The 2013 Southern Living Idea House

Ever since my nieces made me join Instagram, I've been a bit obsessed. I check it at least 3x a day as it offers an amazing glimpse into people's daily lives- the people I know and love as well as many more that I don't know from around the world. I was particularly excited when I saw some gorgeous home pics on Nan McCollum's account (of Firefly in Thomasville, Georgia). When I asked her where she was, she replied "the new Southern Living Idea House in Tennessee." Perfect to blog about...

An enormous undertaking, the Southern Living Idea House team was assembled which included interior designer, Phoebe Howard and Historical Concepts as architect. For the 2013 home, the team decided to- in their words, "design, build and decorate the ultimate Southern farmhouse on the grounds of Fontanel, former home of country legend Barbara Mandrell."

The living room is the first impressive room you'll find, made of wide plank wood floors, spruce planked walls and wood beams that were salvaged from an 1890 Tennessee barn. Phoebe created a soft color palette too, which, as she shared, "reflects the surrounding sky and hills." 

As I just started a remodel of my kitchen, I'm acutely aware of what others now do in their own kitchens. This one is almost completely symmetrical, so it offers a nice sense of balance while the wood counter is a warm, inviting touch. 

Off the living room is a small and cozy study where Phoebe preferred filling the bookshelves with lots of books rather than knickknacks. (The paint color is Palm Leaf by Sherwin-Williams.) This guest bath utilizes lovely Ann Sacks moss green tile with a carrara marble sink and granite vanity top via 

For some reason, I've never had a nice bed frame and I've always wanted one. This grand spool bed is a bit of Southern fun, first made popular in the mid 19th century. The master bath, which also includes Ann Sacks tile, is absolutely stunning with this nook and painted dresser located between it and the bed. The large mirror is meant to reflect the natural light that is so well received in the bedroom. 

Perhaps my favorite part of the home are the two 'Bunkies' that are on the edge of the property. These pair of guest homes mimic each other and include a porch, bedroom, kitchenette and full bath. 

Phoebe chose a pretty blue and white palette with paisley wallpaper and tufted headboards for the 'Her' Bunkie- inspired by the work of fabric designers, Peter Fasano and Elizabeth Hamilton. This is just a glimpse into the entire compound. Click here to see a full tour, which includes video and more detail. (The Vintage Farmwife has great pics too) And thank you Instagram (and Nan), I love to be inspired...


Photos: Laurey W. Glenn   Content: Sweet Peach


Lulie Wallace

Lulie Wallace has a pretty name and an even prettier artistic style. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, she creates one of a kind, acrylic-on-birch paintings with truly stunning color combinations. 

Lulie was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia and in Charleston, she's found her new home and supportive network. She currently paints at a non profit community art center called Redux, with over two dozen other artists. 

Lulie is passionate about color and is always thinking up the next palette of complementary hues. Lulie, "I am constantly looking around at successful color combos in my everyday life, whether that be in a spectacular blouse or an amazing Charleston sunset. But, I currently have two favorite colors: one is a mint green and the other is like a magenta mixed with white." 

I particularly like her backdrops which look like wallpaper that I'd love in my own home.  

Lulie is drawn to flowers and landscapes that showcase the beauty of mother nature. Yet, like many great artists, she knows it's the imperfections in life that are the good stuff. Lulie, "The less perfect the subject, the more beautiful the finished product." 

On Lulie's site, you can find original paintings and limited edition prints. Look for her work in Anthropologie too...


Photos: Lulie's paintings;     Content: Sweet Peach


Alabama Craft Beer

Alabama used to have some tough beer laws on the books, making it nearly impossible for small breweries to try their hand at crafting their own scrumptious libations. Luckily, in the past few years, the laws have been loosened for the state, (thanks in part to the Free the Hops organization) and the outcome has been very, very encouraging...

Back Forty in Gadsden is one such brewery to quickly make a name for itself. Their name derives from an old agricultural term that refers to the 40 acres of land situated furthest from the barn. This land was often overlooked as it was the hardest to maintain- hence, land that is now rich and feritle. At Back Forty, they've utilized this soil to create five incredibly tasty microbrews, along with a few seasonals.

Back Forty is smartly packaged and embraces their southern heritage. As for naming Fence Post Session Ale, they state- "Fence posts have been used for centuries to keep people apart. But in the Deep South, fence posts bring people together. They're a place where neighbors and friends can take a break and chat for a while..." 

When I was last in Birmingham, I was hoping to make a visit to Avondale Brewing Co, but of course I arrived on the day it was closed. But peering through the windows of their large tap room, I admired the modern, inviting space. And the bold and graphic packaging of Avondale is just too good...

Brothers, Coby and Hunter Lake founded the brewery just last year and offer five beers year round, as well as some seasonal favorites. All their beers are named after popular folklore of Avondale, Alabama. I personally like their Vanillaphant Porter Ale, named after Miss Fancy, the elephant who found a home in Avondale Park after being offered to the town by a down on his luck circus owner. This ale has the traditional flavors of chocolate and roasted nuts, with the added touch of vanilla. Yes please. 

Good People Brewing Co. also has excellent beer and memorable branding- like Snake Handler Double IPA, made with five different hops and Coffee Oatmeal Stout, which is brewed with coffee from Primavera Coffee Roasters in Birmingham. They have been brewing ales "from the heart of Dixie" for four years and so far, so good. Alabama is quickly making its move. In the past, they were known as the wasteland of craft beer. Now, they're the ones to watch...


Photos: Back Forty Beer Co, Avondale Brewing, Good People Brewing Company    Content: Sweet Peach


Race & Religious

The best part about Friday is that it often denotes the start of a weekend getaway. I'm actually on my way to Thomasville, Georgia with Emily Myers to blog about Sweet Grass Dairy and the Firefly shop- which I'm very excited about. And it got me thinking of Airbnb. When I started perusing their site, I found this amazing complex for nightly rental in New Orleans. It's called Race & Religious. 

Named after two streets that intersect closeby, Race and Religious consists of two antebellum homes, three courtyards and a pool. Plus, the passion of the place ensures you have never stayed anywhere quite like this before...

Over the course of thirty years, owner Granville Semmes (the founder of 1-800 Flowers), restored and renovated the properties built in 1836. Inside, you'll find the original masonry made of bricks from Mississippi River clay. Granville also preserved 95% of the moldings and details. The loveliest mismatched rugs have been placed throughout as well as a mix of old Italian and antique country French furnishings. 

There are four bedrooms total as well as two bars, two kitchens and numerous sitting rooms and reading nooks. Every door and window is unique and there are endless purposeful details throughout both homes that will keep you transfixed and inspired...

You'll notice a bridge (with a trap door) that connects one of the antebellum homes to the old slave quarters. Granville transformed the space into a sitting area. 

Steeped in antebellum tradition and southern nostalgia, the Race & Religious compound is often refrerred to as a love song to New Orleans. If you're traveling with a group, I do believe this would be an amazing place to stop and rest your weary feet. Learn more about the Race & Religious experience, here. I hope this inspires you to get out and explore this weekend. I'll be with Emily, causing trouble no doubt. Made even more fun as we'll be stuffing our faces with wine, cheese and jam the entire time. And why not? It's the weekend afterall...


Photos: Air bnb; Race and Religious site; Final pic, Michael Caswell       Content: Sweet Peach


Shop Rethink

Just last month, I blogged about an incredible beach house in Tybee Island, Georgia. The designer of that lovely home, Joel Snayd, along with his wife, Erika, have recently created an online Etsy shop to showcase some of their favorite things they've either designed themselves, or found along the way. It's called Shop Rethink.

It's obvious that the pair love a good dose of color and it's well received on this blog. I love each of these everyday items that combine basic functionality with incredible modern style. 

I have to say, I have a weakness for a stylish bottle opener, and this certainly fits the bill, selling for $18. 

These metal drawer pulls (or wall hooks) were designed by the Rethink team and fabricated by a local metal worker. Each pull was carefully powder coated, in fun colors of course, and sell for $75 a pair. 


Photos: Rethink Design Studio    Content: Sweet Peach


David Arms

David Arms is a visual artist, born and raised in Tennessee. He's resided in Nashville ever since his early twenties and found a love for painting after he had married. David smartly nurtured this emerging talent and has created quite the portfolio- and following, ever since. 

David is a man of faith who has a strong connection to mother nature- which you see throughout his works. He spends his days drinking coffee and listening to classical music while working in his studio that is rich in natural light. I've always wanted to be a painter because of this exact idyllic picture...I know it's easier to think the grass is always greener but in David's case, maybe it's at least a little bit true.

David uses many symbols in his acrylic based work including nests, birds, eggs, fruit, vessels and hummingbirds. As he shares, birds are the everyman symbol, "We live our lives doing many of the same things- we build our homes, we have our young, we provide for our young, we do everything to protect this home and the family in it. It should be our place to feel safe and protected." 

Lucky for us, we can go visit David's Gallery at the Barn in Leiper's Fork. What I love is how homey and inviting the space is, a mix of old and new, found items and thoughtful art. As described by writer, Emme Nelson Baxter, "The interior space boasts an Amish poplar floor, beams from a tobacco barn, metal schoolhouse lights and walls of bead board with vestiges of paint and paper still adhering." 

The barn resides on a large pasture so you are immersed in mother nature everywhere you turn. If you're in Tennessee and find yourself in that part of town, visiting David's Gallery would be a wonderful way to pass an afternoon on by... 

I love this quote that David shares on his site. It is from one of his favorite books, "Jayber Crow" by Wendell Berry; "I can remember those early years when it seemed to me that I was cut completely adrift, and times when, looking back at earlier times, it seems I had been wandering in the dark woods of error. But now it looks to me as though I was following the path that was laid out for me, unbroken, and maybe even as straight as possible, from one end to the other, and I have this feeling, which never leaves me anymore, that I have been led." 

See David's entire portfolio, here. 

Photos:      Content: Sweet Peach


Otis' Lady Tie, take 2

I must confess, I'm one of Otis James' superfans. Anything he does, I tend to love. The first version of his handcrafted lady tie I blogged about earlier in the year. Wanting to improve and embellish, he introduced a new style just this month. 

The latest lady tie has a flirty shape with a lighter feel. This allows verstatility as a bow tie, a necktie, or a pretty, playful hair tie. 

The new ties are made with either a high end cotton, linen or soft wool. Click on Otis' site to see all the lady tie offerings. 


Photos: Otis James site      Content: Sweet Peach



The Geekerie 

I've had many guy friends ask for advice on artwork for their home or office and I tend to have a running list of interesting artists and shops in my head. Christian Peterson of Columbia, South Carolina has now officially been added to my brain. He recently created Table of Thrones, after my all time favorite tv show, Game of Thrones. The inventive periodic table print cleverly breaks down all seven kingdoms and details which members are still alive and which, sadly so, are no longer...

Christian aptly calls his shop The Geekerie, as it's full of tech, scifi, film and fantasy prints- including a bunch of heroes and villains many a nerd may love. I particularly like the style and vibe of Christian's planetary prints. The pretty blue of Neptune offers a nice pop of color that can easily enhance a man's space. 

Christian has hundreds of prints to choose from, many of which are from iconic films of years past. If a guy must show his love for Star Wars, he may as well do so in a stylish way. (You'll find 28 options for the hardcare fan.)

No excuse for owning a lame poster anymore (that should of been thrown out after college). Peruse the entirety of The Geekerie shop, here.


Illustrations: Christian Peterson      Content: Sweet Peach


Tricia's Treasures

A fan of Haskell Harris, I follow her wonderful southern inspired blog, Magpie. And it was here that I found her gushing review of Tricia's Treasures in Birmingham, Alabama. As I was planning to visit there a week after I read the post, I bookmarked it- knowing I had to see this much hyped antique shop for myself. 

As the pictures reveal, this place is a treasure trove. With over 20,000 square feet of inventory, it's packed with incredible finds- row after row, stack after stack.  

Owner, Tricia Thomas has been in the antiques business for 31 years. As her parents owned an antique shop, she learned the business early on and found a love in hunting for treasure. Tricia, "I love to buy things that I think people will love as I'm always thinking of who may like something. I buy all kinds of styles too because people have lots of different tastes." 

One thing that Tricia's Treasures is known for is its incredible selection of mirrors. They have hundreds of them, priced from $150-$3000. 

I brought along my good friend, Bradley Odom, who is the Director of Design Education for West Elm. I liked following him around with my camera as he oohed and aahed over this or that. There were just so many great finds- and good prices too. 

Home decor shops come and go but Tricia's Treasures has become a bit of an institution in Birmingham. Everyone knows the name and there is a constant flow of customers and designers in and out the front door. Tricia is succesful because she buys various styles and price points, plus she has an incredible eye for what will sell. Tricia, "I'm not a trendy person but I have a few trendy things you'll find too." 

I think the best part about Tricia's is the southern hospitality. Her, along with a colorful staff, can be found just a few feet inside the front door. They all say hello and ask lots of questions - Where are you from? What are you looking for? Where did you buy your cute shoes?... There's a lot of great finds here but I like to think Tricia is the biggest treasure of all. Go'll love every moment of it. 


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach



The Elm Tree Story

Clarke Titus is one of my favorite artisans. Not only because he creates amazing, innovative pieces, but he's also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. A little while back, we were discussing a custom cabinet for my kitchen and during the conversation, he mentioned this massive elm table he had just completed. The story was just too good, I had to share it on Sweet Peach...

It all started back in 2008 when an unsuspecting tornado blew through Cabbagetown- one of my favorite areas of Atlanta that's only 2 miles from my own home. It's an historic area with shotgun homes and a wonderful, creative spirit. This 'ol elm tree was one of the many tragedies of the storm, as it was 175 years old. 

This past May, Clarke purchased two slabs from the salvaged tree that was so rich in history and character. He decided to craft a table. 

Clarke, "First, I trimmed it to a rough final shape. I built a router sled to surface it which was too big to move around a lot at 4" thick and I didn't want to find a CNC machine. After surfacing the top and bottom, I got it flat on both sides, as it was pretty wavy. Then I started sanding and sanding and more sanding...made some butterfly keys to join the wood, then more sanding. Lastly, I designed and fabricated the legs."

Gorgeous, eh? Clarke hopes to sell the table to someone local, someone who will continue the story of the 175 year old elm tree that we lost in a tornado back in 2008. I love the idea of a family sitting around this piece of ancient history- wondering what this tree has seen over the years, then adding some of their own tales, day by day, year by year. And just like that, the 'ol elm tree from Cabbagetown lives on...


Photos: Bryan Meltz; Clarke Titus;  Fallen elm shot: Alfredo Aponte    Content: Sweet Peach