Decor Demon goes inside the approachable, awesome, all-things-high-and-low home of real estate photographer, artist and blogger, Blayne Beacham
“In a town full of phonies — I’m not afraid to be me.”. “I may look like I have it all — but I want more.”. “It’s time for me to come out from my husband’s shadow and shine.” These little verbal snippets of heaven — opening sound bytes from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — render me inexplicably happy. So much that my ears perk up immediately — like a Border Collie to a dog whistle or a school librarian to an unruly tween — even if the TV happens to be three rooms away. In fact, I admittedly live for this gorgeous hogwash; it completes my soul and warms my heart in dubious, shameful ways.
While the aforementioned, brilliantly-produced [and most likely copyright protected] soundbytes may successfully sum up all six conflicting personality types in a matter of three seconds, packaging up a person in a single sentence doesn’t work as well in real life. Hold up, this is Decor Demon, a bloggy editorial website about decorating and design; why the hell are we still on RHOBH in the second of four paragraphs? Hell if I know but I will tell you one thing: This sentence, while at first seemingly random, is being used as a “bridge” or a “pickup” if you will — two screenwriting terms used in reality TV production — between the somewhat-easy-to-box-in ladies of Rodeo Drive and a sharp, savvy, southern blogger from Buckhead, Blayne Beacham.
The young Atlanta native has spent the past six years working as Creative Director of her family’s real estate firm, Beacham & Company Realtors, where she works on the visual marketing of stunning, spectacular southern homes. She is a photographer, a gallery artist and a writer — three very different things, all which require having a passionate personality. Collectively, all of these skills require extreme attention to detail, a wealth of knowledge of both geography and architecture, as well as in-depth understanding of tricky things like aperture, exposure, color theory and composition.
After initially meeting at a lifestyle social media conference called Lavish!, bloggy Blayne (who has an infectious laugh and amazing text messaging etiquette) instantly grabbed my attention when the creative cutie mentioned that after years of photographing and writing about houses, she had just recently bought her own — a cottage in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood — and worked with designers Laura Green and Anne Williams to turn the house into a sophisticated home complete with a moody palette, tons of original artwork, clever DIY projects, and a plethora of high-low mashups. She had me at HIGH-LOW.
Blayne’s living room stays grounded gorgeously thanks to a high-quality, high price-point rug from Rugs by Robinson. Although a big chunk of spending cheese was dropped on the underfoot work of art, the rest of the space was done on a teensy weensy budget. A pair of brown leather chairs butch the place up a bit for Blayne’s boyfriend, Jimmy, while an uber-affordable custom shelving system made from plywood, then painted white keeps all of Blayne’s favorite things both well-displayed and front-and-center. Determined to keep her first home’s interior as personal as it is pretty, the bloggy babydoll brought in a hand-me-down sofa bestowed to her from mom Glennis, then classed it up a bit with custom flamestitch throw pillows and striped cotton upholstery. For some texture, she brought in a weathered, wooden flea market coffee table and added occasional seating with a midcentury modern school chair.
Dressing the Nest
When arranging the lounge area just inside the home’s entrance, Blayne centered the space around her favorite piece of art, an abstract of a dress packed with texture and contrast. The seriousness and moodiness of the piece is counterbalanced with fun, playful folk art boasting a saturated blue — surrounded by a few other fashion-inspired pieces also made by Ms. Beacham herself. For casual comfort, designer Anne Williams had the simple rolled-arm sofa [also passed down from Blayne's momma] re-upholstered in a super comfy black-brown corduroy at $22 per yard. Organic materials carry on throughout the room — from the seating and the art, all the way over to a pine chest beneath the window which is topped by an alabaster table lamp and crow sculpture made from twigs. Always resourceful, Blayne repurposed tiny blue lightbulbs as robin’s eggs which embellish a bird’s nest adorably accessorizing the iron coffee table.
Overall, the dining room is traditional in appearance; however, white modern chairs from IKEA and touches of tangerine give it a contemporary update. A repurposed basket adds light from above while bringing in a farmhouse touch. Although the living room rug sitting pretty just 10-feet away was a major expense, a simple jute sisal rug from IKEA bought for less than $150 anchors Blayne’s dining room. To turn a dead space wall into a focal point, Blayne had a salvaged mantel fastened to the wall, then updated it with orange paint. The mantel is also used to ground the grouping of original artwork [made by other artists] which hangs directly above. In order to play with the ample natural light streaming in through the backyard window, 12X12 mirrors from Home Depot were added to the opening with Liquid Nails. Come to think of it, this is also a very wonderful thing if Blayne happens to have any food stuck in her teeth; she can check herself before getting up from the table, and avoid big, broccoli-surprise-embarassment in front of her fancy guests. She will probably want me to remove that sentence from this story; however, I ain’t gonna. Why? Because it’s funny, okay, and it adds comic relief. But I digress: For a bit of privacy from the neighbors, Blayne suspended an abstract painting of a bird in the center of her kitchen window.
Come to the Dark Side
Just steps from the front door of the house sits the guest bedroom which is painted a dark, glamorous shade of charcoal from Sherwin-Williams called Cyberspace. To avoid crossing over into the darkest of decorator’s dark sides, matchy-matchy hell, Blayne and designer Laura Green opted for two different tables with similar scale and proportion rather than the more expected choice, nightstands. On the left sits a dark walnut console table and on the right there’s a collapsible TV tray table made of mahogany. To brighten up the dim space, the artist slash blogger slash photographer hung framed original works she’d recently shown as a collection which bring in fresh, bold contrasts of white.
The star of the upstairs master bedroom is its amazing natural light. To capitalize on it, everything has pretty much been left white. Instead of splurging on custom bedding, Blayne and Laura instead went all big box retail and stuff for the coverlet and sheets, then brought in touches of high design with custom throw pillows similar to the ones used downstairs on the sofa. Small touches of turquoise and orange were added with a wrought iron bench and an original work of art by Blayne which sports happy, tangerine-toned flowers growing upwards.
And after a full day together photographing her tasteful first home, I kidnapped the sarcastic, southern sassie and made her take photos of my own house as well as hideous before shots of a space I’m currently finishing up for a client. For realz. Click here for evidence.