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I was on the hunt for stories for my second issue ever (Summer 2005) when I met Linda and Frank Lynch. I’d seen photos of their tall, contemporary residence at architectural designer Beau Clowney’s office. But regardless of how emphatically he said (laughing all the while), “You should definitely call them—the house is great, but more than that, you’ll love meeting them,” I had my own ideas. After all, I’d seen pictures of where they lived, and that’s usually when my imagination goes to work.
Here’s what I expected: a 60-something retired couple, rather austere. They had a serious house on paper (not pieced together with additions, or built with varying style ideas or full of pattern or whimsy), so they’d be serious folks. We’d tour the house and I’d furiously take notes about modern architectural principles and Southern design trends that they’d speak of, and in the end, we’d have ourselves quite a story. A house like this, I thought (and still do), would be just as fitting on the pages of Architectural Digest as it would in Charleston Home.
Here’s what I got: a charming pair of former nightclub owners from Scotland, she a petite, warm, and stunningly pretty brunette and he… well… sure, he's handsome and warm, but more to the point: have you ever met someone and known instantly that whatever party he’s invited to, it won’t start until he gets there? That’s him. He's lively to the core, and has a joke for most every topic. As for their ages? Who knows—who cares? He spent a good part of our visit quipping about their age difference, that she’s the “young wife” he's managed to rope in.
As for the edifying house tour? I laughed far more than I took notes—the ones I did take, I could barely read later. Those were useless. But it is true that they know their way around good design. Every architectural detail, room, table, every piece came with an anecdote— they relayed tales of the Art Nouveau mirror that once hung in Paris hotspot Maxim’s, the coffee table that was an Indonesian weavers’ worktable, and more. But these were mixed in with as many tales totally unrelated to house or home, but that were maybe just good for a laugh. Mind you, the whole time, they’re finishing each other's sentences and disputing the other’s stories. Again, a relative rookie at my job, I found myself thinking, “This is work? I could stay here all day!”
And I almost did. Fast forward two hours from the time I arrived, and I’m plopped on their sofa, scrapbook on my lap, studying pictures of their former life in New York City as owners of an early-1980s see-and-be-seen nightclub and disco. Eddie Murphy was among the who’s who gamut of rising stars in the shots, with Frank or Linda alongside. I believe this came after their Glasgow Apollo days, another rock n’ roll spot of theirs. And here they were, in a sunny house on the Isle of Palms, sharing it all with me as if we were old friends catching up.
So much for austere.
Suffice to say, I was having a good time at this new job of mine. I still am, but find it fascinating that after five years at this, one of the most remarkable scouting visits came right at the outset. I guess I needed a quick lesson that this home editor gig is much more than window treatments and wallpaper.
Get the full story on the Lynch house at http://www.charlestonmag.com/home/feature/american_idyll_0.
P.S. So I emailed the Lynches the other day asking for a couple current photos of them in their house. What did they do? They asked their house painter to come inside and snap a few (his fine photographic handiwork is evidenced here, in the shot that appears on the home page and the second one on this page). I think the guy's got a gift, don't you?