Christina Shirley of The Stella Blue Gallery is a woman of many traits. Not only is she a mother, a wife, and a jeweler, but she has spent her free time turning a lakeside bungalow in South Carolina into her dream home; Christina and her husband built their house from the ground up. She shared an inside look into her world with us.
SLOWTIDE: How long have you called this space home?
CHRISTINA SHIRLEY: Our little corner of the world has been a part of our lives since before we actually bought it. This used to be a huge hang out spot for everyone on the lake. Boats would beach on the shore and folks would swing off of an old rope swing hung on one of the trees by the bank. One day my Hubby and I were hanging out by the rope swing like we often would do on the weekends and found an old “for sale” sign covered up with leaves and brush. We were able to make out the phone number on the sign and so began our journey of making this land our home.
We bought the property, began clearing a space for our home removing only the necessary trees and overgrown shrubs and with each pile, we would have big camp-outs with friends, music, great food and drinks, and a bonfire using the trees we cleared out. Finally we decided it was time to build our home when we found out we were expecting our little girl and my Hubby drew up the plans and we broke ground. Piece by piece, board by board, we built our home by hand. Originally, at 959 sq feet, we had intended this to be our starter home, turning this into a studio/guest house and planned to build a larger home after a few years, but almost 13 years later, we’ve found that this lil’ abode is really all the space we need.
S: What makes this space distinctly yours?
CS: Our home is like an art project to me... The possibilities are endless. It is an extension of our family and just like us, it is constantly evolving, inspiring, welcoming in friends old and new, and with each season comes change.
Our home is meant to be lived in and enjoyed. You don’t have to take your shoes off. If you drag in some mud or dirt, well that’s why they make vacuum cleaners. Dishes are always done the next day after a party so you can maximize time spent having fun. If you come in dripping wet from the lake, that’s ok, chances are Blu our dog has already beat you to the door and shaken off all over the white furniture. And FYI, for those wondering why so much white? It’s sooooooo easy to clean!!! Just throw it in the washer with a light bleach or bleach alternative and good as new!
Yes, sometimes our home has its challenges, and throws you a curve ball every now and then (like we all do), but there is no other place I would want to call home.
S: What inspires you about your home?
CS: The fact that our home reflects us as a family. Not just what’s inside of the four walls that we have collected and curated over time, but the nature surrounding us as well. We have water on one side of our home, and the other side trees, hiking and biking trails, abundant wildlife and the opportunity to really be at one with nature. With all of the windows and wide open doors and plants we have incorporated into our home sometimes, even though you’re inside you feel like you're outside and that just brings me so much joy.
S: How do you feel when you finally walk into your home at the end of a day?
CS: Content. Happy. Loved. And so proud of this home we have created.