It's Friday morning of Memorial Day Weekend 2013. My Volvo is packed to the ceiling with all of the odds and ends that the movers didn't take. Plants, strangely shaped things that don't fit into boxes, clothing that I'll need over the next week and my two dogs in their travel crates- a lovable goofy golden and an anxiety prone Irish Jack Russell. After saying goodbye to my good friend and neighbor, Moira, who kindly put us up for the night, we pull out into the chilly morning as the sun is just beginning to brighten the dark night sky. I'm excited about moving my life to a small town on the coast of South Carolina. Pawleys Island. Maybe it was the Nicholas Spark's films. Or the 3 feet of snow in one day. Or Hurricane Sandy. Or my divorce. Or my youngest going off to boarding school as my middle daughter left for college. Or all of the above. I was ready to leave Connecticut, the state that I had loved and called home for 18 years. My connection to the area went deep. I had lived in Manhattan before moving to Westport, CT so all of my adult life had been spent in the NYC area. As much as I had loved it, I was desperately in need of a change of scenery. I had made the decision in March over a college tour trip with my youngest daughter, Emmy. I found a place to live, got a job in the same day and went home to sell the cute 1920's walk to town English colonial where I had just planted a sweet garden and reworked the interiors. It sold during the open house.
With two dogs in the car, I had to get there fast, only stopping for gas and bathroom breaks. Things were going well. The doggy anti anxiety meds seemed to be working on Ryelee and Abbey was content to sleep. The book on tape that Moira gave me (fluffy romantic thing set in the south) was occupying my mind when about 3 hours into the trip, I panicked. "What the heck am I doing?" "Where am I going?" "Why am I moving to South Carolina???" "It's one thing to vacation there, but live there? That's a whole different ballgame!" "Am I out of my mind?" After about five minutes, I calmed down. I could always move back if I hated it, right?
Fast forward to today. Don't worry, I will write about some of the funnier and more poignant moments from the past almost three years in subsequent posts. I find myself living in a different culture, one that I have come to appreciate and am just beginning to understand, but realize that I will probably always view this place and these lovely people through my New England/New York lens. This leads to some rather funny things. Like the first early morning in the winter when I was walking my dogs around the plantation and I heard gunshots. What on earth?!!! Pow pow pow. The dogs started shaking and whimpering. I crouched down. We are under attack! Having lived through 9/11 in NYC, I wasn't taking any chances. We made it home without being hit and I immediately called a southern friend to find out what was going on. "Duck hunting season started today", he said matter of fact-ly. Oh. Of course.
Sorry about the blurry photo. Dogs were shaking...
I think that my life here in Pawleys Island has enriched my design sensibility and has added something new. I have always had an appreciation for historic homes and antiques but I have found that in the south, tradition and heritage are paramount. This tends to lead to collected, inherited interiors, with a lot of "things" softened by the patina of time. They are romantic interiors. Sometimes tragically so! Lovely as this can be, I am drawn to the combination of old and new. The contrasting rustic and slick occupying the same space. The conversation between seemingly disparate elements is fascinating to me. And this is what I most love to do: create something that is new but bring the old along, too.
The latest issue of Garden & Gun magazine ( a subscription was given to me as a closing gift by my realtor!) features a home which embodies this so beautifully, that I had to share it with you. This is my idea of a dream home. Cortney Bishop and Mark Turner hit it out of the park with this one. I'm smitten.