Soulful and Storied: At Home with Bellamy Murphy originally appeared in the Winter 2018 print edition of Paprika Southern. To see the full feature in print, along with festive holiday recipes, our clean beauty shopping guide, a conversation with community activist Coco Papy, and much more, order a back issue of the Winter 2018 issue of Paprika Southern now.
Soulful and Storied
At Home with Bellamy Murphy
When Mother Nature is your muse, a sweeping view of marshes from your own backyard is undoubtedly nutritive to the creative spirit. Sitting on an expanse of water-front property in Savannah, artist Bellamy Murphy's home sings as expressively as her Lowcountry landscape paintings. Her interiors are full of collected finds, natural elements, antiques and original art. Bellamy remarks, “my house reflects my love of nature and of all things layered with soul and story.”
In 2013, Bellamy purchased the home, moving only blocks within Savannah’s Isle of Hope neighborhood from her former residence. The house had good bones and sat on a private, waterfront location overlooking a lush section of marshland, with a detached building to serve as her studio, so when the property became available, Bellamy knew it was the perfect home. The first six months that Bellamy owned the house, she directed its renovation, achieving a light-filled space with a coastal feeling. She opened up the foyer, added washed-wood paneling throughout, updated the flooring, enhanced the millwork and reworked the front entrance.
Once she moved into the updated house, she began layering her eclectic group of furnishings, antiques, rugs, art and found objects into the interior spaces. Her fresh perspective breathed new life into the house with updated surfaces and well-mixed furnishings, all accented by the flourish of her colorful artwork. The result has been a one-of-a-kind space, authentic to Bellamy’s artistic and inquisitive personality, and reflective of the coastal environment.
The home was first built by a couple in 1946 who had traveled extensively. The Juliette balconies and round terrace of the house were features inspired by a trip the original owners took to Europe. The exterior was painted and a covered entrance was added to the newly opened front door. Bellamy landscaped the exterior grounds, including many indigenous plants of Coastal Georgia in the beds. Her backyard is a dream vista with a sitting area situated under a huge oak tree, just steps away from her dock.
Having the knack for uncovering the chronicle behind both man-made objects and natural elements, Bellamy has preferred to seek items for her interiors that have meaning and depth. She says, “I don’t look for items to just fill a space—things find me and find their place.” Her den houses collected books, antique smalls, and natural items discovered over years of exploring thrift stores, antique shops and the terrain of the Lowcountry and beyond. Guests who mingle in Bellamy’s den can sit in one of a pair of leather and chrome sling chairs once owned by famed interior designer Mark Hampton, while taking in all the curiosities and conversation pieces.
In her living room, Bellamy has made it light and bright. Upholstery has been kept neutral and the space is punched up by brightly colored artwork and pillows. She displays pieces not only created by herself, but a rousing collection of artwork from a variety of artists. Surrounded by windows with views of the marsh and of her terrace, nature and light encompass the space. The open dining room has the casually elegant style found throughout the home. A large and rustic dining table is accented with Hollywood Regency style metal bamboo chairs. The mix is irresistible to the eye and establishes the ambiance of the room.
The second floor’s dream-like porch is perched over backyard views. With occasional seating, a daybed and a dining table, Bellamy has created an intimate entertaining space as well as a quiet area for reflection and creative thought. Leading onto the porch, the upstairs living area is filled with books and more unique objects, as well as natural elements. Neutral bedrooms—just off of the living area—feature additional intriguing accessories and jolts of color from artwork and vintage textiles.
Bellamy Murphy began her career as painter of Lowcountry reflections to canvas twenty years ago, but before that she was a painter of decorative objects. Early on she created hand-painted wooden doorstops and then, band boxes commemorating historic cities. She has each of these items incorporated into her décor as reflection of her personal history and story.
Recently, Bellamy completed renovations to her studio after it was damaged during Hurricane Irma. While the experience was less than ideal, she was able to make changes to the space such as the addition of new French doors, modern light fixtures and a wood paneled ceiling. Her studio opens up to a small covered patio with a marsh view: perfect for an artist’s daily outlook.
When Bellamy describes her artwork, it is apparent how principle a proximity and a connection to nature is to her: “I have taken my love and appreciation for the beauty and mystery of nature and let it be my muse.” And, after creating thousands of works of art that have enhanced regional homes and businesses for two decades, Bellamy has recently created a line of signature products, launching in 2019. With new ventures on the horizon, she takes comfort in having her grounding at home and in her studio, both places she has shaped to nurture her authentic self and her artistic soul.
Paprika Southern Winter 2018
The Winter 2018 issue of Paprika Southern is packed with seasonal inspiration for the darkest months. Featured, you will find a home tour with southern artist Bellamy Murphy, dark and mysterious winter fashion, indulgent holiday recipes to get you through any gathering of family or friends, a conversation with political and community activity Coco Papy, a profile of Darby Cox, CEO of Smoke Cartel, and much more.
Paprika Southern is a quarterly publication dedicated to inspiring creativity and intention in everyday life. In our pages you will find lush visuals and thoughtful writing, as well as a commitment to inclusivity. We offer a curated view of the most innovative creatives, trends and art of the South, and we invite you to join our journey.