Slumber Party with American History

A gorgeous “modern” pool inspired by one aboard the SS Andrea Doria

It's important to go with the flow - you never know who is going to walk into your showroom at Market and you never know when an invite for adventure can pop in and say hello. That’s what I love about life: eyes wide open and the sparkletunities find you. Recently at Market, I had a favorite moment that will completely delight you.

It all started with Ms. Kathy Phillips stopping by one afternoon. We’ve orbited for many years in the design world. Then along came Mr. Tom Byrnes - he’s super lovely too! Mr. Derick Close, strolled in with him (CEO of Spring Creative). Between the two of them, they have decades in the Home Textiles industry.

As with most people, I didn’t want them to leave without a pretty something sparkly in their hand. So before they left the showroom I gave them each a little crystal. I picked an amethyst point for Mr. Close - small but extra sparkly - a very small token of “thank you” and “happy to meet you." He didn’t skip a beat. He reached inside his pocket and, in turn, placed a crocodile money clip in my hand. So casual, so elegant! I don’t know what I enjoyed more - the surprise of him doing that or at how large the scales were of that skin! That. Is. A. Huge. Beast. It’s a sign. A sign of good things to come. This was our first interaction; and on the list of first “interactions” this one is in my top five.

Ahem!

Completely Delightful alert! It gets better - I was invited to come up to the facilities at Springs. Of course this designer is always happy to learn more about manufacturing in the U.S. But here’s the goooood part: I was invited to stay at the historical mansion the night before. Hooray! Mansion? Yes, please!

Wait, is it haunted, Mr. Close?

“The spirits are all nice, don’t worry about it.”

OMG - I can’t even...he likes rocks, has alligators hanging around AND he believes in good spirits? I’m thinking: I won the adventure lottery for HPMKT!

Basement archives of textiles from Springs Industries.

I didn't quite understand what an incredible honor it was to be invited to The White Homestead in Fort Mill, South Carolina - the historical estate (2nd oldest home in S.C.) of the textile magnate Springs Close family, who founded - among other giants in American business, Spring Industries, now known as Spring Creative - before the last turn of the century.

Excerpts from the historical Confederate Cabinet meeting held in the main house

The main house was built in 1824 and is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, qualifying because the last Confederate Cabinet meeting was held on the front lawn of the home on April 27, 1865. This was quite an honor!

Read more about it here.

Some of the many family portraits that hang throughout the house

Mr. Byrnes kindly agreed to join us in the house so we would not have to stay alone there, and thank goodness he did, because without him we would not have found the attic full of couture, the secret ledgers in the basement, and the safe filled with art, fabric, and wine storage… Did I mention the Man Cave? No neon beer signs nor talking fish on site. Just pure "gentleman" and "WWI flying ace" moments.

Glimpses of a Man Cave from another era, belonging to Mr. Close’s grandfather and WWI flying ace.

There was a tour...It started on the ground floor and it was so thorough that I had to take my heels off. I was a bit scared to be honest...There were priceless grandfather clocks that kept ding-dong'ing but never on the hour. More like 10:03pm, 11:12pm...I don’t think it helped my nerves that the tour didn’t start until well after a late dinner. So shoes are off, first water bottles drunk, and clocks are going off...There are countless portraits of both current and past family members. I can’t tell if they are happy or displeased that we are there.  I also can’t tell what floor we are on. Or which wing I left my overnight bag. Since it is the same room that Mr. President Clinton stayed in, I should be able to find it, right?

One of the Grandfather clocks and dining rooms, and a walk-in safe.

Eventually we adventured into the attic…the grandfather clocks still reminding us who's boss…and then we found the couture.

This was my favorite part of the adventure. This is sure to be where the spirits will show themselves? Boy, was I right! It came in the form of tiaras, tickets, and pearls...

Dry cleaning ticket for $0.77 cents, a tiara and a close-up of gold embroidery and pearls handwork on a dress.

I felt silly all of a sudden..I was  half expecting ghosts, but what I really found was spirit - but not the kind of spirit my naive self was expecting. I encountered the type of spirit that the American Dream is built on. Everything I saw were indicators that the backbone of this country’s manufacturing is alive and kicking in Fort Mill, South Carolina and has been for generations. I was invited to visit and glimpse its living legacy. It wasn’t a mere invitation, but an opportunity to experience something much bigger than myself. By the time I left White Homestead I felt, in a small way, that being a textile designer and fighting for that space everyday, I was a part of something - something bigger. I felt proud of this family and what it had built. Mostly, I felt honored…and I hadn’t even visited the “factory” yet…!

Spring Industries archives found in the basement

I am grateful to have had this experience: a glimpse into the history of the American Textile Industry. It's not about one man or one family - it’s about an organization and a region that has come together and built something, and has continued to build, adapt, refine for over a century. To be able to see what one family, a unit of people, determined and what they can accomplish when working together within a community is truly an amazing inspiration. There is a beauty in legacy and generations of building. That beauty is in the American Dream and being able to chase it...

May I offer my sincere thanks to the entire Close family and especially Mr. Derick Close for allowing me to stay in your beautiful home. I am so honored to be able to walk through your historical rooms, dip my toe in your most gorgeous pool, and smile back at the pretty ladies in the Man Cave.  

I had visited a historically significant home, half-afraid I might run into a spirit - and in fact, I did. And I got to take her home with me. Life is good. When shared, it’s even better.

xox aviva

 

Artwork found in the White Homestead

Helpful Links:

White Homestead

Springs Creative

High Point Market

Read about the original inspiration for the fabulous indoor pool here

 

 

 

 


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  • GREAT post Aviva! Wish I had gone with you!

    Bethanne Matari on

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