Christina Baker’s new career is a true testament to what can happen when you follow your heart. Her beautiful shop in Beaufort, NC’s charming historic downtown isn’t just a dream for those who have the pleasure of walking inside—it was a dream of Baker’s as well. She grew up in retail and always hoped to follow in the family footsteps. But a fateful lunch at a Beaufort restaurant in sight of a “for sale” sign gave her the courage to take the leap. “This time last year I was working in finance.” In fact, in less than a year, this thriving business has allowed her husband to put his energy into the shop as well, making Beaufort Linen Co. a true family-run business; giving Baker the freedom to exercise her talents as a designer and artist. “It doesn’t feel real,” she said. Baker, who is as warm and effervescent as the shop, loves the homes she designs while offering a few of her favorite style tips that can go anywhere; from store to home to boat – and back again.
. Baker loves taking her favorite pieces and using them in new ways. “I use the bar cart as an end table!” she says. It’s functional for guests and creates “a quick, fun cocktail hour at a moment’s notice.” Plus, it looks fantastic. Especially in rooms where space is at a minimum, rethinking the ways you use your favorite pieces is a must.
Start with a great foundation
. From luxurious linens to the Persian rug she currently has her eye on, Baker knows that starting with the right foundation is everything when it comes to great design. A fabulous set of sheets is “my standard wedding gift,” Baker says. It’s not something that many people are eager to spend money on, but—to Baker—is not only essential but will also last for years to come.
Make it your own—or yourself
. The gorgeous white lacquer bed with Greek key detail is one of the focal points of Beaufort Linen Co. It was designed by Baker and implemented by a local furniture maker; she knew exactly what she wanted the bed to look like—and how she wanted to function—but couldn’t find a piece to her specifications. The Greek key detail is not only beautiful but also perfect for hanging a canopy. The fabric panels can be changed with the seasons to give the bed a new look. Also, Baker realizes she can’t keep the art she initially created to adorn the walls of her store in stock. “I always said I wanted to move to Beaufort and paint,” Baker said. Clients from all around the country are keeping her busy doing just that. As for creating your own art, Baker says, “It’s an easy way to bring your style into a space.”
Switch up the accessories
. This is a tip that Christina picked up from her mother, who has always re-configured her accessories in a new way every couple of weeks. In her store and in her home, Baker is a huge fan of displaying a favorite piece in a new way. “It makes you fall in love with it again,” she says.
Invest in quality
. From the duvet covers on her beds to the centerpieces on the table to the chests in the living room, Baker is a huge proponent of buying the best you can afford and collecting over time – even if that means living with less than fully decorated rooms for a while. She believes in taking the time to find a piece you love that you can repurpose for many years. “If I like it and my gut tells me it’s a good piece, I go with it,” she says. This is a surefire way to create “a well-collected house,” which is what Beaufort Linen Co. is all about. Because, in the end, “The path you take is always uncertain, but the memories you collect along the way make for one exciting journey.”
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Smith Cameron Photography