Susan Albright has found her happy place in Pawleys Island and wants to share it.
The 56-year-old Albright, with one career as an interior decorator in the books, is expanding, merging her love of her adopted hometown with her sense of color and whimsy into a second labor of love: creating whimsical maps, scenes, drawings and putting them on luggage tags, bags, toile, serving trays, napkins, aprons, scarves, flip-flops and Christmas tree ornaments.
Last summer she put her interior decorator business on hold and set off in a different direction. She said she’s having so much fun with creating an homage to Pawleys Island that she says she may focus her talent on her Happy Places designs and limit her interior decorating work.
“They’re happy, whimsical, fun,” Albright said of her latest works. That does not mean they are inexpensive. She opted to work with vendors in Canada, England and the United States to digitally transfer her designs from paper to finished product. “I wanted something that was quality, that would last,” she said.
So far, her happy places have also included Westport, Connecticut, and Sullivan’s Island, in addition to Pawleys Island.
But it’s Pawleys Island that won her heart, she said from the house she shares with her husband, Stu Boehmig, the Rector at The Abbey, and their Irish Jack Russell, Ryelee. She said that Boehmig is the one that is a classically trained artist, and when she first started drawing, she would take every piece of work to him. Not so much anymore.
She credits Boehmig and Sassy and Brian Henry, the owners of Sea View Inn, with encouraging her new venture.
“I did a pattern for them, and now it’s on pillows at the inn,” Albright said. “By the way, the inn is one of my happy places.”
Creating works for small businesses is near the top of her personal happiness list.
“It used to be that when someone personalized something, it was a monogram,” she said. “I think of this as a monogram on steroids.”
While her map artwork is on a number of products, she says it’s not to scale. “It’s the way a woman would look at a place, her sense of direction, her sense of what’s important,” Albright said.
Some of her backgrounds, too, are distinctive to the area. Her Pawleys works include shells and seagrasses backgrounds in the pinks and greens that hint of the ocean.
She has other ideas about transferring her affection for certain places to items that people might want to remind them of visits and the happy times they spent in towns that Albright loves too. “I won’t feature any place that I haven’t been to, that I haven’t loved,” she said.
But she’s going to do it her way. She’s already found that she likes working from home, when her time is her own. “There are days when I don’t go out, when I spend the day in my pajamas,” she said. “And that makes me happy.”
For more information on Albright’s Happy Places, visit www.susanalbrightlifestyledesign.com.