Introducing Guest Curator, Shannon Latham!

If you know me very well you know 2 things I am passionate about (besides the obvious, art collecting) – my Old Kentucky home and classic children’s clothing (of which I am a bit of a hoarder!)  So for these reasons and many more, I am so excited to introduce y’all to a fellow Kentuckian and a business woman whom I very much admire!  Shannon Latham, owner of Lexington, Kentucky based children’s brand, Little English is an entrepreneur whose knowledge in the children’s and design industry is unmatched. She is all around an intriguing woman who has a love for the outdoors, can often be found hunting and riding, and loves and collects art. Her stunning home, which is on the National Register of Historic Homes, sits on 8 acres in Midway, Kentucky (perhaps the most gorgeous part of the Bluegrass state) and houses a unique collection of art, pottery, and antiques that Shannon has collected from across the Southeast.  Beyond her unmatched eye for design, I am so impressed with Shannon’s ability to weave together collected, vintage, antique pieces with more modern elements.  Something that I feel is so southern and makes a house a home for sure.  We were so thrilled when Shannon agreed to be a Guest Curator and I personally was fascinated when learning about her through the interview process.  Enjoy, y’all!

 

Lazy River by Caroline Chriss

I love the pastoral scene and the realistic way of life it depicts. For me, it takes me back in time, reminding me of memories of visiting Normandy near the Orne river and learning about the Normande Cows that produce Camembert and Brie cheese. It’s amazing how a work of art like this can completely transport you to another place and time.

Dunkeld by Sallie Robbins Strickland

I’m just in awe of Sallie’s feathery strokes and use of scale and color. The simplicity of the one fly as the subject represents to me not only my love of summer fly fishing with my son and husband in Linville, but also the (somewhat comical!) reality that one single fly can truly make or break a good day of fishing. A grouping of these flies would make a strong statement hung together.

Yellow Wildflowers at Radnor by Christy King

The subject of wildflowers, particularly Rudebekia, speaks to me in volumes of generations past. Love the artists’ closeness in depicting the subject, allowing you to almost feel literally upon the garden. The portion of stonewall supporting the stems showcases the age of the garden, reminding me of my garden at my family farm which has had three generations of hands nurturing it.

Resolutions by Taelor Fisher

I’m drawn to the bold strokes and use of color. This piece makes me think of the cliffs in Ireland, specifically Connemara on the high road where sea and land meet. A gorgeous depiction.

Fox by Lexie Armstrong

I’m so intrigued by the use of black ink and Lexie’s ability to create the softness of the fox’s fur. As a fox hunter myself, I can’t help but love all things with fox as the subject and I especially enjoy how the ear is slightly pricked as if he heard something.

 

 

Tell us about yourself.

I am originally from Memphis and graduated from SMU in Dallas, TX with a bachelor’s degree in advertising management. Now a resident of Kentucky, I live with my husband, Davant, who is in the thoroughbred industry, in an 1850’s antebellum home on a horse farm in Midway, just outside of Lexington. I’m a proud mother of two children – my daughter, Dunn, who works with me and is COO of my company, Little English – a premier children’s clothing and gifts brand, and my son, Davant Jr., who is a junior at Woodberry Forest. I dedicate most of my time to Little English, which I launched in 2005. I am heavily inspired by the traditional children’s clothing of generations past and the handsewn pieces that once served as heirlooms, all of which inspire each piece we design and create for Little English. Aside from my work in the children’s industry, I love to garden and am obsessed with antiques and all art and pottery by southern artists.

Why did you start your blog/brand/business?

After selling my interest in another children’s clothing company, I planned on being a stay-at-home mom, but I just couldn’t shake the desire to design and create. I loved being in business and I couldn’t stop thinking about a nightgown my grandmother had smocked for me when I was young. The memories were so clear – freshly bathed and swinging on the back porch with wet hair or chasing fireflies barefoot in the grass in the early evening – all in white, long gowns sweetly smocked with soft geometric colors. It was that vision that led to Little English – which I named after a loose play on little children and the term “English smocking”. What started as a few pieces has now grown into a flourishing business with countless collections season after season. We pride ourselves on creating timeless, well-made garments and gifts that honor the innocence of children. Our pieces can be passed down through siblings and families for years to come.

What is currently on your nightstand? What are you reading?
Currently reading Where The Crawdads Sing – It’s fabulous.

On my nightstand:

  • Archipelago Botanicals Oatmilk body lotion. I use it every night on my hands because I just love the way it smells and feels
  • Burts bees ultra-conditioning lip balm
  • Garden and Gun and Southern Living
  • Ear buds …in case I can’t sleep and want to listen to a podcast of “How I built this”
  • Pink readers

What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.

This is a hard one! I would say the kitchen because it is so cozy and the hub of family life. Plus, I love to cook. It’s full of character and has a very English countryside feeling – red brick floors, stone fireplace, copper pots hanging on a white brick enclave with stainless Viking gas ranges, large iron rooster chandelier, and a large farm table with rush seated chairs. I can just think of my kitchen and smell the yummy aromas that surround you when you walk in the backdoor that say, “kick your shoes off, pour a drink, and stay awhile!”

What is your biggest score online to date?

Believe it or not, my horse, Houdini. He is a Percheron/Salle Francais cross and weighs 1200 lbs. I found him on Equine.com and fell in love. I had been stalking him for three months and he just happened to be 60 miles away and close enough to drive over and try. So now, when people talk about online dating, I laugh and tell them that’s how I found one of the guys in my life. It works.

It is said to look for art that “makes your heart skip a beat.”

Warm Colors, broad brush strokes, and art that takes you somewhere. There’s nothing better than getting completely lost in a piece of art.

What is the benefit of buying art through a collective?

For me, I’m always on the lookout for new-to-me artists and pieces that completely captivate, and a collective provides the perfect avenue for that. It compiles various styles of art, allowing you to peruse and be introduced to new artists that may offer a complementary style to pieces you already own.

When and where do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?

Some of my greatest inspiration comes from visiting textile apparel shows or going through archives of old fabric in New York. I also find inspiration from my past by flipping through old family photo albums to take in the heirloom and handmade styles of the 50’s-70’s. There was such incredible attention to detail in all the clothes, from the piping to the buttons to the pintucks – all of which inspire pieces I offer via Little English.

The key to making a house a home?

What does a home need more of and less of? The key to making a house a home is simply surrounding yourself with anything you love, whether it goes together or not! For example, in my home, I have causal antiques mixed with fine porcelains and modern artwork, but also have that same aesthetic flipped out to dressy antiques with southern pottery, formal oil paintings and a collection of Walter Anderson figurines from Shearwater Pottery in Ocean Springs, MS. Fill your house with pieces that inspire you and bring your family joy – this makes it a home.

The greatest color combination that ever existed?

Orange and turquoise.

What’s your favorite housewarming gift?

Putterbaugh Gill Friendship Bowl. He is a southern Potter whose kiln is in Red Banks, Mississippi near my family’s Antebellum home, Summertrees. The friendship bowl is in the shape of a heart, but it’s very deep. This is a beautiful piece to display on a coffee table or bookshelf until you’re ready to serve from it. It also comes with a sweet note inside that talks about friendship. (Image attached.)

So, tell us a bit about your corner of the world – where do you live and what do you love about it?

Midway, KY is a small railroad town next to Lexington that is full of horse farms. In fact, a great deal of Kentucky Derby winners resides here. I particularly love that we all go to the post office to pick up our mail. Mail delivery has been voted down every time because people enjoy the practice of visiting with one another at the local Post office, checking on the neighbors and hearing or giving the local scoop. Despite its small-town feel, Midway has lovely, award-winning restaurants and beautiful antique shops. Stone walls, old homes, green grass, front porches, bourbon distilleries, and thoroughbreds – it’s what Midway is made of!

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