Diamonds in the Rough


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Airbnbs have been on the rise in popularity in Savannah, and fortunately for the end user, hosts are getting more and more creative with their accommodations. This local couple has taken the internet by storm with their whimsical homes, offering truly unforgettable stays to all they host.

If you are looking for a stay in Savannah that is truly without equal, you won’t have to wander far to get off the beaten path. Three miles outside of the bustling historic district lays the old, quiet fishing town of Thunderbolt. It is here you will find ancient live oaks that cloak the streets, straight-off-the-boat Georgia shrimp, neighborly locals, and a slower pace of life.

It is also here that you will find the magic that Chad Faries and Margaret Emily Jones have created in their properties. These spaces, shared with visitors and artists from near and far, are so much more than places to lay your head. They are experiences—narratives of the couple’s relationship, travels, and dreams. 

Just up the road from their Bonaventure homes, next to an abandoned dairy farm, you will find Margaret Emily’s property, listed on Airbnb as JEM’s Duende. Loosely interpreted, the Spanish word “duende” refers to the spirit of evocation or the physical or emotional response to art. No matter which way you interpret “duende,” this charming bungalow exemplifies it. And that’s not even mentioning the communal tree house and the magnificent resident mini-horse Prince Mars, whose kingdom is the repurposed wooden stable in the yard. 

Entering the home, every square inch of space has a touch of Margaret Emily’s influence. From her handcrafted 3-D wall displays of reclaimed wood to the whimsical, vibrant décor ranging from skulls to florals, patterns, and Hail Mary candles, there is something to marvel at with every turn. 

“No education required… I just find these quirky things and throw them together. Then I’ll get bored and want to redo everything,” says Margaret Emily.

Original paintings by Whitney LeJeune, a local artist and friend of Margaret Emily’s adorn the walls alongside pieces that have been compiled from both near and far. 

“We’ve really curated our stuff from all over the world,” says Chad, listing out the far-off places the couple has traveled to including Vietnam, Cuba, Thailand, and Cambodia. “We just really go off the beaten path to get things, not just from stores but from rummage sales, out-of-the-way auctions, and conversations with people.”

JEM’s Duende has been a labor of love for the couple for a little over two years. While Margaret Emily and Chad have done a significant amount of the handy work and decorating themselves, their visions came to fruition with the help of their trusted co-creators, Tex and E, their English Mastiff, Storm, and of course, Mars the mini-horse. 

"We just really go off the beaten path to get things, not just from stores but from rummage sales, out-of-the-way auctions, and conversations with people."

Distinct character can also be found back up the road in Chad’s Diamond Oaks Treehouse. With only one look at it, it’s easy to understand why this home is one of Savannah’s most popular listings on Airbnb. While the magical tree house overtop might be what first piques interest, it’s the intricate details that make up the home: the trinkets, books, records, and friendly cats, that make it truly remarkable.

For his first 20 years, Chad lived in an upwards of 40 different houses. For the past ten years, which is the longest he’s ever lived anywhere, he has tended to his house in order to create a space unlike any other.

“I’ve taken this opportunity to just build something that is uniquely my own, something I feel is like a home that I never had,” says Chad. “Maybe I’ll never leave.”

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Events Calendar

  • #art912, Grounded

    Mar 30, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums will feature a commissioned work titled Grounded by Adolfo Alvarado, a Savannah-based artist whose work incorporates cal­ligraphic...

  • Turtle Talks

    May 16, 2018
    10:15 AM - 10:15 AM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    During Turtle Talks, you’ll learn about anatomy and natural adaptations of sea turtles, discuss Tybee’s Sea Turtle Project conservation...

  • Tybee South Beach Walks

    May 16, 2018
    2:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    South beach walks depart from the science center where you’ll join a knowledgeable marine science educator on a guided walk of Tybee’s south...

  • Tybee Marsh Treks

    May 16, 2018
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    On a marsh trek, you’ll enjoy a hands-on exploration of Georgia’s salt marsh, searching the mud for fiddler crabs, snails, and more. Learn...

  • Bin Feng 2013-2018 presented by HAZA

    May 25, 2018
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ HAZA at The Stables

    HAZA, a contemporary art gallery, presents their second exhibition with artist Bin Feng at The Stables from Friday, May 25 through Saturday, June...

  • Artist' Exhibition Reception: Splendid Failures, by Julia Kier Wilson

    May 25, 2018
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Non-Fiction Gallery

    Non-Fiction Gallery will be exhibiting the work of SCAD MFA photography student , Julia Kier Wilson, entitled, Splendid Failures. This body of...

  • The Great American Trailer Park Musical

    May 25, 2018
    7:30 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    There's a new tenant at Armadillo Acres—and she's wreaking havoc all over Florida's most exclusive trailer park! When Pippi comes...

  • Jacksonville Jazz Festival

    May 24, 2018
    All Day @ Jacksonville Downtown

    The streets of Downtown Jacksonville will come alive with the sounds of the jazz greats and some modern favorites during the 2018 Jacksonville Jazz...

  • Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, 2018 Savannah Mile

    May 26, 2018
    8:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ Drayton St. and Park St.

    The 13th Annual Savannah Mile presented by the Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire honors our fallen first responders, their families, and our...

  • The Crawl of the South

    May 26, 2018
    4:00 PM - 11:00 PM @ Congress Street Social Club

    Crawl through Memorial Day with Bar Crawl Savannah’s annual “Crawl of the South.” Everyone who registers for this crawl will get...

  • Franklin Pond Chamber Music Awards Concert

    May 27, 2018
    4:00 PM - 4:00 PM @ Spivey Hall

    resented by Franklin Pond Chamber Music, the Second Annual Memorial Day Weekend Awards Concert invites music lovers statewide to enjoy an...

  • RDS Memorial 5k

    May 28, 2018
    9:15 AM - 9:15 AM @ Kensington Park

    Challenge yourself with a fun 5k located in beautiful Kensington Park!  Grab the kids and enjoy a run/walk with your family, friends and...

  • Camp Moon River at Savannah Country Day School

    May 29, 2018
    8:30 AM - 4:30 PM @ Savannah Country Day School

    An Overnight Experience in A Day Camp Package  Camp Moon River is a new full-day, traditional-style day camp at Savannah Country Day School,...

  • Yoga Me Fit Challenge

    Mar 29, 2018
    5:30 PM - 6:30 PM @ Savannah Yoga Barre

    This class is designed for the younger and older practitioner who are seeking growth. Alignment and movement education are essential key components...

  • Girls' Night Out: "The Long, Hot Summer

    May 31, 2018
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Baby, it’s hot out there! So, we thought we’d keep it steamy here inside the Post! Our Girls’ Night Out film is a 60th anniversary revival of...

  • Girls' Night Out: "The Long, Hot Summer

    May 31, 2018
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Baby, it’s hot out there! So, we thought we’d keep it steamy here inside the Post! Our Girls’ Night Out film is a 60th anniversary revival of...

  • Atlanta Food and Wine Festival

    May 31, 2018
    All Day @ Midtown Atlanta

    Every year, food and wine lovers gather to sip, sample, and savor the flavors of the South. With award-winning chefs, sommeliers, and beverage...

  • Summer Reading Program

    Jun 01, 2018
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM @ Live Oak Public Libraries

    Be a reading rockstar! Enjoy great books, participate in exciting activities and earn prizes. Have fun reading and learning all summer long! Check...

  • Summer Waves Movie Night #1

    Jun 02, 2018
    8:30 PM @ Frantic Atlantic Wave Pool

    June 2nd: Despicable Me Grab your inner tubes and join Summer Waves over the summer as they show two awesome films in the wave pool! The...


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Scenes of the South

Lowcountry Annie Oakleys Charity Clay Tournament

The third annual Annie Oakley's Charity Clay Tournament and After Party took place on September 29. The event benefited the Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children's Hospital in Savannah. The day began at 11:30 a.m. with the driven bird flurry contest. Later that afternoon, the shotgun start kicked off the 100-shot tournament. The after party that evening was open to non-shooters alike, where cocktails, drinks and hors d'oeuvres from Cotton & Rye were served.

Savannah Salutes Empower Health After Party

More than four hundred service members representing every branch of the military from all over the country congregated in Savannah to Savannah to provide no cost Health Care to thousands of Savannah residents as a part of the Empower Health Innovative Readiness Training program initiated by the Department of Defense. The Savannah Salute event was hosted on May 20 at the Savannah Civic Center to celebrate the success of the program and thank all involved.

5th Annual Nine Line Run for the Wounded 5k/10k

More than 1400 runners gathered at Grayson Stadium to participate in the 5th Annual Nine Line Run for the Wounded 5k/10k. The race raises money for the Nine Line Foundation to support veterans and their families.

Taste of Downtown Savannah

More than two thousand Savannah Chamber of Commerce members and community neighbors gathered in Johnson Square on May 17 for the highly anticipated, Taste of Downtown Savannah event. Guests enjoyed small bites and sips of favorite menu items served up by more than forty Chamber member restaurants along with live music by The Cicada Brothers and Wassaw Sound.

Empower Health Distinguished Visitor Event

A group of distinguished visitors from the Pentagon and White House joined several military members who were a part of the Empower Health Readiness Training Initiative to provide no cost healthcare to the Savannah community from May 10 -18. The event was hosted by Edgar's Proof and Provision at the DeSoto and guests enjoyed a casual evening of fellowship and fun.

2018 SCAD Sand Arts Festival

Event-goers soaked up some sun on while watching elaborate, artistic creations rise from the sand at the SCAD Sand Arts Festival on Tybee Island that took place on May 11th.

2018 Savannah Doggie Carnival

The 18th Annual Doggie Carnival welcomed hundreds of pet lovers and owner on Sunday, May 6, 2018 in Forsyth Park. This family-friendly festival featured fun for humans and canines alike with all proceeds benefit the Humane Society for Greater Savannah

Jalapenos Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Cinco de Mayo was a huge success for Jalapenos multiple locations as guests enjoyed food and drink specials along with a LOT of Tequila and fun for the whole family.

Savannah Scottish Games 2018

A grand celebration of Scottish Culture for the entire family!

Kentucky Derby Party for Alzheimers Association

The Homewood Suites’ Rooftop Bar on Riverstreet was overcome by a blur of Big Hats and Seer Sucker suits on Friday, May 4th to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association’s Dancing with the Savannah Stars Fundraiser. The event was sponsored by PruittHealth Hospice to benefit candidate, Michelle Thompson, of Spectrum printing