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

  • “Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick” Exhibition

    Oct 11, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick examines the work of six contemporary artists—Corey Arnold, Guy Ben-Ner, Patty Chang, Tristin...

  • Confident Complexion – Love Your Skin at Bluemercury!

    Feb 13, 2020
    11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

    The beauty of makeup is that you’re in control of when and how you wear it—whether it’s to enhance, conceal or simply not to wear it at all....

  • ASBURY MEMORIAL CHURCH TO HOST DELAND HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR CONCERT

    Feb 16, 2020
    11:15 AM - 3:00 PM @ Asbury Memorial Church

    Asbury Memorial Church will host the DeLand High School Chorus on Sunday, Feb. 16. The choir will perform two songs during the church’s 11:15...

  • A New Year ...Two Views: 31 Days of Painting Plein Air in the Lowcountry

    Feb 14, 2020
    5:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Salt Marsh Studio

  • A New Year, Two Views

    Feb 14, 2020
    5:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Salt Marsh Studio

    A NEW YEAR, TWO VIEWS… 31 DAYS OF PLEIN AIR PAINTING! Artists: Marc R. Hanson and Dottie T. Leatherwood   Local artists Marc Hanson and...

  • "1917"

    Feb 13, 2020
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Sam Mendes’s thrilling World War 1 movie took Best Drama Picture honors at the Golden Globe Awards, so we thought we better book it for...

  • 2020 Savannah Book Festival

    Feb 13, 2020
    All Day @ Various Locations

    The 13th Annual Savannah Book Festival will continue to celebrate nationally-recognized and local authors through their contributions to literacy,...

  • 2020 American Traditions Vocal Competition

    Feb 17, 2020
    4:30 PM - 9:30 AM @ Skidaway Island United Methodist Church

    The American Traditions Vocal Competition (ATC) returns for its highly anticipated 27th anniversary season Feb. 17-21, 2020. With an outstanding...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Judges Concert

    Feb 17, 2020
    7:00 PM - 8:30 PM @ Skidaway Island United Methodist Church

    Spend the evening with the famous judges of the 2020 American Traditions Vocal Competition as they perform various selections from their diverse...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Quarter Finals I

    Feb 18, 2020
    4:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Skidaway Island United Methodist Church

    The first half of 28 quarterfinalists compete for a spot in the semifinals in the 2020 American Traditions Vocal Competition.  With an...

  • Book Signing and Luncheon with Colleen Oakley

    Feb 19, 2020
    12:00 PM - 2:00 PM @ Chatham Club

      Join us for a luncheon with Colleen Oakley featuring her new book, You Were There Too. Tickets include lunch and a copy of Oakley's book. Two...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Quarter Finals II

    Feb 19, 2020
    4:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Skidaway Island United Methodist Church

    The second half of 28 quarterfinalists compete for a spot in the semifinals in the 2020 American Traditions Vocal Competition.  With an...

  • “Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao: Nationalism and Regionalism in Contemporary Spain”

    Feb 19, 2020
    7:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Savannah Country Day School

    SCDS Upper School Spanish instructor Michelle Dumais will explore the historical roots of the tensions between Spanish regionalism and nationalism...

  • Savannah Pennysaver Job Fair

    Feb 20, 2020
    10:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Lowcountry artists are invited to submit their works of art for The Society of Bluffton Artists’ (SOBA) 26th Annual Judged Show. Winners...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Semi Finals

    Feb 20, 2020
    4:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Skidaway Island United Methodist Church

    The 12 semifinalists compete for a spot in the finals as they sing their second program of American songs. The ATC requires singers to create...

  • Oglethorpe Mall Carnival

    Feb 20, 2020
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Oglethorpe Mall

    Experience the sights, sounds and aromas of the electrifying midway with rides and games for all ages, favorite fair food and Victoria Circus...

  • Sips for Spouses

    Feb 20, 2020
    5:30 PM - 8:00 PM @ Ghost Coast Distillery

    Who: Patriot Advantage, Hire Heroes USA and YOU! What: A fundraising event to benefit the nonprofit Hire Heroes: Serving Spouses Program Where:...

  • "Little Women"

    Feb 20, 2020
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, writer-director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) has crafted a “Little Women” that draws on both the classic...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Master Class

    Feb 21, 2020
    3:00 PM - 4:30 PM @ Savannah Cultural Arts Center: Ben Tucker Theatre

    Spend the afternoon with the judges as they work with contestants to perfect performances of select ATC songs. The ATC requires singers to create...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Finals

    Feb 21, 2020
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Savannah Cultural Arts Center: Ben Tucker Theatre

    Join the gala evening as finalists content for top prizes and the all-important ATC Gold Medal. The ATC requires singers to create three rounds of...


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Scenes of the South

2020 Southern Coast Heart Ball

The American Heart Association held its annual Southern Coast Heart Ball on Saturday, February 8th at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa. Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with a silent auction, dinner and program, and dancing to end the evening. All proceeds went to the Open Your Heart campaign.

4th Annual Hearts for Healing Gala

Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center held its Fourth Annual Hearts for Healing Gala on Friday, February 7th at the Tybee Island Wedding Chapel. Guests enjoyed gourmet dining, dancing, and a silent auction. All proceeds from the auction benefitted the Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center's program for individuals with disabilities.

IDC Benefits the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire

The LeClerc Family owners of IDC (International Diamond Center) in Savannah 349 Mall Blvd held a benefit to support the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire on Thursday, February 6th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Guests enjoyed light food and drinks, while bidding on several silent auction items, including autographed footballs and helmets donated by Anthony Lanier II.

Royce Learning Center Annual Low Country Boil & Oyster Roast

The Royce Learning Center held their annual low country boil and oyster roast on Saturday, February 1st. Guests enjoyed mingling over the seafood selection. Royce Learning Center meets the needs of children and adults with learning differences and literacy needs through its unique programs.

Dining in the Dark 2020

The Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision held its annual Dining in the Dark event on Saturday, January 18th at the Embassy Suites Downtown Savannah. Guests were served a four-course meal in complete darkness by the Savannah Metro's SWAT team. Dining in the Dark serves to raise awareness about vision loss.

January Brews for a Cause

South magazine in collaboration with Southern Eagle Distributing hosted their monthly Brews for a Cause on Thursday, January 16th at the Savannah Taphouse in a successful effort to raise money and awareness for the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision. The night featured delicious appetizers by Savannah Taphouse and a range of flavored Bud Light Seltzers provided by Southern Eagle. These events provide good food, fun entertainment, refreshing drinks and most importantly – raise money for a great cause! Be sure to be on the lookout for our next Brews in February!

Ford Plantation's Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting for Silk Hope

The Ford Plantation celebrated the completion of its two new Silk Hope model homes on January 10, 2020. The Silk Hope project is limited to 53 homes, on beautiful lots of buyers’ choosing amongst old oaks and a Lowcountry marsh setting. This member-backed project is the first new for sale residential development at The Ford Plantation in more than fifteen years and represents the final phase of home development to be offered. The Silk Hope community is the product of a collaboration of some of the world’s top residential architects and landscape designers and has been modeled to capture tranquil European village and Lowcountry architecture.

Mat Best Signs his New Best-seller at Nine Line

Veteran, entrepreneur and author Mat Best met fans and signed copies of his new book “Thank you for my Service” Thursday Dec. 12 at Nine Line Apparel. Best’s best-selling authorial debut chronicles his service as a U.S. Army Ranger. Best's Black Rifle Coffee co., partnered with Nine Line Apparel, has shops on River st. and off route 95 on Ft. Argyle rd.

Victory Antiques and Engel & Völkers' Holiday Party

Dickey Mopper and his team at Engel and Völkers celebrated the season at their annual holiday party on Wednesday Dec. 11, with a special appearance from the jolly fellow himself, Santa Claus. Mopper and company, celebrating alongside the crew of Victory Antiques, showed off the newest Engel and Völkers office at 1650 East Victory Dr. in Savannah.

Good Times Jazz Bar & Restaurant's 2nd Anniversary Celebration feat. Lady Leah

Jazz lovers celebrated Good Times Jazz bar's second anniversary on Nov. 8 and 9 featuring jazz vocalist Lady Leah and the culinary stylings of Good Times' chef Joe Randall, the dean of southern cuisine. In 2017 Randall teamed with Danielle and Stephen T. Moore to create one of the city's smoothest spots, a confluence of culture and taste fit for the soul of Savannah.