27 April 2014

Southern Design Charm


A few years ago, my daughter Elisabeth introduced me (and Ben!) to Bravo TV – on which we are now totally hooked.  Bravo TV is mostly the brainchild of Andy Cohen, Ex. VP of Bravo,  who develops the programming on the channel and who also is now host of his own Bravo show – “Watch What Happens Live.” 

To say I am hooked is putting it mildly.  Bravo TV is the main channel I watch at night.  I watch all the shows – such as:  The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, New York, Atlanta, Orange County and Miami.  I watch Million Dollar Listings of New York and Los Angeles and Million Dollar Decorators and Millionaire Matchmaker (I really like those Millionaire shows.)  I also watch Jeff Lewis (both of his shows), Fashion Queens, Vanderpump Rules, Shahs of Sunset, and Tabitha Takes Over.  I even watch the show about people watching television called “The People’s Couch” (which is the best! – as Andy Cohen said, “who would have thought a TV show about people watching TV would be so good?” – uh, Andy since you thought the premise up, I guess YOU did!) 

Most Bravo Housewives are very wealthy, but very few have beautifully decorated houses - in my opinion.  There is some good design in the Million Dollar Listing shows and Million Dollar Decorators.  And, a few months ago I showed the beautiful Malibu house of Beverly Hills Housewife Yolanda Foster HERE – but mostly the décor of Bravo TV houses is either too frou frou or too Mc Mansion or just not my style.  That is, until the newest show on Bravo debuted:  “Southern Charm.”  Wow!
First – the décor on Southern Charm is so fabulous that I am going to have to break it up into two stories.

Yes, it is THAT good and there are so many design surprises and secrets to uncover, so get settled in, grab your coffee, and enjoy!

SOUTHERN CHARM:

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The main cast of Southern Charm on Bravo. 
There are really 8 stars – but, my story will mostly center around Whitney Sudler-Smith who is on the very left and next to him – Mr. Thomas Ravenel.  These are the two with the most interesting houses.  We will also visit Shepherd Rose, at the far right, and, not shown here, Kathryn Calhoun Dennis, both of whom have interesting houses, to say the least.


The show, Southern Charm, films in Charleston, South Carolina and it centers around the love lives and shenanigans of a handful of southerners and one northerner who just lives in Charleston.  When the show’s first episode aired, I was bowled over by a few of their houses.  I mean – straight out fabulous!!!  Of course straight out fabulous doesn’t come without a great designer behind it, as I soon figured out.



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Thomas Ravenel

The two main stars of the show, Thomas Ravenel and Whitney Sudler-Smith, are much older than the rest of the cast.  While most are 20 somethings – Thomas is in his 50s and Whitney is fortyish.  Thomas Ravenel is very handsome and is the State Treasurer of So. Carolina.  WELL, he WAS the State Treasurer, until he served 10 months in federal prison for possession of cocaine.  Oh, and he recently had a DWI charge in the Hamptons.  He’s a mess.  He claims his cocaine conviction was all a set up.  He doesn’t talk about his DWI charge.  Thomas recently announced that he plans to run for the U.S. Senate as a Libertarian, against incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham.  Good luck. 

  The Ravenel family has been in South Carolina for centuries – they settled in Charleston in the 1680s.  The Ravenel name is very prestigious there:   the beautiful, contemporary Ravenel bridge was named after his father, also a politician.


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The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, named after Thomas’ father, the former U.S. Congressman and State Senator of So. Carolina.

While Thomas is now a Libertarian – “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” – his father has a somewhat “southern” reputation, but any hints of that was politely swept under the rug during the filming.


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Thomas and Whitney and Cameran and Kathryn, the red-head love interest of the show.


Southern Charm is all fun and games and mainly centers around the love life of the elder Thomas Ravenel and his very, very young, red haired girlfriend - 21 year old Kathryn, whom Thomas proudly calls  “the scion” of two old political families.  Kathryn lives on the family plantation.  Yes. A plantation. 



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Thomas Ravenel & Kathryn Dennis

Oh, and Thomas also owns a plantation which he uses as a vacation house/polo field.  And another cast mate, Shepherd Rose, also owns a plantation where the cast all go pig hunting.  Shep’s family, The Boykins, are also very, very prominent.  The state dog was named after Shep’s family – The Boykin Spaniel.  Folks, we are talking old families here.   And, make no mistake, the show is fascinating if you are interested in seeing how the other half lives. 


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The South Carolina State Dog:  The Boykin Spaniel, was named after Shep Rose’s family – the Boykins.  Interestingly, Thomas Ravenel is also a Boykin on his mother’s side.  He and Shep are first cousins once removed, or something like that, Thomas said!

The other main character, Whitney Sudler-Smith, is actually from – horrors – Virginia.   But, the show is the brainchild of Whitney who is also a Hollywood producer and director.   The second chapter of this story will revolve around Whitney and his mother who lives in Charleston. 

But here today, Part One, is about Thomas Ravenel.  He lives in a 17th century house located in the South of Broad area of Charleston, considered one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, or so Thomas claims.  The glimpses of his house left me breathless and fascinated.  And well, it all looked so vaguely familiar, as if I had seen it before or been there?  But why???  Did I once date Thomas in a previous life – after all, he seems to have dated half the women in the United States.    


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Thomas Ravenel or T-Rav as he is called, lives right near the Charleston Harbor where the blue circle is. 


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It’s hard to get a picture of his house on google maps because the cobblestone street is only one lane wide.  His house is the beige stucco with green shutters on the left.  The front door is off the street in a courtyard and faces his neighbor’s house.  At the end of this street is the harbor.


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The house is 3 stories, plus an attic and basement.  You can see the front door here which is off the street, down the courtyard.  At the right is his neighbor’s attached house, with the flags, painted blue.


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Here is how the house once looked before it was restored.  The biggest change is the front middle window which was once leaded with a striped awning.  The house was built in 1797!!


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And another early picture of the house’s courtyard and front door before the stucco was repaired and the shutters were replaced.



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And, looking the other direction, his neighbor’s house is freestanding – and it looks just as old as Thomas’ – but the stucco hasn’t been restored like his.   The three windows that face the street are his living room.  The dining room is on the other side of the front door.  Notice the middle window – it is larger than the other two.  I wonder why they removed the original one with the awning?  That was so charming.


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At the back of the house is the former kitchen house which was not connected to the main house – in order to prevent fires.  As all the houses in this area are now – the kitchen house was connected to the main house – through what is now, today, the butler’s pantry.  The kitchen house is smaller in profile than the main house and is only two stories. 


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    In the brick courtyard is this fountain.



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    A night time view of the house – with the colors of the living room blazing through the windows.  I’m not sure where Thomas parks his car, but his guests park theirs right on the street.



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    The front door – I like that brass handrail.  The house is 5,543-square-foot residence and has five bedrooms, five-and-a-half baths, a personal gym, and nine-foot ceilings.

    Ready to go inside this original Federal townhouse?

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    Here’s the first glimpse from the show of the entry hall – Shep Rose comes to a dinner party.  You can immediately see how nice it is – with the antique console and basket and the peek into the living room with that fabulous painting.  There are beautiful original hardwoods covered with antique rugs and the walls are painted two shades of khaki green and cream.


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    Another view shows Thomas leaving his house – on the left you can see a lacquered chest and on the right is the dining room.


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    And, a realtor has photos of the house online.  Under the stairs (covered in seagrass) you can see the powder room where the door is so short you have to bend down to enter.


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    Looking down the stairs, you can see the beautiful antique on the left.




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    Here Thomas sits with his political consultant in his living room and wow – those chairs.  Is that Raoul Textiles fabric? Well, yes it is.  Hmmm.  And I love the two antique rugs layered over the seagrass.  Wonderful Oriental bamboo coffee table.  And that warm apricot, butterscotch color scheme.  Does this living room ring a bell yet?   Hmmm….


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    The chairs really caught my eye, with their antique profile and tiny casters.  And the Raoul fabric. 
     

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    Thomas takes a French lesson from this tutor, showing off his French Huguenot background, of which he constantly brags about on the show.
    When he meets Kathryn, his red haired girlfriend, he discovers she is “good stock” and also a “Huguenot.”   OK, I’m Polish Jewish, is that as good stock as Huguenot?



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    Shep Rose and Kathryn Dennis in Thomas’ living room with its silk velvet sofa. 

    So, the question is – can you guess now who the interior designer was?  Come on – I know you know!!!


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    Yes – here is Thomas’ living room, photographed for House Beautiful when the décor was first completed by Charleston decorator Amelia Handegan.   In fact, this photograph is the one that you first see when you visit her web site.  No wonder the house looked so familiar to me!  I have LOVED this photograph for years and years – never did I think I would see it on a TV show!

    Without a doubt, this is the first and probably ONLY house on a Bravo Reality TV show that Amelia Handegan will ever decorate.   The portrait is antique Dutch.  All the furniture is antique, save for the contemporary coffee table.  The sofa is silk velvet in a butterscotch orange. 

    Just beautiful and exactly what you would expect a Charleston house to look like.


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    The view of the two side chairs – styled by Handegan.  Love this photograph. 


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    A real estate photograph of the living room.



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    Another real estate photograph. 



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    And one more real estate view, showing the second sofa with its cane sides.  There is also a linen press against the back wall surrounded by framed prints. 



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    In this view – you can see the mantel and fireplace which is pretty amazing.  Remember, this house was built in 1797! 



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    Close up of the beautiful  carved mantel.  Notice the collection of miniature silhouettes that flank the mirror.


    It is interesting to note – a few weeks ago, it was announced that Thomas Ravenel had sold this house for 3.3 million.  He purchased it in May, 2006 – for 3.2 million.

    This is actually the second time he has sold the house.  He first sold it shortly after he bought it, but then he couldn’t find another house he liked, so he rebought it.   And he says he rented it for a long time before he even bought it  (note:  there is some discrepancy with those dates and when it was photographed for House Beautiful.) 
     
    Speaking of the sale of this house - Thomas says that he rarely spends time in the city, preferring to stay at his country plantation and keeping this house didn’t make sense, financially. 

    Moving on…

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    Across the entry hall is the dining room.  The series was filmed last summer and you can see how foggy all the windows are from the cold air conditioner.  Here, before a dinner party, Thomas inspects the dining room.  There is a gorgeous Swedish (I presume) chandelier in the room.


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    The table is his great-great grandfather’s.  Birds stand in the front windows.


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    Here you can see into the living room across the hall. 


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    At the party, Thomas sits with his girlfriend, the 21 year old red head Kathryn – of good Huguenot stock.  Of course, the dinner party is ruined when one of the guests announces that Kathryn, of the good Huguenot stock, has bedded three men in three weeks – and they are all sitting at the table.  OY!!!!  Kathryn denies it, of course.  Well, hell, I would have denied it too!  Of course no one cares that the three MEN have loose morals, only that the woman does.  The problem comes later when Thomas tries to figure out – who was the third man????  He knows about himself, and his cousin Shep…but who was the mysterious third man?  Stay tuned….



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    Handsome devil – all he can think about is who is third man.  Notice the curtains – Fortuny, of course!!!


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    In this photo by Handegan – you can see the painting, and the gorgeous bulls-eye mirror over the fireplace.  That particular mirror is no longer there – it probably was brought in just for the photoshoot until Amelia could find a permanent mirror.  


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    The dining room – real estate photograph.  You can finally see the beautiful chandelier – stunning.  And the painting – so beautiful.  The warm butterscotch walls are perfect against the Fortuny curtains in gold and persimmon.




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    Another view of the dining room – you can see the current convex mirror over the fireplace.

    To the left of the fireplace is a door (not shown) that leads to the butler’s pantry which connects the old house to the kitchen house.  It’s hard to tell if there is another connection to the kitchen house through the living room or foyer – but this dining room connection is the only one I could find.



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    After the party ends in disaster because Kathryn was accused of bedding three men in three weeks at the table – these two have a huge fight and she leaves in a huff.  No fear, she comes right back a few minutes later and they make up and make out.  Naturally.  Hey, she’s a smart girl!    I wonder what Amelia thinks when she sees this elegant house used for the basis of a soap opera.   It is a fun soap opera though. 


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    During Thomas’ dinner party scene – this drove me insane – the lining of one of the Fortuny curtains was showing in this window.  Of course no one bothered to fix it.  I cropped it out of the pictures I showed – but here it is, in all its glory.  The lining is so billowy – I wonder what kind Amelia uses? 



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    See the lining sticking out – at the very right window.  While Kathryn and Thomas were busy “inspecting” the table before the party, they should have checked the curtain linings.  What a fake scene this was anyway – what are they checking for?  A misplaced fork or knife?  We know what HE was looking at!


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    Somebody – quit drinking – and go put the lining back behind the curtain!!!  Oh, and check out Jenna King’s hair at the far right.  She is the “edgy” one – but, I think she thinks she looks like Miley Cyrus, ummm, no.  Her hair looks like a hot mess. 

     Remember the show – “There’s Something About Mary”  - Jenna’s hair looks just like Cameron Diaz’s:



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    Jenna King – “edgy” star of Southern Charm.  Yes, her hair looked just like that all during filming.  Why?  I don’t know.


    And, who could forget this?

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    Cameron Diaz in “There’s Something About Mary”


    AND moving on…

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    And from real estate photographs – the powder room under the stairs.  Beautiful toile paper and a pretty set of herberiers.  Amelia uses lots of sets of prints in her designs.  



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    And here is the hall/butler’s pantry which connects the main house to the kitchen house.   In the dining room you go through a door to reach the back part of the house. 



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    Another view of the butler’s pantry.



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    Looking back towards the other direction – this leads off the dining room – which you can see right behind Thomas.  Above this portion of the house – on the second floor – is the master bathroom.  The master bedroom is right over the dining room.   And the library is above the living room.


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    Past the butler’s pantry - is a second set of stairs – more contemporary than the rest of the house.  The kitchen house is seen through the door.  These stairs led up to the master bathroom/bedroom.



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    Kathryn used these stairs quite a bit during the filming – as she was always getting dressed for their next adventure or party.


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    The stairs look out over the courtyard.



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    The kitchen house has the two original fireplaces.  At the back of the long room is the family room/breakfast area.  Not sure if this was taken recently or not because the furnishings are different than they were during filming. AND – the sofa seen in this picture is now at Thomas’ plantation house.


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    Looking towards the back of the kitchen house.   Notice the beamed ceiling, the brick wall, the tiled floor, and the three pendants over the island.


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    Looking towards the other direction – which shows the butler’s pantry on the back left and the contemporary styled stairs on the right.  The table has six leather chairs surrounding it.    The antique French wing chair in cream linen also shows up at the plantation, as does this table and leather chairs.   Twin candelabras take the place of lamps.  Fabulous space!


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    The double range and the fireplace in the family room.   The painting over this fireplace changes during filming.

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    This painting over the fireplace shows up again at Thomas’ Plantation house – Brookland.


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    The family room – as it looked during filming with two green velvet chairs and a leather sofa.  French doors lead to the courtyard and the fountain.  In the window sills – a collection of old pots stand.



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    And there is this view – without the sofa.  The antique wing chair in cream linen is matched against the leather dining chairs.  To the left of the fireplace is a hidden flatscreen.   Perhaps this was taken after some of the furniture was moved to the plantation.  Hard to say.  I do love this configuration best – without all the sofas and chairs. 



    Upstairs:

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    Upstairs is the formal library.  This is so Amelia!   Love, love love.  She continues the butterscotch and persimmon shades – mixed in with sage greens.  In the middle of the room is a round hall table with two antique French arm chairs and sofa.  Notice the beautiful carved wood mantel.  Bookcases flank the fireplace.  Such a perfect rug.  Love the gilt touch of the painting’s frame.  Perfection!


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    And across from the room is the partner’s desk with matching chairs. 


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    Against this wall is a beautiful antique screen.  But it looks like Thomas added a nude.  I KNOW Amelia did NOT place this!!! 


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    Here is a real estate photograph – with an extra sofa.  Not sure if this is before or after the filming of the show?



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    The painting over the fireplace is different here too.



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    During filming – showing the library which is across the stair landing from the master bedroom.  I love how books are used to keep the door open.  I can imagine how wonky the doors must be in a house this old.



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    And, a different real estate photograph.  Remember – Thomas has sold this house twice now.  And he listed it a few more times, so there are lots of real estate photographs floating around the internet.  This view shows the antique leather wing chair.  There are a pair of these wonderful chairs.




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    Thomas leaves the master bedroom and walks through the landing to the library.  Here’s another of the leather wing chairs.




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    The master bedroom. 




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    A larger real estate view shows the French blue walls and curtains along with the grisaille paintings that line one side of the room.



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    Another view of the antique rice bed, with the new feather mattress, as Thomas tells us.  The painting over the bed has been changed out from other photographs of the room.



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    Looking at the fireplace across from the bed.



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    Thomas waits for Kathryn to get dressed.  Notice that mirror on the right.



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    The handsome couple admire each other before a party.


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    Kathryn, of good Huguenot stock, sleeps in late.  I really love the master bedroom with the French blue walls and curtains. 



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    The long master bathroom is above the butler’s pantry.  Over the tub is a set of framed prints.  A touch of Amelia’s, no doubt.



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    The tub lies between the two vanities.




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    A bank of wood closet doors is on the right.


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    I love how Thomas gives a tour of his house for Bravo and walks right by the toilet with the seat up – which doesn’t even faze him,  nor does it occur to him to lower the lid for the millions of viewers.  What a man!  Notice his initials – TJJR.  I love two middle names. 



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    Here Thomas waits for Kathryn to finish taking her pregnancy test!!!   She wasn’t pregnant, by the way.  And thank God for that – since any one of three of the men on the show could have been the father.




    The Basement: 

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    The house has five bedrooms.  I suppose one might be in the basement and the other two are on the third floor.  Here, you can see two of those fabulous leather wing chairs – and Thomas moved the cream antique French wing chair down here from the kitchen.  Ring around the chairs….  What a great basement – those crumbling brick walls are real.  So many people try to faux this look.


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    And in this basement room, Thomas has turned it into a gym.   More wonderful old crumbing brick walls. 




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    Watching this show, week after week, and feeling like I am spending time in this wonderful, original Federal house has been such a treat.   Although Amelia Handegan designs houses across the globe, she does live in Charleston and the majority of her work seems to be there.  I’m unaware of any house that Amelia has designed in Houston or even Texas – so this unexpected glimpse into her world has been such a bonus for me.  Like I said, I never expected to see a Handegan designed house on a Bravo reality show.


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    This 17th century Federal house that Thomas Ravenel lives in is not his only house – of course.  He also owns a plantation.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I thought plantations went out of style with buggy whips and hooped skirts and Scarlett O’Hara.  Judging by this show – where at least 3 members out of the cast of 7 live on plantations – it’s like there never was a Civil War, or the War Between The States – as they call it on Southern Charm.



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    On one episode, the cast went pig hunting on Shep Rose’s planation which has been in his family for generations – since even before the Civil War.  They had a BBQ on Shep’s plantation and the ranch hand that lives on the estate, grilled the food and cleaned up the mess.  He was African American and Ben and I had just looked at the each other with the strangest expression.   We felt that we were looking at a direct descendent of one of Shep’s family’s slaves.   It was the most disconcerting feeling and one that I have never felt before – but this is the deep south and this is a family plantation.   I wonder if anyone else felt uncomfortable watching this scene?

    Perhaps the word plantation  is “loaded” – and shouldn’t be used to describe vacation houses, regardless of their history.  If you google any of these plantations shown on this show – you will find lists of the names of the actual slaves who were owned by these families. 




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    Brookland, Thomas Ravenel’s plantation, located on 60 acres to the south of Charleston. 


    Spoiler:  On the last episode of Southern Charm, Thomas breaks up with the genteel bred red-haired Kathryn.  She had lied to him about bedding three men in three weeks and he just couldn’t forgive her.  The last scene of the show is Thomas sobbing by himself after Kathryn drives off again – for good, this time. 



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    The last scene of the show – Thomas and Kathryn break up for good. 


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    Thomas cries – for real, or else he is quite an actor.  No, those tears were for real.



    EXCEPT – instead of ending the show right then, the camera cuts immediately to a most gorgeous baby girl.  It turns out that after the show ended filming last summer – Kathryn and Thomas reconciled and she became pregnant with a baby girl that was born just a few weeks ago:  Kensington Calhoun Ravenel.   



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    ok – is she not the most gorgeous little baby?

    No,  Thomas and Kathryn are not quite married yet.   But, I’m sure they will be very soon.



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    Brookland Plantation

    During the long wait for their baby to be born - which had to be hidden from public view because of the show – Kathryn and Thomas hid away at his plantation, Brookland, where they now live permanently since he has since sold his Charleston house. 

    Except, Thomas’ plantation is ALSO now for sale too.  I think he must like to buy and sell real estate.

    So – let’s visit Brookland Plantation, Thomas Ravel’s vacation house which doubles as his personal Polo Country Club.

    The plantation is located on Edisto Island and dates back to the 1700s.  The main house is not quite that old though, as it was built in 1800.  The house was made of black cypress and wings on each side were added later.  The many slave cabins were once located between the large oak trees – but they are now gone.  Most recently the estate served as an orphanage during the 60s. 

    The landscape designer Robert Chestnut bought the house in the early 2000 and completely restored it.  Robert Chestnut


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    Remember this lovely courtyard in Charleston – published in Southern Accents?



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    Such pretty landscaping – and yes, this garden was designed by Robert Chestnut.



    Robert Chestnut spent a few years completely restoring Brookland Plantation – inside and out.  A few years later, in 2006,  the estate was sold to Thomas Ravenel.  He bought the plantation because he heard rumors it was going to be subdivided and he wanted to keep the plantation intact.  An avid polo player, he erected a stable/barn for his horses and cleared a field for his polo playing buddies.  Parts of the Robert Redford movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance” was filmed at the plantation.  
    To read a large newspaper account of the changes that Chestnut made to the property, go HERE.


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    A photograph of slaves toiling on the plantation.  Lists of the slaves owned by this plantation can be found on the internet.


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    The long drive up to the main house.



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    The gates to the plantation.



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    Romantic moss clings to the old oak trees.



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    The slave cabins that were placed between the large oak trees, was probably for much needed shade.



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    An early photograph.  The wings were a later addition to the main house.





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    A boat dock.



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    You can boat from the house to the Atlantic ocean in a very short amount of time.




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    The marsh circles around the house in a horseshoe shape.



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    After a polo match – the cast walks from the stables to the main house.



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    Chestnut designed a garden outside the house.



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    A view of the house with the Chestnut designed garden.  Notice how beautiful the four chimneys are – especially the tops of the ones on the main house.



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    Such pretty grounds.




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    The front porch.



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    Aquamarine shutters.  The siding was painted the color of the earth – matched by Chestnut – so it wouldn’t easily show dirt.



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    The back view.   Notice the barn/stables in the distance at the far right.  Thomas recently announced that he and Kathryn are actual living in the rooms above the stables!!!  Why?????  I’m clueless.



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    The back porch.


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    There are several different versions of the décor.  Here, I think is how Ravenel originally decorated the foyer – with sage green walls and an antique English console.



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    And another view.




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    And, this is how it looked when Ravenel first bought the house – as decorated by Robert Chestnut.  Some of the furniture remains today – such as the bench.



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    And a wider shot of Chestnut’s décor with suzani pillows.



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    And looking down at Chestnut’s foyer. You can get a glimpse into the kitchen here – as Chestnut decorated it with sage painted cabinetry and mini print wallpaper.  Today – the kitchen is all white and gray.



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    The front hall today.  Not sure what toile paper that is to the left, but past that, is the master bedroom. 

     Notice the foyer is now a dark brown, while the other rooms were painted light gray.


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    And Kathryn Instragrammed this picture of her before the fire in the living room – you can see the foyer with the dark brown walls through the door.
     

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    Here is how the house looked when Robert Chestnut lived here and decorated it.  Very English proper with chintz fabrics and butterscotch colored walls.  The living room and dining room have matching iron chandeliers which remain today.  The two rooms are identical sizes with matching windows and fireplaces.



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    And Robert Chestnut’s dining room.  Through the door is the kitchen – at that time it had a small patterned wallpaper on the walls.  Note the crown molding and the molding around the doorways which is so beautiful.




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    And here is a view of the two rooms – after Thomas took over the plantation.  The dark moss green walls look very Amelia Handegan to me and I wonder if she helped him with the décor?   It certainly has her touch. 



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    And the dining room – after Ravenel moved in.  Notice the painting over the buffet on the back wall – that was seen in the kitchen in the Charleston house during filming. 



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    A look towards the other direction.  At the end of the living room is the master bedroom, which you can see through the open door.




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    But – during filming, the two main rooms were painted a trendy light gray.  Also, furniture started moving around.  They added a gold mirror over the demilune and moved the French buffet out.  Notice the bird sculpture that came from the Charleston dining room.



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    And here is a view of the lighter painted living room, now with new furniture and a zebra rug.  This furniture arrangement was changed yet again during filming.



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    And here during filming with the addition of two leather French antique chairs.  These chairs show up later in the basement family room. 



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    A view of the dining room looking towards the living room with the new lighter gray walls.



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    At one point on the show, Thomas talks about the décor of the plantation.  He mentions his designer made him buy the lilac throw for the sofa and she also had him buy the zebra rug.  Amelia?  He doesn’t say!




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    Whitney and Thomas discussing Kathryn, of course.  In this view you can see into the master bedroom which is right off the living room.  I really like the new color of these public rooms – only the foyer remained a dark brown.





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    For filming – sheers were hung in the windows.  Probably to hide the crew outside?




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    The kitchen – I love.  A combination of beadboard and glass cabinets.



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    Love!  Love the gray painted cabinet and the framed birds.  Notice the fireplace and the counter – it looks like limestone here.


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    During filming – the countertop looks like granite.  Not as good looking. as the limestone – I wonder why it was changed?    Love the screened cabinets next to the window.



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    Bells hang from the back door.   I love the hanging garlic, but the hanging cotton?  I can do without that symbol.



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    The foyer with the grand staircase is seen to the right.  



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    In the basement – I suppose that might be an original sign?  Or a copy?



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    Over the fireplace, a collection of vintage photographs of Brookland hang.



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    Most of this furniture came from the Charleston townhouse – the leather sofa, the two linen chairs.  Other furniture was seen upstairs – the sofa, the coffee table and the leather chairs.  The basement kitchen is at the far end of the room where the barstools are.



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    The basement kitchen, which overlooks the sitting room.



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    A picture of the basement kitchen shows the dining room table and leather chairs that were at the Charleston townhouse during filming.  Look at the old stove and fireplace.  The large sink is just barely seen at the very left.




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    A different picture of the basement kitchen showing the old sink.  OK – this picture showing the old table must be new because it was taken at the interview after the baby was born.  I literally can’t figure out why the Charleston house table was here and then moved.  Maybe he moved it to the barn?  

    Dumbfounded!


                                                            
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    Thomas Ravenel in the master bedroom, off the living room.  He must really like rice beds.  In the corner is that wonderful cream linen antique French wing chair that was formerly in the Charleston kitchen and basement.



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    Getting ready for a polo match.  What I don’t understand is if Ravenel plays for the Brookwood Plantation Polo Club – but he then sells the plantation – does he still play for the plantation or does the club become disbanded?  Not sure about polo club rules.  



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    The view from the upstairs landing.




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    The upstairs guest room with an antique wire crib in front of it.



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    The wall colors look very Amelia-ish.  It’s possible she is the designer who helped him out on this house, but there is no way to know.




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    And the third bedroom.  Very English with rugs layered over seagrass and linen curtains.




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    The boat dock at Brookland Plantation.



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    The boys of Southern Charm leaving the marsh for the ocean.




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    After a polo match, the cast of Southern Charm heads to the main house.  Behind them here is the stables/barn.  Above the stables is living accommodations.



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    Thomas shows off his stables.  Apparently he plays a lot polo in South Carolina, the Hamptons and Florida.



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    It’s not clear if the barn was there and Thomas renovated or if he built the entire thing. 





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    The grounds change into a polo field with inflatable goals which are inserted into the grass.




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    After the last episode of Southern Charm aired and the baby was born, Thomas gave several interviews at Brookland where the three of them now live - I suppose until it is sold. 



    The new baby was the best kept secret on Bravo TV.  It is hard to believe that no one from Charleston said anything about a pregnant Kathryn walking around town the past nine months. 


    Once, someone asked Thomas in an interview if Kathryn was indeed pregnant – and he cunningly answered “there is no baby.” – Of course at that moment, there wasn’t.  She was still pregnant.  Thomas cheekily defended his white lie and said – “you have to ask the right questions.”  What a politician at heart!


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    The balcony on the barn overlooks the polo field (seen here) and is the best place to watch the matches.



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    After the first season of Southern Charm was over last week, Thomas and Kathryn gave interviews to introduce Kensington Calhoun Ravenel to the world. 

    They said they were now living at Brookland – but above the stables, not in the main house.   Here,  in those living quarters – the green leather sofa pops up again – it was last seen in the kitchen house at Charleston in some of the old real estate photos.




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    The barn’s living quarters have shiplap paneling in white.  Furniture from the Charleston house shows up here – but the two horse lamps are new – and are good looking.



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    Kathryn’s appearance after the show ended was another surprise.  She quit dying her hair bright red and let its natural auburn color show, which is must prettier and softer looking. 

    She seems to have a funny, very cute personality that doesn’t come through on the show.  On twitter – after one episode, she laughed about the way her false eyelashes looked and said “lesson learned.”   Another timed she teased that no one had told her how wrong her pink blush was. 




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    Here is Kathryn with her hair dyed a deep red – and she is wearing the “Bravo TV” fake eyelashes.  I don’t think there is one woman in any of the Bravo reality shows who doesn’t wear these horrendous lashes. 


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    Here is how Kathryn looked last night – when she posted this picture on her Instagram.  Amazingly beautiful with soft auburn hair and blonde highlights.  Her lashes and blush look natural.   She looks so soft and young – perhaps it’s the hormones of being of a new mother.  But at 6’ tall – she certainly could have a career as a model.  



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    Kathryn Calhoun Dennis does indeed come from good stock, as Thomas said.   She is named after her ancestor, the 7th Vice President John C. Calhoun, also of South Carolina.  She is his direct descendant – of which she is quite proud since she named her baby Kensington Calhoun Ravenel.  Unfortunately though Calhoun has the reputation of being very pro-slavery.



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    Kathryn’s grandfather was also in politics and was in the state legislature for over 50 years.   He is highly respected in the state.   He and her great grandfather and great-great grandfather – all shared the same seat in Congress. 



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    Kathryn grew up on Lewisfield Plantation in Moncks Corner, South Carolina.  It was built about 1774.  It appears that her grandfather bought the plantation and his children built houses on the estate.



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    Thomas and Kathryn go to meet her parents – in Moncks Corner.   Their driveway is two miles long.



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    The house overlooks Cooper River.




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    Now, if you were being filmed for national TV, wouldn’t you cut the grass at least?  The front of the house faces the river, but the front door probably really never used.   The driveway pulls up to the back façade where everyone enters.



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    A much older view of the house when there was less vegetation around it.  You can really see the large basement in this view.


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    The back façade where the driveway leads to.  This is the entrance used instead of walking all the way around the house to the riverside.


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    The view from the front porch overlooking the Cooper River



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    Inside, the house is really beautiful.  Notice the hinges and braces on the front door. 



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    At the front door there is a portrait of her grandmother.



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    And another portrait of her distinguished grandfather hangs on the mantel.  Notice the crown molding.



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    Thomas gets a shock when Kathryn informs him that there will be no alcohol served – her family does not drink - ever.  And they sing their family prayer before the meal.   Her grandmother sits at the head of the table.



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    Another view of the dining room with its pretty peach wallpaper. 



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    Kathryn Instragramed this pretty picture of her dining room during Christmas.  It looks like there is a portrait of her, too!



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    After the meal, Kathryn’s father meets with Thomas to discuss him dating his precious daughter.  Thomas is probably older than her father.  Notice the décor.  Just like Amelia Handegan’s style – the house is decorated in shades of peach.   It does make me wonder – does everyone in South Carolina use shades of peach and butterscotch to decorate?    The wallpaper in the dining room is so pretty. Notice the cornices in the living room and notice the wood door.



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    Her parents had a beautiful collection of Masonware –here and in the china cabinets.   Her father was really sweet and informed Thomas that Kathryn was more than a daughter, she was also a great friend.  He also told Thomas that his own aunt was many decades younger than his uncle.   Her family seemed so nice and loving.
     


    I hope you enjoyed Part One, Part Two has even more design surprises, which I was thrilled to discover!

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    The cast went to the final Reunion show on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live”  which will be shown soon.


    A huge thank you to Amelia Handegan.   You can visit her web site HERE.

    185 comments:

    1. Obviously the pedigrees are wearing thin. True ladies and gentlemen respect their families and their history and would never sell themselves out to reality TV. I feel sorry for Kathryn's parents and her child having had their laundry publicly aired.

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      Replies
      1. The Ravenel name began to unravel many years ago with Thomas' cousin, Charles "Pug" Ravenel.

        http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/the-saga-of-pug-ravenel-still-resonates-in-state-politics/Content?oid=2088000

        Joni, the people of South Carolina do indeed refer to these restored and historically significant homes as Plantations because that's what they were. Every spring there is a plantation tour which takes place between Georgetown County and Charleston. The homes are exquisite and the grounds are magnificent. It is wonderful that people can afford to buy them, restore them and share them with the people of South Carolina. It takes a lot of money and manpower to maintain the expansive acres and waterways that many of these homes sit on. The owners must maintain a staff both for the inside and outside of the homes. That a black employee may also love to cook a pig on a spit for a party by the owners is no different than if that person would have been white. He's an employee. Your "slave" inference could not be further from the truth. Look how many Mexicans do work in your home or for your clients. It's the same in South Carolina where there is a large black population. You simply do not understand the culture there and I certainly would not make Bravo my go to source.
        By the way, Robert Chestnut is a well respected and sought after landscape architect in Charleston. He is not an interior designer.

        Delete
      2. Oops, just reread your comment about Robert Chestnut in which I initially thought you had implied that he had decorated the home. I suppose as an owner you could say that he did, but who actually was the designer, Handegan?

        Delete
      3. I love this reply! This is such a beautiful part of our country!' I want to go again and have a party!

        Penelope

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      4. Chestnut originallly restored the plantation when he bought it and he did decorate it inside and outside. When TRav bought it, he redid it. The point about the black man on the plantation was that he had lived there forever was the implication and it just seemed or it was an implied that his descendants also lived on the plantation. It was as if he was the descendant of the slave who lived there and worked for the same family that owned it back then and still owns it today. If that doesn't bother you or give you pause, sorry. It certainly did me and Ben.

        Delete
    2. Brookland Plantation has been rented out for years as an event facility - if anyone is interested. Prices are very reasonable.

      Great detail, as usual, Joni!

      ReplyDelete
    3. Whew, that post must have taken days to put together. I, too, am a Bravo junky. I watch it almost every night but not any of the matchmaking shows. I'm not a fan of Patty's. She is too high-strung for me. Thanks for the great background info on Thomas, his houses, and the rest of the clan. I look forward to the post on Whitney. His mom is a piece of work, isn't she???

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    4. amazing post, joni. I have watched a few episodes and admit I had to cringe at the behavior. Not a great reflection on my home state. When an article in my local paper featured "T-Rav" this weekend, I started on a blog post, but you did a MUCH better and more thorough job, and I loved every bit of it. Thanks for all the hard work.

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    5. Sorry, Charleston does not even remotely make the cut. Only twenty metropolitan areas — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, San Jose, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Diego, Detroit, Phoenix, Baltimore, Bridgeport (Fairfield County, Connecticut, is the center of the hedge fund industry and home to many corporate headquarters), and Denver — have at least 1 percent of all the nation’s very high-income households. Collectively those areas account for 56 percent of the highest-income households but for only 37 percent of all households.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I believe Joni meant one of the wealthiest neighborhoods based on the price of real estate in old Charleston. Many people refer to these homes as "trophy homes" often bought by people who have no history with the city or state such as Carolyn Roehm who is currently renovating one in this neighborhood.

        Delete
      2. YOU ARE COMPLETELY SPOT ON! I am hoping she will do a beautiful job. She certainly has good taste!

        I kinda bet Charleston wishes if hadn't been "discovered"!

        I find the "reality show" so tacky ; however; my hope is that everyone will find it boring!

        I think no such luck!

        Delete
      3. I tried to watch it... couldn't .... not a fan at all. But I did enjoy this post, thanks Joni.

        Delete
      4. I'm with you; anonymous 6:43 am. I loved the post......I get a stomach ache with all these truly sleazy (correct spelling) people.

        I love the person who stuck up for me when a commenter said I should have an "original thought"! (for a change!!!)

        Do you think he (I think it is a he......he is such a "snarky and ugly" commenter!!!) has ever seen my website? www.mccormickinteriors.com??

        Not advertising....but I think if he is curious; he will find many "original ideas" on that website......44 years of decorating....lots of "original ideas"!!

        I doubt he will make a visit! What do you think, you guys???

        Honestly.....I have had lots of criticism; being in the decorating business 44 years.....blogging for 4 years.....but a completely new one is "not having an original idea"!!

        I think I would have heard that one.....if it were true!

        One other person said to me (15years ago, or close) " You are no fun!!!" (before blogging!)


        As I was sobbing crying; my darling husband said......you are 52 years old. Has anyone ever said to you that you were "no fun"?

        Sob, sob..."no"!

        He said.....

        "If it were true; you would have heard it by now!!!"

        Good lesson to learn. the comment (as I believe this one) is about the writer......not about the subject. An original thought? I am delighted to say I have several original thoughts a week! My garden and house have been published in many magazines....celebrated on my favorite blogs! Just last week; our garden (it isn't really a "garden") was visited by true "connoisseurs" of gardens and architecture all over the world! I actually teared up with their comments and praise!!!
        I don't mean to brag......
        these snarky mean people need to be discounted! Why do they bother to try to hurt people??

        I don't get it; and I never will!!~ Great post Joni!

        ps sorry whateveryournameis for" typing in all caps" It was a mistake. I won't again.....but did it really "hurt your ears?"" Seriously?

        There are some strange ones out there. And it was an accident. Oh well!!!

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      5. Penelope - don't ever change! I love your capital letters and exclamation marks!!! And I love your taste. You are one of the best!

        Delete
    6. I'm glad that I don't have cable. I've already spent too much time on this great, as always post.

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    7. My guess about the curtain lining is that the panels are just over a floor vent. That's how most A/C systems are installed, especially in an older home. Love the post!

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      Replies
      1. Such an interesting thought! How would the air conditioning do that?
        I think I know....the lining wasn't hand-stitched to the curtain! What a jerk. Missed the lining mishap.....and passed the (not only the lid up; the seat up on the toilet!!)

        These shows are spreading horrific lack of taste everywhere! And the Kardahians are just a fraction!

        These reality shows are adding to the horrific lack of taste spreading the countryside!

        Oh well!!!

        Delete
      2. Penelope:

        Another alternative would be for you to have an original thought.

        Delete
      3. Her opinion is just as valid as any you have probably made on this post. No one ever suggested that "originality" was a criteria to comment here. Likewise, what do you have beyond snark to add to the conversation? Ummmm, we're waiting . .. . . .

        Delete
      4. thank you "anonymous 4:01 PM) I really wonder where he? she? is coming from?

        Thank you so much for your answer to that "attack" (I think unwarranted)!
        Who are you snarky angry people who write stuff like this?
        You are obviously not busy with successful careers!!!
        Yikes!!!

        Delete
      5. Penelope, interesting you mention "successful careers"; you've admitted you've never supported yourself as a decorator. Marrying well has its rewards. :-)

        Delete
      6. Ah, there it is ... the root of your comments and general nastiness: the green-eyed monster!

        Delete
    8. Amazing post Joni. I've been a fan of that Charleston house for a long time - fun to see so much more of it, and the other two houses. If I had cable, I'd definitely watch this show.

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    9. I am so excited about this post. I was addicted to the train wreck of a show and knew the interiors had a familiar look. It had been on my mind to search for the designer. Thank you!

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    10. Joni, Joni, Joni, CUT THE GRASS????? "Now, if you were being filmed for national TV, wouldn’t you cut the grass at least?"

      Multi-million gated communities, middle class neighborhoods, mostly, deed restrictions dictate turf type & height. Tall grass will get you a nasty-gram, pronto, and worse to follow if you don't comply.

      You don't see the true status symbol? A meadow. Perhaps, a dirt driveway? Shorn turf has its place. So does Tara Turf.

      Why put a ca. 1980 subdivision-deed restriction thought onto a place of history?

      Personally, I would like to see the tall meadow with lower cut paths within it. It's a historical template.

      Tall meadow also increases crop yield up to 80%. (Collateral topic, saw a funny/sad poster, huge watercolor honey bee, said, "When I'm gone I'm taking YOU with me."

      Bravo nails the train-wreck in action 'reality' shows. Haven't watched in ages, will seek this one out. Adore Edisto Island.

      Ironically, my business is thriving with clients on acreage. They all came from subdivisions, hired other designers, nothing looked 'right'. It was all Subdivision Style! Clients could not verbalize what was 'wrong'.

      Several clients on acreage were previously in $$$ gated communities. Their lives now 180 degree different. I watch their talents/skills on acreage expand and am in awe. We talk about what their lives would be like without the acreage? Lots and lots of happy pills. Perhaps valium too. This doesn't begin to touch the spiritual changes in their lives.

      Shorn turf has its place, so does Tara Turf.

      Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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      Replies
      1. I agree with every single word Tara says. We must have known each other in another life!

        IN the last two weeks; my "garden" has been on two "Garden tours"! Santa Barbara has the most beautiful gardens because of its astonishing "microclimate"!!

        For some reason......(I find immensely complimentary) our garden has been sandwiched in between "Casa Del Hererro" lunch in my garden; then "Lotusland"
        World famous gardens!

        I have to say, Tara, (and I would never make this up) many people were reduced to tears! (not the sobbing kind ); but tears nonetheless.

        It touched me deeply. I will never forget.

        You have written about my garden so many times...I have learned from you what I instinctively did here with this vacant lot! It does; indeed inspire people who have lawns and hedges and not much else!!

        Thank you; I adore "Tara Turf" and recommend it to all clients!!

        have you seen the latest.....www.velvetandlinen.com?

        go there! 11 months later....(after they moved in) I swear if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.......I would never have believed this place went from a complete vacant lot.....to where it is now.

        You won't believe it either! (maybe you will.......I am completely gobsmacked!!"

        Don't you love the grass??

        who knew???

        We did have the same landscaper......you must meet each other!

        I want you both to give a program together somewhere!

        XXOO

        Penelope

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      2. Haha!! Well, it's just the grass right around the front door - it looks so unkempt. I love meadows and all that - but from the driveway to the house, you shouldn't have to push away the grass to make it to the front door.

        Delete
    11. Oh my the homes are extraordinary! I have to admit though I'm "trying" to stick to the old shows to keep my mind clean. : - )

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    12. Give me a break. Southern charm my hoo-hah. Bravo used to be a decent channel centered around the performing arts, intelligent culture, and refined living. But now it's turned toward tacky reality/scandalous behavior TV shows, which do nothing but contribute trash to an already declining society. No matter how beautiful the real estate is, it doesn't redeem low character and vulgar behavior. Stop fawning and boot-licking the people on these shows, Joni. You're better than that.

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      1. I could not agree more. While not putting Joni in this category, the fact that these shows are popular tells us a lot about the society we are living in. It's the Kardashian effect I presume, but I surely don't want to be a part of it. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about the Ravenel family. They are rife with scandals. Perhaps Arthur after whom the bridge was named is the only redeeming one, but I would not count on it. The low country of S.C. is a strange place. Pedigree is everything - more important in some instances than character. Believe it or not, the most asked questions when socializing with many of the people there is "where did your ancestors come from". The worst scoundrels can always find a long, lost relative who was one of the original French Huguenots so they can belong to the Charleston Huguenot Church despite being long practicing Presbyterians. And then you have the pretenders who have their destination wedding there. The place has more hangers on than Hollywood.

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      2. Yeah, we know. That's the point. That's why it's so fun.
        Sheila

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      3. Fun, really? It's tragic. These are real people and Bravo TV brings out the very worst in them. Look how many "real" housewives are now divorced. A husband from Beverly Hills Housewives committed suicide. And now a baby is born out of wedlock, to a couple after she has slept with his cousin. This is not Southern charm, it's Southern Depravity, with gorgeous houses.

        Delete
      4. These people were not forced to be on these shows. And yes, I have FUN watching them.
        They have such cute charming ways of phrasing things.
        Sheila

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      5. Anon 3:32, how do we know that the baby really belongs to Thomas. It could belong to his cousin. I think I would be getting a DNA kit if I were him.

        Delete
      6. oh really? How ugly is this whole story. Where is Kathryn's mother and father?

        I feel so sorry for Charleston! EEEK!
        (I have fun using all caps; Sheila! It makes no noise on your computer! How about "live and let live"!)

        I find it a cute and charming way of "phrasing things"!!!



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      7. On the reunion show, Thomas said he DID get a paternity test!!! And Penelope - her parents are very happy. I would be horrified but,.....

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      8. "Lord have mercy upon my soul!" My "Granny" from Birmingham would be saying!! Yikes! Joni; honestly you could be another Jackie Collins; Barbara Taylor Bradford; and you are reporting the NEWS!!! (sorry; "whosie") sometimes I need to use caps...and they don't hurt your ears. Stop being so bossy.)

        Yowzers. I love the comment about all reality shows are FAKE!!

        Please oh please do more "skirted roundtables" I love them!

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    13. I watched this show once and decided not to waste my time on a bunch of spoiled brats

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    14. ...and, I don't find the décor that fascinating other than a few nice antiques that would look great in any house.

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      Replies
      1. Agreed!
        Also, personally I find it in poor taste to drool over plantations - would you do the same in Anne Frank house in Amsterdam or other buildings where Holocaust-era atrocities were committed? No, you would not, you would know better. Slavery is not something in the so distant past that you can forget about the rapes and murders which occurred on the land and pant over the decor and morons in their polo whites.

        Delete
      2. i wrote a long part about the plantation and slavery and then deleted it. i hear you. very loud. i thought bravo missed an opportunity to teach about our past rather than glorify it. i don't think i could own property where there slaves - where the ground holds their bodies, where they were prisoners. it's really upsetting. i hear you. trust me.

        Delete
      3. Anon, Slavery ended in 1860 - get over it. People visit the house of Anne Frank in Amsterdam for historical reasons. It is a museum. None of the homes shown here have requested nor received museum status or an historical designation by the U.S. government. It is clear that you carry a huge chip for those who are able to purchase and maintain these l8th century homes. I would assume that if in England, you would just love those white polo shirts especially if worn by the two British princes despite the fact that they have lived a life of total entitlement off the British taxpayers their entire lives.

        Delete
      4. Joni, you have no clue what the ground holds where your house is built. You may be sitting on a common grave for all you know. The phony, slobbering is a bit much.

        Delete
      5. For someone so offended, Joni you sure spent your valuable time glued to the television watching this program. Had you shown such righteous indignation, you would have turned the program off after the first episode. Somehow I believe you protest too much.

        Delete
      6. Anonymous 7:53PM
        Geez, maybe they should just tear down all the old large houses in the south.
        Geez, people, geez.
        And the people on the show are not slave owners. Geez.
        Sheila

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      7. Anon 9:11, since you directed your comment to me, I will respond by saying I fully support those who are able to buy and maintain these houses. I simply stated that for all the protestations of Joni about the slavery issue and where the slaves were buried, she seemed to be utterly absorbed in it all that. Where you read into my comment that perhaps the homes should be torn down is a mystery to me. I have visited many of the plantations in the low country that are lived in year round, maintained impeccably and cherished for their cultural and historical value. This is a beautiful part of our country (which Joni has never visited), I do maintain that Charleston did itself no favors with this series.

        Delete
      8. The fact that they never received "museum status" doesn't make them any less worthy of historical importance and by that I mean the atrocities that went on that land and in those homes. I don't care if they're private homes or not (and by the way, calm your hysterical American ways ladies and gents, I'm not advocating they be torn down nor am I stating that the people with in them are slave owners though they seem to take great pride in their lineage which were established through slavery no doubt). I am expressing my discomfort with this type of post, and this reverence of "plantation architecture", which I would expect, even the average American (okay maybe not the average American but a slightly more intelligent than average one) would know better than to do when it comes to something "BAD" like the Holocaust. Perhaps this is a little too complicated for y'all?

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      9. And thanks Joni for addressing my point. Of course the homes are lovely, but they were built on the back of unspeakable atrocities and I just can't admire them as a result.

        Delete
      10. And, no, to the idiot anon who rambled on about England and polo, I'm a Rebublican. Next nonsense comment? As for "get over it", it's not up to me or you (I presume you're white, just a WILD guess) to get over. Your ancestors, if they were American, benefited from that system. It's not for 'us' to decide that people should get over a heinous crime against their people which continues to have massive consequences today. Go watch Fox.

        Delete
      11. Anon 8:57, speaking of an "idiot", you seem to be wearing the label quite well yourself. First of all you have absolutely no information whatsoever that any of the plantation owners whose properties have been shown on this post are ancestors of slave owners - absolutely none! However, given your narrow view of history, travel and preconceived notions about what one region of the county represents it is not surprising as you see the world through such a narrow lens. That you are a Republican (and that is spelled Rep. rather than Reb.) is really hard to believe given the fact that you can't give up the torch you seem to be carrying for a part of our history (and it is ours as a Nation - not just the people of Charleston) that is more than 150 years past. It is time to get over it and move on. Why do you think that Charleston is such a beautiful city and a popular vacation destination? It's because the people there have chosen to preserve that history rather than bulldoze it and build a modern city without a spirit or soul. The same can be said for many other destinations in the south were agriculture required investments by the early English, French and Scottish settlers to sustain the settlements and encourage growth. There are many such homesteads throughout Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and believe it or not Texas, the midwest and northern Virginia. Have you not visited Mt. Vernon, Monticello, President Monroe's home in Orange Cty, Virginia and the Virginia hunt country? If you have, did you ever condemn the wealthy owners of some of these estates because God forbid, the farmland might have been tilled by a slave - channel Bunny Mellon for instance. No I don't get my talking points from Fox as you so snidely and ineptly suggested. I actually read, travel and engage with intelligent people.

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      12. Anon 8:57, if you are interesting in learning about devastating consequences, why not take a look at Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and see where that took us. Slavery's history was worldwide believe it or not - it was not just a limited to American history. The Greeks, Romans, etc. had institutional slavery. It goes all the way back to the time of Christ, but to read some of the comments here today, you would think that Thomas Ravenel, his family and every generation of families living in the S.C. low country should somehow be strung up, relieved of their right to own private property of their choosing and go on a rehab. tour begging for forgiveness. I am really shocked at the narrow minded thinking that I have witnessed here over stupid stuff like cotton balls, property rights and honoring one's heritage. Preserving our history is a way to remember not only the good things in our past, but also the bad.

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      13. Anon. 8:53, you probably don't have a problem visiting the palaces and castles of Europe, but many of these structures were built on the backs of indentured servants and occupied by anti semites. I believe your protestations are not well grounded in light of comparative history.

        Delete
      14. Anon 8:53, go back to Rachel, Keith, Al, and all the other historically inept Democrat talking heads at MSMBC. Preserving the past is not a political thing. Preserving the past is a dedication to future generations who will inherit the information about our collective history. It is really sad that such beauty, history and attention to our past is muddled up by current political ideology and misinformation. If you were really educated, you would realize that the architecture is 18th century - not plantation architecture. Sadly, your education about the larger world beyond your neighborhood has not allowed you to realize how important l8th century architecture is to the American culture. You find forms of it in every region. It is not referred to either in Charleston or elsewhere in this country as "plantation" architecture. It is l8th century. You have obviously never received the education that would have enlightened you on this point. I truly feel sorry for you, both for your ignorance and your resistance to the beauty and grandeur of a time and place that made a significant impact on our collective history despite the issues of slavery. Long before any region of the country was settled and likely the region where you come from no doubt, Charleston was a thriving and prosperous city. So sorry that the hole in the wall where your ancestors settled have no bragging rights.

        Delete
      15. Boy - y'all are sure having fun! OK - I'll repeat. The black man on the plantation - it was implied that he had always lived there. IOW, that he was a descendant of the original slaves and Shep, whose ancestors owned the plantation too, also owned this man's ancestors - great, great great grandfather. It was just disconcerting. That's a connection you don't see often. It bothered me. That's all. Also - there was no mention made of the slaves who had lived and died on those lands, whose graves were unmarked and like on Thomas' plantation - whose homes had been removed from the ground. Make of that as you wish.

        Delete
    15. Yes, I watch the show....I am a reality show junkie it would seem! LOL...I loved reading the background on the homes and who designed them! I thought it was odd the grass was so tall too but what really shocked me was the shutters practically falling off the house!!!! I loved the surprise ending....such a cute baby!
      ~Des

      ReplyDelete
    16. Just a note on that dining room chandelier, it's Italian, perhaps dressed with Baccarat "U" drops (the pointed icicle-like crystals). Baccarat used to sell the crystals alone so manufacturers elsewhere could dress their armatures with Baccarat crystal. It is probably 19th century, but the style, giltwood and iron with crystal, dates back to the 18th century and is still being made in Italy today. If it were French, the armature would be definitely be bronze and if it were Swedish, it would likely be bronze as well, and would even be even more ethereal. In any case, the design is quite Italian.

      Thanks for the post, since I refuse to watch that stuff. The Real Housewives, etc. are always the lowest form of trash, and certainly not emblematic of real socialites and breeding, but wannabes and fallen-from-grace family embarrassments. Bravo shows are akin to rubbernecking from the safety of your car at a really awful road accident...

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Totally agree the trashy housewives are a crude bunch of mean spirited bitches. Makes me want to vomit to look at them.

        Delete
      2. thanks for the lesson. i think whenever i see the icicles - i assume it's swedish. it's gorgeous though. gor-ge-ous!!! i love chandeliers like that.

        Delete
      3. also - i love when the center post is gilt wood.

        Delete
    17. Oh, btw, I think some of those ceilings must be higher than nine feet, to accommodate those chandeliers. It is also usual for houses that old to have higher ceilings in that hot clime to dissipate the heat. Bedrooms often had slightly lower ceilings.

      ReplyDelete
    18. Yay! I recognized Amelia Handigan's handiwork immediately. Don't and won't watch Bravo reality shows, but I can count on you to show me the cool houses. Very familiar with the Ravenel name here in NC (our children's pediatrician was one who emigrated), and I love Charleston and used to visit often. Haven't made it through your post yet - this is a really long one! You were obviously having fun.

      ReplyDelete
    19. I was surprised by your comment about the cotton boles hanging in the kitchen. Cotton plays a huge role in decorating, in the south. Many floral arrangements and wreaths contain branches of it. There is a huge trend, now, using cotton boles in wedding bouquets. Just Google "Cotton Weddings," and Pinterest has gorgeous pictures of classic southern weddings, decorated with cotton. The U.S. is the second largest cotton producer and the largest exporter in the world. Cotton still ranks as a major source of income for southern farmers. The reason I took the time to make this comment, is that cotton is so beautiful and textural. It is wonderful to decorate with, and most all of us wear clothes made out of it. It is sad to think that there would be a negative connotation put onto it. I am so thankful that beautiful, historic plantation homes are being preserved. These homes are part of the history of our country. If we erase history, we are bound to repeat it. We are all reminded, in the south, that slavery was a terrible part of our past, and should never be allowed to happen again. Thank you for showing us these beautiful homes.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Yes, love you Joni, but there is nothing bad about cotton. Plants themselves cannot be politically incorrect.
        I wouldn't sleep on sheets made of any other fiber even if it hurt someone's sensibilities.
        Sheila

        Delete
      2. i know what you are saying about the cotton. i can't explain it - the whole plantation, slave thing really affected me. did you watch the show?

        Delete
      3. Go to your closet Joni and rip out every shred of cotton material you have been wearing and trash it if it really offends you. I hate smoking, but when someone utters the word tobacco I don't get my sensibilities in a stew. It's history for heaven's sake. If it offended you so much, why did you watch it every week?

        Delete
      4. No, I totally understand what Joni is saying. If the cotton bolls were hanging in a home in Seattle she wouldn't even have mentioned it or thought twice about it. It was the fact that it was hanging in a plantation that used slave labor to grow cotton after the civil war (and indigo before). It's as if it's a silent reminder to keep people in there place???

        Delete
    20. Thanks for posting a picture of my dog. :-) Boykin spaniels are the best. Re: billowing dining room drapes, I bet there is a floor vent under the drapes that was blasting a/c. I have the same issue in my dining room when the a/c is fully on. But at least I have noticed and tuck the lining back in place as needed. So true about the tall grass, but what is worse to me are the missing and loose shutters on the home! You can bet that if my home were on national tv, I would be highly motivated to tackle all those maintenance issues around the home! (That being said, I spent my entire childhood with a pocket door to my bedroom that was off the tracks, so clearly some people are not as motivated as others to get a handyman out to their house!)

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. boykin spaniel? wow! i never heard of them before. ok - i do think it's kind of sweet that they could have cared less about bravo tv coming to film. i do think that her parents actually live on different house on the estate and that is grandma's house. i just didn't have proof of that - but it might explain grandma not caring about the grass needing cutting.

        Delete
      2. I think it's also very "old money" or "old school" because they don't feel the need to impress people with their belongings.

        Delete
    21. Joni!!!!! What a marvellous post!!! I so enjoyed it! Thank you so much for all the inspiring pictures here today! Really really beautiful!
      xx
      Greet

      ReplyDelete
    22. Thomas Ravenel is very handsome

      What?

      ReplyDelete
    23. loved the post, Joni xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

      ReplyDelete
    24. Loving the Handegan design…gorgeous living room. Great seeing antique furniture refreshed like this. I'm not big on Bravo but my hairdresser got me hooked on Millionaire Decorators…when is that coming back?

      ReplyDelete
    25. Since Texas had slaves prior to being admitted to the Union, it became a slave state by being admitted to the Union with no restriction on what was an already existing practice. If you will do your research Joni, there were cotton farms in east Texas with slave labor. While you may have chosen to call them ranches instead of plantations, they are one and the same. There were plenty of crops raised in S.C. beyond cotton. Would you have preferred to see a bag of rice on the kitchen counter or perhaps someone dying some curtains indigo blue.

      As to the abundance of peach and butterscotch walls in and around Charleston, how about gray walls and all white furniture in and around Houston? Good question, right?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. no, i am well aware that we had slaves in Texas. of course. the small towns outside of houston are populated by the descendants of those slaves. it's just their grandparents graves aren;t are on our back yard.

        Delete
      2. forgot - the peach walls. i don't know - it just is interesting. amelia usually uses those colors and then it was at all the other houses. no hidden meaning or shade. just an interesting detail.

        Delete
      3. So what do you suggest, Joni. The fact that the graves of slaves are on the property of some of these plantations is totally natural. Should they not be occupied by the living or would it be better to allow the property to become abandoned and the graves not maintained. Try thinking through these issues before spouting off.

        Delete
    26. Well, black people need jobs too, and if this man is working for someone cooking, my guess would be that he is doing it voluntarily these days and is getting paid as an employee.
      He would not be a slave and he must be a really good cook. Maybe he owns the catering company.
      Sheila

      ReplyDelete
    27. Hi Joni,
      I love, love, love your blog. I just watched Southern Charm last week and wished that I had the time to freeze the screen so I could scrutinize the beautiful homes featured. I've long been aware that there are many beautiful historic homes in Charleston and that's the reason why I watched the show. How fortunate we are to have you! Now I can enjoy these homes via your blog. I love T. Rav's homes. Perfection. And when Kathryn brought him to her parent's home I was further delighted. The classic wallpaper and the wonderful family portraits... Perhaps the portrait in the dining room is Kathryn's mother? Isn't it wonderful to live down a 2 mile dirt road, in a gracious home, on a river.

      I am looking forward to reading your post on Whitney's mom's home. Imagine entering the foyer with it's curving staircase and stunning floor. I wonder if the floor is painted (like Mary McDonald likes to do) or is it inlaid? I noted the gorgeous apple green living room and the charming kitchen with the copper hood over the stove - and the library! Some day I will visit Charleston and the low country.

      Thank you Joni. I really enjoy and appreciate your blog.
      P.S. I love Houston.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. just wait! whitney's house. hhahah. i'll try to finish it up quickly.

        Delete
    28. I loved this post I am hooked on this show as well !! I watch the interior shots in slow mo just to get a better view. Thomas's home up close is kind of dirty looking inside . When the guests started walking in for the big dinner party fiasco the front door was filthy !!! Kathryn's parents home is in need of some major repair. A missing shutter and one hanging off it's hinges. I am so on board with "cut the grass". Thanks Joni I always anticipate your posts!!!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. i saw how dirty the door is - that's a man for you! haha. well, a single man i guess. and i didn't want to mention the shutter. it looked really bad though.

        Delete
      2. I seemed to have missed the dirty door. I have looked multiple times and don't see it. Perhaps you are assuming that what appears to be peepholes in the center is dirt.

        Delete
    29. Maybe I should go to law school. Let’s see:
      Divorces/child custody: Barney, Gunvalson, Grammer, Morgan, de Lesseps, Leakes – did I miss any?
      Bankruptcies: Giudice, Morgan
      DUI: Morgan, Giudice
      Phony ID: Giuduce
      Various assault/battery type cases: Staub, Giudice/Manzo, possibly Keogh v. Barney
      Discrimination: Barshop
      Breach of contract: Frankel
      Defamation: Rossi, Staub
      Nice people.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. omg - exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! assault - kenya and porsha. fraud - apollo.

        Delete
    30. Joni

      I am not a longtime follower of your blog but I have been reading it lately and I just wanted to make an observation---not totally on topic for this posting, but just a general comment. You are never snarky or mean. Even when you don't agree with a person or don't particularly like a room or house, you are usually nice about it. You seem like a really kind and well-adjusted person. How refreshing!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I love Joni and her posts also!
        Sheila

        Delete
      2. HOW LOVELY THAT YOU TWO SAY THAT! IT IS SO TRUE! JONI IS SO SMART......SO OBSERVANT...(SHE COULD BE A PRIVATE DETECTIVE!!)

        SHE SORT OF IS!

        SHE IS ALWAYS KIND.....ALWAYS SO LOVELY.......JONI HAS A GREAT BLOG!

        AMONG MY FAVORITES!!!

        PENELOPE

        Delete
      3. Thank you Penny. My mother said the same exact thing - he is NOT handsome! Well, you have to hear him speak, he has a gorgeous southern accent that helps the appeal.

        Delete
      4. Thank you Anon, so much. Hmmm. I do try to edit. I don't like to hurt people's feelings. i'm probably much more snarky in person, but less so as the years go by. thanks again!

        Delete
    31. AND THAT JERK (SORRY.....I AM NOT ADDICTED TO THE WEIRDOS ON THESE REALITY SHOWS) THE FACT THAT THAT JERK WALKED BY THE POWDER ROOM AND DIDN'T EVEN SEE THAT THE SEAT AND UNDER THE SEAT WAS UP! HE PROBABLY LEARNED THAT WAS OKAY IN PRISON!!!

      PS.....JONI.....HE IS NOT A "HANDSOME DEVIL"! (JUST MY OPINION!) HE IS A CLASSIC SOCIOPATH!!

      (JUST MY OPINION!!)

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Dear P.,
        Please stop using all caps.
        Thank you.
        Sheila

        Delete
      2. Dear P,

        Please stop using exclamation marks after every sentence. They lose their importance when every sentence has one (or six).

        Thank you.

        Denise

        Delete
      3. Why is it your damn business, Denise? Ever notice how many Joni uses and we haven't heard from you. People often write as they speak. You and Sheila need to crawl back under your rocks.

        Delete
      4. Yep!!! I use them all time Penelope!!!!! Hahahah. love you!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Delete
      5. Penelope: Have you seen a neurologist lately? Being evaluated for dementia is not shameful.

        Delete
      6. ASSHOLE ALERT!!!

        Delete
      7. Dear Anon 8:13 a.m.,
        I have not been under a rock, nor will I crawl under one for asking someone politely to not use all caps. It is considered "yelling."
        Anyway, I think she did it accidently (maybe), as she doesn't usually do that.
        And I said "please" and "thank you."
        Are you "the" Anon.?
        If so, please crawl back under your own disgruntled rock.
        Sincerely,
        Sheila

        Delete
      8. ASSHOLE ALERT, SHEILA ON BOARD!

        Delete
      9. 1) I am officially and sincerely apologizing to penelopebianchi for asking her to please not use all caps. I hope she can forgive me. It was just a small thing though, and I don't think it fits in the same breath with some of the awful things people have said. I don't, however, want to cause anyone any distress. Sorry,P.
        2) Anon.8;51; Well, I guess you answered my question about whether you are "the" Anon. Ha!
        I don't call people names like you do. I hope it made you feel better.
        Sheila



        Sheila

        Delete
      10. Thank you for your apology. Since my "caps" make no noise......It is just the way I think...and talk. I do not "yell" in real life!

        I find sad and scary and rude the remarks people make on the internet. My "all caps" are completely silent! Too bad the mowers and blowers and edgers.....are not silent in real life!

        I find people say horrific and insulting things they would never say in real life on comments on blogs. Joni does more research and provides more knowledge than just about anybody. She is so generous with her time and so darling (in my opinion) with her analysis than anyone!

        (Joni! Book alert!!!)

        The mean-spirited miserable people who lurk and post these really sick and sickening comments......oh well. I believe in free speech.

        no one makes us read them!

        I don't blog very often; but I don't post anyone who is anonymous. But; I hope Joni never does that! All the COLOR is those anonymice lurking around! Yowzers!!

        Penelope

        Delete
      11. whoever defended me against these verbal attacks......thank you ! I meant to say "anonymice" Because most of the most insulting and rude and stupid comments are from Anonymous! And some brilliant comments as well!

        Delete
      12. Wow! How about anon. 4:45 pm April 30 "Have you seen a neurologist lately? Being evaluated for dementia is not shameful!" This is a seriously sick person. (sorry Sheila; SICK)!!

        Since I have now had my feelings hurt; I am just going to unsubscribe to the "comments" part of this wonderful and entertaining blog! Joni!! You do a terrific job!

        Keep it coming! And I do long for more "skirted roundtables"! I think I have listened to all of them twice driving to the Design Center and back!!

        Bravo to all three of you!!

        Penelope

        Delete
      13. "I am just going to unsubscribe to the "comments" part of this wonderful and entertaining blog!"

        Penny, you've promised this at least half a dozen times on various blogs over the years.

        Please do your family a favor and get a consultation with a neuropsychologist with a specialty in geriatrics.

        Delete
      14. Please stop calling Penelope Bianchi an "asshole."

        Delete
    32. I watch everything Bravo and this show quickly became my new favorite by a landslide! I adore Charleston and wish I lived there so I didn't want to miss a moment of this show. But I ended up just loving all the people on it and all the parties and drama. And of course the houses are way better than anything on any of the housewife shows. I watch every episode of the Housewives - all of the and notice their decor but I do not admire it like I did all the bits of Southern Charm. I just watched the reunion tonight and it was sooooo good and there is still one more for next week. Can't wait for this show to return again. Loved your indepth report on Thomas's house and plantation. I lived in Atlanta for awhile and the old southern family that I knew referred to the Civil War as "The Northern Aggression". They still had hard feelings over things that happened during the war....mainly the destruction of the south and death of ancestors. Can't wait for your next story on this show!

      Nita@ModVintageLife

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Unfortunately Nita, you didn't get the memo. The War of Northern Aggression is a southern joke. I don't believe for one second that people in Atlanta are bitching and moaning over the civil war and the death of their ancestors. Do you even realize that the war ended in 1860. Just how old are your Atlanta friends, really???? A speaking of destruction of the south, have you been to Atlanta or anywhere in the south lately???

        Delete
      2. ACTUALLY Thomas was on the reunion show and talked about how his father is obsessed with The War Between The States and hates LIncoln. So, yes, it is discussed still. On one of their facebook - they went to a party celebrating the birthday of Robert E. Lee. so please. watch what you say.

        Delete
      3. Again, Joni you aren't intelligent enough to understand that Thomas was making these comments as a promo for the show. And why the hell not celebrate the birthday of Robert E. Lee, the Founder of Washington and Lee University in Virginia. He was an honorable man, from a prominent Virginia family. I don't have to watch a thing I say because I know this region of the country far better than you will ever know it because you have consistently looked for the racists boogy man in every comment you have made. My family is friends with one of S.C.'s former governors and a retired United States Senator. Trust me, they don't talk about the War between the States nor do that rant about Lincoln. In the past, I have owned real estate in this region, know many families who have lived there for generations and they are no different than the people you interact with in Houston or elsewhere. It is your total ignorance that has ramped up the conversation because you chose to salivate in front of a sleeze bag television reality show and you aren't smart enough or discerning to realize that this does not represent the people of Charleston. Get out of Houston for once and maybe you will come out of your stupor.

        Delete
      4. Anon 7:50 - please quit being so defensive - no one was talking about YOU. Thomas' father is a well known racist. Sorry, but it's true. And he DOES rant about Lincoln. Thomas said that himself. I can't help that he said that! He is very much bothered that Lincoln led the country into the "War Between the States" and he talks about it all the time, said his own son.

        Delete
      5. anonymous 7:50 AM; You are the most ridiculous commenter. And you don't even know how to spell "sleaze"! You are a jerk Stop reading Joni's blog. You are hateful and hurtful; and a loser. BIG LOSER!!! If you aren't; tell us your name......and what you contribute !!!

        (We will not hear one word in response from this coward!)

        Delete
    33. Shep's quips are my favorites.
      He is one funny guy.
      I hate to admit it, Joni, but I am a Bravo addict.
      I can discuss these shows ALL DAY!
      It would get in the way of designing though, and I need to get some work done.....

      ReplyDelete
    34. Love! the Bravo channel, love Southern Charm, love this post! Half of the pics didn't show on screen, so I'll be back a few times I'm sure to see it all. Can't even imagine living in such beautiful homes. Sara

      ReplyDelete
    35. " Slavery is not something in the so distant past that you can forget about the rapes and murders which occurred on the land and pant over the decor and morons in their polo whites."

      One Hundred and Fifty plus years and counting, but you and Al Sharpton aren't smart enough to realize that! The British killed my ancestors in the American Revolution and by God, I am never going to England again and to hell with those polo playing dudes named William and Harry.

      ReplyDelete
    36. I'm not a fan of this show or the houses -- though I do love that kitchen with the big double fireplace. I am, however a "Joni-fan" and agree very much that no matter how snarly the barking gets from the "Anonyns" on this blog, you seem to always rise above it and often with self-deprecation and acceptance. Thanks Joni for not only your hard work on these posts but your respectable behavior as well. It speaks very highly of you AND your parents!

      best, linda

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Thanks linda, much appreciated. kind of shocked at the venom over this.

        Delete
    37. By the way; I have some friends who live in Charleston; (lovely, refined people); and they are very upset about that show! Someone commented that Charleston"did itself no favors"!

      Are you kidding? Charleston didn't pick Bravo to come do that show!! Lordy!!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Plenny, I can well imagine that Charlestonians are blistered by this. There are powerful people there who could have pressured Thomas Ravenel and his family to disassociate themselves from this show. Something tells me that Thomas' money train has run out of steam. Perhaps, he is being dealt some hard realities by members of his family such as cutting off his trust fund access - who knows. It is interesting that he is selling a lot of prime property just at the time he is being paid to be a complete sleeze ball by Bravo. Actually, he doesn't have to work too hard at that one nor does his mama baby Kathryn. Look how Jersey Housewives influences your first impression of New Jersey. Thomas is typical of third and fourth generation money much like the Kennedys - none of whom have done much with their lives except live off their name.

        Delete
      2. Penelope: Please drop some names of famous decorators you glimpsed once at a book signing in 1962.

        Delete
      3. Anon 2;24;
        "...baby mama" not "...mama baby."
        Thank you.
        Sheila

        Delete
    38. This was sooo interesting, like you I have to admit Bravo is my guilty pleasure! I am somewhat addicted, I can't lie and loved Southern Charm, Pat used to live in Oyster Bay an in fact I had been to her home for an fundraiser and it was a beautiful stately home with lots of gorgeous interiors (I love her Charleston place equally as much). What a fun cast of characters.... it was a fun departure from all the "new money" of most of the housewives....I enjoyed the show a great deal and am impressed by how much went into making this post....well done!!

      ReplyDelete
    39. Joni, instead of watching "trash" tv, why don't you and Ben get out and explore some of the regions of the country you like to write about and learn first hand about the culture, history and the people. That would be far better than "looking at each other dumfounded" about something you have no clue about. While I have enjoyed this post and the beautiful pictures and scenery, it is totally lacking in well researched history and historical context. That is not a tribute to many of your readers who are well schooled and traveled. Perhaps Carolyn Roehm will give you a peak at her renovation in downtown Charleston. I didn't hear anyone playing the race card about her or at least so far. Thanks to people like her and others that southerners once called carpetbaggers, these beautiful, magnificent structures are being restored and preserved. It's worth the trip and I promise, you will come away smitten. Get out of your Houston comfort zone. Your writing will be enhanced all the more if you travel.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Actually, my husband is very sick and can't really travel at all. But thank you for thinking of us. As for historical context - the blog was long enough that it had to be broken into two parts and I don't know who is really interested in southern history from me.. I'm well aware of Carolyn's house in Charleston, but she isn't on the show. I am planning to show it in the next installment. As for Ben and I looking dumbfounded, well, we did. Not sure what is wrong with feeling strange about living on an estate where there once 100s of slaves and their houses were torn down instead of preserved and their graves are unmarked?

        Delete
      2. joni,
        So sorry that your husband is ill.
        Hugs,
        Sheila

        Delete
      3. oh gosh......me too. We didn't know. Good luck to Ben. He feels like family to me.

        Where does all this vituperation and venom come from?? How about "Penelope: Please drop some names of famous decorators you glimpsed once at a book signing in 1962."
        Yowzers.......There is some serious anger and ugliness out there. Let's see.....1962 I was in 9th grade. I wish I had signed books by Sister Parish.....Nancy Lancaster......I wonder what this loser has done with his life since 1962!! I will be publishing a book; I have had a wonderful and happy 43 year career being a decorator; and I sign my name to everything I post!

        I just have to feel sorry for him.

        You are a brave and bold woman....and I admire and love you!!

        Did I brag and tell you I spoke at the Dallas Women's Club??!!?

        Lordy!

        Penelope

        Delete
      4. "I will be publishing a book"

        Okay Penny. Whatever you say.

        Delete
      5. She will get published when Joni does. Let's see, a few title suggestions might be:

        THE ADVENTURES OF MY DOG, CAPS!!!!!!

        I AM NOT A RACIST, BIGOT OR HOMOPHOBE, BUT I DID HAVE LUNCH WITH DON STERLING ONCE.

        Delete
    40. Bravo is pure toxic sludge. The only thing advanced by these shows is Andy Cohen's bank account. Is it no wonder that people worldwide sneer at American's lack of style and cultivation? Truly astonishing are these examples of greed and egocentricity. I'm truly baffled, Joni, by your inane addiction to these broadcasts.

      ReplyDelete
    41. This comment has been removed by the author.

      ReplyDelete
    42. I have lurked on this blog for a long time without commenting, enjoying the beautiful homes you have shown us. But Joni, your comment about the gentleman who served dinner at the pig hunt has forced me to finally post a comment.

      "He was African American and Ben and I had just looked at the each other with the strangest expression. We felt that we were looking at a direct descendent of one of Shep’s family’s slaves. It was the most disconcerting feeling and one that I have never felt before . . . "

      Wow. You know nothing about this man, yet you assume because he is African American and living in rural South Carolina, well he must be there because his ancestors were slaves on that farm and he just can't do any better? How insulting to make such a comment. If you had a disconcerting feeling, I suggest it was because the assumptions you were making were tinged by your own racism. You need to think about that.

      Please just stick to the decor commentary. It is hard to insult a chair and have people take it personally.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I have to say that television is not part of my life. I find email so invasive and so pervasive......I am about to erase 4,000 unread emails......(can you imagine how long it would take me to go trough them?)

        Nope.

        Over. If anyone has something important ; he/she can call me!

        Way too invasive; pervasive.....and people spend hours erasing!!!

        Poof!

        Gone!

        Delete
      2. I was very surprised at your comment.......about the "pig hunt"! I actually could not even read it; it made me so sick. so I am not even going to make a comment.....after all.

        It makes me cry! There is still racism.....rampant......and I am truly proud of the NBA (I barely know what that is!!!) And the stand they made today! BRAVO!!!

        I am proud of America today!

        that ignorant bigot is banned! For life! YAY!!!

        Bravo NBA!!!

        Delete
      3. AMEN!!, Anon 1:41, Now according to Joni's latest comment, people are despicable for celebrating the life of Robert E. Lee. Well, don't go to Virginia with that tidbit, nor enter the fraternity houses of Kappa Alpha fraternity. The biggest mistake that people make is the assumption that the south fought this war because of slavery. While that is no doubt a component, it is only one of many reason's one being the loss of agriculture which the economies were based upon and the constitutional issue of states rights. I wish she would look in her own backyard and maybe a refresher course in the battle of the Alamo (unless she thinks that a motel chain) would help enlighten her to the point where she will eventually stop the slobbering goody two shoes bit about a time and place she knows little about. Perhaps Joni next foray into history might be well served if she does a piece on the early child labor that pervaded the northern states in the early 20th century. I'm not holding my breath.

        Delete
      4. Penny, let's don't mix our issues. I believe the NBA issue is much to complex for you to handle because there are issues which I believe will be settled by the court regarding the presumption of privacy and selling tapes of conversations to the media. This isn't just about an 80 year old lecher with a common whore running about L.A. The other legal issue will be one of whether or not the NBA actually can force a sale, and keep an owner out of facilities bought and paid for by the owner. This is far from over - stay tuned. The greater question is why the NBA waited so long. This is nothing new - in fact, it's old news. There are some reporters, many of whom are actually women, who are asking these questions. Sterling has been a scumbag for years and it bothered the NBA not. What changed? His mistress may soon learn that a billionaire team owner can outlast her and the NBA in the courts. What does he have to lose now. He's lost everything as of today, but given the legal issues at play, he may prevail at some later date. I am not defending him, nor what he said, but something is seriously wrong when people are forced to sell their business over a private comment. Do you want all your private comments published? Not hardly!

        As to pig hunting, many people hunt in the south, ducks in the fall, deer in the winter, fishing in the spring and summer. This doesn't make people bad except perhaps in California where the water is so contaminated that people don't understand that culling the population of certain animals is a good thing. Otherwise they starve. I suspect they hunt a bunch in Texas but we would not know that from Joni's high horse would we?

        Delete
      5. You will be surprised to know that I can, in fact "handle" complex issues. I completely agree that this is a complex issue. This man is a "monster, bigot,racist, ignorant human."
        I am only delighted that he will be banned from owning a team comprised with people he speaks about the way he does.

        Justice is done. I am proud.

        Penelope
        ps he is a jerk. and so are you.

        Delete
      6. Hi Penny! I hope that this will be of help to you and your family. Best wishes.

        Delete
      7. Anon 4:18, your sick joke to Penny in your link says more about your needs than they do Penny's. I realize you hate "all caps", exclamation marks, etc. and maybe the large measure of name dropping and bragging that Penny does from time to time, but I can assure you that she is far from demented. The fact that you believe dementia is to be laughed at shows just how callous and crude you are.

        Delete
    43. "ACTUALLY Thomas was on the reunion show and talked about how his father is obsessed with The War Between The States and hates LIncoln. So, yes, it is discussed still. On one of their facebook - they went to a party celebrating the birthday of Robert E. Lee. so please. watch what you say"

      I don't know whether to laugh at you or pity you. There are historians who spend years researching and writing about specific periods in history and we respect them and their works. Then there are casual history buffs who are fascinated by particular periods whether it be WWII, Viet Nam, the American Revolution and yes the Civil War. It is not at all surprising that someone living in an area where that war was so much a part of its early history that they would have more than a cursory interest.

      You don't understand this Joni because your standard of literature is the Twilight Series, romance novels and Bravo TV. I hate to break it to you, but there are people in this world who spend their time reading far more significant reading material than what's in your library. If I were you, I would simply stop the comments because you do not know enough about this subject beyond decor to tackle it nor are you sufficiently sophisticated enough to appreciate the fact that reading about the history of the Confederacy is not something one should be ashamed of no more than reading about the history of the Louisiana Purchase or the Trail of Tears or Lewis and Clark's expeditions.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. How many times are you going to comment saying the same thing? His father isn't a civil war scholar. He is a well known bigot and racist. Here is a choice tidbit from this wiki page: Ravenel is a member of Moultrie Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and is a supporter of the Confederate flag being flown at the South Carolina statehouse. He provoked controversy at a rally for the flag in 2000 when he referred to the NAACP as the “National Association for Retarded People”.[2] Ravenel upset even more people after he apologized to mentally handicapped people for comparing them to the NAACP. Many called for the Charleston bridge to be renamed.[1]
        Ravenel once said that his fellow white congressional committee members operated on "black time", which he characterized as meaning "fashionably late"

        Keep defending him. He is such a charming man.

        Delete
      2. Again, this is not about defending T Rev nor that deplorable program that kept you enthralled all winter. For someone who literally ate this program up with a spoon, you now attempt to come across as offended. I on the other hand, would not waste one minute of my time on this trash. One does not have to be published to be a scholar on a subject. That Confederate flag would be meaningless to most people if the issue of forcing others to do your bidding wasn't so pervasive right now in this country. It frankly does not offend me. That it offends you is fine. What offends me is the New Black Panther party brandishing billy sticks at a precinct in Philadelphia in order to intimidate white voters. That probably would fly right over your head. It's a damn flag for heaven sakes. Obsess over something really important.

        As to defending T Rev., let me reiterate that I believe he and this entire group of slime balls have disgraced the city of Charleston, its beauty and its history. If I saw him coming down the street, I would cross to the other side. There are organizations to which people join that represents their past and the Sons of Confederate Veterans beingj one of them as well as the Daughters of the Confederacy, the Daughters of the American Revolution and members of the Hugenot society. Most of this is frankly bullshit in my opinion, but I also believe in allowing people to have free association with those with whom they have something in common. The funny things about you, Joni is that you know so little about history that this show has become your history and what you cannot find there you google. I would have preferred the Charleston bridge to be called just that and I suspect many other Charlestonians would join me in that. The reality is what it is. I would like to know, however, why if you were so damn offended, you watched every episode? By the way, I attended a Greek funeral many years ago and believe it or not, it started late. One of the attendees that I knew pretty well referred to it as "Greek time". No one thought it was fashionably late nor did anyone think the comment bigoted. My gardener is from the Trinidad. I tease him often about being on Trinidad time.

        Delete
      3. Joni, I find your comments about the man at the pig hunt just as racist as anything Thomas Ravenel's father has said. His remarks may be more outrageous, but I am disturbed by the fact that you do not even seem to understand that your comments are also offensive.

        Delete
      4. She is totally clueless as a result of her lack of knowledge and sophistication. What this program represents is a pure and simple immoral lifestyle by whoring men and slutty women. That it was Elizabeth that put Joni and Ben onto the program is something I would never have owned up to if I had been Joni. Perhaps "grandma" when giving her dinner blessing should have invoked the Almighty to help her granddaughter keep her knees together. I will take racist any day over someone who sits weekly glued to a television salivating on the smut being shown on Bravo. I believe the racist may actually have a greater chance at redemption.

        Delete
      5. Jog on Anon 5:59, sil vous plait.
        Sheila

        Delete
      6. Actually Elisabeth turned us onto Bravo - not this program, but yes, I agree, I wish Grandma had prayed her granddaughters knees would stayed closed. I hear you!

        Delete
      7. AND Thank you Sheila. very much.

        Delete
      8. I believe the word scholar is used loosely to mean anyone who extensively studies a subject such as you Joni. One could say you are a scholar of interior design. One does not need to win the Pulitzer to be a scholar.

        Delete
      9. Here here!

        Penelope (no all caps) one exclamation point!

        Delete
    44. Well...I'm staying tuned!!! franki

      ReplyDelete
    45. Joni, this was a fabulous post and I loved your thorough research. I so appreciate the time you put into this so we can view such beautiful homes for FREE! I love your comments! I am amazed at some of the previous commenters, who no doubt fancy themselves as "tolerant". Perhaps they will start their own blog so we can all ignore them! PS. Sorry Ben is not feeling well. God bless.

      ReplyDelete
    46. "Keep defending him. He is such a charming man."
      No one is defending him, but most of your comments are coming from people who wouldn't be caught dead watching this show - except you, of course. That surely looks like tacit approval and defense to me.

      ReplyDelete
    47. i agree with the person who wrote that Bravo is pure toxic sludge...ha ha and that the only thing advanced by these shows is Andy Cohen's bank account. ain't that the f-ing TRUTH! DON'T support garbage! hah! yes no wonder people worldwide sneer at American's lack of style and cultivation.
      Americans are hated all over the world. Because of this crap. I tried watching a few
      Bev Hills housewives shows bec I wanted to see the insides of high end real estate but I could not
      stomach those plastic back-stabbing petty bitches.

      ReplyDelete
    48. Wow. Some of these comments are so very... passionate. I grew up Charleston and reading some of the stuff here makes me realize just how much the low country culture is misunderstood. Please know that the antics on Southern Charm are a charicature and not at all like the real wealthy, old families of Charleston... Or like anyone there. ... The accents, though, are real. Thank goodness for that. :)

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. P.S. I am looking again at the photos but this time on my larger, better resolution computer screen. Amelia Handegan takes my breadth away! I wish I could afford her. Of every designer you've featured she is my favorite by far. But, also, just to let you know... there are some other lovely interiors in Charleston. Search for hotels or bed and breakfasts and look in downtown Charleston (Meeting St). I stayed in the Vendu Inn once and it was gorgeous! I wonder if Amelia does some of those hotels...

        Delete
    49. I love your blog, Joni ... and am always amazed at the time and effort you put in to it. Thank you for that.
      BUT ... Bravo TV? Seriously? These people and their lives are as phony as the "Bravo TV fake eyelashes" ... and these houses are beautiful but relics of a past life.
      These young people don't belong in these stuffy interiors and they could never afford to live this way - just more phoniness to make a nation of insecure young people feel more that way than ever ...
      sorry, Joni, love you and your blog but hate this post.
      But hey ... glad you enjoy it.

      ReplyDelete
    50. It's amazing blog! I love the whole design which are expressed in a decent way... i hope you people will lead conversation to the positive aspects of this post.

      ReplyDelete
    51. I am very surprised by some of these commenters. I thought everyone knew that reality TV is largely FAKE. Everything is scripted, set-up, amplified, refilmed, etc.... There is, of course, a morsel of truth somewhere in there, but it is, in the end, just a show for entertainment!

      ReplyDelete
    52. Hi Joni! Wowee, you are a true designer detective! Love Bravo shows and this one is a hoot. Love the break out star on this show- Pat Altschul...She had a gorgeous home here on Long Island in Centre Island. Also a fab apt in NYC decorated by Mario Buatta. I see a lot of pieces of her furniture from NY at the Charleston house.
      Lordy, for a decorating /interior design blog , there are a lot of hysterical arm chair historians commenting- of course all anons. Please leave Joni ( and the super sweet and talented Penny Bianchi) alone. Go somewhere else and vent.
      -Linda <NY

      ReplyDelete
    53. I literally clapped my hands with joy when I read this post was about Southern Charm. I started watching only for the architecture, who am I kidding, I too love the housewives shows and Andy Cohen, I clung to your every word and am about to re-read again. Thank you for yet again a marvelous post!

      ReplyDelete
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      ReplyDelete
    55. i used to watch some of the housewives shows and i got it right away that they were all scripted. reality my ass. this stuff is so contrived. i got so tired of all the losers: be it legal, financial, marital, cheating, badgering, fighting, arguments, bitching, back-stabbing, yelling. The women are losers on ALL these BRAVO SHOWS!!

      Sense of entitlement and delusion must be a requirement in order to be a reality tv star. All of them appear to be suffering from this combination of crazy.

      In all my life, I've never had an encounter at a restaurant or at someone's home like we see on these HW shows with regularity.

      money can't buy u class...

      ReplyDelete
    56. Do you think that the center window with the leaded glass and awning was at one time, a door? It's wider than the other 2 windows and it looks like there is some plaster work underneath it. Of course, at some point, an entrance on the street may have been undesirable and they moved it. What do you think?

      ReplyDelete
    57. Wow, 154 comments - I haven't read any yet. So, now you've got me watching Southern Charm, Joni! The homes/decor are interesting, I love Charleston, Savannah GA - all those great old houses. The show is hideous, those people are so full of themselves, and it is surprising how with such a emphasis put on "class" - they show so little class! The older grand dame - the mom of one of one of them - oh gawd, she is insufferable, a true snob. One wonders, is this the attitude that is prevalent in this crowd...it is shocking to me, to hear someone be so incredibly snobby, to look down on even a restaurant owner. Explains a lot about the state of affairs in our country - the world right now. So yeah, I watched the shows, like watching a train wreak....why wuould any of them consider doing a show like this...talk about no class!

      ReplyDelete
    58. OK..so I already read some of the comments. Anyone with half a brain knows....most of these southern charm people are very racist or come from a long line of racist. Its not too hard to see that. Just one more weird thing about this southern mentality. My dad remarried a old school southern women (who we were never close too) 40 years ago...she was so racist...we were in shock, not raised that way at all..very disturbing. She called the south - "God's Country" and even made remarks about her husband's kids (us) being "northern and talked funny" - we lived in Illinois. She was a Daughter's of the American Revolution member. Needless to say, we only saw her a few times, she wanted nothing to do with us (visa-versa lady) and helped put the final nail in the coffin concerning our relationship with our father. No, this southern lady didn't impress me. I had never heard an adult - anyone for that matter use the N-word before her - I was around 14 at the time and she just blurted it out the first time we met her - we were watching a parade in my Grandma's small town, out in the front yard....we were so shocked and really, scared and sad, too.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Lots of people from varying beautiful parts of this country call their part of the world "God's country." That part of it isn't really an infraction, I don't believe.
        Sheila

        Delete
      2. Hi "Market Decor" and Sheila! And beautiful (and maybe not so beautiful parts of our country....and the rest of the world's) IS "!God's Country" Many of them are beautiful to the people who grew up there and live there! It is not an "infraction" at all!!

        I feel so lucky to have grown up in Southern California in the fifties and sixties......the decades shown in the movie "the Butler"!

        I never saw that racism. I never heard those words spoken. Never.

        I was blessed.

        My grandparents (on my mother's side were from Alabama. My grandmother was a member (I have the certificates!!!) of the DAR; and the Daughters of the Confederacy! I adored her......and she never said one racist word in front of me. (I spent much of my childhood with her! She lived with us when my father and my Grandfather died!!)

        I am thinking of going to some meetings.....just to find out where they are now!! Anyone know???

        I am the opposite of the people who grew up with racism all around them.....White and Black. Curious. That is what I am!!!

        Nature is so beautiful!

        Our country is a complete combination of races, creeds, tribes,nations.........that is our greatest strength; I think!

        These countries like Afghanistan.......tribes fighting in a small space for centuries. oh dear.

        I think we have hope here!

        Penelope

        Delete
    59. Well, granted my dad's wife was on the extreme end of it all. And the way she said "God's Country" was, in her case, a firm way of putting down all of us who didn't (according to her) live in the south. Unfortunately, racism is still around and some of these old southern families do have that in their background. The old man on the show...there is racism in what he said.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I am sure I have it in my "background"!! But I do not have it in my "consciousness...I never heard it......I never learned it. I swear. The most beautiful man; or woman who says one "brief comment" of anti-Semitism or racism" I just lose respect for and distance myself. I am not "congratulating myself"; it is just a fact.

        I haven't watched the show at all. And I really am going to stop subscribing to these comments. I do believe that Joni could be the next Jackie Collins or that woman in San Francisco!! Danielle Steele!

        Delete
      2. Market Décor, racism pervades society in the north far more than the south. I realize that the general perception is the opposite, but that is a fact. If you have never traveled in the south and experienced a politeness which simply does not exists in New York, Boston, Chicago or L.A., then you cannot understand or discern the difference between the phony t.v. charade of Bravo's Southern Charm and real life. Unless you have traveled there, the only perception you have is from a television series. I would hate to have that be the last word for me about any region of this country.

        Delete
      3. Penelope, you seem like a nice person and my comments are directly related to my experience, what I saw from just one southern woman many, many years ago - no I should not base my whole thing on that experience. I'm like you in that I just turn off to a person that displays racism in any way, toward anyone. I should not label all southern white people as being racist - and I really don't. But, I do know that some of this thinking in the south goes back generations...maybe it will die out at some point.

        As for watching the show, well, its compelling in some ways because it is so far fetched - of course we all realize it is mostly scripted. I still wonder why anyone with any sense would do such a show, put themselves out there like they do. It does give us a glimpse to the incredible lack of any kind of class, dignity, respect, morals, the lack of character of many these people. I still have trouble with Carole Radziwill in Housewives NYC..why would she do this???

        I have traveled around the country to an extent - people are different everywhere one goes - a different mentality. I kind of think its insulting to be told I may not be able to tell the difference in a phony TV charade and real life...I mean, c'mom - I'm not stupid for God's sake!

        Delete
    60. I am curious as to why so many commenters have railed against racism, including making the most outrageous assumptions about the cast members and their families, but are willing to completely ignore the fact that Joni loved this show and watched the entire season. If something is so offensive, wouldn't you expect a viewer to not be sitting in front of their television every week watching it. Most of the comments here have completely ignored that fact.

      ReplyDelete
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      ReplyDelete
    62. Joni I love the city of Charleston and its environs, and I am a huge fan of Amelia Handegan. You got me to watch the show because of these wonderful homes. I watched it last night. I have to say the show is horrible but I sure loved the sights.

      ReplyDelete
    63. I have to say - I absolutely love the moss green walls/white woodwork in the plantation house - much better for the light of that area and the house itself - the pale gray just doesn't work here, my opinion. I had that same color moss green with white woodwork in a previous home in the 90's, it was very much a trend then. This reminded me of what a truly beautiful wall color it is! I really think I will go back to that color at some point...gorgeous. It got overused in restaurants, etc... But I am ready to do that color again! Wow, thanks for the inspiration, Joni!

      ReplyDelete
    64. Joni - you and I are kindred spirits in design, hobbies and guilty pleasure tv viewing. Thanks for the great post and all of the detailed photos. I too can't wait until the post on Whitney's mother's home. She sure is a hoot. Did some Googling and can't believe her age. She is one well preserved, beautiful lady. Must be the morning cocktails.

      Any chance you can block the IP addresses of your hateful Anon? Sure makes it unpleasant to read through the comments.

      ReplyDelete
    65. I love southern design charm... It has clean and visually best concepts. thanks for great share, keep it up Joni!

      ReplyDelete
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      ReplyDelete
    68. Hi Joni! I can't read through 176 comments, but did you see Mario Buatta in Whitney's house? I recognized that room!!!!

      ReplyDelete
    69. "How many times are you going to comment saying the same thing? His father isn't a civil war scholar. He is a well known bigot and racist"

      Well, Joni you drooled over this program for an entire series and none of the holier than thou issues you now raise appeared to have bothered you in the least until you published this post. Your protestations reek of insincerity, pig roast, slave cemeteries and all. I don't believe you get absolved of this one.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Anon 7:00AM
        Stop it.
        Sheila

        Delete
    70. Anonymous......In Beverly Hills they don't throw their garbage away....they make it into television shows......

      ReplyDelete
    71. I am late to the party, but we cut the cord with cable so I haven't seen the show anyway. All of your sleuthing is top-notch as usual! I would have known that Handegan room anywhere - love her work. And I hate to add to the conversation in the comments, but ... my father's family is from South Carolina. They were more entrepreneurial than plantation-owning, but, I can specifically recall talking to my dad about a history lesson when I was in elementary school and he asked me which of the two sides during the Civil War were the 'bad guys.' When I answered the South, he said "the South?? What kind of history are they teaching you nowadays??!!" Ha! I will never forget that. That kind of thinking is certainly alive and well! And for the most part - I hope! and in my experience, at least - is pretty innocent. There are a lot of wonderful traditions in the old South, and after all, we don't hate or under appreciate the whole of Germany because of the atrocious actions of the Nazi party.

      ReplyDelete
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