Tag Archives: interiors

Cumberland Island

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I remember that photograph. It was instantly synonymous with American style, American royalty, and that fairytale wedding to Prince Charming. I never forgot that image, the beauty of the moment, the elegance and intimacy of the chosen venue. Such an interesting choice to make for such a famous last name. Fast forward nearly 18 years later, and I’m standing on the steps of the First African Baptist Church on Cumberland Island thinking about all the dreams that one photograph gave me as a child. I remember reading about how the guests stayed at the Greyfield Inn where the reception was held but as time passed these little details faded away, now those faded details are a part of my very personal memories. Cumberland became more than a dream, but a cherished experience.

The day is full of delight with the kind of youthful energy and discovery you find in a F. Scott Fitzgerald book. We went on hour long hikes, took bike rides to old cemeteries and rode around horses grazing beneath the ruins of the Dungeness mansion. We rode for hours down the seashore without ever seeing another person, finding seashells and chasing horses. One of the most charming rituals of the Inn is how they make their guests picnic baskets for lunch everyday you can take with you on your private adventures.  On our second morning we rode with the house naturalist on a tour of the island where we visited that famous church, saw the house where President Jimmy Carter ate at multiple times, and discovered Plum Plantation which took my breath away. The history and nature, preservation and privateness is so far beyond anything I have ever experienced that I can only describe this stretch of land, twice the size of Manhattan, as magical.

If you ever need to find that corner of the world where things just are… where you can sit in the natural silence of the world alone and breathe in the sunlight, taste the salt of the sea and feel that life is just simply beautiful… then come to Cumberland Island. My heart will be there waiting for you.

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Greyfield Inn

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While we were in California last year, spending the day photographing Lake Tahoe with our friends, Adam Katseff and his wife Amy, they told us about the Greyfield Inn…the magical place they stayed on their honeymoon, one that they knew I would LOVE (turned out to be a major understatement). I knew the name sounded familiar, and once they mentioned it was on Cumberland Island, it all came back to me…an enchanting wedding, an all-American couple…but more on that tomorrow…

After hearing about it, I knew I had to see Greyfield Inn for myself and with the trip down to visit SCAD, it was the perfect opportunity. I’m an extremely visual person and I’m sure it comes to no surprise to you that I quite often dream about the way life looked “back then”. I think walking through the doors of Greyfield will be as close as I will ever get to knowing the way it might have actually looked…

You leave your car on Amelia Island and Mitti, one of the four owners and inheritors of Greyfield and the Carnegie property, takes you by boat to Cumberland Island. Walking up from the dock the giant, old live oaks seem to wave at you with their long fingers of Spanish moss, diffusing the afternoon sun into a sparkling haze underneath their centuries-old canopy. Then, from behind the trees you catch the first glimpse of the four story white mansion they call Greyfield. Built in 1900 as a wedding gift to the Carnegie’s daughter, Margaret, this home is still furnished with many of the original pieces of that era but with exceptional modern day comforts (ummm…air-conditioning). As you walk up the grand staircase to the second floor porch lined with rocking chairs and swinging daybeds, you regret how short your stay is. Now, up in the canopy of live oaks, you overlook the property of white picketed fences and fields of grazing wild horses and as they offer you organic rosemary lemonade, if you’re like me, you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.

The house, grand as it is, still holds a very sweet intimacy. At night, sitting out by the waterway looking back on her, she stands a soft pearly white in the light of the moon, framed by Spanish moss draped trees with a golden light glowing out of every window, so warm and welcoming you would swear the evening was meant just for you. The charm extends to the inside with its historic clawfoot bathtubs, immaculate upkeep, full service bar, organic meals, classic high quality southern linens and L’Occitane toiletries. Every evening, men in dinner jackets and ladies in our sweet southern dresses snack on hors d’oeuvres and classic Southern cocktails (recipe for my favorite below!), awaiting a dinner bell around 7:30 where we all move into the formal dining room for that night’s seasonal meal which at times can harvest ingredients from Greyfield’s own impressive garden.

I know on busy New York days or times when I’m caught in a blizzard, I will think back on this memory and my soul will fill with the warmth of these sunny afternoons, lost on Cumberland Island in a dream called Greyfield

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Meet Christina Graci

Today is the last installment of our inspiring women series with Pandora Jewelry. From San Francisco with Courtney Klein to Charleston with Helen Rice, this has been an incredible experience for me, being personally inspired by these amazing women all over the country.  I feel so lucky that our roles as women have become so open to any of our hearts’ desires and I have truly loved seeing what these women have chosen to do with their lives. What has been truly meaningful as well is to see the choices each of these women make within the Pandora Essence Collection, selecting charms that are chic and stylish, but also representative of their core tenets. Speaking to them about what beliefs they hold dear has told me so much about each woman, and I have treasured the friendships made through this lovely collection. And so here we are now with the beautiful Christina Graci

Christina is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. She studied in Baton Rouge and abroad in Denmark, worked for two major interior design firms in New York City, and then came back to New Orleans to live and work. What makes this the city to be in?

“New Orleans has a special place in my heart.  The city is so rich in history and culture that you don’t find everywhere.  It’s such a diverse city that is so full of life.  The people here are also truly unique.  Never a dull moment in this city to say the least!”

With her brother Chad, Christina runs Graci Interiors, an interior design firm known for having exquisite and classic tastes, mixing vintage and modern styles with ease. Christina said her passion for interior design showed before she even knew it could be a job: “Growing up my mother and I would re-decorate my bedroom yearly.  We would get new draperies, bedding, change the wall color, etc.  It was so much fun doing that with her that I guess it just grew on me.  It wasn’t until I went off to college that I had the epiphany that I could do that for a living!”

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Christina describes her personal style as “classic traditional but fresh and modern.  Keeping with traditional interiors is important to me but bringing it into our era and how we live today makes is so interesting and fun.”

When I first heard this, I knew Christina and Pandora Jewelry made the perfect pair…classic jewelry with a fresh and modern perspective on the inspiring woman who wears it!

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Christina on what her Pandora Essence Charms mean to her ~

Hope and Confidence - I chose these because they primarily have a lot of meaning to me in reference to my career.  I’ve had to have a lot of hope in my career along the way in order to keep moving forward.  Also, in my career you’ve got to have confidence in yourself and in your work to be successful.
Health - A healthy lifestyle is so important to me.  Being healthy is living life to the fullest for me – mind, body, and soul.
LoyaltyStability, and Love - These all relate to me personally in my relationships with friends and family.  I feel as though all three are interwoven.  You can’t have one without the other and vice versa.

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The Singular

I love traveling the world, seeing all the places I dreamed of as a child. All my life I have wanted to adventure down to South America, but nothing could have prepared me for the natural beauty I was to find in Chile’s Patagonia. Way down south, the furthest I have ever been in the world, lies The Singular Patagonia, a stunning piece of living history.

Recently restored as a luxury hotel, the complex had previously been a cold storage plant built in the early twentieth century. The owners, descendants of the families who built their lives in this area, recognized the importance of the structure and made the decision to keep it alive. Now the Singular boasts not only one of the most sustainable five-star hotels in Chile, but also a private collection of machines, engines, and other artifacts from the original factory.

It was so fascinating to walk the grounds and see how the hotel and factory merged together, how wood and steel shipped over from England many years ago became something brand new. Come along on our tour, see what can be found #onlyinsouthamerica

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