MOD Society Magazine: Triad November/December 2023

Page 1

November/December MMXXIII

Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem’s Curated Lifestyle & Design Magazine


interior design · furniture · art · lighting · vintage 513 s elm st. greensboro 336.265.8628


years of #marvel

Jeff Allen Columnist

Lisa Johnson Columnist

Maribeth Geraci Columnist


Kathryn Field Publisher

Jennifer Bringle Editor-in-Chief

Crystal Staley VP of Operations

Aura Marzouk Lake Director of Photography


A LETTER from the


Welcome to five years of #marvelouslyMOD! As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of MOD Society, I couldn’t be more grateful for taking a leap of faith. These past five years have taught me so much, not only about publishing, but also about this beautiful region that I call home. Through the homes, people and businesses we’ve featured over the years, I’ve gained an even deeper appreciation for the beauty, creativity, vibrance and boundless potential of the Triad. Creating this magazine has been a team effort. Our exceptional group of advertisers embody my vision for this publication, infusing their ads with sophistication and style. Some of them — including Jeff Allen of Jeff Allen Landscape Architecture (who has been with the magazine from its inaugural issue), Maribeth Geraci of DressCode Style and Lisa Johnson of Lisa Johnson & Co. — have also lent their expertise, writing columns that add to the richness of our editorial content. Editor-in-chief Jennifer Bringle has worked on national publications such as Women’s Wear Daily, Woman’s World and Casual Living, bringing that level of writing and editing experience to MOD Society. Vice president of operations and layout and design director Crystal Staley brings years of expertise working with major brands to the magazine, ensuring our pages look gorgeous, our branding stays sharp and our organization operates smoothly. And photography director Aura Marzouk Lake — who has worked with individuals, corporations and national publications (Essence and Brides) — trains her expert eye on our advertisers and editorial subjects to capture their style and personality in stunning images. Working with this dream team and our stable of incredible advertisers has made these last five years of MOD Society a joy. And as we celebrate this milestone, I can’t help thinking about the beginning; jumping head first and taking this risk has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I wish you that same courage to blaze the trail in making your dreams come true! Finally, I want to thank you, our readers. We can’t do this without you, and we hope you’ll continue this journey with us for the next five years!









POINTS OF VIEW 3 � MOD Society publisher Kathryn Field shares As the year draws to a close, Lisa Johnson the inspiration behind this magazine and celebrates the publication’s fifth anniversary.

urges us to take a moment to reflect and understand how those reflections can help us move forward.


WHISPERER 35 CLOTHES DressCode Style owner Maribeth Geraci

Our editor invites you to join us in celebrating five years of MOD Society!


26 12

has your guide for dressing for holiday soirees, be they casual or formal.

A SOUTHERN COUNTRY CLUB We take you inside the spectacular renovation of the Greensboro Country Club. Designer Bradshaw Orrell, who helmed the project, shares his inspiration for remaking the historic building.


WORKS OF ART Drawing inspiration from pieces in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collections, craftsmen at Abner Henry created a line of museum-quality furnishings. We give you a look at the line, which made its debut in High Point.

On the night of July 6, 1932, a shot rang out in Reynolda House, leaving tobacco heir Smith Reynolds dead at age 20. Now the Reynolda House Museum of American Art explores what happened that night and how the love affair between Smith and his wife Libby Holman played a role.





High Point upholstery maker De Leo Textiles found a way to save scraps from the landfill while also helping those in need. Their Upcycled for Hope line of accessories benefits the environment and those living with epilepsy and cystic fibrosis.


Glow Aesthetics owner Karen O’Laughlin spent years working in a hospital operating room, experience that drove home the importance of knowledge and expertise in any medical procedure. She shares how that guides every interaction with her clients.


Die-hard Tar Heels and mother-daughter team Lisa Caldwell and Lauren Caldwell Lea believed game day attire could be more sophisticated. So they designed their own and launched the Caldwell Collection of women’s wear.


Bestselling author Kennedy Ryan believes the romance genre gives readers something seemingly in short supply: Hope. She shares how that belief informs her writing and why portraying the power of therapy plays a key role in her novel, Before I Let Go.


The Speak Up for Children gala raised funds and support for the Children’s Law Center of Central North Carolina and its mission to advocate for kids in the region.




from the EDITOR Five years ago, our publisher, Kathryn Field, had a vision for a publication that would capture the style and sophistication of luxury living in the Triad while also highlighting the people and organizations that make this community so vibrant. She achieved all that and more with MOD Society, and I’m thrilled to invite you to celebrate our fifth anniversary. This issue truly embodies the spirit that drives Kathryn and our entire team. First, we give you an exclusive look at the extensive renovation of the Greensboro Country Club, guided by interior designer Bradshaw Orrell. Bradshaw shares some of his favorite spaces and the inspiration behind the club’s new look. Then, we go inside another of the Triad’s most impressive edifices — Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem — to explore the tumultuous love affair of tobacco scion Zachary Smith Reynolds and his Broadway star wife, Libby Holman. For the first time, the museum addresses Reynolds’ mysterious death in 1932 with a new exhibition, “Smith & Libby: Two Rings, Seven Months, One Bullet.” Another iconic institution, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, lends inspiration to furniture craftsmen at Abner Henry, who created a line of luxurious pieces based on works from the museum’s vast collections. The collection made its debut at the furniture maker’s showroom in High Point. Also in High Point, De Leo Textiles has quietly worked to improve sustainability while also helping those living with cystic fibrosis and epilepsy through the Upcycled for Hope collection. The upholstery company transforms fabric scraps into gorgeous handbags that benefit charities and reduce waste. Helping people up their style game also drives Lisa Caldwell and Lauren Caldwell Lea, the mother-daughter, UNC-grad duo behind Caldwell Collection. Their fashion line gives school spirit a much-needed dose of style in pieces that work for game day, date night or the workplace. Fellow UNC grad and bestselling novelist Kennedy Ryan steps into the spotlight for our Book Club feature. I chatted with her about her gorgeous novel, Before I Let Go, and how writing contemporary romance has allowed her to explore difficult themes and inspire hope. I also caught up with Karen O’Laughlin of Glow Aesthetics, who shares how her background in anesthesiology helps her better serve her patients. Points of View columnist Lisa Johnson invites us to take a moment to reflect as this year draws to a close, and Clothes Whisperer Maribeth Geraci has your guide for festive dressing. While I haven’t been with MOD Society from the beginning, I’m grateful to be here on this momentous occasion, and I thank you, our beloved readers, for sharing this journey with us. Here’s to five more — and then some!

Jennifer Bringle, editor-in-chief 14










Bradshaw Orrell’s deep ties to Greensboro and the beautiful Old Irving Park neighborhood in which he resides have made his connection to the community personal. When the opportunity arose for him to lead a substantial renovation at the Greensboro Country Club, it was a joyous and monumental moment in his career. The magnitude of the project was an immense honor, and it filled him with both excitement and trepidation. This renovation was unlike any other the club had seen in years, if ever. The Greensboro Country Club was established in 1909. Greensboro had its foundations laid by renowned architects of the city like Charles Hartman, Walter Gropius and Edward Loewenstein, whom Bradshaw holds in the highest regard. Their contributions to Greensboro’s architectural landscape, along with Bradshaw’s favorite interior designer, Otto Zenke, were the most important forces for Bradshaw to look to for inspiration. He had a personal family connection with Elizabeth Freeman, who worked alongside Otto Zenke more than half a century. He was acutely aware of the responsibility to honor and celebrate the club’s legacy while creating spaces that would stand the test of time. With emotion in his voice, Bradshaw articulated his desire to ensure these spaces would be the backdrop for countless family milestones, not only for this generation but hopefully for generations to come. Bradshaw’s accidental journey in contributing to Greensboro’s landscape began while he was living in Washington, D.C. He helped design a pioneering hair salon called Orrell Design with his sister, Kerrie, which played a pivotal role in shaping a now highly desirable neighborhood. This led to his involvement in the design of the Proximity Hotel, the nation’s first platinum green hotel, and the renovation of a few (or 50) fast food restaurants called Biscuitville. He was also part of taking a local cattle and chicken farm and turning it into the event space that Summerfield Farms is today. He accomplished all of this while continuing to design furniture, lighting, accessories and residences for extraordinary individuals. With a hint of humility, Bradshaw acknowledged that he may never reach the same heights as an Otto Zenke, but he states “as long as I am invited to the table, to help change the table, I will do my best to not screw it up!” The Sunset Lounge was first on the list. This is a room that serves as a pre-dinner gathering spot for cocktails and conversations. Bradshaw’s dedication to the local talent that is a part of our community led him to collaborate with as many artisans and craftsmen as often as possible. Furniture, lighting and accessories were contributed from his own collection with Chelsea House. Other furniture pieces were brought in, designed by his friend from college, Jennifer McConnell at Ambella Home.




His custom ceiling fixtures and wall fixtures were made locally by McLean Lighting. The floral mural, which adorns the walls was hand painted by the talented artist Martha Herbolich. He also designed a custom carpet for the lounge and upstairs dining rooms inspired by Italian marble floor designs, all while using real marble floor adjacently. The mantel pays tribute to Otto Zenke with a Regency pagoda-style lattice design. In the adjacent bar, Bradshaw harnessed the abundance of natural light and the scenic views offered by the club. He felt that the club’s outdoor views are its most spectacular attribute. He carefully selected transitional furnishings, offering both style and comfort for guests. This endeavor was not just about creating an appealing interior space, but encouraging an experience that brings the outdoor landscape inside. Moving to the dining rooms, Bradshaw aimed to create an ambiance that felt as though it had been curated over the years, rather than something new purchased off a furniture showroom floor. Different chair styles, upholstered in complimentary fabrics, were carefully mixed and matched at each table, adding character and warmth to the space. The chandeliers are adorned with hand-sewn crystal and meticulously handcrafted by his friends in Annapolis, Maryland, at Niermann Weeks. Abstract artworks provide a contemporary edge, injecting fresh vibrancy into the dining experience. There was not a large budget for artwork, and with over 40 areas to place art, Bradshaw had to get creative. He found a photo of an old debutante ball and commissioned local artist Chip Holton to recreate it as a large oil painting. He immediately looked to young local talent, Wesley Wheeler and Tristan Lee, to create original abstract pieces. Bradshaw grew up surrounded by art and has an M.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He chose pieces of art for the Country Club’s spaces that are on trend with the types of works that he selects for both his home and the homes of his clients. He said, “No one loves an English bucolic hunt scene more than me, but that just wasn’t what was speaking to me for this project.” There also is one traditional gold-leafed chinoiserie screen, placed on the wall in the Sunset dining room, created by Bradshaw’s late partner Douglas Freeman. Bradshaw knows that this decision was divinely inspired by Aunt Elizabeth Freeman, Otto Zenke’s partner in crime. The 1909 Bar downstairs was transformed into a casual and lively space where members can relax and enjoy themselves. A geometric circle-and-square carpet design adds a modern touch, while porcelain pieces from Bradshaw’s collection adorn the bar and walls. The black-and-white motif coupled with strong blue accents, carried over from the other rooms, creates a sophisticated yet casual atmosphere. Framed historical photographs hanging on the hallway walls pay homage to the club’s storied past, further contributing to the sense of community and history of the space.






November/December MMXXIII

Bradshaw’s journey of heartfelt design continues with a focus on preserving and honoring the club’s historical roots. He introduced architectural details such as scalloped doorways and lattice patterns, reminiscent of Zenke’s original work. Old photographs served as the guiding inspiration, helping Bradshaw pay tribute to Zenke’s influence on the club’s design. All these intricate details were a sincere nod to the club’s enduring legacy.

Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem’s Curated Lifestyle & Design Magazine


Outdoors, the pool area underwent a major rebuild, taking on the crisp white aesthetic of a Palm Beach resort, all while looking over the fairway at the neighborhood’s beautiful homes. Lounge chairs, perched on a covered deck with a water ledge, provide a laid-back and sophisticated atmosphere. The design perfectly captures the club’s spirit, reflecting the joyous and vibrant energy of its members. Bradshaw saw this transformation as an opportunity to create a space that encouraged camaraderie and relaxation, echoing the club’s commitment to tradition and its ever-evolving vitality. For Bradshaw, the opportunity to work on this project and be a part of the Greensboro Country Club’s rich history was a profound and joyous experience. His work, infused with passion and love, was dedicated to the enjoyment of generations of club members and their guests. Bradshaw’s design journey was not just a job for him, but a labor of love, marked by an enduring commitment to his town and the people he cherishes most. The spaces he has created will undoubtedly become the backdrop to countless treasured memories. His gratitude for this opportunity knows no bounds, and his love for the Greensboro Country Club and its people continues to shine through in his work. He is incredibly thankful for all of the hard work that took place before he was even invited onto the project. He is also incredibly grateful for the team members who had the not-so-easy task of helping him realize his dreams on this project. Wilson Maloney in particular rolled with the punches, or at least knew when to get out of the way, throughout the journey. Bradshaw would also like to personally thank every member of the Country Club for their patience and tremendous support through what could, at times, be a dizzying process. -Bradshaw Orrell, Orrell Interiors

MOD Society Magazine Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem Vol. 5 No. 6 ON THE COVER Bradshaw Orrell Interiors PUBLISHER MSM Media, LLC Kathryn Field VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS Crystal Staley EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jennifer Bringle CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Maribeth Geraci Lisa Johnson Bradshaw Orrell COPY EDITOR Jennifer Weaver-Spencer DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Aura Marzouk Lake LAYOUT AND DESIGN Stallard Studio DIGITAL AGENCY The Buzz Effect ADVERTISING

TRIAD Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem Triad.MODsocietyMagazine #marvelouslyMOD

Regarding the Home...

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. ©2023.

DESIGN: Bradshaw Orrell Interiors

Featured Home Photos Cover Pages 16-17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20-21

Sunset Lounge Bar Bar Dining Room 1909 Bar

Pages 22 Page 23 Page 24

Historic photo (top) Hallway (bottom) The Family Grill Pool


For each edition of MOD Society Magazine, trees are planted as part of the PrintReleaf program.





For decades, Ernest Hershberger has made furniture the old-fashioned way. The Amish craftsman and CEO of Abner Henry furniture has always taken a hands-on approach to the design and production of his company’s high-end furnishings. That ethos of craftsmanship, quality and meticulous attention to detail put Ernest and his company on the radar of an unlikely partner: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Over the years, The Met has lent its name to licensed product lines with carefully chosen partners, such as luxury bedding maker Ann Gish. And three years ago, the venerable museum reached out to Abner Henry to create its first licensed furnishings line, inspired by famous works from the museum’s collections. “If you look at the artwork side-by-side with the piece, the eventual consumer or the art fan really understands how this furniture grew out of the ideas and concepts of the originating art piece,” Ernest says. The Abner Henry x The Met collection, which will be produced in a limited quantity of 70 per piece, ranges in price from $54,428 for the Verlang cocktail table to $144,200 for the Pirouette console. The collection made its debut earlier this year at the spring High Point Market in Abner Henry’s downtown showroom.


SERENA Bar Cabinet A portrait of Viennese society star Serena Pulitzer Lederer by Gustav Klimt lends a ghostly vibe to this Art Deco-styled cabinet. Sand-blasted glass adds a misty translucence to the cabinet doors, which hold a custom-blown glass decanter inside.

Serena Pulitzer Lederer, 1889. Gustav Klimt.

DUET Nesting Tables

The Monet Family in Their Garden at Argenteuil, 1874 Edouard Manet.

A representation of the relationship between Camille Monet and her son Jean featured in a painting of the Monet family by Edouard Manet, this pair of nesting tables was made with cerused wood that creates texture and has 24-karat gold embedded in the grain of the larger tabletop.

VENTANA Standing Mirror Inspired by a portrait of an enslaved assistant painted in the 1650s by Spanish artist Diego Velazquez, the Ventana Standing Mirror features a mahogany frame holding a mirror made of brass polished to give it a glass-like sheen.

Juan de Pareja, ca. 1650. Velázquez.




CORALIE Cocktail Table

By the Seashore, 1883. Auguste Renoir.

Reflecting Auguste Renoir’s interpretation of the ocean in his “By the Seashore” painting, the Coralie table is made with layered glass designed to look like abstract waves in the sea.

SEVERINE Cocktail Table To create a pointillism effect similar to Georges Seurat’s “Circus Sideshow,” Ernest used centuries-old techniques to oxidize and fume end-grain oak, then applied different stains to create a subtle pixelated effect.

Circus Sideshow (Parade de cirque), 1887-88. Georges Seurat.

VERLANG Cocktail Table

Sunflowers, 1887. Vincent van Gogh.


Based on one of Vincent Van Gogh’s iconic “Sunflowers” still lifes, bent metal curves inward just as delicately as petals on a flower, with textured brass grind inside adding depth to the piece.


Looking back to look forward empowers us to build on the information we’ve gained, the resources that surround us and the capital that is needed to pursue dreams. It’s essential to reflect to drive change, to acknowledge what really works and prepare for the future. Reflection allows the future to look even clearer. This resonates with me because I, like so many others, have worked my entire life to reach my goals. Taking calculated risks is part of moving forward. Sometimes things get in the way, but with grace and determination, all of us can strive to understand what’s important and celebrate success when it’s achieved. This is the time of the year we often hear about setting goals for the next year. However, I think it’s necessary to reflect first on all the things we accomplished, and celebrate that while planning our future. It’s beneficial to ask what has brought you joy, where you’ve found comfort and what you hope for in the coming year. I also take the time to reflect on the adventures, experiences, regrets and disappointments that influence what I will do differently next time. Most business leaders focus on future innovation, and that becomes the goal because the status quo is not enough.

However, the organizations that understand the benefits of continuity and the responsibility of legacy prove the most productive as they balance the goals of the future with the lessons of the past. Translating the past to inspire new strategies is the lesson I’ve learned. To do this, I continually reexamine, reinterpret and connect with the people and resources that support me and genuinely lift me up. In turn, I try to help those around me benefit from what I’ve learned. Even though the world sometimes feels fragile through times of change, innovation can lead to opportunity. This can be an exciting time for reinvention on a personal or business level. Embrace it, as I will do. Who knows — it could be your next best decision! Given the remarkable time of the year we are entering — full of family, holy days and holidays — I remind myself that these are the things that matter most, despite the goals that need to be reached and the bills that need to be paid. I’ll always take lessons I’ve learned from the past into account as I reframe my best future. As I look back to move forward, I am forever hopeful. Lisa Johnson, Lisa Johnson & Company LisaJohnsonCo | Shop on Blair




CLOTHES WHISPERER Glitter and glam season is upon us, and what is the holiday mood? Earthy, grounded and classic are a few of the words I found to describe the holiday decorating themes for 2023, but this year interiors are not lining up with fashion. Party themes aren’t lining up either, with crafting, cooking classes, mixology classes and wreath-making soirees growing in popularity. Dressing festively for those types of events could be a challenge. I do see plaid for cocktail/holiday trending, so that’s an option. I also was relieved to spot Champagne-themed parties, and that I can dress for — so much easier. We still have a lot of sequins, shimmer and shine, but intense color is the big story. Barbie-pink satin, rich emerald green and a sophisticated Mediterranean blue fill the holiday palette. And with denim remaining a constant, you could wear the party on the top and ground it for craft-focused events with jeans on the bottom. Satin cargo pants might also work for a festive dressed-down look. The holidays are what we make them, and I think our mood this season is a little less party and a bit more home-focused. But don’t let that stop you from getting out your party best and celebrating on whatever level you choose. All fashion and dress codes have become so flexible that it’s entirely up to you. Dressing up is good for us, so step it up and make a party or gathering special by showing up in your holiday best. The holidays are a wonderful time of year, and they’re the perfect excuse to make dressing up a bit more special.

Maribeth Geraci, DressCode Style dresscodestyle_




Zachary Smith Reynolds and Libby Holman. Photograph courtesy Liam Donnelly Archive






On the night of July 6, 1932, a shot rang out in the palatial home of one of North Carolina’s most storied families. As the smoke cleared, it revealed a shocking scene: 20-yearold Zachary “Smith” Reynolds, scion of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco fortune, lay dead on a sleeping porch of his family’s Winston-Salem estate, Reynolda. The events of that night and the true nature of Smith’s death — either by suicide or a murder perpetrated by his glamorous Broadway star wife, Elizabeth “Libby” Holman — created a scandalous mystery that persists to this day. And for the first time, Reynolda House Museum of American Art explores the enigma of Smith Reynolds’ death with the exhibition “Smith & Libby: Two Rings, Seven Months, One Bullet,” on display through December 31. The exhibition follows the lives of the two charismatic young people, whose stories intertwined in a whirlwind of romance and tragedy. Archival home movie footage, family photographs and other ephemera illustrate the early years of Smith, a millionaire playboy with a passion for aviation, who flew the longest point-to-point solo circumnavigation at the time from London to Hong Kong.

Libby Holman in the Broadway production of Rainbow (1928), by Oscar Hammerstein II. Courtesy the Libby Holman Collection, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University

Libby hailed from Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of a wealthy lawyer and stockbroker who lost his fortune after his brother embezzled nearly $1 million from the family brokerage. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati in 1924, Libby decamped for New York City to pursue acting. Eventually she rose to fame on the Broadway stage, heralded not only for acting, but also for her singing talent. Photos and artifacts from this era, including a reproduction of a strapless purple gown Libby wore during a performance, depict her glamorous life during this period. In 1930, Smith attended a production in Baltimore starring Libby. He fell hard for the chanteuse seven years his senior. He pursued her in earnest, flying around the country to attend her performances. The couple entered into a tempestuous relationship, marked by public fights and multiple threats of suicide by Smith. Despite that turmoil, they married in November 1931. But their union lasted only seven months. After a late-night party at Reynolda attended by a number of the couple’s friends, including Smith’s best friend, Albert “Ab” Walker, a gunshot ended the life of the Reynolds heir on the sleeping porch outside the bedroom he shared with Libby.

A replica of a gown made famous by Holman in a musical by Vincent Youmans and Oscar Hammerstein II is on display in “Smith & Libby: Two Rings, Seven Months, One Bullet.” The gown was created by Jenna Sais Quoi LLC. Courtesy Reynolda House Museum of American Art.




was the 90th anniversary of their marriage, and I had been asked by so many people about what happened, so we decided that 90 years was a respectable amount of time to have passed.” To tell such a complex and controversial story correctly, Phil and his team conducted around 20 months of research and preparation on the exhibition. They collected oral histories from people who knew Smith and Libby and scoured archives across the nation to find news clips, such as a newly digitized 1932 newsreel from Hearst Metrotone News. “We’d talked about it over the years but never put this many pieces and so much detail together, trying to find out who was lying,” he says.

Smith Reynolds with biplane, circa 1928. Courtesy Reynolda House Museum of American Art Archives

Initially, Libby was charged with first-degree murder with Ab charged as her accomplice. To the shock of many, the charges were dropped before the case came to trial, with the prosecutor declaring a lack of evidence of murder. Smith’s uncle, William Neal Reynolds, told the district attorney that the family believed Smith died by suicide. What truly happened that night has been the subject of speculation and a number of artistic interpretations, including the films “Reckless,” starring Jean Harlow, and “Written on the Wind,” starring Lauren Bacall and Rock Hudson. Over the years, Reynolda House shied away from the tragedy, leaving it out of official tours and museum information, and keeping the sleeping porch where Smith died closed to the public since the 1990s. Curator and Betsy Main Babcock deputy director of Reynolda, Phil Archer, says a media request two years ago sparked the conversation about taking a deeper, more public look at arguably one of the most famous stories about the estate. “The New York Times did an article a few years ago about haunted museums and reached out to us, but we didn’t talk to them because that was always our stance — we didn’t want to exploit the tragedy,” he says. “November 2021


Along with the memorabilia from Smith and Libby’s lives before marriage, the exhibition includes artifacts of the investigation and trial, including bullet casings from the gun used in the shooting, a sketch of the murder scene made by the local sheriff and newspapers breathlessly covering the lead up to and cancellation of the trial. The exhibition also looks at Libby’s life after Smith’s death, a rollercoaster of highs and lows that began with the birth of their child, Christopher Smith “Topper” Reynolds — she was pregnant at the time of the shooting. Topper’s life was also cut short, when he died during a rock climbing accident in 1950 at the age of 17. Libby went on to break barriers during the 1940s when she performed in the first interracial, male-female song duo with singer and guitarist Josh White. She also became involved in the Civil Rights Movement, providing financial support for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s trip to India to meet with followers of Mahatma Gandhi. But the losses of Smith, Topper and others in her inner circle hung over Libby for the remainder of her days. In 1971, she died by suicide. The tragic end seemed to bookend the death of Smith, which haunted her over the decades since that fateful night in 1932. “I do believe she loved him, and they were both tempestuous in their own way,” Phil says. “Tragedy plagued her.” – Jennifer Bringle, editor-in-chief

Your home. Your style. Reimagined.




Each May and November, upholstery showrooms in High Point open for the Interwoven textile show, welcoming furniture makers, interior designers, jobbers and others in the furnishings industry to peruse the latest looks in home fabrics. Throughout those dozens of showrooms, reams of fabric samples — from small swatches to larger cloths — are displayed. But once the show ends or a look gets discontinued, what happens to those samples? That question plagued Katie Atwater Williams, creative director at De Leo Textiles, which has a showroom and design office in High Point. “For years I had been hoarding fabric waste in my basement because I did not want to keep throwing it away, and I knew that it could be utilized somehow,” she says. According to the most recent data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 11.3 million tons of textiles ended up in landfills in 2018. While much of that waste can be attributed to clothing, home textiles and upholstery also make up a significant chunk of those fabrics. In 2019, Katie and her team figured out a way to use that leftover fabric while also raising money for charity. In a local church fellowship hall, volunteers offered their sewing skills to transform the textile scraps into handbags, with the proceeds from their sale benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a cause dear to Katie’s heart. “My cousins, who I am very close to, were both diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth,” she says. “And since then my family has been very involved in fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in hopes of giving them and others with cystic fibrosis the longest, fullest lives possible.” The bag sale was such a hit that De Leo Textiles president Craig De Leo decided to get involved. With his backing, the initiative grew and became Upcycled for Hope. Along with expanding to a much larger operation, Upcycled for Hope added another charitable organization to its beneficiaries — the Epilepsy Foundation. Craig’s daughter Nadia has lived with epilepsy her entire life, so the cause seemed like a natural fit for the program. Each season, Katie takes leftover samples and trade show display pieces from the previous season’s collections, and

chooses which fabrics would work best for handbags and accessories. De Leo specializes in luxury fabrics imported from Turkey, as well as their own designs, in sumptuous textures such as chenille and velvet that easily translate to accessories. After the fabrics are chosen, they’re sent to a professional bag manufacturer and crafted into Katie’s designs for totes, cross-bodies, clutches and other styles. The process is known as upcycling — reusing discarded materials to create new products of higher quality or value than the original. Upcycling is a major part of the growing circularity movement in industries such as home furnishings and textiles, which aims to renew or regenerate products for continued or new uses rather than throwing them away. De Leo sells its Upcycled for Hope bags in its High Point showroom during High Point Market and the Interwoven textile show, as well as on their website, upcycledforhope. com. Katie says they’ve also partnered with a network of retailers, such as Guilford + Main in Jamestown and Emerge Skin & Soul and The Shoppe at Well Spring in Greensboro, who carry the bags in their stores. A full list of retailers can be found on the Upcycled for Hope website. Since launching Upcycled for Hope, Katie has added several new designs to the assortment, such as a travel organizer that can be used to pack jewelry or power cords. And this season, De Leo will offer Upcycled for Hope Christmas stockings for the first time. This past spring, the company hit the milestone of $50,000 donated to the charities it serves. And for Katie and the De Leo team, that’s the beauty of this initiative — the ability to contribute to the greater good not only by reducing waste, but also by supporting causes that work to improve the lives of those living with chronic illnesses. “These causes are very close to our hearts. We are passionate about not only fundraising for these causes but also raising awareness about these two diseases,” Katie says. “The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is primarily funded by grassroots fundraising efforts, and the research and treatments they are funding and developing have already made a tremendous improvement in the quality of life and life expectancy of those living with cystic fibrosis, especially the development of the drug Trikafta in recent years. There is still a long way to go, and the ultimate goal is to find a cure for this disease, and for those living with cystic fibrosis to be able to live long and full lives.” – Jennifer Bringle, editor-in-chief






The first time Karen O’Laughlin had an aesthetic treatment, she was a little surprised by the experience. A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) with more than 15 years in health care, Karen was surprised her provider didn’t request her medical history or offer an educational consultation before the procedure. “It may not seem like a big deal, but for an elective, luxury service, the patient experience should be maximized, and education should be given,” she says. Karen, who at the time was working in an outpatient surgical facility, had an a-ha moment. She could open her own aesthetics business that provided the kind of patient health-focused care that she expected herself. And just over two years ago, she opened Glow Aesthetics in Greensboro. At Glow, Karen and her team offer a range of services, including injectables such as Botox, filler, Sculptra, Radiesse and non-surgical skin tightening procedures. After graduating from UNC-Greensboro with a bachelor of science degree in nursing, she earned her master’s of nurse anesthesia in 2013 from Wake Forest. After that, she spent several years administering anesthesia in the operating room at Moses Cone Hospital prior to moving to an outpatient surgical center. Prior to any procedure, new patients are asked about their medical history, medications, prior aesthetic treatments, etc., to ensure they receive the safest and most appropriate treatments. Information such as whether a patient has an autoimmune condition, is taking blood thinners, has a history of skin cancer, is prone to hyperpigmentation, etc., helps Glow’s practitioners determine the best course of aesthetic treatment. After the medical evaluation, Glow’s providers ask each patient about their goals and educate them on their options so decisions can be made together. Sometimes that involves the practitioner recommending consultations for other services, such as plastic surgery.

“Regardless of the path you choose, we focus on natural results and helping you feel like a refreshed version of yourself,” Karen says. Karen says her goal is to build relationships with her patients so they not only feel comfortable and confident in her ability to meet their needs, but that they’ll return if they need additional services. “Our goal is to not have someone visit us just once—we want patients to return and trust us with guiding their skincare needs,” she says. “We guide people through what to do with skincare and try to make it as comprehensive as we can.” Karen says that because Glow is a small, boutique practice, patients really get to know her and her staff, something she believes enhances their experience. “I think it just feels good to be treated by somebody who feels like a friend that you trust,” she says. “We provide more of a holistic, family kind of feel. Patients get to know our staff and vice versa—it’s a remarkable thing to witness.” Though Karen didn’t expect her career in medicine to lead her into aesthetics, she says opening Glow has been rewarding for her both professionally and personally. The mother of two small children, Karen says owning her own business allows her to spend more time with her family. And this work allows her to tap into her medical expertise to help people feel better about themselves and regain lost confidence. She says there’s nothing more rewarding than helping someone match their outside with the person they feel like on the inside. “I enjoy aesthetic medicine,” she says. “There’s a lot of science to it and a lot of anatomy, and I like learning things. I get the opportunity to make people feel better about themselves. That’s what brings me joy and fulfillment in my work.” – Jennifer Bringle, editor-in-chief







Lisa Caldwell and Lauren Caldwell Lea are die-hard Tar Heels. The mother-daughter duo not only graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, but they also both were cheerleaders during their college years. Lisa’s husband and Lauren’s father played football at UNC, as did Lisa’s son and Lauren’s brother. Prior to UNC’s appearance in the Music City Bowl in 2010 in Nashville, Lisa went on the hunt for a Carolina blue leather jacket to wear to the football game. She came up empty, but while walking around the stadium, Lisa saw a woman wearing a jacket like she wanted, but in Tennessee orange. She and Lauren had been mulling the idea of going into business together, and suddenly they realized what they should do. “We looked at each other and we were like, ‘That’s the business,’” Lisa says. “Those team colors never go out of style, and you can’t find them without big logos. So, we’re not the logo company — we are the fashionable fans, and that’s how we dress when we go to games.” While the timing wasn’t quite right then, a few years later, after Lisa retired from her corporate job and Lauren got married, the pair knew they should take the leap. And in 2020, they founded Caldwell Collection, an online women’s clothing business ( Caldwell Collection specializes in boutique-style women’s clothing in a range of collegiate colors, from their beloved “Sky Blue” to “Simply Red,” “Vivid Orange” and “Sapphire Blue,” among others. “We’ve heard from a lot of people that they really can’t find the color they need all the time because sometimes collegiate colors aren’t on trend,” Lauren says. “But in our case, these colors are always on trend.” Collegiate colors also help Caldwell Collection stand out in a highly competitive women’s clothing market. “When you start a business, you have to have something that’s unique,” Lauren says. “Game day colors cut through the clutter for us.” Caldwell Collection’s offerings include blazers, dresses, jumpsuits, blouses, sweaters and skirts all designed to show school spirit not only for game day, but also at work, parties, graduation and other occasions. Lauren and Lisa say the pieces are designed to be versatile and have staying power in a customer’s wardrobe.

pieces that can help you build a wardrobe and not just dress for one event.” Lisa and Lauren both say their sense of fashion and appreciation for clothing came from Lisa’s mother and Lauren’s grandmother, Pauline, who sewed her family’s clothes and eventually opened Isapau’s, a bridal and formalwear boutique in Burlington. “We’ve always had this passion and interest in fashion and design,” Lauren says. “It’s something that’s really in our blood, and I think we’re just ecstatic that we’re getting to unleash it after being in the business world for most of our careers.” Lisa and Lauren design most of Caldwell Collection’s pieces, and the garments are manufactured in New York, using fabrics imported from Italy and other countries. “The United States has really morphed into more performance fabrics, like wovens for seatbelts — things that they can get more profit on,” Lisa says. “But apparel fabrication is just not as prevalent in the U.S. anymore. I’m hoping it comes back — that would be awesome.” While Lisa is based in Kernersville, Lauren lives in Houston, but the distance hasn’t been a problem. Mother and daughter say their familial bond makes working together much easier, even across different time zones. “The part that’s easy, and which makes our close relationship so important in this business, is that we have the basically same tastes,” Lauren says. “We have the same vision for the most part, so designing and working together has been really fun for us.” Lisa and Lauren recently added new styles, including the Lorraine blazer, as well as two larger sizes and seven color options. The company has also been in talks with several major retailers interested in carrying their products. As Caldwell Collection continues to grow, Lisa says they’re excited to eventually expand this concept beyond just clothing for women. “We want to branch out of just women’s clothes into menswear and kids’ wear. We want to design interior pillows and things of that nature,” she says. “We really want to become this family lifestyle brand where you can find us in people’s homes in different ways and in different rooms. That’s really our ultimate vision, and it makes us excited to think about it.” – Jennifer Bringle, editor-in-chief

“They’re really classic pieces with a little bit of a trendy flare,” Lauren says. “It’s important to find those staple MOD SOCIETY NOVEMBER/DECEMBER MMXXIII





Before becoming a national bestseller, author Kennedy Ryan’s book Before I Let Go looked like it would never see the light of day. “I always joke that this book was waiting for me to grow up,” she says of Before I Let Go, which she wrote 15 years ago. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism, Kennedy pursued a career in public relations while doing freelance writing on the side. When her son was diagnosed with autism 20 years ago, she began leveraging that writing to shine a light on the condition. That led to starting and running a foundation for families with autism in the Atlanta area, where she lived at the time. While she loved the work with the foundation and the advocacy writing that went along with it, she needed a more creative outlet. “I needed something for myself that wasn’t related to anything else except my own fun, my own desires,” she says. “And I remembered how much I enjoyed reading romance when I was growing up. I started reading romance again, and I just fell in love with it all over because I really believe that romance is the genre of hope.’” So, Kennedy began writing what would become her Bennett romance series, which landed her a four-book deal 10 years ago. Since then, Kennedy has published more than a dozen romance novels, some through traditional publishers and others via self-publishing. “I really built my career as an indie author and ended up going back to traditional publishing with Before I Let Go,” she says. “I still consider myself a hybrid author. I love the creative control, the editorial control and the brand control of self-publishing.” But, when her literary agent came to her for ideas of new books to pitch to traditional publishing houses, Kennedy remembered that abandoned novel she’d written so many years ago. “My husband, who was one of only two people who’d read it was like, ‘What about that divorce book? You should revisit that,’” she says. “And I was like, ‘Oh, it’s trash.’ Then I took it back out, and I realized it was salvageable.” Kennedy says she gave the manuscript a major overhaul, changing the perspective and adding characters and plot points. The resulting book, Before I Let Go, was published late last year.

The book tells the story of Yasmin and Josiah, a divorced couple co-parenting their two children in the fictional Skyland neighborhood of Atlanta. A few years earlier, the couple experienced two devastating losses that rocked each of them so significantly their relationship couldn’t be salvaged. However, the bond between Yasmin and Josiah can’t be broken so easily. Soon, the couple finds themselves becoming closer, wondering if they made the right decision when they divorced. “There were all of these existential questions I was asking myself about commitment and loss and navigating hard times,” Kennedy says. “That’s really the essence of this book: How does love survive life?” Therapy figures heavily in answering that question in Before I Let Go. After experiencing paralyzing depression, Yasmin seeks a therapist to help her cope, visiting three before finally finding the right person. Kennedy drew on her own experiences with depression and finding the right therapist in writing Yasmin’s story. Josiah, on the other hand, refuses therapy, only conceding to attend sessions along with his son. But eventually, he begins to uncover long-buried feelings that have impeded his emotional growth and how he handles certain situations. Portraying this mental health journey, particularly for a Black man, was important to Kennedy as she wrote this book. “With men in the Black community, there’s such a stigma around therapy still, and there are so many who resist it and see it a sign of weakness,” she says. “I really wanted to model a character who held that point of view, but over the course of the story, he begins to see the benefits of therapy. And we see true healing happening in this man’s life because he gets into therapy and seeks help.” The next book in the series started by Before I Let Go will be published in March 2024 and Kennedy also will selfpublish another novel next summer. And though she never thought she’d end up a romance author, Kennedy says she’s grateful to be part of a genre that provides readers a muchneeded dose of happiness during difficult times.” “I really think that the underlying reason behind the popularity of romance is people are looking for hope,” she says. “People are looking for joy, and romance is a safe place where things always end well.” – Jennifer Bringle, editor-in-chief




Helping you celebrate all of life’s



A B BA D E SI G N G S O. C O M 3 3 6 . 2 5 3 . 1 1 5 9 A B BA D E SI G N G S O



3 3 6 . 2 5 3 . 1 1 5 9




SOCIETY SIGHTINGS photography by aesthetic images photography

Speak Up for Children Speak Up for Children, presented by Kilpatrick Townsend, is an annual celebration of Children’s Law Center of Central North Carolina and its mission to provide children with quality legal advocacy focusing on domestic violence issues, high conflict custody cases and the rights of children in public education. This year’s event was held at Forsyth Country Club in Winston-Salem with more than 200 supporters in attendance. The auction included items generously donated by local individuals and businesses that believe

Katie Rauck & Emily Fletcher, Speak Up for Children Co-Chairs

in the work of the organization. In addition to presenting sponsor Kilpatrick Townsend, over 35 other sponsors supported the event. Proceeds from the event directly support the organization’s programs and operations. The celebration of this year’s accomplishments included the expansion of services in Guilford County to include high-conflict custody and the launch of the Children’s Law Center’s new Education Advocacy Program in Forsyth County. For more information, visit or call 336-831-1909.

Kelley Gondring & Jason Bragg

Iris Sunshine & John Weir

Amber & Andrew Caldwell 66

Joshua Plummer & Hannah Messer

Talitha Vickers

Michael Clements & Gwenn Clements

CLC Staff Left to Right: Paige Gilliard, Lisa Fox, Paola Soler, Jim Gallaher, Angel Neal, Iris Sunshine, Ben Loebner, Haylay Lampkin Blyth, Kathryn Corey, Makayla Williams & Leah Powell.

Gray Wilson & Cheryl Wilson

Laura & Josh Neelon

Lauren Howle, Cora Hawfield & Carolyn Berntson

Paige Gilliard, Diana Santos Johnson, Gill Santos, Susan DeRamus & Judge Dave DeRamus

Ben Loebner & Sara Loebner

Judge Kristin Kelly Broyles

Lisa Fox & Jon Fox

CLC Board of Directors: Katie Rauck, Emily Fletcher, Kathy Poehling, John Pueschel, Dawn Nelson, Cindy Jarrell, Lorraine Mortis, Clara Ignich, Ali Tomberlin & Joèl Saahir MOD SOCIETY NOVEMBER/DECEMBER MMXXIII





Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.