Belle Decor

Perfect Porch Ceiling Colors

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorJuly 25, 2015

You don’t have to look far in the South to see that porches—and porch sitting—are a cultural mainstay. So is the tradition of painting a porch ceiling blue. Some say the idea stems from the notion that blue porch ceilings prevented insects and birds from nesting. But more often than not, the color is attributed to the story surrounding the Gullah/Geechee shade known as “haint blue” and its influence on American design over the centuries. “The ‘haint blue’ color that is found on homes and buildings throughout the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is a visual representation of the power and legacy of Gullah Culture,” says Michael Allen, Community Specialist for the National Park Service. “We know through research that people of African descent brought that tradition surrounding the color with them to the United States. It is a color they believed defended the home from troubled spirits: a bright, Caribbean blue.”

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The Tastemaker Ten: Southern Summer Essentials

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorJuly 15, 2015

Georgia native Thomas Wages opened his Atlanta menswear shop, Tweeds, in 2013, and he’s attracted a loyal following for his down-to-earth style. From his curated collection of American-made goods to the bespoke suits, shirts, belts, and more that he designs for the shop’s house label, the entrepreneur believes in well-made pieces. Visit his welcoming Westside shop, and you’ll likely find Wages pouring drinks for customers and telling them the stories behind some of his favorite products. Outside the shop, you’ll find him just as passionate about great food and great music as he is about style.

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Five Southern Sites to Save in 2015

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorJuly 1, 2015

Last week, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced their annual list of sites threatened by both decay and development across the United States. The list was first published in 1987 and in the twenty-eight years since, the nonprofit has highlighted over 250 at-risk sites. Five of the eleven earmarked properties that appear on the 2015 list are Southern, from the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami to the A.G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham, Alabama, that hosted Martin Luther King Jr. “This year’s list is our most diverse ever, and reflects our commitment to recognizing and preserving all the facets of our diverse history,” says Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “These sites tell American stories that have been overlooked for too long. We hope this list inspires more Americans to join us in the ongoing effort to save the places that tell the full story of our nation.” A full roundup of the Southern properties and the challenges they face follow below. For more information on how to help, visit www.preservationnation.org

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Our Favorite Southern Front Doors

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorJune 8, 2015

Southerners know how to say welcome in style—sometimes without even saying a word. Whether you’re strolling down a residential street in Richmond, Virginia, or Dallas, Texas, just take a look at all the stylish, inviting front doors and entryways painted in pretty color combinations, overflowing with potted containers, or framed in flowering climbing vines.

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The Global South: Perfect Summer Finds from Mi Golondrina

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorJune 2, 2015

Dallas, Texas, native Cristina Lynch (pictured below), whose mother grew up in northern Mexico, knew that she wanted to create a business that centered on her Mexican heritage when she founded Mi Golondrina, in 2013.

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Bug Off: Field-Tested Ways to Keep Mosquitoes at Bay

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorMay 22, 2015

Here in the South, the joy of entertaining guests outdoors can be undermined when less-welcome ones arrive—mosquitoes and other pests. We asked some of the South’s best event designers, who produce weddings and other soirees outside all summer long, how they battle bugs. From organic sprays and wipes to a mail-order mosquito magnet, these are their tried-and-true tricks of the trade.

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Before and After: Forlorn Cabin to Elegant Hunt Camp

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorMay 14, 2015

Houses with soul and history rank high on our list of reasons to love living in the South. And it’s always heartening to see a property in need of a revival loved back to life in a way that feels authentic to the place where it sits.

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Stylish New Ways to Celebrate the Southern Magnolia

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorMay 8, 2015

Few things bring to mind the quintessential Southern landscape more than majestic Magnolia trees and the dinner-plate-sized blooms that decorate their branches when warm weather arrives. It’s no wonder the magnolia’s intoxicating beauty has designers smitten. Below, you’ll find five of our favorite new magnolia-inspired items, from a brand new chandelier to a floral ensemble created for the new label Draper James by actress Reese Witherspoon, a steel magnolia in her own right.

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Throw a Knockout Kentucky Derby Party

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorApril 27, 2015

Thanks to a little inspiration from Austin blogger, author, and entertaining expert Camille Styles, you don’t have to attend the Kentucky Derby to celebrate the event with style.

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How to Choose the Perfect Derby Hat

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorApril 13, 2015

As Southerners, we owe a lot to the United Kingdom, including but not limited to a shared love of bespoke millinery and the pageantry of all things equestrian. As we turn our attention from one grand Southern sporting tradition (the Masters) to another (the Derby), we reached out to one of England’s—and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton’s—favorite milliners, Gina Foster, for advice on choosing the perfect hat for Churchill Downs or any occasion on your social calendar.

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