MOD Society Magazine - Triad May/June 2022

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Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem’s Curated Lifestyle & Design Magazine May/June MMXXII

interior design · furniture · art · lighting · vintage 513 s elm st. greensboro 336.265.8628 serving up interior design since 2013

EDITOR from the

Greetings, #marvelouslyMOD readers! With spring in full bloom and summer around the corner, we’re feeling lighter, brighter and ready to re-emerge from our homes to celebrate the season.

That sentiment permeates this issue of MOD Society, starting with the bright, airy feel of our featured home. We highlight a Greensboro abode given a fresh look by designer Bradshaw Orrell. Bradshaw’s transformation gave the home a sophisticated, serene vibe that captures the homeowners’ taste and lifestyle.

In our designer column, the team from Vivid Interiors shares some of their favorite Greek Isles-inspired pieces for upgrading the look of your home.

Sophistication was the word for designer Terry Lowdermilk when he partnered with some longtime clients to revamp their outdoor space. The homeowners tasked Terry with creating a terrace that reflected the interior style of their home. Terry gives us the scoop on how he achieved that goal.

Speaking of achieving goals, I am so excited for you to meet chef and writer Nikki Miller-Ka, who is truly living her dreams these days. I first met Nikki years ago at the Fire in the Triad culinary competition, and since then she has become quite the foodie star, now on staff at Food & Wine magazine and serving on the prestigious James Beard Award nominating committee. Her infectious spirit and bubbly personality feel just right as we settle into this sunnier season.

And with many of us packing our bags for getaways in the coming months, I’m so excited to launch our newest feature, Book Club, featuring North Carolina authors. In this issue, we feature New York Times bestselling author Kristy Woodson Harvey, whose latest book, The Wedding Veil, is out now. Kristy — who’s known for her Southern-style beach reads — weaves the stories of Biltmore house mistresses Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt with the adventures of two modern-day women.

The book’s theme definitely fits since we’re in the height of wedding season, and I love the sweet ceremony we feature in Society Sightings. The happy couple celebrated their union amid a romantic, chic reception design. Elsewhere, our Clothes Whisperer answers your questions about hiring a personal stylist, and our Points of View columnist offers guidance on incorporating color into your spaces. And our Triad Lifestyle Medicine columnist provides tips for increasing your overall wellness, one step at a time.

Whether you’re packing it in your beach bag or enjoying this issue with a cool glass of sweet tea on your porch, we hope MOD Society helps you savor the season ahead!



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Our editor feels the warmth of the coming season, and it shines throughout this issue.



Designer Bradshaw Orrell revisits a home with repeat clients, and the result is a fresh, modern take on a classic abode. He shares the process, including creating custom furnishings.

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The team from Vivid Interiors share some of their favorite looks inspired by the bold blues and whites of the Greek Isles.


Stylist Maribeth Geraci explains how to choose a personal stylist. Her expertise will make the decision stylishly simple.

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Designer Terry Lowdermilk shows us how to create a sophisticated outdoor space with the same style and comfort as indoor rooms.


Color can transform a room, and designer Lisa Johnson shares easy and impactful ways to incorporate it in your home this season.

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Chef and writer Nikki Miller-Ka knows the secret to the best macaroniand-cheese, and it helped her land a gig with Food & Wine magazine. She tells us how, and also takes us behind the scenes of her position on the prestigious James Beard Award nominating committee.



In our inaugural Book Club feature, we chat with North Carolina author Kristy Woodson Harvey about her latest novel, The Wedding Veil. The book weaves the stories of two modern-day women with those of Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt of Biltmore.




Columnist Tiffany Allen offers easy steps to improving your overall wellness this season.


The current real estate market is hotter than ever. Kristen Haynes explains why and how to navigate it.


You’re invited to an elegant and romantic wedding held in High Point and designed by Brianne McMullan Events.





“They love travel and people, and they love entertaining with the ones they love,” Bradshaw says. “But chilling at home with the cats and dogs is equally important.”


When you’re an established interior designer like Bradshaw Orrell of Bradshaw Orrell Interiors, you tend to earn repeat business. That certainly held true for a recent home revamp in Greensboro. Not only had Bradshaw previously worked with the clients on another home, but he’d also helped the new home’s former owner with her additions. So, he came into this project with an exceptional understanding not only of the home, but of its new residents’ taste.

“They like clean and modern, but it’s also a very traditional house, so the design falls between those aesthetics,” Bradshaw says.

Throughout the home, Bradshaw used a neutral palette accented with pops of color via artwork, draperies and other decor pieces to establish an airy, sophisticated feel throughout.

The entryway creates an inviting tableau with a series of arched openings over a hallway leading to a sunny sitting room in the rear of the home. Bradshaw complemented that look with hand-painted neutral stripes on the walls, along with a painting sourced at Art Basel in Miami. Beneath the artwork, an ornate Baroque table grounds the space while an antique light fixture adds illumination.

While most of the home reflects a more modern, clean-lined aesthetic, pieces such as the antique Baroque table and a handcarved mantle made by Atlanta architect Stan Dixon in the living room bring a touch of elegant romance to the spaces. Stan, whom Bradshaw loves working with, was responsible for all the renovations and additions.

In the breakfast room, Bradshaw utilized his skills as a furnishings designer. He has designed custom lines for Chelsea House, Thompson Traders and Baker Furniture in the past. In this room he created a custom main table with an eye-catching offset leg design, as well as a smaller waterfall acrylic accent table. He also designed a modern, rectangular-shaped light fixture that hangs above the dining table, which was then crafted in Charleston, South Carolina, by Urban Electric.

“My background is as a furniture designer, and so I love making gorgeous things,” Bradshaw says. “So anytime I can, I try to create custom pieces.”

Bradshaw completed the room’s look with upholstered chairs from Baker surrounding the main table and another large painting sourced at Art Basel flanking a wall.

In the sitting area framed by the entryway’s arched openings, Bradshaw added a pair of Knoll Barcelona chairs and an ottoman. Knoll is known for their sleek mid-century silhouette. To add texture, Bradshaw incorporated an antique rug and draperies he custom made made of mohair, which shade massive floor-to-ceiling windows.


“They’re very fancy, and they’ve also got a little James Bond moment — you can click a button and they all close,” he says.

For the formal dining room, Bradshaw customdesigned the conversation-conducive round table, which was constructed in England.

“It’s made of rosewood, and it’s got some gold leaf details,” he says. “And I think it’s one of the prettiest things I have ever made.”

To accompany the table, Bradshaw turned to Maryland furniture maker Niermann Weeks, where he once served as design director. The company handmade and hand-painted the chairs, which feature hints of gold that reflect the table’s detail. Handmade draperies with an embroidered tape along the edges and an antique crystal chandelier complete the look. Bradshaw lent his furniture design talents to upgrade the home office, as well. He designed and handmade the round partner desk — with opposing seating for two. The table is embellished with a bamboo pattern. That bamboo motif carried over to the draperies, as well, which were handmade with a patterned edge across the bottom.

A modern chandelier illuminates the space, and a painting by one of the owners adds a pop of color along a wall. Beneath that painting sits a funky, abstract chair Bradshaw made, inspired by a chair the homeowner saw in the lobby of the Delano hotel in Miami.

In the primary bedroom, Bradshaw outfitted a sitting area with plush upholstered chaises he custom designed, along with chairs from Hickory Chair featuring bamboo design details on the frames. He upholstered the chairs in a luxurious Fortuny patterned fabric.

The real jewel of this home redesign was unearthed downstairs, in the basement of all places. Bradshaw created a sexy, sophisticated cigar room with an adjacent bar for the homeowners to relax and entertain guests. “It was just an unfinished basement, and it had a drop leaf ceiling,” Bradshaw says. “And she wanted to give her husband a 40th birthday present, so we did this little cigar room. She wanted it to have a Moroccan theme because she had this great photograph of him with his buddies somewhere in Morocco smoking cigars.”


Bradshaw reconfigured the space, added doorways with Moroccaninspired archways and pocket doors embellished with bronze metal mesh panels. He carried that bronze finish to the ceiling panels and the geometric-patterned wallpaper. And the spiked Strada light fixture by Kelly Wearstler for Visual Comfort casts a soft glow that is reflected by the warm bronze accents in the room.

Curved-back custom chairs provide a comfy spot to enjoy a smoke, while an antique coffee table reflects those curves in its circular design. A plush rug adds a cozy vibe to the space. And because the room is designed for smoking, Bradshaw incorporated an air filtration and ventilation system to prevent the smoke from becoming overpowering or wafting to other areas of the home. He also outfitted the space with an assortment of antique ashtrays in various sizes and shapes.

To round out the design, three oversized black-and-white photographs serve as a focal point along one wall. Bradshaw says the photos were taken by the homeowners on some of their many globetrotting adventures.

But while the homeowners love to travel, Greensboro is their homebase, so Bradshaw wanted to help them create a home design that reflected that — a place where they can retreat to relax and have fun together and with their loved ones.

“They love travel and people, and they love entertaining with the ones they love,” he says. “But chilling at home with the cats and dogs is equally important.”

Regarding the Home...

DESIGN TEAM: Bradshaw Orrell Interiors

CONTRACTOR: Classic Construction

Featured Home Photos

Cover Foyer

Pages 15-16 Living Room

Page 17 Sitting Room

Page 18 Breakfast Room

Pages 19-20 Dining Room

Page 21 Office (top) Sitting Room (bottom)

Page 22 Cigar Room

Page 23 Bedroom Sitting Room


Kathryn Field


Jennifer Bringle


Tiffany Allen

Maribeth Geraci

Kristen Haynes

Lisa Johnson


Jennifer Weaver-Spencer


Lindley Battle

Anna Danielle

Aura Marzouk

DESIGN STUDIO Stallard Studio, LLC


The Buzz Effect Triad.MODsocietyMagazine #marvelouslyMOD MOD Society Magazine is published six times a year by MSM Media LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. ©2021.
Bradshaw Orrell Interiors
MOD Society Magazine Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem Vol. 4 No. 3 Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem TRIAD MOD SOCIETY MAY/JUNE MMXXII | 25



Nowadays, outdoor spaces have evolved far beyond the basic patios of yore. Exterior rooms serve as an extension of the interior, with the same style and comfort expected by homeowners and their guests.

That sensibility informed designer Terry Lowdermilk on an outdoor project for a longtime client. The homeowners had a small covered terrace behind their home, but they wanted to expand the space to create a multifunctional outdoor living space. Classic Construction built the terrace extension, which included major structural work since it stands well above ground level.

The build-out included constructing a brick fireplace and mantle, as well as a brick-and-stone fountain. Working closely with his clients, Terry chose handcarved limestone for the fountain and the stately mantle with an intricately carved design. Alamance Ironworks constructed the terrace railing.

Prior to construction, Terry consulted with the homeowners on how they wanted to use the space and delineate specific areas for different functions.

“When we were laying out the dimensions of that terrace, I asked them how many people do you want to seat in certain areas, how many people do you want to have at the dining table, etc.,” Terry says. “It’s important to find out how they want to use space so you can plan accordingly.”

To fit the traditional vibe of the space, Terry and the homeowners selected cushioned aluminum seating and dining furniture by Gensun, as well as wicker seating by Woodard. Terry selected the fabrics for the cushions and added custom-made throw pillows. And while the cushions and pillows are made with performance fabrics, Terry says it’s important to understand they’ll still need care and upkeep.

“Usually when I’m working with my clients on outdoor spaces, they’re very interested in comfort,” he says. “And it’s important to let them know that if you want this comfortable cushion, you have to cover them up or take them in — you have to educate your clients if they want certain looks.”


The homeowners wanted a traditional look on their patio that mirrored the feel of the interior of their home, so Terry incorporated decorative pieces that brought an indoor look to the space.

“They like the look of blue and white, so I decided to accessorize the terrace with pieces you might not ordinarily see on a terrace,” he says. “On the mantle, those big lidded jars are filled with sand and the lids are sealed tight so they don’t blow off.”

Plants also played an important role in creating the vibe of the space. Terry used large planters from Guilford Garden Center to accommodate plants added by Ideal Horticulture. At first, the homeowners thought the containers might be too large, but Terry says in a space as expansive as this terrace, big planters are a must.

“One of the things that’s a little tough when you have container gardening is for the containers to be large

enough so they look appropriate for the big space,” he says. “After we got the plants in the containers and added the ivy, all of a sudden, the clients saw my vision.”

Terry says that vision came together to give the homeowners an outdoor space that offers ample room to relax, entertain and simply enjoy nature. And that space lives in harmony with the interior of the home, offering a seamless transition from indoors to out.

“When you’re working on a nice home with beautiful furnishings, it’s important for it to flow,” Terry says.

“And when you walk into a pretty room and look outside, you don’t want to see something so jarring that it’s all you focus on. So, I tried to keep it light and fresh with pieces that make it feel like an interior space instead of an outdoor look.”

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Vivid Interiors is a design shop and retail space in downtown Greensboro. This feature of Living Vivid is inspired by bold and vibrant blues and washed whites of the Greek Islands.


The Greek Goddess Athena was adored by all, much like the aptly named Athena blue-and-white bone mirror from Made Goods.

The St. Barts chandelier from Currey and Company echos the sea with its rope and tonal blue wood beads, and is the perfect piece for any coastal-inspired space.

Ralph Lauren has an iconic signature for all things classic and beautiful. His Aryn rug for Safavieh combines time honored lines with a modern sensibility. 100 percent wool, 100 percent beautiful!

Commes des Garcons takes the iconic Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker and makes it even more playful with their peek-a-boo heart logo. We’re especially loving their new bold blue release!



A nod to the Greek Klismos Chair, the outdoor Drift Chair from Sublime Original has the curves to draw your eye in and the poise to keep you around.

Travel is certainly on our minds, and Greece is number one on our bucket list. Take a trip through the pages of Mykonos Muse exploring the culture, myths, ruins and glamour of the Cyclades.

Drive into Cypress with this saffron, lavender and sea salt candle from Glasshouse Fragrances (available at Vivid).

Much like the ancient buildings of Greece, the Movement Cabinet by High Point local South and English features hand-plastered geometric reliefs for a stately and updated classical moment.



As you walk into your closet, do you find yourself staring at all the full hangers, but seeing nothing to wear? After three years of being lost in fashion space, are you asking yourself: What is my style now? Could you use some help?

Many customers ask me about stylists — who uses them, and how people use them. Stylists are not just for the famous anymore. People looking for help navigating a highfunctioning wardrobe that suits their lifestyle are using stylists now more than ever.

Stylists are masters at editing, mixing and matching, and they are skilled at providing flattering choices that work with your fashion personality. They can help streamline your wardrobe so you keep the pieces that work, and stylists can tell you what to add to help you save time and effort as you get dressed each day.

Celebrities have used stylists for decades, and as we can all attest, many of those stylists have not served their clients well. I could go on a rant with examples, but that’s another article. Anyone can hire a stylist today, but it’s important to interview stylists to make sure they are a good fit.

Your stylist should have credentials and should be a good listener. Many stylists have a specific focus, such as social occasions. I recommend you choose a stylist who has multiple skills, experience and resources.

I am a stylist/consultant, and my customers tend to be people who want help shopping their own closets. They believe in owning the best basics (the glue that holds any wardrobe together), and they are focused on staying modern and relevant as they age. Any stylist you interview should be able to tell you the profile of their customers, and this will help you choose the best stylist for you.

If you don’t trust your fashion judgment anymore, or you are going through one of life’s many transitions — a decade change, a weight change, or a professional change — then, hiring a stylist might offer the help you need to pull together your wardrobe. DressCode Style in Greensboro and Raleigh have stylists available, and we would love to help you.

– Maribeth Geraci, DressCode Style


Color is like charisma and has long been associated with happiness. Research shows that bright colors have an immediate and lasting effect on our moods and provide long-term contentment.

So, it’s only natural that we incorporate color into our homes and gardens either subtly or overtly as a form of creative expression.

I’ve always had a passion for color — whether I’m designing a wedding venue or refreshing a home. In a home, I encourage clients to use items they already own as a foundation, and then bring in additional unique pieces that make their home special. I’ve trained my eye to find distinctive furnishings, objects and art. I teach my clients to do the same — to understand how color and texture can bring instant beauty to any environment. I encourage all my clients to be individuals, and I find that bringing color in a home is the first step toward achieving that goal.

Warmer and brighter days are here, so now is the time to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors with color. Easy ways to infuse color in both settings include perking up your patio, brightening your sunniest room or dressing your dining tables with fresh hues. Lean into your home for creative inspiration because appreciation for our homes as sanctuaries is here to stay. Allow your home to be an extension of your personality, and evolve with it.

Over the past months, I’ve noticed a multitude of new colors and patterns. I believe that as people become more optimistic about life and the economy, design trends shift. Grays are fading, and colors such as cobalt blue, canary yellow, kelly green and lavender are taking over. Stripes, plaids and floral prints are being added to the mix and are masterfully layered in furnishings.

However, in my own home, along with colorful spaces, I also have neutral rooms. In those spaces, I have pops of modern art in vibrant color palettes and plenty of texture to prevent the formality of a room from taking over. I surround myself with objects and art I love, colors that stimulate and textures that add comfort.

While color energizes, I’m also thrilled that brown furniture has reemerged, because it provides the anchor we need in each room to allow color to shine. Allow yourself to be more open to imperfections in antiques and become fascinated by the collectibility of these gems. These pieces, along with the color palette you choose, will individualize your home.

Don’t shy away from color — use it as an expression. Let the colors you choose reflect your life and interests and tell your story.

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Like so many Southern cooks, Winston-Salem food writer and chef Nikki Miller-Ka discovered her love for the culinary world in her grandmother’s kitchen.

“Cooking has always been a huge part of my life,” she says. “My grandmother cooked and made dinner every night. She would pick me up from school, and we’d go to the grocery store every weekday.”

Those daily meals Nikki’s grandmother made were more than just mere food — they were a tangible expression of her love for her family.

“She always took care of people, and the best way of taking care of people is cooking for them,” Nikki says. “I’d always want to help in the kitchen because she did everything, so I would do what I could.”

When Nikki enrolled at East Carolina University (ECU), her passion for writing took precedence over cooking. She majored in English and envisioned a career in journalism or screenwriting. At the same time, she felt pulled toward the culinary world. Nikki considered changing her major to hospitality, but opted to stick with English since ECU didn’t have a culinary program at the time. However, after graduating from ECU, Nikki studied culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

After she returned to North Carolina, Nikki worked at The News & Record. On the side she began writing NikSnacks, a food blog that launched in 2007.

“I’ve always been a writer creatively, and cooking is what took me there,” Nikki says. “As a kid, I loved to write, and I would write plays and play restaurant. So cooking and writing about food allowed me to tie those things together.”

At first, NikSnacks simply served as a creative outlet and a way to marry Nikki’s passions for writing and food. But when her job at The News & Record was eliminated in 2011, Nikki faced a crossroads — she could get a restaurant job, or she could pursue her dream of food writing.

Around that same time, the world of blogging transformed, with bloggers monetizing their content through advertising, affiliate links and partnerships with major companies. Nikki saw an opportunity to make NikSnacks more than just a hobby and began reaching out to companies to forge partnerships to finance her blog.

“When that switch flipped in the blogging world and people were making money doing this, I became a full-time freelance blogger,” she says. “It was wild to me that I was making money doing something that felt like I was playing a game.”

Through her blog and connections she made as a private chef, Nikki continued to expand her presence in the Triad food scene and beyond. In 2012, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture tapped her as the official food blogger for their Fire in the Triad Competition Dining Series. The annual competition pitted local chefs against each other in an “Iron Chef” style culinary battle.

That gig allowed Nikki to meet Kat Kinsman, who was an editor for CNN’s Eatocracy at the time. The two struck up a friendship which continued online via social media. Fast forward to 2021, when Kat, now an editor at Food & Wine, posted a Tweet about bacon grease jars — a staple of many Southern kitchens. Nikki chimed in, leading Kat to message her with an offer to write a piece for the magazine.

“ My grandmother cooked and made dinner every night. She would pick me up from school, and we’d go to the grocery store every weekday.”


That story led to an offer to manage social media for Food & Wine, a job perfect for Nikki and her vibrant social media presence. While she lent her online expertise to the venerable food magazine, she also pitched stories. An idea for a piece on macaroni and cheese led to Nikki flying to New York to film a cooking video for the magazine’s website.

“The theme was ‘Make it Thanksgiving, but make it extra,’” she says. “What is more extra than macaroni and cheese in the African American culture? You can’t just make it and bring it — you are appointed and anointed. You don’t just show up — it has to be vetted by multiple levels of relatives.”

Nikki’s story, video and recipe (which she has been making for her family’s Thanksgiving dinner since age 14) ended up being one of Food & Wine’s top stories of 2021. And since then, Nikki has been working as an associate editor for the magazine.

“I’ve been there almost a year, and I’m still dancing in the glittery stardust that is Food & Wine, one of the longest-running legacy food magazines,” she says. “I’m working on the digital side, and what I’m doing now is exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.”

In November 2021, Nikki realized another dream after being selected by the James Beard Foundation to serve as a subcommittee member representing the Southeast region for the Restaurant and Chef Awards Subcommittee.

“This is what I’ve been training for since 2007,” she says. “I get to be a part of food history in terms of this really important foundation that has been a part of the food lexicon for years.”

In this role, Nikki will judge and name nominees for the prestigious food awards representing the states of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

As she experiences so much success both as a writer and a culinary personality, Nikki says she feels the magnitude of this moment as a woman of color from the South. And she plans to make the most of every success, not just for herself, but for others, too.

“I feel like it’s my responsibility to lift my people up,” she says. “I’m in a position to write about North Carolina, talk about the Piedmont, talk about the South and uplift other Black voices and Black people.”

Want to make Nikki’s macaroni and cheese? Visit for the recipe.


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Climb Your Wellness Ladder One Step at a Time

As a lifestyle medicine practice, our team takes a broader perspective to healing than a conventional medical practice. Rather than focusing on correcting a single symptom, our goal is to guide our patients toward comprehensively feeling better and living a longer and more vibrant life.

We’ve learned through working with a wide variety of patients that the journey toward feeling better physically, emotionally and spiritually can be overwhelming if you try to improve every area at once. The key to success and stamina in a whole-person, long-term wellness journey is to make small steps, one or two at a time, to climb to the top of the ladder and reach optimal wellness.

Here are examples of impactful, small changes you may consider in your life — taking only one or two at a time — to propel your wellness journey forward.

Physically: Are you eating enough fresh, whole foods? Limiting (I didn’t say eliminating!) unhealthy foods and drinks? Drinking enough water (tea doesn’t count!)? Moving (I didn’t say working out!) regularly in a way that you enjoy? Sleeping seven or more hours a night, and sleeping well?

Emotionally and Mentally: Are you practicing deep breathing daily? Giving and receiving affection? Expressing gratitude daily? Enjoying stress-reducing activities regularly? Releasing unhealed, festering emotions?

Socially and Professionally: Are you spending time with people who make you laugh? Feeling comfortable saying no and asking for help? Doing something fun with friends or family at least once a week? Finding meaning in your work? Finding balance in your professional and personal life? If your answer to any of these questions is “no” or “sometimes,” focus on one or two of those items for the next few weeks.

Establish a new healthy habit that helps you improve those areas. And if needed, consider connecting with a support partner such as an emotional coach, medical practitioner, yoga instructor, nutritionist, personal trainer, professional mentor or a social group. These partners can help provide guidance, expertise and accountability.

You can do it! Just remember you don’t need to do it ALL at once!

kristy woodson harvey, photography by jay ackerman

Romance Ages A for the

When North Carolina author Kristy Woodson Harvey got the idea for her most recent book, The Wedding Veil, she had a pretty clear vision of how the writing process would play out. The book — which weaves the stories of Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt with those of a modern family of women through the common thread of a passed-down wedding veil — would be Kristy’s first foray into historical fiction.

“I imagined myself at Biltmore and in libraries, doing all this really hands-on research,” she says. “And then it was March 9, 2020, when I got home from the book tour, and we know what happened then.”

The COVID-19 pandemic threw a huge wrench into Kristy’s plans, making it impossible to do on-site research at Biltmore. It also forced her to work around her son’s virtual school schedule and with her husband at home. But, after Kristy dove into the virtual research process, she found plenty of resources to help guide her story.

“In some ways, I actually think that not being able to do hands-on research at first might have helped me. I spent a lot of time reading every single thing I possibly could about these women,” she says. “I joke that any time their name has been mentioned in a newspaper in history, I’ve read it.”

One of the most interesting stories she found early on was about the veil both Edith and Cornelia wore for their weddings. The heirloom had been passed down through generations of women in Edith’s family, just like the veil Kristy wore in her own wedding.

“The original idea for the book was sparked because my husband’s family has this really beautiful wedding veil that’s been in their family for a long time,” she says. “One of my cousins was getting married, and I let her wear it, and she and I had this conversation about all these women who have worn this veil and how it connects us all even though we may not ever know each other.”

Going into the research process, Kristy had preconceived notions that the marriage between Edith and George Vanderbilt — who commissioned the building of Biltmore in Asheville — was one of convenience. Edith

came from one of the nation’s most established families, and George represented one of the United States’ greatest fortunes. But as Kristy dug deeper, she began to uncover the evidence of a great love story, particularly in the years after George’s untimely death when Edith struggled to keep the great mansion afloat.

“The length that she went to to preserve his legacy was at times almost at odds with other things in her life because she was this very modern woman, and yet she held onto this giant, impractical home, a symbol of what used to be,” Kristy says. “The key to that was that Edith and George had a really great love story. They really did love each other, and they found this true common ground in their life together.”

But love wasn’t the only force driving Edith in the years after her husband’s death. As she researched, Kristy discovered how much Edith and her daughter Cornelia struggled to manage and maintain not only the colossal estate, but also the adjacent village and the dozens of employees who lived and worked there.

“It’s easy to say in 2022 that we’re these strong women who live life on our own terms, but we have a lot of options,” she says. “Edith couldn’t even vote, and she’s trying to figure out how to save the biggest house in America. To have that fortitude day after day was incredible.”

As the world began to reopen again after the onset of the pandemic, Kristy finally visited Biltmore to do inperson research about the Vanderbilt women.

“I had my entire first draft written before I was able to go to Biltmore,” she says. “I did some behind-the-scenes tours, which was really helpful because I already knew what my story was. So, I was fact-checking and filling in these little jewels and gems of stories that I was getting from Biltmore guides.”

Kristy’s new book wasn’t the only project sidetracked by the pandemic. Prior to the onset of COVID-19, she inked a development deal with NBC to produce a television show based on her Peachtree Bluff book series.


“It got optioned, and I was going to go to LA and do the pitching with the team, but I didn’t end up getting to do that,” she says.

In the meantime, she wrote another installment to the series which follows the lives of a mother and her three grown daughters living in the Southern coastal town of Peachtree Bluff. Christmas in Peachtree Bluff debuted in the fall of 2021.

For Kristy, writing the book was an escape from the pandemic and was inspired by her friends and fellow authors, Mary Kay Andrews, Patti Callahan Henry and Kristin Harmel.

“In the beginning of the pandemic, Mary Kay sent out a text saying we’re all going to write every day at 7 o’clock in the morning,” Kristy says. “We didn’t have to, but we all said ‘yes’ because we were having trouble concentrating and were having trouble focusing on being properly creative when the world is falling apart.”

Kristy says that accountability with her friends helped her not only to write the fourth Peachtree Bluff installment and put the finishing touches on The

Wedding Veil, but it also gave her a sense of community and camaraderie during a difficult time.

“We just knew that if we got up every morning and wrote at 7 o’clock, we knew the others were writing along with us,” she says. “And every day I’d say, ‘This is my goal today,’ and it might have been 2,000 words or that I would figure out what room in Biltmore was Edith’s favorite. And whatever that goal may be, having that accountability and motivation helped tremendously to keep me on track.”

Now the Peachtree Bluff television series is also back on track, and for Kristy, being able to see her characters come to life in such a high-profile way is a thrill, particularly after all the challenges she has faced over the past two years.

“It’s been really nice to see it come together,” she says. “I’m co-writing it with one of the writers and the showrunner from ‘Sweet Magnolias,’ and it has been such an exciting process.”



We continue to see high rates of appreciation this year, and within the past month I have seen an uptick in higher-priced inventory, which is encouraging. According to the National Association of Realtors, every listing in today’s market receives an average of 5.1 offers and half of the homes are selling above list price.

I am seeing this here in the Triad and High Country as well, and in the last seven months, I have seen all of my listings going over the listing price. The housing market right now really is more auction-style, in which the home’s list price is more like the reserve. We are seeing more cash and cash-backed offers than ever before and non-refundable deposits remain extremely high. Many buyers are still searching for a home because they keep getting outbid.

A recent poll I conducted showed that many people were most concerned about the lack of inventory and increasing prices. I understand that! This inventory problem is an unfortunate reality we are facing now. You may have to pay more than you ever thought you would for a home. In the past few weeks we have seen

the interest rates going up quickly with the Federal Reserve trying hard to fight inflation with rate increases. Inflation, high demand, and low inventory are the factors that continue to drive prices up.

The exciting announcements of all the companies bringing thousands of jobs to our area will continue to drive this high demand. I have never worked with so many buyers moving into our area as I am now. More than half of buyer clients are relocating to Greensboro, and some of the young professionals moving here are telling me that their demographers are identifying Greensboro and surrounding cities as high growth areas.

And while the interest rates may reduce the buyer pool a bit, it’s still a better financial decision to buy than rent because rent prices have also skyrocketed.

Want to learn more? I love talking real estate, so feel free to contact me anytime with questions, or if I can be a resource to you.

more information: or
Kristen Haynes, Triad’s Finest


McMullan-Holloway Wedding

Mary Meade McMullan and Parker Holloway married on December 11, 2021, at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in High Point. Brianne McMullan Events helped plan and coordinate the day.

Mary Meade wanted a festive, chic reception, so florist John Paulin of the Grassy Knoll incorporated evergreens and magnolia leaves with classic, white florals. Soft ivory and gold tones used throughout the design lit up the space and a hanging greenery installation served as the focal point above the dance floor. The couple honored their dog, Milly, with a Herend cake topper perched atop their five-tier buttercream cake.

Two of Mary Meade’s favorite sentimental items were her “something blue” — an embroidered handkerchief given by her grandparents — and the veil her mother wore when she married.

The festive weekend ended with a surprise visit from Santa Claus, who drove the couple away amid a sparkler send off. “It was such a fun and festive way to kick off the holiday season,” says Mary Meade. The couple agreed the best part of the wedding was spending the weekend with people they love.

Mary Meade & bridesmaids Parker & the groomsmen
photography by ally & bobby
happy send off
Mr. & Mrs. Holloway with
Santa Claus surprise
215 East Lexington Ave. High Point NC 27262 | 336-883-3821 | alexandriasbistro

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