the beds feature drawers underneath. “Those drawers were tricky to put together,” Moore says. “I like them, but I don’t know that I’d install them again.” As we overlook the living room from the loft, I ask Moore how she keeps her inspiration after so many years working in interior design. “My number one thing is travel,” she replies. “I’ll go to new places to see the architecture and visit art museums and galleries. And the natural world provides great inspiration. “Number two, no surprise, is the Market in High Point,” Moore continues. She tells me she attends twice a year and visits individual showrooms year round.
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“Number three,” she adds, “is going to the ADAC.” That’s the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, founded in 1961. It’s open throughout the year and features the work of various designers, presenting the largest collection of luxury furniture in the southeastern United States. “Design is always evolving,” Moore says. “So it’s important to keep your vision fresh.” At Echota she wanted to put together a whole new look, something completely unlike the design of her home. “Many things I found at IKEA,” she continues. “I was selecting for durability, simplicity and clean lines. It was more than deciding on a modern or contemporary look. What I wanted was something I call ‘mountain modern.’ “And I had to be very efficient,” Moore adds. “I had a tight budget. It sounds strange, but that was very freeing for me. There were fewer tweaks to consider. And I couldn’t be happier with the results.” Just as I’m leaving, Moore’s husband arrives with a friend who’s spending the weekend. A Golden Retriever named Ryder, the Moores’ dog, wags her way in, too. The flurry of activity is warm, anticipatory. I expect soon there’ll be a fire on the hearth, Ryder reposing in front of it and a beverage glass or two on the stylish table by the sofa. Moore tells me it’s a two-hour drive door-to-door from High Point. “It’s great to have a place to relax so close by,” Moore says. And what a place she’s made. As I walk to my car, I pause for a final look through young, straight poplar trees at the solemn, venerable face of the mountain called Grandfather. In the twilight the sight is . . . heavenly. h Ross Howell Jr. is a freelance writer and novelist in Greensboro. Contact him at email@example.com.
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Beauty Purveyors of
A kitchen straight out of Larry Richardson’s wildest dreams By Cynthia Adams Photographs by Bert VanderVeen and Stacey Van Berkel
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PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF NATHAN WAINSCOTT
e saved up for 20 years before creating the kitchen of his dreams. Then, in a historic Mediterranean home in Sunset Hills, Larry Richardson fashioned something that anchored a fantasy to reality. The end result is more than the sum of its parts — more than fine cabinetry, finishes, surfaces, lighting and appliances. The kitchen and breakfast area are the culmination of the homeowner’s travels, art and ingenuity. And yes, I’m speaking of a kitchen. Artisan Nathan Wainscott was among the artists and craftspeople who were involved in the renovation, which was completed late last summer. He has a portfolio bulging with beautiful kitchen projects, but doesn’t equivocate. “This kitchen was the most multilayered project that we had ever worked on. To me, it becomes one of the gems of my whole career at this stage.” Floral designer Richardson, his designing partner, Clark Goodin, and the cast of artisans involved “are all purveyors of beauty” Wainscott adds. The 1920s-era kitchen had little to recommend it. It was at the back of a beautiful home, one of the last things slated for change, lacking in flow or function and certainly not charming. Even restorationists and purists who love vintage kitchens would have grabbed a sledgehammer to help demolition along. Richardson was more than ready for change. As Wainscott pointed out when Richardson mused about having a kitchen unlike any other, beauty follows. Goodin was the chief cook in their partnership. They agreed they wanted a workable space that was also a worthy show-
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place for favorite collections. “The kitchen is the beating heart of the home,” Richardson adds, standing where a strictly utilitarian mudroom once was. “This is where we eat. We start our day here and end our day here.” Once unremarkable, the new kitchen with a vaulted ceiling suggests Richardson’s passion project: a real-life Tuscan villa. “I never saw anything like this in a book,” Richardson admits. During pre-pandemic trips to Russia and Europe, he and Goodin spent time snapping shots of interior details they admired. A future kitchen innovation was always uppermost in their thoughts. It was a very long time in coming to fruition, but Richardson held a vision that Wainscott says was exceptional. In his early planning Richardson discovered that a friend, studio photographer Diana Parrish, photographs kitchens for large cabinet companies. Occasionally, cabinetry became available after studio shoots. He asked Parrish to keep him in mind “should something more traditional and wonderful” become available. Then, he waited. Four years later, Parrish phoned her friend to say she had just the thing, describing it as “very Ralph Lauren.” Richardson grew excited. The cabinets in question were Master Brand’s premium Omega line. The navy and white cabinet colors seemed fresh and fortuitous — the homeowners owned a massive blue-and-white porcelain collection. After Master Brand’s promotional photos, the cabinets were subsequently Winter 2020
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF NATHAN WAINSCOTT
reworked for a kitchen shoot for celebrity chef Rachel Ray, then sold to Richardson last winter. It was a lot of cabinetry, he recalls, wincing at the memory of Master Brand boxes completely filling the garage. The beginning of an elaborate puzzle, which had to be solved. The challenge was to reverse-engineer and retrofit, making a cabinetry bonanza actually viable. Even in a new house, this would pose challenges. But nearing a century old, the kitchen presented a real conundrum. Richardson, who had flipped a house with a dreary kitchen on Greensboro’s Arden Place, knew what to expect, sketching and analyzing the space. Plumbing and electrical changes were going to be needed. The solution demanded gutting plaster walls to the studs, thus unearthing, as most renovations do, opportunities and serious challenges. “And nothing was plumb,” Richardson groans. Then the homeowners encountered water damage, requiring the entire ceilings be torn out. Once opened to the rafters, the kitchen ceiling was over 10 feet high. The pantry and porch ceilings, however, soared to 12 feet. The heights differed by 18 inches — too much to ignore. The differing roof configurations owed to what Richardson believes were additions, as he unearthed brick walls and arches, which were architectural clues to the house’s history. But he also felt inspired, never considering simply dropping the ceiling height with drywall. Winter 2020
“Once I saw the ceiling, with all its angles, I said, ‘You have to accentuate that,’” recalls Richardson. “That took me a while to figure out.” He solved the height and angle discrepancies where the later additions met the original kitchen by cladding the entire ceiling with tongue-and-groove planks, a feature he had liked in his grandmother’s home. Then, he came upon some handsome Tuscan beams near Albemarle. The beams served to unify the newly exposed angles of the ceilings, making the differences a defining, dramatic feature rather than a liability. After deliberation, Richardson ultimately chose to stain the ceiling rather than paint, “in order to ground the space.” Meanwhile, there was the matter of the cabinets. Richardson hired Triad master carpenter and cabinet installer Scott Porter. Thus, Porter began solving a cabinetry puzzle worthy of a grand master, one who could facilitate the leap from a jumble of boxes in a garage to the viable new kitchen as Richardson envisioned. There were also cosmetic problems with the cabinets themselves. Many of the cabinets had been altered during the two different photo shoots. Porter in turn recommended a master cabinet finisher and artist: enter Wainscott. To make the kitchen reno work required a squad of talents, whose respective abilities were hugely important. “I went over my drawing,” says Richardson. “And Scott had the idea of turning some of the cabinets upside down.” Lower cabinets designed with open shelving at the floor level were flipped SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 67
over and hung above the counter, creating dramatically high display shelves near the ceiling. “It was like Clark said, if we hadn’t done that, we couldn’t have gotten into those cabinets they were so high.” Porter suggested additional cabinets where needed, and created matching refrigerator panels, given the new kitchen’s footprint had expanded beyond the original. Wainscott set about refinishing the cabinets once they were installed. “Scott Porter did the major carpentry portion of the project,” Wainscott adds. “It was a challenge. Usually, the most beautiful spaces are.” Before officially meeting his client, Wainscott believed it was fortuitous that he met Richardson by chance. “He’d gotten my name. Then, the next day, I pulled up to Carriage House to deliver some furniture. He was there.” Wainscott was delighted by the coincidence. “I said, ‘Wait a minute! We’re meeting about your kitchen!’” They were, and did. Wainscott says the kitchen renovation has creatively “married art and opportunity.” He adds, too, that the preponderance of kitchens today are minimalistic — but the Tuscan inspired project was a departure. “Initially, I could not see his vision but he could see it. Larry saw something different . . . just beautiful and unique in its own way.” As an artist frequently working with intensive renovation projects,
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Wainscott spent two full weeks onsite, professionally refinishing the cabinets. White and blue, accented with a thread of gold gilding, are the kitchen’s primary colors. (For the record, the blue cabinet color is by Sherwin-Williams, called “Anchors Aweigh”. The wall color is “Restrained Gold” by Sherwin-Williams.) The cabinets originally had a tan color on a beaded inset, which Rachel Ray had in her kitchen. “We started looking at it in context with everything else,” says Wainscott. “It looked unfinished. Since they had chosen gold hardware, I thought we should pull it together with gold leafing. Larry liked the idea, so we made a sample, and the sample was a winner. We wound up putting it elsewhere.” The subtle gold leaf inset detail delivered surprising impact. “It was the one thing that set it off,” admires Wainscott. “We decided on a river of blue in the middle of the room, to give it a clean look but the depth he was looking for. There’s a lot of layering in there.” Yet the cabinets weren’t the only marriage of art and opportunity. With old linoleum torn out, the owners now agonized over the choice of flooring. They settled on wooden parquet — again a choice inspired by a 2019 Russian tour. It was unusual. “This idea came from our travels,” says Richardson. Goodin notes, “We were in those palaces — like St. Petersburg — and every room had a different style of floor.” The pair snapped over 50 pictures of floors and interiors, noting details. “I loved their herringbone floors.” “I took notice of how important floors were to a room,” adds Richardson. Winter 2020
Choosing a wooden floor in the kitchen intentionally underscored “such a strongly European flavor.” Oversized white subway tile was extended to the ceiling, a detail inspired by visiting the venerable Vanderbilt cottage kitchens in Newport, Rhode Island, where it was also done in the servant and catering kitchens. Once complete, the couple chose to display collections as they would in any other room. “I created something like a gallery,” explains Richardson. “I said, ‘OK, I have a blank canvas.’” A much-loved Botero painting returned to the breakfast area where the couple eats most meals. The bar became one of Richardson’s favorite features, along with the Tuscan beams. The kitchen showcases miniature chests and an 18th century French clock from the Chinqua Penn mansion in Reidsville. Then there is the homeowners’ glass collection. “We have Lalique, Tiffany, Steuben, Blenco, Waterford, Baccarat Moser and Hawkes glass. But everything in here is a bargain or I wouldn’t have it,” Richardson laughs. “Everything comes from estate sales.” Lighting dramatizes their 18th century Delftware and Chinese export porcelain, augmented by an angel pendant light found in a Reynolds family estate sale. In fact, Richardson still roams the state in pursuit of antiques he resells or keeps. “When I make up my mind to go to Charlotte to an auction, I am there by 4:30 and the first one in line. There have to be seven things that I love. Out of those seven, I know I will at least get one item, but usually try for three.” Both Richardson and Goodin are drawn to dramatic color. “It’s the real world; the world’s a rainbow,” explains Richardson. And yet the couple is proud of subtly colored pieces of botanical Flora Danica china, which is produced in Copenhagen, Denmark. Again, they discovered the china while traveling abroad. “It’s what their Royal Family eat on,” Goodin says. He chops cilantro, tomatoes and onion for pico de gallo, contentedly making preparations for a Mexican dinner. “On Fridays, we always went out to eat Mexican food. I started making it at home during the pandemic and we discovered it was better. And I love cooking.” Goodin was back at the island weeks later, prepping for yet another dinner. “I am just so grateful,” he says, no longer trying to cook with a microwave. He contentedly stirs a roux on the stove for macaroni and cheese. Did the end result of the renovation also meet Goodin’s expectations? Yes. His wish for the kitchen was simple: a room with a view. In removing former walls, they gained an unobstructed garden view and natural light. “I am so glad to be able to look out the kitchen door and watch what is going on outside as I cook, and how nature is more involved than ever before.” Their friend Janine Wagers, Universal Furniture’s head designer, saw the kitchen renovation just as it was completed. Richardson smiles and grabs his phone to find Wagers’ text: “Loved, loved, loved your kitchen!” He grins and says, “Well, I mean, I liked it, too, but . . .” He halts. “I don’t like bragging.” h Cynthia Adams is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. Winter 2020
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HUNT & GATHER
A Winter’s Walk Snapshots of this snow-laced season By Lynn Donovan
inter. The very word brings a chill to the air. The trees are bare. Birds and critters search for food and shelter. The cold brings skies as blue as you’ve ever seen or, sometimes, icy rain and even snow. Notice how the sun rises and sets in a low arc on the horizon. How the phases of the moon wink down on the cold, hard ground from an inky, blue-black sky. How all of nature is enhanced by this glittering season. The heat of a bonfire chases away the cold, warms the body and brightens the night. The falling snow throws a blanket of white and quiet over all things. Winter, cold but beautiful, holds the promise of awakening after a lengthy sleep. The long walk through it is sprinkled with flashes of beauty, new perspectives and moments of absolute wonder. And on the other side of this barebranched season, the warm hope of spring awaits. h Lynn Donovan loves to travel and explore the world and her own backyard through the lens of her camera.
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HOUSE FOR SALE
A crown jewel of High Point’s Emerywood By Ashley Wahl
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t’s not often that a 1920s-era home stays in the same family for almost an entire century, but such is the case for 905 Forest Hills Drive in High Point. That is, until it sells. Built in 1926 — just three years after the completion of Emerywood, the 9-hole Donald Ross golf course adjacent to the house — elements of English architecture reign, including its white stucco exterior and cross-gabled, steeply pitched roof. Impressive as it was then, it’s stunning by today’s standards. And if you had a bird’s eye view, you’d appreciate how it utterly stands out in contrast to the vibrant green landscape while nestling into the lush surrounding forest, like the adjacent High Point Country Club. Designed by Northup and O’Brien, a thriving and prominent architectural firm in WinstonSalem from 1916–1953, this stately gem is what architectural historian Benjamin Briggs describes as a “distinctive variation” of Tudor revival, with a nod, perhaps, to whimsical Storybook variants that became so popular in the 1920s. In other words, it’s nothing short of romantic. Defined by its arched entryways, elegant trim and handsome wood paneling, the interior is resplendent with charm and natural light, offering over 5,000 square feet of livable space. The first level includes a spacious and stunning living room with Egyptian marble fireplace. After this stately and formal introduction, look for a thoroughly modern kitchen and adjacent breakfast room. Of course, there’s a formal dining room, and to kick back and relax, choose either a cozy den, a keeping room, a sitting room or a sun room complete with flagstone flooring, picture winWinter 2020
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dows and a black-and-white striped awning. Upstairs: four bedrooms, laundry and three full baths. Separate from the house, the apartment above the three-car garage adds an additional bedroom, full bath, kitchen and den. An outdoor gazebo is surrounded by tidy landscaping. Proximity to the High Point Country Club is certainly a draw. Members have access to two golf courses — Emerywood and Willow Creek. Although its original homeowners, Helen and J.E. Millis (as in AdamsMillis Hosiery), didn’t come here for the world-class golf, Emerywood’s eighth tee is practically an extension of the home’s spacious backyard. “This was my grandparents’ house,” says current owner David Covington. “I basically grew up here.” David and wife, Jennifer, bought the house from his mother and uncle in 1982. While the original footprint hasn’t changed, they brought the interior up-to-date and converted a former sleeping porch into a bathroom suite for the master bedroom, where you’ll find the home’s second fireplace. “We have mixed emotions about leaving here,” says David, but since their three daughters have fled the nest and started families of their own, it’s simply time. This is a family house for sure. One that offers peaceful vistas, spaciousness and a true sense of place at Emerywood. And with any luck, this timeless gem is ready to start its next century and a second heritage with new owners. h The Details: 905 Forest Hills Drive, High Point. Asking price: $1,150,000. Listed by MooMoo Councill of Coldwell Banker Advantage. (336) 457-0701 or www.coldwellbanker.com
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THE LANGUAGE OF HOME
Praise be to Eggnog A perennial holiday favorite By Noah Salt
he leftover candy supply from Halloween had barely dwindled when the wife returned from the grocery store with a coy smile on her face. “Guess what I got you?” she teased. “I can’t believe they have it this early!” Before I could reply, she whipped a bottle of Homeland Creamery eggnog from the bag. It was a nice surprise. Commercial eggnog normally reaches the grocery stores the week before Thanksgiving and disappears just weeks after the New Year. So to celebrate this early release of my favorite holiday drink, I immediately opened the bottle and poured myself a dram just to see how it tasted. It didn’t disappoint. Of course, as any connoisseur of this sweet, chilled dairy concoction — traditionally made from eggs, cream, loads of nutmeg and a healthy dollop of the appropriate spirit — knows, homemade eggnog is the gold standard for those of us who can’t get enough of the stuff at the holidays. As holiday traditions go, in fact, consumption of eggnog predates almost everything in the modern Christmas setting save for the lighted fir tree and grandma Enid’s famous Yule log. According to food historians, as early as the 13th century, monks in Medieval Britain drank something call posset, a warm ale punch made from warm milk, eggs and figs, curdled with wine and flavored with spices. Lore holds that the name derived from the Old English word for this strong beer brewed in East Anglia, eventually fusing with hot milk and frothed eggs and served in a small cup called a noggin near the end of the 16th century – hence egg meets noggin. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, “eggnog” is an American term introduced in 1775 when Maryland clergyman and philologist Jonathan Boucher wrote a poem about the drink, which was popular in pubs and taverns of pre-Revolutionary America: Fog-drams i’ th’ morn, or (better still) egg-nogg, / At night hotsuppings, and at mid-day, grogg, / My palate can regale Winter 2020
(Try saying that out loud after a few glasses of bourbon-laced eggnog!) George Washington, America’s first president, reportedly served eggnog to visitors who called on his Mount Vernon home at the holidays, devilishly spiked with rye whiskey, rum and sherry. For the record, here’s the Father of the Nation’s own homemade recipe: One dozen eggs One quart cream One quart milk One dozen tablespoons sugar One pint brandy 1/2 pint rye whiskey 1/2 pint Jamaica rum 1/4 pint sherry The recipe, found at Almanac.com, instructs nog lovers to “mix [the] liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of 12 eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.” Taste too frequently and you may not be able to safely walk your guests to their waiting carriages. Whatever else may be true, George was quite the social influencer, for eggnog quickly spread across the frontier to become a traditional holiday libation in Colonial America. A recent check of eggnog recipes online reveals no less than 50 different recipes – all of which goes to show how one’s personal tastes and regional differences make this historic drink such a perennial holiday favorite. These days, whether you make it yourself or opt for the tamer store-bought version, eggnog will sweeten your holiday gathering in more ways than one. h SEASONS • STYLE & DESIGN 79
The Essence of Home What felt lost was actually here all along By Jennifer Bringle
he holiday season always makes the absence of someone you love more pronounced. The sharpness of the hole they’ve left in your heart — whether fresh or a cavern that grows deeper — seems craggier, more dangerous with each passing year. Tears are quick. Memories surprise you at unexpected moments, dredging up feelings you thought were long buried. Of course, I bring some of this on myself. I willingly repeat rituals that remind me that my mother is gone. Hanging her ornaments on my tree. Baking the gingersnaps she made each year. Listening to Judy Garland — her namesake — croon mournfully about missing someone at Christmas. I lost my mom in a car accident more than 20 years ago when I was 21. Her death so unexpected, my father, younger sister and I were left unmoored. My mother was the nucleus of our family, and without her we felt like a table missing a leg — wobbly and off-kilter. The home, once complete, suddenly lost its center. Mom and I were always in charge of decorating our house for Christmas. I would help her put our ancient fake tree together, untangling the scratchy limbs and figuring out which strands of lights still worked. Then we’d hang the ornaments — vintage glass balls from her mother’s collection, glitter-and-glue-covered “treasures” made by my sister and me, sparkly seashells and other souvenirs from family vacations. The first year after she died, we didn’t have a tree. We were all too devastated to get into the festive spirit. But the next year, I hauled out the old fir and sorted the limbs myself. I wrapped it in twinkling lights and hung each bauble and bulb. I did this task alone, but I could almost feel her presence alongside me. Though she was gone, it felt like a little piece of her had returned home. As the years passed, I moved into my own home and became a mother. And I began replicating the holiday traditions I’d shared with my mother. A few years ago my son joined in as I hung ornaments. He also helped scoop flour and lick the beat-
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ers as I mixed the gingersnap dough. Once again, I could feel my mother with us, could feel the warmth of home that I thought died with her. That sense of her presence intensified on Christmas morning. My husband gifted me a bottle of perfume — Estée Lauder’s Youth-Dew. Youth-Dew is not a young woman’s scent. Even the bottle — cinched in the middle with a dainty gold bow — has a vintage air. Its heady, spicy aroma is not the type of thing you lightly spritz on a spring day. This is a grown woman’s scent. It’s the scent a woman might wear when she wants to feel fancy, luxurious, beautiful. My mother loved Youth-Dew. It was an indulgence for a family on a budget, so when she got a bottle, she savored it, only wearing it on special occasions. I carefully opened the signature blue box and gently removed the glass bottle topped with a gold cap that matched its delicate bow. I held it in my hands for a moment, feeling its weight, then I slowly uncapped it, spritzing a bit on my wrist. That first inhale was like one of those life-passing-beforeyour-eyes highlight reels in a movie. My mother at church. My mother on Christmas Day. My mother at my graduation. My mother smiling with a confidence she didn’t often feel. It smelled just like her, a scent I hadn’t smelled in more than 20 years. It smelled like home. But the longer I wore it, the scent began to change. Perfumes tend to do this — alter slightly with the body chemistry of the person wearing it. It still smelled like Youth-Dew, but a little different. A little more me than her. Like the Youth-Dew, all the traditions I carry on feel just a little different. For a long time, I did them solo, trying to recapture that sense of home I lost with my mother’s death. Now my son joins me, building our own traditions on the foundation of my mother’s. While the essence of her love persists, the rituals feel different now, as if her spirit is simply a part of me. And that feeling of home, I realized, is still very much alive. h When she’s not decorating for the holidays, Jennifer Bringle writes for various outlets from her home in Greensboro. Winter 2020
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417 S ELM STREET | SWANSBORO WATERFRONT CONTEMPORARY | $1,685,000
_________________________________________________________________ 3650 SE SCHOOL ROAD | GREENSBORO
EXCEPTIONALLY RESTORED, 8+ ACS | $814,500
7607 BLUE SAGE COURT | SUMMERFIELD SOUGHT-AFTER LOCATION | $700,000
JOHN-MARK MITCHELL 336.682.2552
PAM HILTON 336.816.7757
MABELLINE MITCHELL 336.722.9911
WAYNE YARBROUGH 336.575.6902
ZACH DAWSON 336.416.2876
2721 CROQUET CIRCLE | HIGH POINT LUXURY TOWNHOME | $469,900
ZACHARY CHRISTINE BRADLEY BRESKY 336.705.8861 336.995.9898
MIRABELLA KNIGHT 225.229.3236
High Country | Charlotte | Blowing Rock | Winston-Salem | Raleigh | Durham | Emerald Isle | Wilmington | Crystal Coast
Fine Eyewear by Appointment 327 South Elm | Greensboro 336.274.1278 | TheViewOnElm.com Becky Causey, Licensed Optician
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