It’s another Throwback Thursday so I thought I’d share one of my most successful design projects, Shadetree Inn in St. Francisville, LA. I say it’s successful because my daughter’s Dad and former husband Kenwood Kennon no longer has to practice law for a living. He tells everyone he’s in “the romance business”. It also happens to be ranked #1 with 5 stars on Trip Advisor.
It all started back in 1993, shortly after our daughter Alexandra was born, when we decided to turn the upstairs of Shadetree Antiques where Kenwood lived before we were married, into our first B&B suite, The Loft. Within the first year, it was written up in Southern Living Magazine in their article “Eden in Louisiana“.
The Loft already had Adirondack-style charm with its Louisiana red heart cypress walls & ceiling, so we just added a wet-bar and an outdoor stair & balcony entrance and furnished it with rustic willow furniture.
The Loft was booked every weekend, so we decided to turn an unfinished building on the property into what is now the Gardener’s Cottage.
The Gardener’s Cottage is nestled between a wonderful old cypress tree and the Shadetree Garden.
While we were building the Gardener’s Cottage, a friend said “you should turn the whole place into a B&B!” so with a little thought, we realized that to create another suite, all we had to do was close off a couple of doors to the shop, add a wall and wet-bar to close off part of the glassed-in front porch, and voila–The Sun Porch was born! I’m most proud to report that thanks to having a shop filled with furnishings and accessories, we were able to build, renovate, and completely furnish each suite for very little money. The Loft for $5,500, The Gardener’s Cottage, which included new construction of a living room, bathroom and porch, for $25,000 and The Sun Porch for $10,000.
The Sun Porch bathroom is the original shop bathroom. We just added a jacuzzi for two and had artist Nancy Buras Rothschild paint the walls to feel like you’re outdoors.
At the time, I had recently moved back down to Louisiana from Manhattan and was disillusioned with the field of interior design. I felt it was materialism at its worst (back in the eighties in NYC, mind you). After spending so much time in nature and immersing myself in new age books on color and healing, I focused my energy on creating spaces at Shadetree that would enhance their connection to nature and nurture the energy of love. After all, love is what life is all about, right? The Guest Journals were so profuse with glowing comments about how wonderful the spaces made them feel, that I began to look at being an interior designer with new eyes. I realized that it wasn’t at all about material things, it was all about the energy that you create in a space. “Magical” and “healing”, words used so often in the guests’ comments that my design career was reborn and I created a new brochure for myself with a collage of guest comments on the cover:
“Magical” and “healing” were the two words used throughout the Guest Journals.
So here we are 21 years later and Shadetree not only books weekends in advance, but weekdays are also heavily booked. (To reserve, call Kenwood at 225-635-6116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We do get cancellations, so follow Shadetree on Facebook for the latest on cancellations.)
I am finishing up another project that will also be available for rent here in West Feliciana Parish within a few weeks. Named “The Bridge”, I have to say, it, too, will be quite magical! I’ll post photos very soon!
In the meantime, if I can help you create some magic in your spaces, email me!