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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​Roadtrippers
The only map built for travelers, discover millions of places like local diners, quirky roadside attractions, and hidden scenic points with Roadtrippers.
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Events Calendar

  • Savannah Music Festival

    Mar 26, 2020
    12:30 PM - 10:00 PM @ Various Locations

    From March 26 through April 11, the Savannah Music Festival hosts musical visionaries and creative artists from across the United States, as well...

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  • Blowing Rock Trout Derby

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    7:30 AM - 4:00 PM @ Broyhill Park

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  • Cooper River Bridge Run

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    2020 ROUTE 10K is point to point, from Mt. Pleasant to downtown Charleston. You must wear your race (bib) number to be allowed on the course...

  • Forsyth Farmer's Market

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  • Power Yoga Principles

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  • Beaufort Water Festival 5K/10K

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  • "Emperor"

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  • 2020 Red Shoes Run

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  • Publick Day

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    9:00 AM - 4:00 PM @ Beaufort Historic Site

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  • Cars & 'Q for the Cause

    Apr 18, 2020
    4:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ Choate Construction

    Join Choate Construction for the 11th annual Cars & ‘Q for the Cause, featuring 120-plus stellar cars; tasty BBQ, craft brews and wine; silent...

  • "Diving Deep"

    Apr 19, 2020
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

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  • Trail to Ale 5K

    Apr 23, 2020
    6:00 PM @ Buckwalter Place Commerce Park

    One-of-a-kind 5K happy hour event for runners, walkers, young professionals, all professionals, companies, community and more! Run through the...

  • Relationship Therapy

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  • House of Blues: Willie Jackson’s Tybee Blues Band and Eric Culberson’s Band

    Apr 24, 2020
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  • Ignite the Senses Autism Awareness 5K Race

    Apr 25, 2020
    7:00 AM @ Lowcountry Community Church

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  • Girls Night Out, The Show! 2020 Get Wild Tour!

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  • PRC Earth Day 5K Race at Palmetto Bluff

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Scenes of the South

FACES OF THE SOUTH-THE TRILOGY GALLERY 5

This is not a celebration. It is not a salute. This, readers, is a manifesto. It is a bold declaration of the richness of the South, of the majestic talents, relentless ambition and singular vision that reside just behind each face you pass in your travels. These are the faces of the people who are creating the new South through the sweat of their brow and the depth of their passions. But if you never look closer you may never know how deep that passion goes, and what it has accomplished.

FACES OF THE SOUTH-THE TRILOGY GALLERY 4

This is not a celebration. It is not a salute. This, readers, is a manifesto. It is a bold declaration of the richness of the South, of the majestic talents, relentless ambition and singular vision that reside just behind each face you pass in your travels. These are the faces of the people who are creating the new South through the sweat of their brow and the depth of their passions. But if you never look closer you may never know how deep that passion goes, and what it has accomplished.

FACES OF THE SOUTH-THE TRILOGY GALLERY 2

This is not a celebration. It is not a salute. This, readers, is a manifesto. It is a bold declaration of the richness of the South, of the majestic talents, relentless ambition and singular vision that reside just behind each face you pass in your travels. These are the faces of the people who are creating the new South through the sweat of their brow and the depth of their passions. But if you never look closer you may never know how deep that passion goes, and what it has accomplished.

FACES OF THE SOUTH-THE TRILOGY GALLERY 3

This is not a celebration. It is not a salute. This, readers, is a manifesto. It is a bold declaration of the richness of the South, of the majestic talents, relentless ambition and singular vision that reside just behind each face you pass in your travels. These are the faces of the people who are creating the new South through the sweat of their brow and the depth of their passions. But if you never look closer you may never know how deep that passion goes, and what it has accomplished.

FACES OF THE SOUTH-THE TRILOGY GALLERY 1

This is not a celebration. It is not a salute. This, readers, is a manifesto. It is a bold declaration of the richness of the South, of the majestic talents, relentless ambition and singular vision that reside just behind each face you pass in your travels. These are the faces of the people who are creating the new South through the sweat of their brow and the depth of their passions. But if you never look closer you may never know how deep that passion goes, and what it has accomplished.

February Brews for a Cause

February's Brews for a Cause was held at the Drayton Hotel on Thursday, February 27th. South Magazine and Southern Eagle teamed up to raise money through a large silent auction for the Savannah Ambucs organization. Craft Beer samplings from Wild Leap Brewing, alongside appetizers from the Drayton Hotel were offered to guests.

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.