In 2020, as I enter my 13th year of blogging, I am a bit more reflective than usual while thinking back on all that has transpired through these years.  One thing that is most evident is how lucky I am to have such loyal and thoughtful readers!   Without readers, a blog is like that proverbial tree falling in the forest where there is no one to hear it. 

It's a true blessing to have wonderful readers who return week after week to read the words written here and who often leave comments for all of us to enjoy.   Besides these comments, I can’t tell you how many private emails I have received over the years – many relay how a blog story has touched that reader in some personal way.

And here, today is the story of one such reader.

I recently received a treasure trove of magazine clippings from this reader, a long time interior design devote.    Inspired by recent stories, she thought some of her long-ago collected clippings would be most welcomed by CdT readers.  A quick perusal through the clippings produced what I thought was, without a doubt, the most interesting item she sent me:    a clipping from an old Bride’s Magazine dated 1968!!!

This Bride’s magazine was bought by the reader’s soon to be mother-in-law when she became engaged back in 1968.  Some fifty years later, the long forgotten magazine was found among items in her mother-in-law’s house while they were cleaning it up for an estate sale.  The reader also sent clippings from other old magazines such as Veranda and Southern Accents. 

What a priceless gift! 

First, let’s look at the Bride’s magazine.  And like the reader said to me – take notice of the topics listed on the cover.

Inside the Bride’s magazine is a long pictorial of a newly married couple’s first apartment.  The true surprise is whose apartment it is! 

See if you can guess who the owners are:

Here is that groovy 1960’s apartment’s living area in the couple’s favorite colors:  black, white, and yellow!  Skirted table!  Wire garden chair and French chair.  Oriental urn lamps.


The bedroom has a quilted floral bedspread – remember this look???!!!!    But that bamboo and cane headboard and mirror are fabulous!!

And here is the couple’s black & white striped bathroom, filled with Italian ceramic accessories and knick-knacks. 

The rest of this Bride’s Magazine story has black and white photographs.

Have you guessed who the groovy newlyweds are yet?


On double Parsons tables, the couple’s collection of shells is displayed. 


The young wife sets the table in the yellow and black living room.  The dining room is too small to serve more than just a few, so the table is set up in the living room, while the buffet is set up in the dining room.

Hmmm.  Who IS she??!!


And here, the dutiful 60’s wife, with her ruffled collar, serves her man percolated coffee. 


Any clues who this handsome couple is? 

Our young newlyweds, married for only two years here, were not yet well known nationwide.  The bride was known for her short ponytail, a look she wore for the entirety of her life.

Give up?


Our young couple are Libby and Dan Carithers!

And here are Dan and Libby with Nomie, their terrier, along with a chair that looks like a precursor to Mackenzie Childs!!  

It was truly amazing for me to read this article. 

I have followed Dan faithfully for the past 28 years, a date I know because it was the year my daughter was born that I first saw Dan’s work.   How different his style was here in Bride’s Magazine:  A mod nod to the 60s is so totally different from his later aesthetic.

Libby passed away early, in her 50s, and Dan remarried Nancy who actually resembles Libby.   Dan and Libby had two children, but their daughter Ellie passed away as a young girl, leaving Will as his only child until Nancy brought her children to the family.   
Today Will is happily married with children of his own.  He owns an eponymous butcher shop in Knoxville which caters to chic foodies.  I hope Will sees this article because it shows his parents so young and vibrant and so very happy. 

Another article about the young couple came out some years later when they were living in their now famous house in Atlanta.  The clipping of this photoshoot was included in the ones that the reader sent me.


Look how precious these two look - Libby and Dan.


I was thrilled to get this clipping because I had only seen one or two photos of this photoshoot, poorly scanned, on Pinterest.  But here is the full pictorial, with the young Dan just making his name nationally known.  As you will see, Dan has abandoned the 60s look for his signature mix of French and English antiques. 

Their house had been bought seven years earlier than this story.  It was in the same Atlanta neighborhood where they had lived in another house, but this classic stole their hearts.  Dan said he even paid more than the asking price for it, he was so in love with the house.   He and Libby remodeled the entire house, adding a large country styled kitchen which became the hub of their family life.

This magazine story shows the house before all the decorative changes that were later made and showcased in numerous magazines through the years.   I hope you enjoy seeing their house in its very earliest version.

SHOCK!!!   The foyer is such a huge surprise!  The floor is more vivid here than seen later when it was painted in lighter gray tones. 

And the furniture!  Another huge surprise.   This has never been seen again – this sofa and side chairs.  And I love the art work.  I just wonder why Dan quit using this furniture?  I love the way extra large foyer looks.


The earliest version of the living room with the bay window that Dan added so that his sofa would fit in the room.  This also shows the beginning of his famous creamware collection that Dan made so famous.

This is the only room that looks much the same throughout the years.  The other rooms in the house look very different than what we are used to seeing.


The final look of the living room – a vision in blue and white.  Might be my favorite of all the different arrangements designed by Dan for this room.  Love the blue and white. 

         Open to the living room is the dining room:    


Sorry for the bad scans! 

Here, the dining room looks SOOO much different than how we are used to seeing it.  These chair covers and the tablecloth are  nothing like the beige and or blue check Dan came to love.  And the art work!  So modern!  These plates on the wall were soon replaced by his more beautiful creamware.

On thing that remained constant was this crystal chandelier.  It remained in the house until he and Nancy moved out decades later.

At this point, the backyard was yet to be finished.  Years later in another magazine, Dan jokingly complained about how much money he had sunk into their backyard. 


And the finished backyard with the 1000s of boxwoods Dan planted.

                                                                                                          In yet another dining room photo from that early photoshoot  there is another true surprise.  In this photo you can see a French rectangular table instead of the skirted round one.  And in a fabric covered niche never seen before or after – an armoire fills up the space. 

I’m thinking the round table in the other photo was just for the    photoshoot.



I did find this one later photo showing the dining room AND the elusive niche with a French cabinet inside it.  By this point in time, Dan had painted the yellow walls with murals that resembled his creamware.


The final dining room – in blue and white.  Dan and Nancy kept the yellow walls.   And the backyard seen through the French doors was finally finished.


Libby and Dan actually built this kitchen and it remained much the same for all the years the house was published.  The only change was in the paint color which went from cream to white through the years.  That chair was always my favorite!

The breakfast room saw many changes from this early version.  I think I like this earlier version more than the later one we are more familiar with.  In fact, I had never seen this early photo of the breakfast room before.  I am much more used to the later version of this room which is not my favorite:

Here is the later version of the same breakfast room off the dining room and kitchen - as we are used to seeing it.    I think it is the fabrics that I didn't care for and the reproduction chairs.


The family room, or Long Room as Dan called it, saw many changes after this version.  The green decor was changed to a more neutral version.    But still, the green was quite a surprise.


The only time the guest bathroom was shown.  Beautiful  Gothic wood  chair.  The basket looks like it is hiding some sort of plumbing access which the photographer didn’t cover up too good.


Another new to me photo.   Dan and Libby’s master bedroom.  Years before, Libby had gone to Christian Dior in Paris and was inspired by their decor – the gray silk stripes and French antiques, a look that Libby used over and over again according to the magazine.

This photo was truly a surprise to me.  I do wonder what happened to this decor?  The mirror was never seen again that I know of.  Isn't it beautiful?

Another photo never seen before – son Will’s room.  In the article, Dan says that Will spent two years without a window during the renovation.  Finally, this window came another renovated room, bathing his room in sunlight.

                                                                                                               And finally, a view of a courtyard.

I'm so glad I got these clippings from the sweet reader!  I've always felt a bit sad when writing about Dan Carithers.  The magazine stories always revolved around his second family so it made me wonder about Libby.  What did she look like?  What was she like?  Since most of all the magazine stories were about Dan's later life with his second wife, Nancy, who proved to be such a wonderful partner for him, it seems fitting to give some attention to his first wife who helped shaped his earlier aesthetic.

Maybe I just think about myself since I relate to Will.  My own personal story of family – having a mother who also died young - reminds me of his mother and father and step mother and step siblings. 

I told you I was being reflective!!!

And so, there is one more story to close this one up.

I’ve told this story a million times but the first I heard of Dan Carithers was in a magazine which inspired me when I was decorating my first house with Ben when we had moved to Ft.Worth for what turned out to be a short stay.   I’ve written about that poor living room and all the challenges of no money but lots of lofty ideas thanks to Dan. 

Over the past 28 years, I’ve only had one photo from that old Carithers photoshoot that had so inspired me - and it’s a poorly scanned photo as it is. 
I don’t know why I’ve never tried very hard to find the original magazine that that story came from but I just never did !   A few months ago, I decided to give it a try and after just a few minutes on Ebay, that original magazine was on its way to my house!!!

Whoa, why was I so nervous?  Would I feel let down by the story?


Our house in Ft. Worth with my Dan Carithers sofa and chairs and slipcovers and wicker chair/ottoman – all unseen here.  I tried to copy a design of Dan’s from an old Southern Accents magazine.  Here is Ben aka Mr. Slippersocksman, a young father, happy and healthy – a rarity today.  Sob.    

I remember those pillows were not made with down – they were like hard pancakes. They were AWFUL!!  I HATED them so much but couldn’t afford to get another pair and the store wouldn’t give me credit. 

Back to 2020 -  the old, Southern Accents magazine arrived with the original Dan Carither’s article in it.  I immediately thought you would like to see it today.   There is still one other issue I want to find – when he and Nancy were married Southern Accents photographed the event.   For the dinner, Dan covered all the chairs in this striped fabric too.  For years this stripe was my absolutely favorite fabric – bar non.   I even liked that taupe color for walls.

Here's a look at that article that so inspired me:

The stucco house was twenty years old when Dan remodeled it, so it would be around 50 today.  Dan said he would like to move into the house himself.  There were four rooms on the first floor, along with hardwoods and tiled floors and antique wood beams.  French doors opened to the enclosed parterre garden.  The owners had built the house, using James Means as their architect. 

James Means is an architect who is highly respected in Atlanta and other areas.  There are two books about his work, but both are out of print and are quite costly on Amazon.

I never realized the house I have liked so long was designed by Means – there are so many beautiful houses in Atlanta and Buckhead by him that it validates my obsession over the past 28 years. 

One house that you probably know that was designed by Means was the Atlanta – Southeastern Designer Showhouse from 2017.   I think it was one of the prettiest showcase houses in years:

      Remember this showhouse from 2017?  Instagram went crazy over this house.   At the time, I had no idea that this house was designed by the same architect as my favorite Carithers house.  Small world.    

Remember this breakfast room?  Gorgeous!!

And all that creamware is so reminiscent of Dan Carithers!

        And the bedroom.  Sigh.

This showhouse was absolutely gorgeous.

Means designed many different styles of houses in Buckhead and Atlanta – and one he liked to celebrate was Country French, like the Carithers’ house.

After Means designed their house, the owners lived there for around 20 years with modern touches and hard edges.  They hired Dan to rid their decor of all the chrome and glass.  Of course Carithers obliged!

A view of the dining room at dusk.  Through the arches is the living room.      

Gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!   No wonder I was so drawn to this house!!!     

Instead of a large dining room table, there were two round tables.  Chairs are skirted in Carithers’ signature taupe and white striped linen.    A large antique crystal chandelier hangs over the room. 

Notice the arch leading to the living room, while the second entry to the living room has a faux arch to create symmetry.  AND, notice another signature Carithers touch – the large rooster atop a bonnetierre.   Love.

The table by the window with its tall chairs and Chinese bronze lamp doubles as a library table with its stacked books and apothecary jars.        

Here is the table by the French doors with the bronze lamp and the apothecary jars.  I’d love to see how the room is usually set.



Through the dining room is the living room.  What you don’t see is that the front door actually opens right into this room – there is no proper foyer.

Look how fabulous this is.  The accessories.  The staging.  The placing of antiques.   This room is perfection all these years later and it looks so current to me.  Two sofas, one with a console behind it.  To the right is a desk with two chairs – which acts as a bar during parties.   The slip covered ottoman is a French antique which doubles are a coffee table.   The shelves are filled with books.    Blue and white Delft pieces are stunning.  The plates above the doors is so interesting and sparse.   And Means’ stucco walls, his fireplace, the French doors – all add to the perfection.   Is there any wonder why I have been obsessed with this room for 28 years?????

A closer view.  I love the fireplace with the andirons.  So much prettier than a big screen.  Those tulips.  I love how he kept the mantel so simple with just two vases and nothing hanging above it.

Know when to stop!

For a party in Dan’s honor, the table was set in the living room, in front of the fireplace.  Beautiful silver and crystal.


The desk doubles as a bar.   Pretty.   I love all the silver mixed with the blue and white. 

The kitchen looks a bit dated – but true to Provence from that era.   You can see the floor are those old tiles like the dining room.  BUT, that will change....later.

And here’s the master bedroom suite.   The walls are covered in a pale toile cotton pattern that doesn’t photograph well at all.

And the sitting area in the master suite with more of the walls.    After such a beautiful living room and dining room, it’s hard to compete here.   The umbrella is bad styling from three decades ago!   Oh well – no one is perfect, not even Dan Carithers!

You know I’m just kidding.  I can’t imagine many designers whose 30 year old designs ALL look as good today as they did back then.


Ohhhh.  I’m not ready to put this story to bed.  It will be the last of an era.  I’m dragging it out – not wanting it all to end.

So… now what?

I decide to research the architect, James Means  – maybe I might even find out more about the house.  How can I resist?

Never, ever discount a Scorpion for its abilities to dig through the sand and discover what is hidden from view.

I did find the house, in Buckhead, the beautiful one that Carithers decorated, that I had been obsessed with all these years.

As luck would have it – the house has been sold at least twice since the Southern Accents story ran.   The original owners lived for 20 or more years in the house they had James Means design.  Then,  they sold their house right after the Southern Accents story in 1998!!! 

The new owners lived in the house, with their three children, as is, for ten years.  They then completely renovated the small house – adding a new kitchen, breakfast room, and family room, along with a swimming pool. 

The house with its reclaimed heart of pine floors, rustic beams and archways - sits on an acre of land on a hilly and wooded cul de sac.   Along with the new pool, there is the original gazebo and guesthouse, along with a finished basement  and a new wine cellar and bar.


And here is the house by James Mears.  The area to the left is part of the new addition.  Originally the house was a square with just four rooms on the main floor.  Now its more that twice its original size.  The shutters are painted white which unfortunately will be changed later.

The new owners waited ten years to renovate.  They didn’t want to change the feel of the house, they wanted to honor the house that Means had designed and they wanted the addition to be seamless.

After undertaking a huge renovation - those owners sold the house in 2015 and then, THOSE owners sold the house in 2017.  I found both the real estate photos of both sales, along with another magazine story about the house!!

                                                                                                           Front View:   The newest owners painted the shutters an awful brown which I really don't like.

The 2015 Real Estate:  Here you can see the addition backside of the house.  There is the new kitchen, then breakfast room, then family room – all in the bump out right in front of the new pool.  The original dining room is seen at the far left at the terrace.

To the far right is the original guest house.

This beautiful photo of the addition is from the magazine - BHG Country French Homes which featured the house with the new owners - who expanded the house after they had lived there 10 years! 

In this article, no mention was made of the Southern Accents 1998 story nor Dan Carithers.  I wonder why ? 

BUT, the owner did share this interesting detail.  When the new owner who bought the house from Dan Carithers’ clients was a single young woman – she knew the girl who rented out the guest house!  The new owner would often stay in the guest house and she would fantasize about one day owning the beautiful country French house.

Years later, after giving birth to her third child, she received a call asking her if she wanted to buy the house.  Her answer?


And the rest is history.   With her husband and three children they lived for ten years in the very small house with its four rooms on the first floor. 

Let's look inside:

Real Estate 2017.   There are two sets of real estate photos PLUS the BHG Country French magazine photoshoot of the Dan Carithers designed house.

These newly found photos reveal many aspects of the house that were not seen in the Southern Accents photoshoot.

For instance, this photos shows that the front door opens right into the living room.  There is no true foyer at all.

Arches are found throughout – marking the doorways and openings between rooms.   At the left is another surprise – a beautiful stairway that wasn’t revealed in the Dan Carithers photoshoot.

2015 Real Estate:   There is the front door on the left with two arches.   One is just a niche, the second is the stairwell. 

And from the other direction,  the living room.  This family who bought the house from Carithers' clients had inherited a houseful of French antiques. 


2017:  These next owners had more traditional and classic furniture than antiques.  Honestly,

this room doesn't look anything like my Carithers’ inspiration room.

The print over the fireplace is all wrong. 

And another view of the same room.  Another surprise?  I never knew there were window seats in this room. 

Let's compare this to the 1998 look:

Notice how Dan did the accessories and how much more interesting the decor looks.  The two round plates over the windows, genius.  And the matching Delftware on the mantel.  Nothing is hanging above the mantel.  The books, the bowls, the andirons instead of the screen – all add to the look.  The 2015 house is much better than the 2017 because I love all their French antiques.

And the original stairhall.  The new 2015 owners decorated the walls with photos of their three children.

Original Means railings.

The 2015/BHG Magazine house - the dining room.  This is my favorite room in the house.  The living room and stairhall had the antique wide plank wood floors, but in the dining room and original kitchen, an old looking tile was used.

Notice the tall arch that leads to the room.    AND notice how gorgeous the beams are!  Incredible.  Today people use reproduction beams and say they look old, but no, compared to these  -- they look so phony.  

I've tried to see if this is the same chandelier as was in the house before, but it's hard to tell - if not, it's a great copy!!

And here is the original dining room that looks so different, no?   In the Southern Accents story, you don't see how beautiful the front dining room window is. 

See how beautiful this French door/window is?  It repeats the arches found throughout the house.

It's details like this that show off James Means talent.  I can see why the new family was hesitant to expand the house, but they did a great job of it.

The 2015 Real Estate photos - you can see the true beauty of the dining room.  I love the size of it.  This family really has some beautiful ant                                          iques.

2017:     AND, here in the 2017 Real Estate is the newest look.  I hate to be ugly but I really don't like the decor - the table and chairs are new, not antique.   The crystal chandelier is gone, replaced by a French wood candlelier which would look better with a smaller, more delicate table and chairs.

Part of the renovation is the powder room.

Across from the dining room was the kitchen, which was completely renovated.  Here, through an arch is the new kitchen. 

Here is the new kitchen  - with white tiled floor.  The orange tiles were probably irreplaceable so white tiles were used instead.  I would have probably used the wood floors.   I like the light shades, but not sure they go with the house?


And another view towards the terrace.

2015:  And here is the new breakfast room with the Ikat fabric.  I love the shiplap walls which match some of the older shiplap ceilings.  Just charming.

2015:   And the 2015 real estate photos that show how the new breakfast room attaches to the new family room - all which overlook the new pool. 

2017:  And the newest owners, here is their 2017 real estate photos which show off a rather bland decor.

2015:    Off the breakfast room is the new family room added by the 2015 owners after they had lived here 10 years.  I love that coffee table.

The new rooms are all off the new back hall - see below.

2015:    The 2015 Real Estate photos shows the back hall - with all the arches!  I love that.  The new architect really paid respect to James Means and made the add on look seamless. 

Through this arch is the breakfast room, the kitchen, and at the very end is the original dining room.


The 2015 Real Estate photos show the fireplace that is reminiscent of the James Means fireplace, along with the French doors and hardware.

2017:   And the 2017 Real Estate photos shows the other side of the room with the new second front door and stairhall through the arch.  

The new back hall with the same white tile in the new kitchen.   Love the seat and the closet doors.  Through the arch is the new sitting room.


The master bedroom is one of the original four rooms on the first floor.  I don’t think the Dan Carithers’ bedroom held up that well, but I absolutely adore this one.  In trendy green with French antiques and toile fabrics, it is so subtle and calm for a bedroom.  Elegant yet casual. 

The upstairs shows how Means continued the look:  notice that beautiful wood door. 

2017:  There are numerous bedrooms upstairs – with beams and windowseats.  With the addition, came a large recreation room upstairs and a renovated basement with more rooms and a wine cellar.

A view of the new rooms, the kitchen, breakfast room, family room – across from the swimming pool which you can’t see here.  Hard to see where the new meets the old.

Original to James Means is the gazebo.  Underneath, a skirted table and French styled chairs are protected from the sun and rain. 

AND finally!!    Today, the newest owners painted over the fugly brown shutters and instead painted them a more true color of France.


And this is the many unexpected twists!  Guessing at the identification of the very young Dan Carithers and his wife Libby.  Looking at their famous house - one of its first photoshoots.

Then - a look back at the house decorated by Carithers that so inspired me 28 years ago. 


And finally - a look at that very same house owned by two different families and how they decorated it.


It makes you realize how absolutely talented that tall, lanky, southern gentleman truly was and how he was himself inspired by two women – his wives.

To see the two Real Estate photos of the James Means house, go here:

2017 HERE


2015 HERE