Polo & Mint Juleps Aiken, South Carolina

 One of our favorite places to visit is Aiken, South Carolina.  Aiken is one of the original Winter Colonies dating back to 1719.  The Goodyear's, Vanderbilt's and Hitchock families escaped the winters in the northeast and built mansions and sports playgrounds here.
 It is an equestrian haven and hosts many events throughout the year.  In the spring and fall you can always catch a game of polo on Sunday afternoon.
There is a new pavilion at the polo field where you can have lunch and watch the game in the shade.  Most people tailgate along the edge of the field.  We chose to do that as well - I brought along some Mint Juleps:)

You can set up tables and umbrellas - it is a pretty festive atmosphere.  During half time everyone goes out to stomp the divots.

The horses are magnificent and it was a perfect day for Polo and Mint Juleps!

 You have to watch out for the occasional wild ball when tailgating and yes this one was heading right at Moi!  It stopped short - no harm done.

 We had intended to spend Thanksgiving this year in Aiken attending the Blessing of the Hounds.   Every Thanksgiving at 11:00 in beautiful Hicthcock Woods, 16 hounds, 65 prize winning horses and hundreds of observers come together to receive blessings before the fox hunt.  Don't forget to stop by the Wilcox Hotel for Bagels & Bloodies before heading over to the Blessing.  Afterwards there is an open table Thanksgiving Dinner at the Stables.  Our plans have changed with the upcoming move and we will be back in Texas for Thanksgiving:)

The Wilcox Hotel has hosted Winston Churchill, President Roosevelt, Fred Astaire, Bing Croxby and Harold Vanderbilt, to name a few.

Photos: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman
Bottom two Photos - 2Luxury2


The Summerville Cottage Adieu

The digital ink had no sooner dried on my previous post - when the call came in, letting us know that we would be moving yet again!
I'll remember fondly our time in this little cottage.  The house is small that when we have guests over, everyone spills out into the garden.   Our beautiful friends Bart & Katherine first introduced us to this house.    Their friendship, hospitality and southern grace, will stay in our hearts always.
 Spring and summer are so beautiful here.  The landscape was mostly in place when we moved in.  I planted a few things.  Failed at some and had success with others.  The ground is nothing but sand!
 I'll miss the Highlander felines that live next door and visit now and then.  I hope to have one of my own when we are more settled.  They have tipped ears like a bob cat.
Living here gave us the opportunity to explore Charleston, Savannah and Atlanta.    Thanks to B&K, we attended the Masters Tournament each year.  Jim scored four tickets to the Masters one year via the lottery and his best buds Mike and Frank flew out from California spend a few days.
 Many other friends and family came to visit during our time here.  It has been fun to show them how beautiful the south is!

The payoff!  Now we get to move to the Austin, Texas area to spend more time with "THE CENTER OF OUR UNIVERSE!!!!!"  Ever since this sweet little boy was born we have been working our way back to him.  He has stolen our hearts and we just can't be away any longer.  He needs his Nana & Gramps!

Bonus - We will be able to spend more time with his sweet Mama, Dada,  brother and sister.

 I fly to Austin next week - check out the housing scene - fly back to meet up with the moving company - spiff up the house a little as it is going on the market - drive back to Texas  and spend weeks unpacking!

Adieu to this little cottage and Bonjour to the next chapter in our lives!

Photos By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman (except the last one - taken by my daughter)


The Summerville Cottage

 Yesterday, as I was wandering around the house snapping photos for insurance purposes, I realized
that, although I spend hours combing through interior design photos on other blogs, I seldom post photos of my own houses. There are several reasons for this:  I never feel as if a room is completed,
because I'm a professional photographer, I should take the time to set up lights and make an effort to arrange flowers, etc. and usually our houses are under construction and we are living in chaos!
With that said, these photos - are just ones that I snapped without too much effort involved.    So here it is - our little
cottage in the enclave of Summerville,  along the Savannah River in Georgalina.  This post features the living room.  I'll do separate posts for the rest of the house.
                                                                                                                                                               My style is rather eclectic - things I've collected over the years.  I'll list the sources, if
anyone is interested!

Top Photo:  Art by:  John Hulse, Steve Northup, Yvoy and a SC artist that I can't recall the name
of.  I have it written down somewhere.  Just can't locate it at the moment.
 Linen Churchill Sofa - Rooms and Gardens - Santa Barbara.  Pillows - William Sonoma Home (top) and a custom pillow in Richard Allen fabric.  Throw - Kelly Wearstler for SFERRA. Antique French
Garden table from Precious Cargo - Summerland, CA.  Lamps from Elegant Earth - Urn -bo-tan-ik  - Summerland, CA

Antique Chinese jars from Jack-a-lope - Santa Fe, NM.  Ottoman - designed and built by me, covered in Restoration Hardware Belgian Linen.  The wing chair is covered in RH Belgian Linen as well.  Photograph on the wall: Julie Graber
 These are the before photos.  Due to a leak in the roof, the ceiling caved in.
We bumped out the fireplace to support the rafters above and refaced the fireplace with a
simple traditional mantle to match the rest of the woodwork in the house.  This little cottage
is nearly 100 years old and needs constant care!  I built a long rad cover to enclose the
non-functioning radiator.  I also built the sofa table to match.                                                                We replaced the ceiling fixture with a vintage chandelier and painted the
walls BM Edgecomb Gray and the trim BM White Dove.
 As you can see - the roof needed some serious repair work!   (Still needs more!)

 Vintage McGuire chairs give extra seating and add texture.  Circa Lighting lamp, antique Navaho Rug,
Sabina and Mesquite wood table from Mexico.  Pillow - African textile.  Cashmere throw - Banana Republic.  Art - Top Photo: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman.  The bottom piece is a framed
Buck & Hickman antique saw.

Photos By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman


Miles's Wild Mushroom & Potato Hash

At the temperatures start to drop,  I start thinking about comfort foods.   This is a favorite that can be served as a side dish or  a meal.  I like to make it on cold mornings with a poached egg on the top.
Recipe from Miles James - James At The Mill via The Zenchilada

Miles's Wild Mushroom & Potato Hash

1-1/2 pounds Irish potatoes
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 pound mixed "wild" mushrooms
      (shitake, portobello, oyster, crimini)
1/8 cup fresh chopped thyme
1 cup heavy cream
1 white onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced

Peel the potatoes and dice them about 1/2 inch square.  In a large, deep-sided skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.  When hot but not smoking, add the potatoes.  cook until they begin to turn golden on the bottom.  Use a spatula to gently turn them, and brown the other side, scraping any crust up from the bottom of the pan as you do.

While the potatoes are cooking, wipe the mushrooms clean of any grit and remove the stems.  Place the stems, thyme, and cream in a heavy saucepan, and heat slowly on low.  Chop the mushroom cps coarsely.  When the potatoes begin to brown on the second side, add the mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper.  Stir to mix. again scraping any potato crust from the bottom of the skillet to prevent burning.  cook until the potatoes, onion, and pepper are tender, about 4 minutes.  If you need to turn the heat lower to prevent sticking, do, and take a little longer to cook, if necessary.

When the vegetables are tender, strain the cream, removing the thyme and stems, and add it to the hash.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, stirring just enough to keep the mixture from sticking.  When the cream boils, remove from the heat.  Serve warm/

Serves 4 as an entree
6 to 8 as a side dish

Photograhy: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman for The Zenchilada




2 cups Fresh Orange Juice
2 cups Fresh Lemon Juice
Grated Orange Peels
4 1/2 cup Sugar
Fresh Mint

Grate the peels of the oranges and put in a cheesecloth bag.  Juice the oranges and lemons.  Soak the peels in the juices for 10 minutes and wring out, squeezing as much of the moisture and oils from the peel.  Mix the juice and sugar together in a large pot and bring to a boil.   Cook, stirring just until all the sugar has dissolved.  Store the concentrate in glass bottles in the refrigerator.  When ready to serve, add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the concentrate to enough ice cold water to made a full glass.  Garnish with mint.  When frozen, this also makes a refreshing sherbet.

Photos By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman
Recipe:  The Zenchilada



I've been intrigued by Alys Beach for some years now.  It has been on my list of beach locations to check out.  My sister was in Florida looking for a house to buy, so I decided to make a detour during one of my marathon cross country trips.  I was able to see my sister and her little one and explore Alys Beach.
Located on the Emerald Coast in Florida, Alys Beach is the brainchild of Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.  The architecture is built in the style of Bermuda with white stucco walls and plastered roofs that are better able to withstand hurricanes.
Bahama shutters in various colors add vibrancy to the white stucco. Paths paved with Florida Caprock meander through the village.
 Private courtyards have pools or fountains...................................................................................
 Agaves are nestled into oversize pots...................................................................
 On a morning walk through the village, you are lulled by birdsong and fountains........................

 sometimes, you can hear laughter coming from inside the private courtyards and the splash of someone playing in a pool...................................................................

 The architecture is just gorgeous...................................................................................
  Fonville Press has coffee and croissants in the morning............wine and tapas later on..............

 After coffee - or if you are like me - a good cup of tea - it is time to head out to the beach
 Through the grand entrance
 to the Emerald Coast
where the sand is like sugar..............................................................................................................

While there are no hotels in Alys Beach, there are a few vacation houses available to rent.

Photography By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman