Much of my design and photography work through the years has taken me from good old Georgia up to Maine, NY, Wilmington, Charleston and Kiawah Island, Skidaway Island, Hilton Head, Bluffton, Amelia Island, along 30-A and back through Cashiers, Highlands, down to Blue Ridge and back to my roots here at our farm in Hickory Flat.
In 2000 I graduated as an Interior Designer and worked with new construction, custom plans, elevations and renderings of custom homes eventually leading to home sales. I exited real estate in 2010 in the downturn of the economy not by choice but by circumstance. I'd been photographing as a hobby being a new mom and really loving all the moments with Amelia. Soon the hobby became a full-time 7 day a week and many years and families that I cherish.
My professional journey began out of the pretty little southern town of Historic Roswell, GA. I lived there for the better part of my life, since I was 10, and paved my journey along the the Chattahoochee River with the greatest lifelong friends anyone could have hoped for. You know the song, "Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochee", that was us, I'm pretty sure we owned real estate upon those rocks at the river, especially those Darnell boys. After living off the square for 10 years and drafting up beautiful plans for an extensive renovation of our 60's ranch, we took a leap of faith, scrapped the planning, and moved to a small farm in 2014. Thankfully we landed in a little sweet spot called Hickory Flat , horse country, less than a mile over the Milton line in Cherokee County. Notorious for the small farming community, polo, horse riding, large acreage and family farms, you’ll often see tractors on the road, people riding their horses up our street, and my neighbors who still work the land by harvesting hay and seeds for our local farming community. Horses have become our life. Its rare to not be at a barn several hours a day many days out of the week. I can't imagine our lives without them now.
My old nickname "Miss Roswell" became "farm chick" and I traded my SUV for a pickup, doubled my boot collection, learned how to pull horse trailers and I frequent the hay loft next door often getting into long conversations with the old farmers sitting in their overalls talking shop inside the local feed and seed. I became a bit of a story teller as we shared our new life in the countryside. I feed cows, pigs, chickens and dogs and have had many rescue animals bless our life here. There’s no shortage of “yes ma’ams”, honeysuckle vines, gorgeous barns, or roosters crowing. Almost 5 years later I still love to "get lost" driving my little one to school and finding new dirt roads, barns and my favorite farm gates. Trail riding starts in my backyard attached to the 100+ acres behind us, or we go 15-20 minutes and are in Historic Roswell or Downtown Alpharetta, the infamous Avalon, or Downtown Woodstock. The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains are a quick hour and fifteen from my home. Luckily, its the best of both worlds.
Our move re-energized the mundane everyday that gets missed all too often with how fast-paced life is. Its re-ignited my passions for the many things I’ve always loved, architecture, homes and land, design, art and photography, travel and food, and just being a scouting guide of favorite people, places and things to inspire people. After my annual trip to the beautiful lowcountry of Bluffton and Savannah, the idea of Coast & Local Southern emerged. I needed a way to tie it all in together in a lifestyle brand if you will. And so, over the past handful of years, my child has grown a bit more, my life is settled more, and I get to breathe life into Coast and Local Southern by offering you the best of the local market, horse and home, food and travel, and all of the in-between.