Tour Black Southern Belle’s Historic South Carolina Home Filled With Gullah Art

Michiel Perry, founder of lifestyle blog Black Southern Belle, will stop at every roadside shop on her travels through the South in search of a new vintage treasure, handmade piece, entertaining necessity or book. She welcomes every unique find into the historic Walterboro, South Carolina, home she shares with her husband and two young children. Take a peek inside her collected, Lowcountry abode.

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Photo By: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay

Welcome to the Lowcountry

I'm Michiel Perry, and this is my husband Fred and our two children. We bought our historic, South Carolina home right around the time I started my lifestyle blog, Black Southern Belle, in 2015. Black Southern Belle celebrates Southern culture by cultivating a community with a passion for travel, food, history, home decoration, hospitality and life's milestones. On the blog I share African-American and Southern lifestyle inspiration, which you will see throughout my home.

Front Porch Living

Outdoor living is a huge part of life in the South, and you will find us on our front porch year-round. We have a traditional, wide Southern porch with plenty of room to entertain and host guests for biscuit soirees, art dinner parties and holiday events. One of my favorite features about the home is our three front doors. It's always fun to see which door guests will knock on.

See More Photos: Plan a Front-Porch Oyster Roast

Window Shopping

The vibrant colors of each entry and the stained glass windows, original to the house, are just a preview to the interior.

Many Cooks in the Kitchen

When I first saw this kitchen, I knew I was home. We love to entertain, so we needed ample room to cook surrounded by family and friends who love to help or "take over." But I don't mind — my mother makes the best meals with vegetables from my father's garden. We kept the original wood cabinetry that preserves the historic charm while upgrading to stainless steel appliances that are now covered in children's handprints and Gullah artwork.

Light It Up

I use accent lighting to highlight some of my favorite works of art. Here, my under-the-cabinet lighting illuminates a colorful photograph of a woman baking in her kitchen from one of my favorite artists, Jonathan Green. His art reflects so many Gullah and lowcountry life topics, including food and rice culture. I get most of my prints from Chuma Gallery, Gullah Festival in Beaufort, South Carolina, Penn Center, Colleton Farmer's Market, and many more farmer's markets, vintage shops and museum shops. From time to time, I'm gifted prints from the artists themselves.

Gullah Art Gallery

Growing up in the Lowcountry, Gullah culture has always been an essential part of my life. Every surface in my home is adorned with Southern artists depicting family, life experiences and food traditions of Gullah culture with colorful imagery.

Colorful Tablescape

In the dining room, I set the table with laminated Gullah artwork that depicts cooking and palm leaf place mats on a black and white tablecloth for a vibrant pop of color. This is the first piece for the art collection I started for my son. I picked it up at the Gullah Festival in Beaufort, South Carolina. His first social gathering as a baby was a church oyster roast, so I thought this was the perfect piece.

See More Photos: Plan a Front-Porch Oyster Roast

Southern Entertaining

I love hosting and entertaining, so we use our formal dining room often. Two vintage finds serve as bar carts, and an antique cabinet showcases our dinnerware. On my blog, I love sharing different ways to host the holidays or special occasions.

By the Book

Who says you must set the table with traditional dinnerware? In our house, we consume a good book as much as a delicious meal. That’s why when we aren't using our dining table, I enjoy using it to display cookbooks, travel guides and Black history books.

Ring Around the Napkin

If you couldn't already tell, one of my favorite things to do is set the table. Unique handmade pieces like these napkin rings are a must-have. I display them in bowls around my dining room as decoration when not wrapped around one of my hundreds of napkins.

Swing From the Chandelier

Every home needs a little glitz, and this vintage chandelier provides just that with crystals and gold accents. This chandelier reminds me of a grand hotel and is one of the reasons I bought this home.

See More Photos: If You Love Wes Anderson Films, You’ll Love These Hotel Designs

Home Is Where the Heart Is

The living room, filled with lively green tones and warm neutrals, is where we spend a lot of time as a family. We keep the floor space open so the young ones have plenty of room to play. My husband's favorite spot is in one of the leather wingback chairs, where he can watch the kids play around the turquoise sofa that I had to have so badly that I made him order it a few hours after I had an appendix surgery.

By the Fireside

I love decorating for the holidays and always wanted a home with a fireplace mantel. With this home I got so much more — three, to be exact. The molding and brickwork are original and add so much character to our living room. I love creating gallery walls and adding seasonal decor and family photos around my fireplaces, though my husband is less of a fan of the constant decor swaps. I admittedly have never used the fireplaces since South Carolina winters are mild and short.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Our gallery walls display different mediums of artwork, from paintings and sketches to family photographs and watercolors. I love to mix in colorful images of Gullah culture and bold modern art. I don't follow any rules except for adding what I like and supporting local artists.

Learn More: 5 Tips for Creating a Picture-Perfect Gallery Wall

Birds of a Feather

Birds in various forms occupy our living room, including a handmade, floral goose and geese bookends. Growing up, hunting was key to life in the Lowcountry, and I love highlighting our past in a modern way.

Take Me to Church

There is something so powerful about church art. Beautiful images of churches around the South and the community gatherings of churches are on display throughout my home, including the Charleston, South Carolina, church Fred and I were married in.

Inside the Mind of a Black Southern Belle

This room transformed into a million things before finally becoming my office. At first glance, it's not a traditional office, with no desk or computer in sight. Instead, my office features multiple seating areas, a dining table and inspirational decor. I wanted my office to be a reflection of my lifestyle brand and me.

Table for One

Despite being the only person in my office, I still have a conference table. I work from home on lifestyle content, and it's helpful to have a designated area for my tablescape and decor ideas. Mixing materials and patterns give this space a lived-in quality. When I'm ready for a change, I have several vintage chairs I can swap in.

See More Photos: Plan a Fun Girlfriends' Staycation

Sitting Pretty

Ample seating is a must. I always bring home vintage chairs. I have a local craftsperson who reupholsters them for an updated look with a handmade quality. At one point, I counted over 90 chairs, both indoors and outdoors.

Purple Rain, Purple Rain

The day after Prince died, I decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to a thrift store, I spotted this purple sofa and it was only $100. Without a second thought, I bought it and named it Purple Rain. My husband wasn't convinced, but he called my dad to get his truck anyway, and we brought Purple Rain home after an hour-long race with a thunderstorm.

See More Photos: 10 Ways to Decorate With Prince Purple

Cover to Cover

I love books; I use them as a way to travel. I'm most fond of books that showcase Gullah life and my African-American heritage, and I'm known to buy multiple copies of books I love to give as gifts to visiting friends.

Collections of the Past

Our library is an intimate space wrapped in chocolate browns and crisp whites, exhibiting artwork depicting historic African-American leaders and experiences. Antique, handmade, passed down and gifted accents grace the shelves.

Wall of Books

We have the most shelf space in our library. I style our books vertically, horizontally, by color or by topic. I mix decorative pieces around them for a collected look. Books in our house are used or read often, so I'm continually restyling the shelves.

See More Photos: 20 Must-Know Tips for Styling Your Built-In Bookshelves

I Wrote a Letter

Southern women know the importance of good stationery. I'm always on the hunt for hand-painted stationery or note cards depicting Black art. I display the stationery all over the house since it doubles as artwork.

A Collector's Home

Influenced by the women in my life, I grew up viewing my home as my sanctuary, my refuge and an extension of my happiness. My favorite art, books and decor represent the pride I have in my upbringing in the Lowcountry South, especially Gullah culture.

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