Inspiration in the Studio

Artisan Spotlight :: Windy O'Connor

This week on our Artisan Spotlight we are featuring native-North Carolinian artist + designer, Windy O’Connor. Windy’s work is always fun and makes us smile! Her fabric and wall coverings are filled with color + pattern and infuse an artistic touch to any room. Not only does Windy design fabulous textiles, her original art is spectacular, too!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Eastern NC near Fort Bragg. I never realized how much growing up in such a diverse community had affected my life until I became an adult. I had friends from all over the globe and many military brats as well. I so appreciate the exposure to so many cultures as a young girl. It truly broadened my view of the world.

I have one sister who is very creative and also an artist. My mother is an artist as well. However, I grew up singing and performing in plays at the Fayetteville Little Theatre. I loved musical theatre and all of the lessons I learned about putting yourself out there and being willing to fail. I was the kid who signed up for everything! I wanted to do it all and I am so grateful to my parents for supporting all of my extra curricular activities!

Fast forward, I am a happy wife, proud mother of two very creative and independent young adults and I feel like the luckiest girl I know. I try my best to live one day at a time while cherishing each moment juggling a home, family, friends and a business.

Who are your biggest influences?

The world inspires me daily. My faith inspires and guides my work. I also love studying art and art history. There is so much to learn!

I have always been obsessed with the work of Cy Twombley, Picasso, Joan Mitchel, Basquiet and Willem De Kooning. Seeing and studying their works in person is a soul moving experience. I am also obsessed with Kim Simonsson’s Moss Children and everything about Damien Hirst.

We recently featured a Southern Studio designed chair for the Green Chair Project seen here upholstered in Windy’s Mossy Blues fabric.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue your artistic dream?

I realized that I wanted to paint for the rest of my life when I started taking painting classes and workshops. My brain was doing full on gymnastics! It is an amazing feeling and I love the fact that there is no end to learning and creating.

Describe your creative process.

It is difficult to describe my process because I don’t really think about it. It is more of an action than thought. I am an intuitive painter and I wake up with my brain full of ideas and never enough hours to create everything that I want make. So, part of my process is scheduling what I want to create along with commissions for clients. Then, I get to work.

This guest bath in our Southern Living Inspired Home featured the Metal Stars wall covering and is adjacent to the bedroom below with Metal Stars window treatments and a bolster to complete the neutral bed.

What’s your favorite medium/material to work with and why?

My favorite medium and material to work with currently is paper. It takes more time to sculpt paper into objects and create dimension but, I love the journey.

What current trend are you following?

I follow design trends but, not necessarily art trends. I love unusual art as a collector.  I tend to like things that I have never seen before or a new way of investigating a subject matter or idea. I love that traditional homes are becoming vogue again. I am also swooning over the quiet contemporary rooms that seem to be on trend.

What is your proudest accomplishment as an artisan?

I have had some amazing moments as an artist. Owning my own company has been an amazing accomplishment and one that I never dreamed accomplishing. One of the highlights of my career is certainly being chosen as the Mint Museum artist for the Visionary Women’s luncheon last year. I cried tears of joy when I received that call. The entire event was so stunning! I had the privilege of creating art for the invitations, the table coverings and art for the front of the Mint  Museum. That was one of the most special days of my life and certainly the highlight of my career so far. I feel so blessed each and every day to have opportunities like that one and to create for a living.

Thanks for infusing color and happiness into the world Windy!

Project Reveal :: Southern Living Inspired Home on Bald Head Island, Part II

Traditionally, this is the week that officially kicks off summer!  Although 2020 has been anything but normal, we are determined to find ways to enjoy the fun that the summer season brings.  Part II of our Southern Living Inspired Home on Bald Head Island showcases the Carolina Boho vibe we incorporated into the interiors.

Southern Living Inspired Home: The Henry

Black and white accents highlight the details of the mudroom, including a touch of vintage with metal pitchers and a whimsical bench cushion.

Southern Living Inspired Home: The Henry

An upholstered bed and easy-to-care bed linens provide casual luxury so more time can be spent on the beach.

Southern Living Inspired Home: The Henry

We love the oversized accent pillow in a classic Schumacher print that adds that special touch to the Carolina Boho vibe.

This quiet corner of the bedroom is the perfect spot to rest for a moment.  It’s our hope that you find your perfect (and safe) spot to kick off summer!

Developer:  Bald Head Island Limited

Architect:  Allison Ramsey Architects

Builder:  Whitney Blair Custom Homes

Art:  Mary Zio


Project Reveal :: Southern Living Inspired Home on Bald Head Island, Part I

It’s springtime in North Carolina and that usually means weekend trips to the beach or mountains to enjoy the beautiful weather. 2020 is proving to be a bit different as we are sheltering in place during the Coronavirus, which means travel and gathering with friends has come to a screeching halt.

Today, we can finally share the Southern Living Inspired Home we designed on Bald Head Island last year. We have waited until the feature was published in the island’s Haven Magazine … and now we can enjoy a virtual visit to the coast as we Stay at Home!

We call this project Carolina Boho because it has a coastal, free-spirit, casual vibe. We love the layers of blue, coral and black against the crisp white backdrop. The space is quite compact, but lives so large!

The dining table is the central gathering space in the home and we love the cerused oak finish. Notice the hand-stamped sandpipers adorning the window treatment linen.

The comfort of the lounge chairs on the front porch is the perfect spot to enjoy the salt air breeze. The durable materials are designed to stand up to the coastal environment.

The architecture of this coastal cottage pays attention to many charming details! Every project begins with a well-designed plan.

If you’d like to see more of this home and learn about Bald Head Island, read the full article in Haven Magazine.  We guarantee that you’ll be dreaming of beach days!

Developer:  Bald Head Island Limited

Builder:  Whitney Blair Custom Homes

Architect:  Allison Ramsey Architects


A Sneak Peek of the Southern Living Inspired Home at the Bramble!

We are deep into the design work for the Southern Living Inspired Home at the Bramble in Fort Mill! The New Old team is working fast and furious to keep construction on schedule. It has been an incredible collaboration.

The inspiration for the home is casual elegance. We are designing the interiors to bring a new twist to the modern farmhouse style.  The home will be filled with rich texture and color.  Here’s a sneak peek of the color palette for the interior. Creams and blacks and emerald greens, mixed with natural wood, metals and stone!

We have partnered with some of the finest trades, artisans, and designers to showcase unique design trends throughout the home. Focusing on our Born and Bred in the Carolinas theme has been a highlight of the design process and we look forward to sharing a few surprises along the way.

Continue to follow our progress over the next two months as we bring this design to life. For more information, visit the Southern Living at the Bramble site. We can’t wait to meet you!

We're Bringing a Southern Living Inspired Home to Life in Charlotte!

We are thrilled to announce that we will be designing Charlotte’s first ever Southern Living Inspired Home!

The home is being built by New Old, the award-winning Southern Living Custom Builder, in the Southern Living Inspired Community, Bramble. For many years Southern Living has served as the leading inspiration for the region, emphasizing the old and new traditions of the South. We are honored to partner with this talented team!

 We love working with the best of the best. The New Old team thinks of everything, including these custom hard hats for their clients and homeowners. It’s the small details that make all the difference and this home will be filled with details as we bring together some of the finest trades in the Carolinas and beyond.

Our entire team has been working to bring this design to life. Is it a little stressful? Yes. Is there a little pressure? Yes. Do we embrace the challenge? Absolutely. Here’s a sneak peek of the main living space in the home!

We’ll be sharing our progress and behind-the-scenes adventures in the coming weeks. The doors of the Southern Living Inspired Home will be opening for tours on April 27, 2019 and we can’t wait!