Meet Our Speakers
Friday Kickoff Luncheon at The Chatham Club
Sonny Seals is the author of Historic Rural Churches of Georgia. Historic Rural Churches of Georgia was founded in 2012 by Sonny Seals and George Hart with a mission to research, document and ultimately preserve historic rural churches across the state. The movement started when Sonny inadvertently discovered his great grandfather’s grave in the old burial ground of Powelton Methodist, a long inactive church in the “lost village of Powelton”. All the research is the foundation of a website and a book.
Presently Mr. Seals is the Founder and Managing Director of Eton Partners LLC, a retained executive search firm. Prior to founding Eton Partners, he was a senior executive with A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm, and Russell Corporation, a textile and athletic apparel company. Mr. Seals is an active member of the Atlanta Arts Community and has served on the executive committee of the Alliance Theater Company board of directors and the Alliance Theater advisory board for several years. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech and has served on several boards there including the Alumni Association Board of Trustees and the Ferst Center for the Performing Arts. He presently chairs the external Arts Advisory Board at Georgia Tech.
More on this event
Saturday Morning 10:00
Decorative Arts – Then and Now
Brandon Branch, NY Times Bestselling Author & Designer
Brandon Branch is a New York Times bestselling author, designer, and expert in Southern style. His design influence spans a number of platforms – interior decorating, event planning and style consulting. Brandon’s talents were showcased on HGTV’s “Celebrity Holiday Homes” as he gave Trisha Yearwood a Southern Style Christmas that she will never forget. Brandon has appeared on Extra, Good Day LA, The Today Show, and the Rachel Ray Show.
Brandon’s many design projects include interiors for celebrity clients, collaboration on a furniture line and celebrity weddings. He has also designed the sets and table settings for many television shows and specials.
Born on a Mississippi dairy farm, Brandon attended Mississippi State University where he received a degree in horticulture. He calls Savannah, GA, home. Savannah’s historic style—with its stately, romantic Southern homes, magnolia-drenched gardens and languid pace—provide a jumping-off point for his design sensibility. In designing his own home, Brandon gave a nod to the city’s history by using lavish, dramatic fabrics, but in new, fun ways. He likes to think that if Scarlett or Rhett came to dinner, they would approve!
Saturday Lunch and Learn, 12:00
Reviving a Landmark – Savannah’s Armstrong Mansion
Chuck Chewning and Christian Sottile
Enjoy a Southern box lunch (included) with presentations by Chuck Chewning and Christian Sotille on their latest project, The Armstrong Mansion. The Armstrong House faces Forsyth Park on the corner of Bull and Gaston streets.
Built between 1917 and 1919, for George Armstrong, the Armstrong Mansion would later become the founding location for the Armstrong Junior College in 1935. The magnificent Beaux-Arts design is the work of renowned Savannah Architect Henrik Wallin, and represents a landmark specimen of this era. Its marble glazed brick, fine stone detailing and iron casement windows form an iconic image for this Italianate design, set on the northern edge of legendary Forsyth Park.
After over 80 years of institutional and commercial use, the Armstrong Mansion is now being restored to its original use as one of the finest landmark residences in the City of Savannah. In addition to the restoration of the main home, the mansion’s former garden site, later paved over with a parking lot, will be returned to a beautiful outdoor space that recalls Wallin’s early design for the home. The carriage house along Gordon Lane, partially demolished for the construction of the former Jenkins Auditorium, is being replaced with a new carriage house with granite detailing that recalls the design of the main house, and supports the restored garden design
Chuck Chewning has over thirty years’ experience in the luxury interior design, decorative arts and architectural preservation industries. Today he runs his own design business, Charles H. Chewning Interiors based in Savannah, Georgia and Studio Rubelli, the interior design division of The Rubelli Group in Milan, Italy.
Chuck received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in both Historic Preservation of Architecture and in Interior Design from SCAD, The Savannah College of Art and Design.
Christian Sottile, AIA, is principal of Sottile & Sottile, a Savannah-based design firm working extensively in Nationally Registered Historic Districts. His work includes civic design, architecture and master planning, emphasizing historic research, urban analysis and community-wide engagement. Concurrently with his professional practice, Sottile is a professor of architecture and urban design at the Savannah College of Art and Design and is the former dean of the SCAD School of Building Arts. In this role, Sottile led the graduate and undergraduate programs in Architecture, Architectural History, Preservation Design, Interior Design, Furniture Design and Urban Design.
Sottile’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Preservation Magazine, Architect magazine, and Architectural Digest. He has received over thirty awards, including three international Charter Awards from the Congress for the New Urbanism, awards from the American Planning Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and three National Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects.
Mixing Then with Now
Courtland Smith-Stevens is an owner of Number Four Eleven, a monogram, fine linens, and interior design shop in the Downtown Design District of Savannah. Her signature monograms and crests can be found on everything from invitations to suites of bed linens. Known for her simple and clean yet sophisticated style, Courtland’s talent and creativity can be found in homes throughout Savannah and the Carolinas.
See all events of the Savannah Antiques & Architecture Weekend here