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Southern Comfort

By Blake Miller | Photography by Dustin Peck

Posted: Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014

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Micah and Marianna Whitson had had enough of the South. Having grown up in Alabama and North Carolina, respectively, the couple, decided to ditch their roots in 2007 and move up north to New England.

But after several years living away from their families, the Whitsons decided to move back South in late 2013. After searching for a home that boasted the same New England-style aesthetic and charm the couple had grown to love, they finally landed on a two-story rambler in Cotswold. “After living in New England in homes built in the start of the 1900s, I was used to creaky, untrue floors and the character that comes with it,” says Micah. “This place was so charming. It has cedar shingles, which are awful in the South, but they remind me of Nantucket. The home is this nice mixture of New England cottage and Southern gentility.”

Perched on top of a hill, the circa-1948, 2,500-square-foot home was cozy and warm, similar to the New England home they had moved from. After gutting and renovating the bathroom, the Whitsons, who welcomed baby girl, Annie, this spring began focusing on the décor. “We want the things in our home to be a part of who we are and be a part of our story,” says Micah. “If I’m going to have one thing that’s hanging in my hallway, we want it to mean something to me.”

The design mission isn’t far off from Old Try’s, the couple’s print shop, which offers graphic, vintage letterpress prints that boast an inherently Southern vibe. “Our aesthetic [for both our home and Old Try] is really clean.” Likewise, the décor in the Whitsons home is decidedly Southern and minimal, reserved for pieces the couple has found over the years—or designed themselves for Old Try—that have a personal meaning to them.

Case in point: in the dining room, two oversize vintage bus roll signs showcasing various southern cities as stops along a bus route struck a chord with Micah. “The way we connect with people most intimately is in our house—over drinks or dinner or on the porch,” explains Micah. “So I was always looking for something that says I’m from Alabama but I didn’t want the stereotypical art from Alabama.”

Other elements serve as reminders to the couple of their Dixie roots including an antique North Carolina flag, an eBay find, which sits above the living room fireplace, a homage to Marianna’s Tar Heel childhood and family history. Not everything is about the South, though. Lying above the mudroom area is a vintage, wooden British lacrosse stick, a nod to Marianna, who plays and coaches a local lacrosse team.

For Micah and Marianna, their home is truly a place where they come to relax and be with family and for the couple that means designing a space that truly represents who they are and what their heritage is. “We want things that mean something to us,” says Micah. “I want to create the kind of thing I could hang on my walls that reminds me of home.”

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