Savannah Sanborn Maps Available Online

The City of Savannah has posted the 1916 and 1955 Sanborn Insurance Base maps online. Previously

, some versions of the maps were available through the State of Georgia and the Library of Congress, but with this release there’s a larger collection available online. has direct links to all versions.

We used the Library of Congress versions when researching the History of the Broughton Street House. These maps are detailed, down to the shape of each individual building. The Sanborn Map Company made these maps for insurance companies to determine the hazards of a particular area. From 1884 through 1955, Sanborn regularly updated the maps to keep pace with the growth and changes of Savannah.

The Index Page of the 1884 Savannah Sanborn Map

These maps are a real historical treasure that shows the changes to our beloved city at regular intervals. 1884, 1889, 1898, 1916, 1922, and 1955, are all available. Sincere thanks to the City of Savannah for posting the Savannah Sanborn Maps!

How to Use a Picture Rail

How to use a picture rail to hang art.

One of the first things we noticed when we first toured the Broughton Street House was an unused picture rail in the downstairs hallway. We’ve always been fascinated by picture rails and really wanted to put this one to use. While we’ve seen them before, we’ve never actually used one, so we needed to figure a few things out.

A quick background: A picture rail is a somewhat archaic way to hang art on your walls. The advantage of a picture rail is that avoids putting holes in your walls. Subjectively, it can be beautiful due to the extra ornamentation of the hanging system. They went out of fashion mid-twentieth century and most picture rails have been removed from houses that originally had them. The physics of hanging objects via an attachment point on one side dictates that the art will lean forward to a certain extent, but this is manageable. Cost is another disadvantage when compared to a simple nail.

However, they grab your attention since they are so rarely seen these days.

In order to hang a picture from a picture rail, you need 5 components.

First: Picture Rail.

A picture rail is a piece of moulding that runs parallel but below any ceiling moulding you may already have. In many cases it will be just below the ceiling an inch or two, but in the case of the Broughton Street House the picture rail is significantly below the 12 foot ceiling.

If you don’t already have picture rail, that’s not a problem. You can find this in the moulding / mill work section of most Home Depot stores. Here’s an example.

As you can see in the profile below, picture rail fits flat against the wall, and projects a lobe upward and away from the wall. That lobe is where your picture rail hangers will rest.

Second: Picture Rail Hangers

Picture rail hangers are harder to come by, but if you’re adding this to your historic home then I recommend ordering them from House of Antique Hardware. They have an interesting selection of hangers derived from various historical styles. We chose their “Regency” style as the best fit for the Broughton Street House.

Three: Picture Hanging Cord or Chain

We bought our picture hanging chain from House of Antique Hardware so it would match the rail hangers. It’s pretty high quality stuff with a nice antique brass finish.

Brass Picture Chain

You could also choose rope or wire. If you like to get really ornate, the rope options are pretty fancy. In our case, we chose the metal for both durability but also a little less fussy and ornate. Here’s a link to the product page for the chain we purchased.

Four: Art

It may seem obvious

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, but you do need something to hang. The particular art you’re going to suspend will dictate some choices you have to make regarding the hangers, cord, and attachment points.
We’ll be hanging George here. I Have no idea who this really is, but George seems to fit.

Five: D-Rings Attached to the Art

You will attach the cord or chain to the frame via D-rings. While many frames will already have D-ring attachments about 1/3 of the way down the frame

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, I’m going to recommend you install your own. You can get them in a variety of sizes at the Home Depot.

Here’s a link to the product page at Home Depot.

Putting It All Together

It might seem obvious how it should all go together but I’ll tell you we learned a few lessons in our project.

The hangers themselves are the easiest part. You need a ladder, but you simply slip the hanger over the rail. It sits neatly onto the contour of the rail and provides a stable peg for the picture to hang from.

Our Rail Hanger in Place

More challenging was hanging the art and getting it to not tilt forward too much. Here’s our first attempt:

The Art Leans Forward Due to the Location of the D-Rings

On a typical picture frame, the D-Rings are located 1/3 of the distance from the top of the frame, on either side. With the chain and rail system, this turned out to not be optimal. Having the fulcrum point so low caused the picture to lean forward over an inch from the wall at the top.

Installing D-Rings

Two Sets of D-Rings: We Added the Rings in the Top Corners

As you can see here, we added D-Rings in the top left and top right. They’re pretty easy to install on a substantial frame like this. If you were hanging something with a thin, light frame it might be much trickier. Given that the whole picture rail system is a very traditional system, I recommend you stick with thicker frames in order to get the look and the durability that you’ll want.

Once we had the new D-Rings in place, we got much closer to the wall:

Much Closer. Still Leaning, but We’ll Take It

Another note: We could have purchased heavier chain and a heavy duty picture hangers, but we didn’t. Since we generally do these projects during a single stay at the Broughton Street House, we can’t reorder parts if we discover we’ve missed something. For that reason, when we hung the VERY heavy mirror, we used two hangers and two chains.

Our Finished Picture Rail

Our Hallway Picture Rail System

We are unable to get a straight on photo, being a hallway. However, you can see the final results in this photo with three ornate frames hanging via the rail.

We are very happy with how this turned out. While we don’t have any other existing picture rails, we’re considering other locations. This is a classic way to display your art.

The Fastest Internet in Savannah

With an expectation that our guests need to work, stream, game, and attend school during their stay, we thought a lot about how to get fast internet and Wi-Fi for the Broughton Street House in Savannah. We use the house ourselves as often as possible. My daughter has gamed all night from the Carriage House. My son has done virtual viola lessons from the Map Room. And I have logged into numerous WebEx sessions from the Courtyard. Based on our experiences

, and some experiences we’ve had at other properties, we made a few important decisions to get the fastest possible internet.

FYI, none of the links below are affinity links. We’re not being paid to promote any internet service. Our goal is to show the choices we made, and how we hope to create the best guest experience.

Fast internet is good, but not if it runs out during your stay

We’ve experienced this before at a beach house we rented. The owners had a high speed internet connection, all was good, but on day three of our visit, which happened to be near the end of the month, things got REALLY slow. Suddenly none of us could stream. We were turning off our cameras to try and keep a decent connection on WebEx and Teams. And for the gamers, latency is not okay.

I don’t like slow internet. Tractors are actually cool.

We couldn’t prove it, but we were pretty sure we’d hit the caps on the owners internet service. For normal household, data caps are annoying, but manageable. For a short-term rental, especially in busy season when you know you’re going to have large parties, it’s just not acceptable. We were only at that beach house for a week, so we weren’t the ones that used up all that data. However, we had the misfortune of being there toward the end of the cycle. We were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Not cool.

The Broughton Street House had a couple of options for fast internet service providers, and Xfinity offers an unlimited plan. It does cost more, but it should prevent our guests from ever having the experience we did at the beach.

It has to be really, really fast internet

We’re proud that we can sleep up to 12 in comfort. But if 12 people are checking Instagram on their phones and the TV in the parlor while someone’s got their Home Pod streaming in the Carriage House, that’s going to take a lot of bandwidth. Again, Xfinity offers Gigabit speeds. In fact, they just recently upgraded the speed to 1.2 gigabit per second, which is pretty awesome. Outside of buying a dedicated private circuit, we believe this is the fastest internet option available in Savannah.

I feel the need for speed!

Fast internet, but the Wi-Fi has to be fast, too

An interesting thing about the Broughton Street House: It’s built of Savannah Gray brick. Even some of the internal walls are brick. On top of the brick is stucco. And the walls are thick. Fast internet to the house is good

, but if the walls block the Wi-Fi signal that’s not helpful.
Lots of brick means lots of Wi-Fi challenges

We initially tried to set a single Wi-Fi router central to the home, but the Carriage House couldn’t keep a strong enough signal and the parlor was right at the edge of acceptable. Not fast is not good.

We discovered that Xfinity offers “xFi pods” that you can place around the house. The second generation of the xFi pods, in particular, are very fast and have great range. We placed multiples around the house to ensure there was no where on property you could go and not have a super strong, super fast Wi-Fi signal. To be sure it was all working, we did speed tests at various points around the house using an iPhone. We consistently measured a very fast internet speed of 600mbps or better from anywhere on the property.

The downside of these devices is that they only work with the Xfinity modem. We considered mesh wireless networks from Google, Eero, or other providers, but ultimately decided to go with getting the modem directly from Xfinity for reasons we discuss below.

Fast internet is awesome, but it has to be easy to support remotely

This was a big decision point for us. At our primary home we use a Google Wi-Fi mesh system and it’s very easy to work with. However, the Google devices (or any other third party Wi-Fi network) would require that we own our own router, which is what we do at home. For a Savannah vacation property we really wanted more than just fast internet, We wanted a “one phone call” support model. Having all Xfinity devices gives us that. If a guest ever reports that they don’t have fast internet, it’s definitely Xfinity, so that’s who you call. We’re able to provide Southern Belle all the account information so they can call Xfinity on our behalf.

It turns out the Xfinity app is actually pretty awesome for managing the account. We can see the router and all the xFi pods and check that they’re online. We can restart the modem remotely if needed. We’ve put all the xFi pods on Wi-Fi enabled outlets so we can restart those if needed, too.

Now that’s fast internet!

High-speed but also secure internet

As much as we (okay, just Kevin actually) love to tinker with technology, security is just too important and things change too fast. We wanted built in managed security features that we could count on to protect our property and our guests from malicious actors. Since we decided to go with Xfinity equipment for the Broughton Street House, they automatically provide a security suite that implements some pretty good threat protection at the router and Wi-Fi access points. There’s some basic reporting letting you know that things are good, and the router is always up to date and secure.

The fastest internet in Savannah

The goal of all this was to be sure our guests could work, stream, and attend school with the fastest possible internet in Savannah. Our guests have told us consistently that the internet is very fast. We also use the property frequently so we can say with confidence that it works great for video conferencing. We know pretty much every AirBNB or VRBO rental says they have high-speed internet, so this won’t help us stand out in the listings. But we can say that our internet in Savannah is truly unlimited, fantastic Wi-Fi coverage, and very fast, so once they get to the property our guests should never experience some of the frustrations we’ve had at other properties.

Television in an Historic House

Choosing a Television for an Historic House

We want to provide the best television for an historic home, but television viewing angles didn’t get much thought in 1883 when the Broughton Street House was built. This post has been updated to include how it all worked out. Pictures at the bottom!

What we would now call the “living room” was a parlor. The parlor’s primary function was receiving guests. It was a formal room where a host would put their finest seating arranged to facilitate conversation. To that end, hosts would orient seating in front of a fireplace for maximum comfort of the guests. In an exceptionally fancy house there would be two parlors: the formal front, and the informal parlor in the middle. An example of this layout would be the beautiful Andrew Low house.

Owners typically closed off back rooms such as the dining room and kitchen behind doors. In a typical Savannah-style townhouse like the Broughton Street House, there are pocket doors that can be pulled shut. For dinner, preparations would occur behind the closed doors while the guests waited in the parlor. Once ready, the hosts would open the pocket doors and present a bountiful table ready for guests.

Times have changed and people expect to be able to turn on a sporting event, check the news, or binge watch a series when the weather isn’t cooperating. We get it it, we do it, too. So here we’ll discuss choosing the best television for this historic home and how we’re making it work. When you come to Historic Downtown Savannah we want you to have everything you need at the Broughton Street House.

Vacation Sometimes Need Televisions – Like Them or Not

The previous owners of the Broughton Street House had deliberately avoided over-emphasizing the television. I respect that decision. It’s difficult to place today’s giant screen televisions in a historic house in a way that doesn’t dominate the room and draw all attention to the television. At the Broughton Street House the rooms are beautiful and multi-purpose. How many times have you sat down in a living room and realized there’s nothing in your field of view except a giant electronic box? You naturally reach for the remote to figure out how to use it. We’re not going to take that route and instead we’re going to put in the best television for a historic home.

Continue reading “Television in an Historic House”

11 Things to do Mid-Week in Savannah

Mid-Week is the Perfect Time to See Savannah

There is so much to do in Savannah it can be overwhelming. I always leave the city with at least three new things on my list to try next time I visit. But Savannah (and Tybee) are also very popular, and you won’t be the only ones trying to get a table at The Olde Pink House or to try that new dish at The Grey. So, try a mid-week visit to Savannah to make it easier to see the best this city has to offer.

Staying mid-week in Savannah is the best time to stay in Savannah. We love walking through City Market when it’s not so crowded. It’s great grabbing an unexpectedly available table at Collins Quarter. And there’s nothing better than a quick cappuccino at The Coffee Fox without a line. It’s true, some restaurants and bars close a little earlier, but that’s okay, we usually have to work in the morning anyway.

So here are ten things to do in Savannah that are much easier to do mid-week:

A Mid-Week Savannah Shopping Trip to Byrd’s Cookies

I love that Byrd’s Cookies has a store right in City Market again. Byrd’s Cookies are delicious and beautiful and a piece of Savannah history. Still family owned, Byrd’s has gotten a lot bigger and you can get their cookies in multiple locations like their Flagship store south of DeRenne on Waters Street. Still, I’d rather grab them in City Market. Mid-week they’re only open until 7:00 PM, but it’s less crowded and you can grab a box of six varieties quickly. Open one box to snack on through the week and keep five for gifts when you get back home!

Byrd’s Cookies in City Market is less crowded mid-week

Byrd’s Cookies 213 W Saint Julian St, Savannah, Georgia 31401

A Savannah Sunrise on River Street

Sunrise over the cobbled stones of River Street, soft light reflecting against the windows of the street fronts, a light morning dew, and nobody else around. Seriously, get up early and go see this for yourself. On Saturday morning and Sunday morning you’ll be joined by some of the late night folks who are on their way home, but mid-week you’ll have it mostly to yourself.

Breakfast at Little Duck Diner

I always get breakfast at Little Duck when I come to Savannah. Always. The food is great; I’m partial to the Crab Omelet when they have it on the menu. The coffee is great. The service is great. Most of all the décor is amazing. I could linger there for hours just taking in the art deco beauty. And it’s even better mid-week when the competition for seats isn’t as stiff. 

The Little Duck Diner has the most beautiful art deco style

Little Duck Diner 150 W Saint Julian, Savannah, Georgia 31401

Casual Mid-Week Lunch at Savannah Seafood Shack

My favorite dish is their low country boil for one. It comes in a bowl and a bag, and you can have draft beer on the side. It’s a simple, casual dish that will impress you with the quality of the ingredients more than fancy preparation. But because they’re so popular, it sometimes becomes a wait instead of a casual delight. Mid-week Savannah is a great way to enjoy this Historic Downtown staple because it lowers the pressure and lets you really enjoy the casual atmosphere, the streetside dining, and the great service this restaurant is known for.

Savannah Seafood Shack 116 E Broughton St, Savannah, Georgia 31401


Dinner at Treylor Park

Open from 11:00 am to 1:00 am during the week, Treylor Park is a Savannah phenomenon. “Quality over quantity” is their motto, and grabbing a cocktail and dinner here is just right for a mid-week stop. Nothing too heavy, just a well prepared meal and a perfectly mixed drink to end the day. Be sure to check out the dedicated bar area in the back. On the weekends it can be crowded, but on a week day evening you’ll find it a little quieter and a little faster. As a bonus, from Treylor Park it’s just a quick street crossing down to River Street where you can stroll waterside after the meal.

Treylor Park 115 E Bay St, Savannah, Georgia 31401


A Mid-Week Savannah Pub Crawl on River Street

Sometimes you’re here for a big event, but you arrive early to enjoy the city. Good decision. Conveniently, if you’ve got a few people then you’ve got enough for a pub crawl, and River Street was built for that. Whether it’s dueling pianos at Savannah Smiles or watching the harbor from the Top Deck Bar or maybe some “to go cup” frozen beverages from Wet Willies. Savannah hosts a huge number of bachelorette parties for a reason – this place is fun! Mid-week is a great time to hit the bars and to-go windows and enjoy the famously accommodating open-container laws of the Historic District. The lines will be shorter, the service will be faster, and the drinks just might be a little stronger when things aren’t quite so packed.

Late Night Drinks at The Grove

One of the down-sides of a mid-week visit is that some restaurants and bars close a little bit earlier. But if you’ve had a long day at work, or the beach, and you’re walking through Historic Savannah at 9:00 PM wondering where to eat, let me suggest The Grove. It can seem a little loud at first if you’re stepping in from a quiet stroll, but there’s plenty of seating and multiple bars to choose from (including a roof top deck). The menu has some gems on it, like the cheese and charcuterie board that will surprise you with quality and quantity. A great place to have a few drinks and a late dinner on a mid-week visit when you’re not ready to call it a night.

The Grove has a great roof top deck, and at night the menu, bar, and music can be just what’s needed mid-week

The Grove Savannah 301 W Congress St, Savanna, Georgia 31401


Morning Run around Forsyth Park

A quick search for Savannah on Instagram or Pinterest and you’re going to see Forsyth Park. Originally a 10 acre plot

, In 1851 Savannah renamed and expanded its crown jewel to be the 30 acre Forsyth Park we know today. At that point, the city installed the iconic Forsyth Fountain in 1858 and it’s been drawing visitors and locals alike ever since. The tree canopy along the edges of the park keep things cool even on a Savannah summer day. You’ll often see joggers out at all times of the day taking advantage of the flat, shaded path around the park. On weekends you’ll have plenty of company on your run, but on weekdays it’s mostly locals and business travelers out for their jog.  You’ll have a much better shot at getting that selfie by the fountain all to yourself as well.

Forsyth Park, Savannah Georgia 31401


A Mid-Week Trip to Tybee

It’s about a 22 minute drive from Historic Downtown Savannah to Tybee Island if you take US 80 E. But while the public beach on Tybee is easy to get to, on the weekends parking can be a challenge. So you can try a mid-week trip to catch an open spot near 14th street. Download the Park TYB app before you go and you can avoid trying to find the pay box. From the parking lot you can walk right out to the ocean and hit the pier as well. On the pier are snacks and bathrooms and at the end of the pier are refreshments and fishing. You can chill on the beach, stroll the pier, or swim in the ocean with lighter crowds than a Saturday.

Tybee Beach Pier, Tybee, Georgia


History Tour of Historic Downtown Savannah

Taking a tour of Savannah is fun, healthy, and always enlightening. The operators bring their own lens to the city’s history, making each tour unique and fascinating. Learn about the many haunted sites and tragic events from the history of Savannah on a ghost tour, for instance. Or, take a walking history tour and learn about why the city is laid out the way it is and who built the beautiful homes we see today. Experience a Black cultural history tour and learn more about the Gullah Geechie culture that shaped this city through both tragedy and rebirth. Zip around Savannah on a Segway. One of my favorites, you can cruise through Savannah from the back of Sebastian the vintage Citroen. And

, you can hop on and hop off through Savannah from a double-decker bus. The options are endless, but mid-week is when you’ll get the times and tours.

William Morris Patterns

Beauty in the kitchen

I wanted to add color to the kitchen of the Broughton Street House but what I found was a history lesson. While searching for patterns and colors that would fit our Victorian house I learned about the founder of a design movement. William Morris patterns bring beautiful colors to everyday items. We’ll be using them throughout Broughton Street House.

In the middle of the 19th century, Britain changed. Industrialization reshaped the economy and created new wealth and new manufacturing capacity. Victorian households used their affluence to fill their homes to impress visitors and display their status. Furniture, textiles, and fabrics became ornate, cheaply made, and widely available.

In 1851, in Hyde Park of London, Prince Albert hosted “The Great Exhibition“. His goal was to showcase what is now called “High Victorian” wares and to champion the virtues of the English economy. This exhibit was a powerhouse display of the industrial design capabilities of the era. Famous figures such as Queen Victoria

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, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Lewis Carrol, and Charlotte Bronte came to the Hyde Park to see the goods and be seen by the people. In fact, over six million people attended the exhibit.

While the Exhibition was popular, there was a group of disaffected but well-to-do thinkers that criticized the event. Richard Redgrave, John Ruskin, and William Morris saw the displays as cheap, ostentatious, and dependent on industrialization instead of craftsmanship.

William Morris Takes a Stand for Beauty

William Morris and his lifelong friend Edward Burne-Jones established a counter-culture school of thought after the exhibit. They based their movement on nostalgia for the medieval period and a desire to restore the beauty of hands-on craft. Morris tried architecture, fine art, and publishing but never achieved major success in those fields. However, he expanded his circle of influential friends and fellow travelers and shared his ideas. The “Arts & Crafts” was founded with a mission to bring the beauty of craftmanship to the people of England. Ultimately, William Morris saw his opportunity to begin producing textiles and fabrics that reflected his ideas. This is where he made his mark.

William Morris’ Red House is today considered a British national treasure for its design and décor. His summer cottage Kelmscott Manor is a much older design, but he drew inspiration from its medieval beauty.

Chrysanthemum pattern (1877) by William Morris. Original from The Smithsonian Institution. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

More than Beautiful

Arts & Crafts is about more than design; it is about fitting design into a context of social constructs and division of labor in a beautiful way. Most of the proponents of Arts & Crafts were wealthy, educated, and socialist. They believed with proper design they could entice British consumers to make different choices. In their vision, everyone would place more value on handcrafted, beautiful, wares built in small shops reflecting the individuality of the craftsmen. But in reality, only the wealthy could afford the high quality wares that emerged from this movement. Although a few practitioners of the Arts & Craft movement collaborated with manufacturers to make these goods available to a broader audience, most of the practitioners shunned commercialization and the movement faded from popular design in Britain.

In the United States, the movement took a different turn. Americans scaled the ideas to the mass market: Tiffany, Stickley, “Mission” style furniture, and “Craftsman” architecture all emerged from the designs and themes William Morris introduced.

Introducing William Morris to the Broughton Street House

The Broughton Street House is a popular vacation rental with Victorian décor and antique furniture, so we want to introduce new color in a way consistent with the period of the house. Thankfully, beautiful prints by William Morris are a great place to start.

William Morris – Birds

The William Morris Society sells fabrics and wallpapers using the patterns, and the proceeds go to support the Society. Also, Wallpaper Direct carries a huge line of beautiful William Morris wallpapers, including some exclusive colors.

Jasmine by William Morris (1834-1896). Original from The MET Museum. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

Additionally, Many of William Morris’ original designs are now in the public domain, so there are lots of options for displaying some of these amazing patterns. 

Prints from, Patterns by William Morris

We ordered a selection of beautiful William Morris prints from First, the colors add excitement to the earth tones of the kitchen, and draw the eye upward to make full visual use of that high ceiling. Second, we can also repeat these period colors and patterns in other elements (like countertop appliances and kitchen tools and throughout the house) to brighten up the space. 

Here you see two of these prints in our kitchen. We added these to fill the blank spaces above the cabinets since the ceiling is so incredibly high in this kitchen.

Adding William Morris to the Kitchen

We’ve also used William Morris patterns for some of the cushions around the house.

William Morris’ Peacock and Dragon

We have placed William Morris place mats in the kitchen, William Morris hand towels near the oven, and even a deck of cards in the living room with William Morris patterns on the backs of the cards. We’ll continue to look for opportunities to incorporate William Morris’ designs and patterns into the Broughton Street House where appropriate. I’d love to find a place to use Morris and Company Wallpaper at some point, but we’re not ready for that right now. It’s peak season.

Flannery O’Connor and the Peacocks

The Broughton Street House and the O’Connor Family

To highlight The Broughton Street House’s connection to its history, we identify Flannery O’Connor and her use of peacocks as a design focus for our Carriage House. Our Carriage House is a one bedroom, one bath apartment atop the garage behind the main property. It is available to rent as part of the full property, or on it’s own if the full property is not already rented.

On our History page we tell you about the original owner and other residents of this house. Daniel O’Connor and his brother Patrick were a pair of Irish immigrants that came to Savannah after the Civil War. Later, they parleyed their success in industry into real estate investments and established the O’Connor family for generations. Daniel commissioned the three connected townhouses that eventually became 507. 509, and 511 East Broughton. Similarly, his brother Patrick was also a successful businessman and the O’Connor family remained prominent in Savannah through the time of Patrick’s granddaughter, Flannery. Flannery, of course, went on to become one of the best known American voices of the 20th century. Eventually she won a National Book Award for fiction, and was even featured on a US postage stamp.

Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor was born in 1925 in Savannah

, and her childhood home is now a museum on Charlton Street.

Flannery’s grandfather Patrick and her great uncle Daniel were Irish immigrants in a new world. As a result, their identity shaped their contributions to society and their views of Savannah. Likewise, Flannery’s Irish Heritage, Catholicism, and Southern upbringing were defining aspects of her life. Her stories were often dark, somber, and somewhat fatalistic.

To highlight the connection between the Broughton Street House and the O’Connor family we have incorporated one of Flannery’s happier subjects into the décor of the Carriage House: Peacocks!

Peacocks in the Carriage House

In her life and in her stories

, Flannery owned, cared for, and used as symbols the beautiful peacock. Later, when the US Postal Service decided to make a stamp honoring Flannery O’Connor, they chose the peacock to highlight her. Therefore, we began searching for art and décor that would bring this theme to the Carriage House to celebrate the connection.

For the bedroom we found a cute print with colors that helped enliven the room.

Peacock Print in the Carriage House Bedroom

In the kitchen / dining room we found a painting from my niece that we thought would be perfect. When we saw it in my sister’s shop, we bought it immediately.

Painting by Ava Denalsky

We had to have a copy of Flannery O’Connor’s stories available, with peacocks, naturally.

The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor

And we even found some William Morris patterned cushions: The Peacock and the Dragon. Once we saw them

, we couldn’t pass them up.
William Morris Peacock and Dragon Patterned Cushions
A vintage Japanese tea set with a peacock motif

We enjoy linking the house to it’s history. Choosing an element like the Flannery O’Connor’s peacocks is a great way to add an interesting visual element while also connecting to the past. Hopefully our guests will enjoy the little details!

Upgrading Our Beds

King Beds are Comfortable Upgrades

When a guest (or our family) stays in Savannah at the Broughton Street House, it’s definitely about what Savannah has to offer. The city is full of amazing things to see, and incredible food and entertainment options. But at the end of the day (and sometimes in the middle of the day) you really want a place to recover. Comfort really matters, and the right bed is essential for maximum enjoyment of Savannah and The Broughton Street House. A comfortable king bed is the answer.

Daniel O’Connor built the Broughton Street House in 1883

, and the previous owners furnished this home in period furniture that perfectly captures the luxury of Victorian-Era Savannah. However, in 1883 there was no such thing as a “king” bed as we know it today. There were ‘big” beds, but these were custom.
The Great Bed of Ware (showing modern reproductions of bedclothes and hangings), Hans Vredeman de Vries, 1590 – 1600, England. Museum no. W.47:1 to 28-1931. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

King Beds

The popularity of king and queen beds really didn’t take off in the US until after World War II. Even today, a king is a king only insomuch as you know what country you’re talking about:

150 cm × 200 cm (59 in × 79 in) in the UK.

165 cm × 203 cm (65 in × 80 in) in New Zealand.

183 cm × 203 cm (72 in × 80 in) in Australia.

193 cm × 202 cm (76 in × 80 in) in the US.

We find king beds to be essential and incredibly comfortable. When we bought The Broughton Street House all beds were queen

perfect money problems

, for good reason. Large beds aren’t historically accurate

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, and king beds are harder to fit into rooms when every room has a fireplace!  Despite these very good reasons, we’re upgrading our beds to a comfortable king wherever we have the option.

The Broughton Street Carriage House gets a Comfortable King Bed

First up is the Carriage House. This structure is actually *not* historical, built in the 2000’s as an addition to the original structure of the Broughton Street House. If you check the history page, you’ll see there’s strong evidence that there was a prior structure in the back of the house, but it was removed in the 1970’s.

The original bed was a lovely bed.

The original queen bed in the carriage house

The style is appropriate, it fits the room perfectly, but it’s not a comfortable king. The nightstands roughly matched the bed, and they definitely don’t fit once we got a nice comfortable king in there, so we had to change those, too.

We found the first king bed we wanted at Restoration Hardware in Atlanta, so we had to haul it to Savannah to get it to the Broughton Street House. We picked up a nightstand from a local place that resells vintage and antique items, and while I wasn’t super happy with it, it works for now. The other side we used a table from another room in the house. Overall, we had to change the look a little, but the comfort is outstanding!

Our new comfortable king bed from Restoration Hardware and a Sealey king mattress and box springs.
The fabric headboard is cozy, and the extra space of the king size is more comfortable
Two people can easily get comfortable on a king bed

I hope our guests appreciate a comfortable king bed as much as we do!

The Broughton Street House Master Bedroom gets a Comfortable King Bed

Later we found a great deal on a Pottery Barn king bed that we think is perfect for the master bedroom, bringing that same comfortable king experience to another room. Below is the original queen bed. Definitely a great bed! Just not quite a king.

The existing master bedroom is a beautiful queen bed

This is the new bed set up at our primary home, making sure everything checked out before transport to the Broughton Street House:

And finally, placed in the master bedroom to welcome our next guests.

In the second photo you can see that the bed has 4 large storage drawers underneath (two on each side). Those will be very useful for extra pillows and blankets for our guests.

It’s unlikely we’ll be able to add king beds to the other two bedrooms. There really just isn’t enough space for the larger bed in those bedrooms, and both have work surfaces we value and wouldn’t want to give up.

The Carriage House Sleeper Sofa

While we were working on getting that new king for the master bedroom, we also got a review for the Carriage House that said the Queen Sleeper Sofa was uncomfortable because you could feel the bars. Comfort is a priority, and sleeper sofas are a real challenge – we want to provide the additional sleeping, but honestly, most adults don’t enjoy sleeping on them. Still, if we can do better, we want to do better, so:

5 inches of high-quality memory foam will increase the comfort and hopefully make this the best possible experience for our Broughton Street House guests that choose to use the sleeper sofas.

A Well-Lit Home

A Well Lit Home Saves Energy

It’s a minor change, but I’m a big fan of LED lighting. When we purchased the Broughton Street House many of the light fixtures had traditional incandescent bulbs, and some halogen. Incandescent can make a beautiful soft white, so I completely understand the choice, but in the last decade LED has really come into it’s own with bulbs that are either tuned to a specific color temperature, or that are actually tunable by the home owner to reach the specific color temperature you want. We can have a well-lit home that is also very energy efficient!

One of our favorite blogs for interior designs for hosting recommends 2700k lighting, and we definitely agree. Here at our primary residence we’ve switched most bulbs to 2700k LED, with the exception of locations where I’m using open filament LEDs for an antique look. For the Broughton Street House, we’ll be using 2700k, and luckily for us Home Depot sells multi-packs at a very economical price in almost every bulb size.

Replacing Bulbs

Starting at the carriage house, there were 10 overhead canister lights in the kitchen area, living room area, and over the bed. It’s going to be easy to have a well-lit home when there are so many fixtures to work with! There are more in the bathroom, but I actually want to experiment a little further before replacing those because in bathrooms 3000k color temperature is sometimes appropriate to mimic daylight for dressing and makeup application.

For the carriage house we’re just replacing the bulbs , not the can lights themselves. For the main house, especially the kitchen, we may choose to replace the cans for that flat, one-piece look.

The original bulbs were 65W each, and we replaced 10 of them in one shot.
The original bulbs were 65W each , and we replaced 10 of them in one shot.
The new bulbs are the same size, tuned to 2700k, and just under 10 W to operate.

A Well-Lit Home Actually Saves Energy

So we achieved our goal of a well-lit home

, but there’s more. LED lights last longer than incandescent light by far, usually 12,000 hours or more compared to 1,000 hours. So, less maintenance and less waste. Even better, they are more efficient. You might not realize just *how* much more efficient, though. In this case, we replaced 10 65W bulbs that burn out every 1,000 hours with 10 9.5W bulbs that should last 12,000 hours. Using an average Georgia power cost and because Home Depot sells these things in multipacks that bring the cost down to around $2 each, replacing these bulbs pays for itself in about 2 weeks.

Over the course of a year we save roughly $937 based on energy savings and bulb replacements. Not only will the Broughton Street House be well-lit, it will be energy efficient as well!

It’s definitely worth the time to get out the ladder and make the swap. Over the course of the next several months we’ll be replacing all incandescent and halogen bulbs throughout the Broughton Street House. It reduces cost, reduces heat produced by the bulbs, and reduces the maintenance we have to do over time. Most importantly, the Broughton Street House will be well-lit. Energy savings, efficiency, and a better guest experience.

A Safe Garage in Downtown Savannah!

A Two Car Garage in Downtown Savannah

One of the features we love about the Broughton Street House is having two car garage in Downtown Savannah with carriage house apartment over the garage. While it’s not part of the historical structure of the house, having secure parking right in the North Historic District is incredibly convenient. The lane behind the house is tight, so it’s not easy to get a large vehicle in there

, but we’ve parked Cathy’s Palisade there and it felt great knowing that it was safe, nearby, and we didn’t have to go move it on certain days to avoid the street sweepers. One thing we learned for sure – it’s much, much easier to back into the garage than it is to pull forward into it. That lane is very tight!
The Two Car Garage and Carriage House at Broughton Street House

Manual Garage Doors are a Challenge

The previous owners had never installed garage door openers. This meant the only way to securely enter the property was through the front door.  But it also meant that if you went out for a day trip to Tybee you had to pull the car out, drive to the front, go back through the house and lock the garage from the inside, and then back through the house and to your car. Obviously, if you have two people it’s much easier, but not ideal.

Garages Provide Convenience and Security

We decided to put in door openers, with keypads on the outside of the door. We change the codes on the keypads on a regular basis for security, but we don’t provide the remotes (heck, I lose them frequently myself). Big shout out to the folks at Precision Garage Door of Savannah for the great installation. Precision installed the openers and controls super fast and I’m very happy with how it turned out. Our guests will have the ability to easily open the doors from behind the property by entering the provided codes. We think this convenience makes the property more enjoyable and secure. Having a safe


, convenient garage in downtown Savannah is a rare luxury we’re proud to provide.

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