Historic Preservation

Jekyll Island Club

Slow Living

Just recently we returned from a lovely week at the Jekyll Island Club on the coast of Georgia. Not our first time, but each time I am struck. It is a course of study in architecture, design and fine living. Such an easy getaway from Atlanta, and it’s as if time slows at the Jekyll Club – a place where croquet is played on the front lawn, porches overlook the gardens and beautiful historic trees, and architectural masterpieces line the street to the Jekyll Island Club Resort – a once seasonal destination for the wealthiest people in the world.

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Key West

Island Heart

Vernacular architecture, charming colorful cottages, narrow streets, warm weather, tropical flora and fauna and tough people who deal with mother nature’s constant threat by land or sea, my favorite places are islands.

This isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about Key West, there is just so much to love on this tiny island.

And so many historic homes desperately needing to be restored. I need one of these to restore and preserve, either as a personal home or as a design project. The ceramic star on the outside of homes and businesses in Key West is given to properties that have displayed excellence in restoration and preservation. The designer, architect, contractors and craftsman who’ve worked on the project are given a certificate showing their involvement in the success of the project. Hoping one day to have a star myself.

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Sharon Springs, NY

Ruins. Restoration. Revitalization.

Last weekend, we stayed in Sharon Springs, NY. What an intriguing town for me as a designer. Much like at Christmastime when visions of sugar plums are dancing in children’s’ heads, visions of redesigning an entire town danced in mine. Historic properties, both residential and commercial, just crying out for love, care and restoration can be found at every turn. Sharon Springs is a mostly abandoned historic, resort and spa town (only about 500 people are full-time residents), that has been left partially decaying, with hauntingly, beautiful Victorian architecture sprinkled around a few restored properties from a slow grass-roots restoration effort sweeping the village. It’s part scary movie, part romantic love story. Driving through, it’s as if a bomb went off or some sort of plague hit, wiped everyone out, and the buildings were left to rot, and not just any buildings, gorgeous 19th century homes, mansions, inns, hotels and commercial buildings full of opportunity.  It’s a historic preservationist’s (and a designer’s) dream running wild. While there are a small number of buildings that have recently been restored, many sit next to buildings that look like they could fall down at any minute. The potential for it to be spectacular is already there, and at one time, it was just that.  If all proposed plans go through, it is a town on the verge of a major comeback, and as many of us travelers are looking for unique experiences away from the city, this is poised to be the perfect long weekend respite.

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