Nestled just off Devine Street, a little bungalow was waiting for someone with imagination and talent to help it realize its full potential. Meanwhile, a pandemic was clawing its way across the world. One of the first hot spots in the United States was New York City. Those who could flee the crowded city did, including interior designer Mary Bond Bailey. Mary Bond, who was working with Elizabeth Bauer Designs, returned to her Columbia hometown to stay with her parents, Ford and George Bailey. It was only supposed to be for a couple of weeks. Those weeks stretched into months, and eventually, Mary Bond realized she was back in Columbia to stay.
In reality, her move home was always in the stars. When Mary Bond attended Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, she spent her Winterim — the school’s yearly out-of-classroom learning experience — interning at Verve, her mother’s interior design firm at the corner of Gervais and Gregg streets. Verve is a familiar place to Mary Bond, who danced in its windows at an early age.
“I planned a lot of installations that week,” says Ford of her daughter’s internship. “Mary Bond did such a great job. I always hoped she would consider interior design as her career.”
Ford’s wishes came true. Mary Bond earned her degree in interior design from the University of Alabama, then began work with Richard Keith Langham, Inc. Interior Decoration in New York City. “I thought it would only be for a year,” Mary Bond says, “but I fell in love with New York.”
After working with Keith for three years, Mary Bond spent three additional years in New York working with Elizabeth. She had no immediate plans to return to Columbia when COVID-19 came along. “I never thought something this good would come from the pandemic,” she says.
Pleasant though it was to live with her parents, it was time for Mary Bond to find her own home now that she was back in Columbia for good. The initial task was made easy with the help of Michel Moore of Coldwell Banker Realty. Michel matched Mary Bond with that bungalow off Devine Street, and the new owner got to work.
Mary Bond started with the bones of the home, enlisting the help of Lucas Bunch of Lafaye Custom Homes. She achieved an open floor plan by knocking out the wall separating the dining room from the kitchen. Popcorn ceilings were scraped smooth, while the black and white tile kitchen floor was replaced with hardwoods to match those in the rest of the house. The floors were refinished and stained a light espresso.
Some changes were small; simply changing the swing of a door made a big impact. “Originally, the front door opened right to left, so the first thing you saw was the fireplace,” says Mary Bond. “By changing the swing, you see from the living room all the way back to the kitchen when you enter.”
A new kitchen island provides plenty of built-in storage. Behind the kitchen, Mary Bond improved an existing laundry area, moving the washer and dryer out of sight from the living room and adding floor to ceiling storage cabinets. A central hallway off the living room connected a front bedroom, a hall bathroom, and another bedroom in the original two-bedroom, one bath, 1,170-square-foot house. In the guest bedroom, Mary Bond enclosed one window because the room lacked wall space for a bed. A closet that opened into the hall bathroom was flipped to provide additional storage in the bedroom.
From there, Mary Bond created a hallway to the back of the house and her new master suite. A spacious bathroom replaced the original bedroom, and beyond that she added a large walk-in closet and her master bedroom.
On the outside of the house, Mary Bond painted the brown brick a cheery, bright white and replaced mismatched porch railings with black wrought iron. She achieved complete curb appeal with the help of Mark Schimmoeller of Southern Vistas, Inc. Mark widened the driveway, replaced the front walkway, created another parking area at the street, and landscaped the yard. He fenced the deep backyard, added more plantings, and created a roomy patio, home to Mary Bond’s pet gold plaster alligator.
“I have a thing for alligators,” she says. “They remind me of New Orleans and Tim Trapolin, my godfather, who is so much a part of who I am. And, it’s a fun reminder to keep things wild!” Tim is an artist in New Orleans.
Structural changes complete, Mary Bond was free to work her interior design magic. On the front porch, she added sconces to each side of the door as well as a ceiling fan over the seating area. On the inside, dark brown drapes accentuated with orange, red, and blue blooms provide the living room’s color scheme and are the visitor’s first indication of Mary Bond’s personal style. “I have a flare for the colorful,” she says. “I like the mix of bold and warm.”
After living in a 500-square-foot apartment in New York, she also values the use of all available space and making every room inviting and fun. To this end, her living room has plenty of comfortable seating. Two white slipcovered chairs sit at the front window, topped with royal blue cushions and separated by a carved wooden monkey drink table that once belonged to Cary Bryan Boyd, Mary Bond’s grandmother. On the next wall, an animal print sofa sits below a mirror. To each side are open shelved end tables. “I love coffee table books,” says Mary Bond, “so I needed plenty of space to display them.” In addition to books, each holds a pair of copper-on-white glazed lamps.
On the opposite wall hangs a Tim Trapolin painting in pinks, browns, and blues that echo the colors in the drapes. An octagonal, dark brown coffee table anchors the area, sitting atop a grass woven area rug. An antique oushak rug provides a colorful pathway through the living room and into the rest of the home. The once nondescript fireplace now burns wood and is surrounded by copper metallic tile from Creative Tile, with an Emperador Dark marble hearth. Matching console tables flank the fireplace, as do a pair of raspberry upholstered ottomans. On the wall to the right of the fireplace, an eclectic Miles Purvis painting bursts with color. Opposite hangs a mixed media piece Mary Bond found on a girls’ trip to Madrid. Below is a framed collection of restaurant matches. “I love food, and I love cooking,” she says. The display serves as a unique and sentimental reminder of special meals in favorite restaurants, the doors of some of them now shut for good because of the pandemic.
Mary Bond’s kitchen and dining area are one big, flowing space. “The dining table was a big decision; how many seats and what shape,” says Mary Bond. She settled on a rectangle that flows the length of the room from living room to kitchen, a beautiful piece of reclaimed persimmon refinished by her father. The iron base was made by Owens Welding Works. Black framed cane and bamboo chairs provide seating for six. One of many unique features of the room is the chandelier above the table. “I needed something open and airy,” she says. Her choice was a wavy rattan fixture resembling a whimsical parasol with black bead accents. Across from the table is an antique buffet that doubles as Mary Bond’s bar. At one end of the bar is a fillable lamp holding more of her restaurant matchbook collection. The bar is backed by an antique tapestry given to her by her godfather. Hung on top of it, a starburst mirror adds glamour. “I like mixing traditional pieces with contemporary ones,” she says. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
After gutting the kitchen, Mary Bond added dark espresso cabinets with brushed chrome bamboo pulls, new stainless steel appliances, and a white subway tile backsplash. The countertops and island are topped with Brown Fantasy marble, installed by Ron Cavender of Marble & Granite Creations.
The redesigned laundry room is lined with a faux grasscloth wallcovering, nicely complementing the old-look mosaic tile floor. A slab of Absolute Black granite over the washer and dryer provides space for sorting and folding laundry. On the right wall, visible from the living areas, are three vibrant Tim Trapolin Mardi Gras paintings, all with personal inscriptions to Mary Bond. The trio connects the back of the house to the colorful living room.
Moving through the dining area, you can see framed menus commemorating special meals on each side of the cased opening leading to the front of the house. Turning right into the central hall, you first see an Ernest White rent sign bust sculpture, Mary Bond’s nod to her years in New York. Two black and white photographs of Tim are further testament to the close relationship between Mary Bond and her godfather.
The focal point of the guest bedroom at the front of the house is the colorful Scalamandre chinoiserie drapes repurposed from Ford and George’s former home. To their right, a Page Morris painting captures the colors perfectly. Rattan, bamboo, and cane furniture and a tiger poster give the room a happy, island feel. The theme continues in the hall bath. Here, Mary Bond removed chair railing and beadboard, replacing them with Cole and Sons Leopard Walk wallpaper. She also added a freestanding vanity. “Just little touches can make an old space feel brand new,” she says.
Wall-to-wall seagrass flooring leads from the hallway throughout Mary Bond’s new master suite, lit from above by a trio of glamorous gold flush mount star-shaped light fixtures. To the left, the master bathroom is wallpapered with a large palm frond print. “I love anything with palms,” says Mary Bond. A large walk-in shower floored with basketweave tile sits opposite the wide, Statuarietto quartz single sink vanity. “Storage was more important to me than having two sinks,” she says.
Her large walk-in closet is one of Mary Bond’s favorite features of her new home. “After so many years of switching out warm and cold weather clothes or storing things at my parents’ house, it is nice to have it all in one place.”
Straight ahead in Mary Bond’s bedroom is a custom dresser of honey wood with square bronze knobs. The large television above is flanked by a pair of gold buffet lamps. To the left hangs a colorful Tim Trapolin painting. Across from the dresser is Mary Bond’s hammered wrought iron bed dressed with a white coverlet and accented by Rose Cumming banana leaf fabric. On each side of the bed are repurposed bedside tables that she had lacquered white. They are topped with gold spiral pillar lamps. Behind them are matching bone inlay mirrors. The room is a tropical oasis of calm.
Now that home is complete, Mary Bond is happy with the result. “I wanted to see what I could do without anyone else’s opinion,” she says. “I wanted my home to feel warm and inviting and for each room to have its own flair and personality. And I wanted it all to work together.”
Thanks to the influence of her mother and godfather, and sporting poise and confidence gained from years working with renowned interior designers in New York City, Mary Bond has her own sense of style, a style she incorporates into her new job at Verve. The bungalow off Devine Street shines brightly now, thanks to her talent.