Personal Space

Story Jan Swoope | Photograph Matt Garner

In a secluded home dressed inside and out in rustic woodsy splendor, Shannon Bardwell’s serenity room is a luminescent anomaly.

Husband Sam’s lodge-style house design in the Lowndes County Prairie features a long great room blending living, dining and kitchen areas — ideal for togetherness, but every now and then a girl likes a space to call her own. Two years ago, Shannon got her wish: a windowed 16-by-20-foot addition she turned into a haven for reflection and renewal.

Curled up in her favorite reading spot, she joins the rhythm of the seasons, kept company by favorite books and a grand oak draped in Spanish moss outside a near window.

“From here, no matter where I look, I have a wonderful view,” smiles Shannon, looking out over woods and lakes.

Soft music plays, accompanied by the sound of water trickling over stones in a small tabletop fountain. A neutral palette and organic textures form a tranquil backdrop for favored objects — a conch shell, a framed Bible verse, a sand dollar, a quote by Georgia O’Keeffe, a collection of found butterflies, their colors still brilliant.

“Their life is gone, but their beauty is not,” says Shannon. “There is nothing more beautiful than what we find in nature. Everything in here is a reminder that we should consider the larger world. It’s not just about us.”