A: Thank you so much! We’re enjoying it! It was built in 1953, even though I think it feels much older. It was built like a fortress and has so many interesting things about it that just aren’t done in new houses, like a large curved staircase down to the full basement, and the attic that has several rooms including a huge cedar closet. (That’s actually one of my favorite parts!) We are only the third owners. It’s informally called the Williams house after the wonderful family who built it. The son of the original owners has come over several times and shared its history with us. He showed us where Ronald Reagan stood when he was here for the Azalea Festival, and the house was on the Garden Tour. He even told us that since he used to be the only surgeon in town, way back before pagers and cell phones, when there was an emergency at the hospital, the police would just ring the doorbell to the side entrance that went right to his bedroom and tell him that he was needed at the hospital.
The chandelier in the front foyer is original to the house. Every room except the living room has a chandelier, even every bathroom.
A: I have loved “playing house” since I was a little girl and made curtains for my playhouse and hung plastic plates on the walls. I hosted my first party in the third grade when I had a surprise birthday party for my Mother. I called all her friends and politely informed them what they were to bring. Those sweet women went along with my scheme, showed up as instructed, and we had a great party! I am not a professional decorator by any means, but I do enjoy it, and have loved helping my friends over the years when asked. Sometimes we all need an extra set of eyes to help us see what needs to be done or an extra set of strong arms to help rearrange furniture. I adore doing that!
The living room used to be a very formal room, which we almost never used. It’s where we put the Christmas tree, and the children practice piano, but that’s it. It’s the largest room downstairs and we never used it. After years of my husband saying we should turn it into a family room, I finally conceded. I don’t know why I waited so long! We use this room all the time now. The children’s friends love watching movies and playing XBox in there, and we are finally, for the first time, using our living room.
The butterflies above the fireplace are from a calendar that I purchased in Venice, Italy a while back. It's always a conversation starter and my children's friends have named that room "the butterfly room."
A: I love traditional, classic, colorful, preppy, happy, with an English bent but all Southern. I love the layered look... pretty on top of more pretty! Although, when I visit a friend in their beautifully and minimally decorated home, I think, "How perfect! I love it! I’m going to start all over!" The reality is I could never. I collect, rearrange, and am constantly feathering my nest.
A: I adore the thrill of the hunt and almost always buy things that are old. I love things that have age and patina, and a few scratches and cracks don’t scare me. They’ll certainly have a few more once we’re done with them! I enjoy collecting Staffordshire, silver (trays, dresser jars, and frames), Herend, old leather books, china, and all the blue and white. I am very sentimental so my favorite things have been handed down, given to me as gifts, or have my children’s finger prints or handwriting on them. The things I would grab in a fire are my children, their portraits and our dogs.
A: I love the elegantly layered look of Charles Faudre, the spectacular blue and white and flowers by Caroline Roehm, the wonderfully fun and beautiful use of color by Parker Kennedy, and anything by Ralph Lauren makes me swoon.
We renovated our kitchen three years ago and made it work so much better for our family. We especially love our brick floors. Before, there was an old linoleum floor with no hardwoods underneath. I knew I could never match new wood floors to the rest of the old wood floors in the house, so we chose brick in this herringbone pattern... they’re indestructible.
￼A: I am usually inspired by color or fabric first and then work from there. I can type the name of a fabric I want to use or “green bedroom” into Pinterest or Instagram and find all the inspiration I can handle. I still have my old binder with tons of pictures cut out of magazines that I used for inspiration long before the Internet. I can look back at it and still see pictures that inspired some of my ideas. It could be a paint color that I have used or an arrangement of paintings on a wall that I particularly loved, but many of my tried and true decorating tricks came from those magazines from years ago.
A: Does sitting in the bleachers at my children’s games count as hobbies? No? Well then, let me think... I actually love to needlepoint and have made several belts for my husband and son, and things for our daughters. I love to read, garden, bake, play tennis and walk with girlfriends, and travel as much as possible. If there’s time for those things, that’s great, but what I really want to do is play with my family. We have fun together and spending time with them is time well spent.
The den is actually my favorite room. It is full of things that I love- both my husband’s family and my family’s tartans on either side of the sofa, both our families’ crests, a hide on the floor that I purchased in Montana where we vacation, and many collections. It’s the best room for curling up by the fire and making smores.
A: I want our home to be beautiful and comfortable and a soft place for my family to land after they’ve been gone all day. It’s filled with things that are so “us”... things brought home from our trips, or handed down from our parents (or “neo- parental” as we call it), or are just beautiful to me. I was helping a girlfriend spruce up her living room the other day and while we were out shopping, we found something she loved. Instead of grabbing it, she lamented, “But I just don’t know where I’d put it.” I almost fell over! You can put something you love anywhere and everywhere! It can start out in one spot and over the years, move to several others. If you love it, buy it! I know husbands everywhere are cringing when I say that, but it’s the truth. If you buy what you like, everything will look good together. If you are not sure what your style is, boil it down to a few words... classic, modern, neutral, colorful... if you see something that fits what you believe your style is, or what you want it to be, get it!
The back porch is my favorite spot to have coffee in the mornings or drinks in the evening. From the porch swing, I can hear the fountain and watch the children play in the backyard.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: We feel so blessed to live in this home and enjoy opening to others and sharing it. This house was made for that! I enjoy having friends over for dinner or having dinner in their homes much more than in a restaurant. I think you get to know people better that way. Our life is focused around family and friends and having people over is a large part of that. We are very social and love entertaining, whether it’s friends and their children for dinner, a church function, cocktails for 100, a Christmas Tea for 400, or being on the Garden Tour and hosting several thousand. I love the planning, the decorating, flower arranging, cooking, (let’s be honest, sometimes it’s pizzas), and then finally enjoying the results! The more you have people over and practice hospitality, the easier it becomes. I joke that I’m party ready at a moment’s notice, and that’s the truth. Have house, will happily host.
Thank you, Meredith, for inviting us inside your beautiful home! I am so inspired by your amazing style.... and your hostessing skills! For a further glimpse into Meredith's charmed life, please follow her on Instagram.