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Southern Studio on Southern Style

A Ramble Through the Bramble

September 19, 2019

Southern Studio on Southern Style

A Ramble Through the Bramble

September 19, 2019

The South is its own place, with its own distinct notions of beauty and gracious living.   

Certain magazines speak to this. Oxford American. Garden & Gun. But most famous and long-lasting is Southern Living

Mary Ludemann and her husband Troy, copilots of a development company called New Old, had the interest for a long time to create a small community of new-build homes showcasing old-world elegance. The name of their company says it all: a combination of contemporary and classic, carrying on those traditions of gracious domestic harmony.

They matched up with an interior design firm, Southern Studio, who complemented this vision; Vicky Serany and Elizabeth O'Neal were thrilled to co-create this space with New Old. They were hoping to create a believable and inspiring space that embodies the beautiful style of interiors featured in Southern Living magazine, while creating a liveable home people could imagine themselves in, an attainable farmhouse luxe. As a showhouse, it had a duty to impress...and it delivered.

But unlike showhouses meant to raise money for a good cause and provide a blank canvas for maximalist fantasies no one has to live in, this one was meant to be a mission statement for certain vision of what "Southern Living" looks like heading into the next decade—think Rustic Modern taking in some European highlights and emerging color trends—they succeeded in spades.

Check out pictures of this gorgeous home, The Burnham, and read below for their answers to a few questions we asked them about this project.     

Design by Vicky Serany and Elizabeth O'Neal of Southern Studio
 Build by New Old | Hollis lanterns by Hudson Valley Lighting 

Builder:  Mary Ludemann, New Old

Interior Design:  Vicky Serany and Elizabeth O’Neal, Southern Studio Interior Design


1. What are some design elements that define "southern charm?” 


Southern Charm is defined by a lifestyle centered on gracious hospitality.  These are casually sophisticated spaces that include a kitchen designed for gathering friends and family, beautiful table settings, large outdoor porches, and a collection of art and heirlooms.


2. How do you seamlessly blend traditional Southern style with today's trends?


Blending traditional design with current trends is a delicate balance. It’s all about layering in the pieces that bring joy to everyday life and add a bit of unexpected surprise. A home should be constantly evolving. It can be fun to add a splash of trendy color, a whimsical chair, or an unexpected light fixture to keep a home fresh.


3. In your opinion, how does lighting elevate a space?


Lighting is by far one of the most important design elements in any home. A well-designed lighting plan is flexible and can completely change the mood of a home. From overall task lighting for daily projects to ambient lighting for an intimate party, we believe a home should be designed to adapt to the many facets of our lives. Today, lighting is not only functional, but reflects the personality of a home like a piece of art.

Looking for a casual sophistication, there was no need look further than Troy, whose whole M.O. is casual sophistication. Setting Sawyer in the space balanced out the heft of the fire place.

4. Tell us more about the exposed stone walls with the hand-troweling.


Throughout the construction process, our Senior Designer, Elizabeth O’Neal, and I worked closely with Mary Ludemann of New Old to design the interiors.  We originally considered exposed brick in the large family room, but as the design evolved the stone provided the best texture as we worked to combine the charm of an older home with the conveniences of a new home. We later decided to continue the stone on the entire wall, not just the fireplace. It is that extra attention to detail, and a very talented stone mason, that makes all the difference.

5. Is there such a thing as too much pattern? What are some unexpected places people should think about adding pattern at home?


Bold pattern can add eye-catching personality to a space, but we take a “less is more” approach in our designs. It’s important to consider size and scale when combining patterns, especially if the color is bold with strong patterns. Our favorite spaces combine striking patterns with layers of lush texture for a beautifully curated home. In this home, we had great fun adding a patterned wallpaper in the pantry and laundry room for an unexpected surprise.


6. What are some elements that you consider essential to a "timeless" look?


A timeless home is designed to feel collected and grows with the family. It layers a comfortable interior with collections that have been curated over time. The architectural details are also important to a timeless look, including interior trim details such as a beautiful staircase and bookcases, a kitchen with personality, and beautiful lighting that can stand the test of time.

7. Was there anything in the project that felt like a big risk to you? And if so, how did it feel when it was done/installed?


Designing a showhouse requires a bit of calculated risk since it’s our opportunity to try new ideas and showcase the talent of so many artisans. The kitchen was a top priority in this home and we started with the oversized, custom range hood in matte black with antique brass accents. We balanced the size of the hood with the large-scale tile backsplash and statement lanterns over the natural marble island. A bit of unexpected texture with the black hide barstools added the final touch.  Working with an incredibly talented builder and design team allowed us to take risks with the design and know they would be executed beautifully.  It’s an absolute thrill to see the hard work and vision come to life!

The name of this community is The Bramble. You can learn more about it here.