Tour a Stunning Historic Savannah Home Filled With Contemporary Art

The Savannah College of Art and Design's guest house Smithfield Cottage in downtown Savannah, Georgia is a gorgeous showplace for SCAD artwork and a design scheme that blends historic preservation and contemporary style.

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May 20, 2019

Photo By: Justin Chan/SCAD

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: SCAD

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Historic Smithfield Cottage

Part of the Savannah College of Art and Design's revitalization of downtown Savannah began with the university's founding in 1978 by president Paula Wallace (learn more about SCAD's history and Wallace's role in founding the arts college at SCADstory, the new interactive exhibition at SCAD that debuted in spring 2019 to commemorate the school's 40th anniversary) and SCAD's effort to reclaim historic buildings. The meticulously restored 1888 Victorian mansion in the Queen Anne-style Smithfield Cottage in downtown Savannah is a guest house for SCAD visitors (actress Salma Hayek and designer Derek Lam have stayed at Smithfield while in town), and is a billboard for SCAD's creative side. The home is filled with artwork by SCAD alums. Paula Wallace and her designer husband, SCAD grad and the university's chief operating officer Glenn Wallace have integrated Asian elements and historic touches at Smithfield to create a sublime blend of the contemporary and the timeless in this beautiful space.

Epic Table

The charming courtyard behind Smithfield Cottage features a trellis adorned with jasmine, a Philippe Starck gnome for a cheeky nod to the garden gnome tradition and a long, communal wooden table where guests can congregate in this private, shady oasis. The Astroturf backyard means lower maintenance and a more sustainable design.

Don't Strive for Perfection

One of the most interesting aspects of SCAD's Smithfield Cottage guest house design is how it embraces the imperfect. Found objects, unconventional artwork and unexpected details like this long table accessorized with multicolored metal chairs mean the house never feels stuffy or too formal.

Back Porch View

A communal table perfect for parties dominates the private courtyard at the rear of Smithfield Cottage.

Galley Kitchen

It's all about the details at Smithfield. Striking light fixtures and a vibrant butterfly wallpaper give this functional galley kitchen a dose of high style.

Main Living Space

The shared public space at Smithfield Cottage makes use of the home's original design features like an ornate Chinoiserie wooden mantel that includes two nooks for lamps. Asian details were a common motif in the Victorian era, with the opening of China and Japan to the West, and Glenn and Paula Wallace has played up that historic feature in contemporary Asian elements throughout the home.

Quirk Abounds

History and eccentricity collide in the highly charming, whimsical design scheme masterminded by SCAD's Paula and Glenn Wallace at Smithfield Cottage. Inspired juxtapositions of classic architecture and vintage furnishings presented alongside artwork by SCAD students and grads makes every vignette an engaging one.

Game Room

Vintage pinball machines and other game- and sport-oriented decor provide the theme for this fun game room off the cozy, book-filled parlor at Smithfield Cottage.

Layered Design

The eclectic game room layers on the texture for a plush vintage vibe. An animal skin rug is layered on top of a sisal and patterned rug and the fur ottoman and balloon chair amp up the cozy feel of a room you just want to hang out in.

Integrating Artwork

Smithfield Cottage is a living laboratory of how to use artwork when furnishing a home. An array of contemporary pieces fill every room in the home, but it's not just about the artwork at Smithfield. Carefully curated antiques and thrift store items bring an additional layer of character and history to this Queen Anne home designed by Alfred Eichberg.

Sneak Peek

Looking through the gentleman's parlor into the game room, one can see the creative way Paula and Glenn Wallace incorporate small paintings into the parlor design scheme. Vintage accessories and design books are also a key component of the Smithfield Cottage look, instantly adding a sense of lived-in comfort and history to the space.

The Literary Arts

A cheeky vignette in the gentleman's parlor features creatively displayed books and artwork and found objects centered on the human body.

Good Sport

Vintage arrows share an urn with pheasant feathers in a game room vignette defined by an assortment of retro sport and game accessories.

Alum Art

A striking piece by SCAD alum Monica Cook hangs over the mantel decorated with ethereal glass balls in the Smithfield foyer.

Painted Ladies

A series of vintage portraits define one of the five bedrooms in Smithfield Cottage where each room has its own unique sensibility.

Art Where You Least Expect It

Vintage spools of lace and books define another guest bedroom mantelscape. Add "artwork" to the things you can ornament your fireplace cavity with, thanks to this clever idea.

Am I Blue?

it's hard to feel blue in this stunning, elegant Smithfield guest room outfitted in shades of robin's egg, periwinkle and navy.

Blue Period

One of the upstairs bedrooms is defined by restful shades of blue. As in almost all of the rooms, books and art are essential design elements.

Design Takeaway

The blue bedroom at Smithfield continues its theme in a selection of blue-spined tomes. The fireplace is cleverly filled with an assortment of books in one of the home's typically witty design touches.

Clever Collectibles

Everything is fair game as a design motif, including these vintage leather flyswatters ornamenting a wall in Smithfield's downstairs bedroom. Mannequin heads perched on small antique chairs complete the idiosyncratic statement wall.

Headboard Substitute

In lieu of a traditional headboard, vintage baskets with interior lights provide a striking design feature in this feminine bedroom.

Repurposed Alcove

A void left, perhaps, by the removal of a fireplace, created an opportunity. The ideal place for a super-sized shadow box, the space was repurposed to display a found object soldier to give this guest room its required dose of funkiness.

A Room With (Multiple) Views

Stacked paintings provide an alternative view (and a smart way of displaying artwork vertically) in this Smithfield guest room.

An Aviary Vignette

Smithfield Cottage is chock-a-block with engaging, memorable vignettes like this hallway console accented with a whimsical owl lamp and a vitrine containing a tiny owl sculpture.

It's all in the Details

Create vignettes in your own home that articulate an idea. Here it is artwork and objects that play into a quirky animal-centric theme.

Key Accessories

Every room at Smithfield features a characteristic mix of luxe linens and amenities as well as an eclectic array of vintage objects. Here a beautifully ornate wood-framed mirror is paired with antique apothecary jars to invest these spaces with an artsy vibe in keeping with the Savannah College of Art and Design ethos.

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