...Designer chosen to restore the guest bedroom at Hobcaw!

Hobcaw House Restoration and Conservation, Georgetown, SC


Hobcaw Barony  launched a major conservation project to restore Hobcaw House to its original state "so the house looks like the family is still at home" says George Chastain, Executive Director of Hobcaw.  The first room to be restored to its original glamour was the downstairs guest bedroom by Pawleys Island interior designer, Rebecca Ceron Martin of Ceron Martin Designs. Many national and world renowned visitors frequented Hobcaw House as guests and would have stayed in this bedroom.

Mr. Baruch and his family entertained America's senators, congressmen, and Generals of the era, such as Mark Clark, George Marshall, Omar Bradley and John Pershing.  Also, LIFE publishers Henry and Clare Booth Luce, Ralph Pulitzer, Jack London, H.G. Wells and Irving Berlin enjoyed Baruch's hospitality. World leaders including the Prince of Monaco and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his daughter Diana visited.  President Woodrow and Mrs. Wilson, President Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt also were welcomed guests. FDR stayed at Hobcaw House for a month-long retreat in April 1944 to restore his health and enabled him to face some of the hardest months of World War II in the adjacent bedroom.

Hobcaw has a rich history from its time as eleven rice plantations, through WWII, to its present day as a conservation and historic landmark.  The entire Barony is on the National Register of Historic Places and Hobcaw House is a nominee for designation as a National Historic Landmark.  Hobcaw House still has most of the family furniture and art collection.  

Come see the first restored room completed, the downstairs bedroom and view more exciting progress taking place at Hobcaw House.  Tours are are presented on a regular schedule through the Visitor's Center at Hobcaw Barony.

 Brief History of Hobcaw House and Hobcaw Barony:

Hobcaw Barony was the winter retreat of Bernard Baruch, Wall Street financier and advisor to presidents and was later owned by his daughter Belle Baruch.

Baruch bought 17,500 acres in 1905-07 and created his winter home in one of the former plantation houses on a bluff overlooking Winyah Bay. Several other 19th century buildings on the barony, former slave villages and caretakers cottages, housed local staff, both black and white, who made successful hunting trips possible.

Thirty-five of the barony's structures are on the National Register of Historic Places and include remnants of four slave villages, ruins of a rice mill, cemeteries, a church, caretakers' cottages, and plantation outbuildings. The foundation has also committed to the documentation and restoration of the furniture, art, photographs and objects in the two historic houses through fundraising and public support. Belle Baruch's contribution to the understanding of coastal ecosystems, coupled with the foundation's goals to preserve the barony's cultural history, will result in a unique, rich and rewarding legacy.

 ---Lee G. Brockington, 2008 , Senior Interpreter for the Belle W. Baruch Foundation at Hobcaw Barony.   Author of the book, PLANTATION BETWEEN THE WATERS, about Hobcaw Barony.

 ...Recent articles on Hobcaw


 ARTICLE IN VERANDA: Text by Timothy Revis Produced by Tom Woodham
Timothy Revis completed an internship at Hobcaw Barony in preperation for his graduate degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia.  Revis is a well know Interior Designer in  Atlanta

click on article to enlarge for reading


 page 25.  Article " Hobcaw House Gets a Facelift"

story and photos by:  Rebecca Ceron Martin



  ...Ceron Martin Interiors 

Guest Bedroom Restoration Design: 
by Rebecca Ceron Martin

My design philosophy for the guest bedroom at Hobcaw House is quite simple. Creating it, however, was not.  Carol Bolton, famous for “acquired age” style of decorating said, “It takes a lot of work for something to look this undecorated.” 


The first objective was to define exactly what “Hobcaw Style” was, then to marry that concept with available “modern resources,” not allowing a limited budget to compromise either the quality or authenticity of the room’s decor.   

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The challenge was to create a relaxing yet traditional, outdoor- influenced room that (if still living in the home) the Baruch’s would have thought ideal for their guests. 


The focus was on comfort, beauty and the truly “livable luxury” once embodied throughout Hobcaw House.  Always keeping in mind, a house is not interesting unless it reflects the people who “live” there.  Of course the room will likely never house overnight guests again but that does not mandate a sterile museum appearance, as some would assume, either.  I have employed my decorating skills towards “breathing life” back into a beloved room with the belief that it would be up to the challenge of welcoming overnight guests again and to suggest that it is simply “awaiting the Baruch’s return home”.


Endeavoring to achieve the look, color and feel of the 1930’s period was less important than achieving the unique look and feel of HOBCAW HOUSE which clearly represented Baruch’s sophisticated, lowcountry-sportsman style of elegance.   Original furnishings, lamps, art and accessories would set the project in motion, but period-accurate reproduction textiles of the finest quality and same design standards originally selected by the Baruch’s would bring it “home”.  The goal was to design in such a way that the room itself could tell the story of Bernard Baruch’s golden years when many guests were invited to Hobcaw.


The room would have been a welcome retreat for friends coming to visit Baruch’s Colonial Revival Estate in South Carolina.   They would have anticipated the family’s famous hospitality, sought Hobcaw’s world-class sporting, or simply desired time away from the spotlight of public life.   Many guests from the arts, entertainment and literary worlds including  Jack London, Irving Berlin and LIFE publishers Henry and Clare Booth Luce may have slept in this room.  Additionally, some of our nation’s most prominent women like Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, Eleanor Roosevelt and Winston Churchill’s daughter, Diana surely enjoyed it.  Because of this, we opted to give this guest bedroom a “feminine” stroke, and the adjacent guest bedroom, often used by FDR, exhibits a masculine interpretation.



Effort was made to impart the room with the “English Country” look, so admired by America’s affluent society of the period.  Research uncovered that the Baruchs favored this style too, using it throughout Hobcaw House and in New York.  They reveled in their Scottish heritage on vacations at Fetteresso Castle.  The drapery and coverlet fabric chosen for the room was printed in France exclusively for the prestigious English fabric house, Beacon Hill.  Its pattern “Ardwell Gardens” pays tribute to the Baruch’s Scottish roots because Ardwell House & Gardens is located only about 190 miles from the beloved Fetteresso Castle where they summered. 


Just as important, the room needed to look and feel as though it had been in the house all along, withstanding the test of time.  It also had to portray the BARUCH’S UNIQUE STYLE, not a stereotypical “1930’s era style,” to achieve period accuracy, reflecting one of Baruch’s inspiring quotes, “Never follow the crowd.”


Textiles in the room were coordinated to NOT have a “matchy-matchy” look. This technique helped “age” the room.   Following this principle, the primary fabric was complemented with companion fabrics that suggest a “lived-in” not “new” feel in order to achieve an “evolved-over-time” rather than an “all-done-at-once” look.  Evoking these essentials we “turned back the clock,” giving the impression the room has enjoyed a life span, not just a recent “re-do.”    The choice of fabric promotes a sense of welcome and gives the room English country comfort while the paint color, accessories and furniture are scaled towards American tastes.   In addition, reupholstered pieces were left under-stuffed on purpose so they would not have a “plump” newness about them.  To create a soft patina some of the fabrics were washed before being slip-covered and ivory interlining was used (not white) to “age” the light background of the drapery and coverlet fabric.


Where possible and practical, the room was appointed with original Baruch family belongings.  Inspiration for the interior design theme came from the Baruch song-birds found in upstairs chambers.  These taxidermy “sculptures,” (Carolina Wren and Eastern Bluebird) are extremely delicate and reveal the family’s love for Hobcaw’s natural environment.   


Expanding upon the idea, custom pillows on the beds were made from “Voliere” Smithsonian, Schumacher archival prints (no longer in production).  Since 1889, Schumacher has produced textiles which have graced not only The White House and United States Supreme Court Chambers but countless distinguished homes throughout America.  The pillow fabric features local birds of the Carolinas: the Wood Thrush, White Throated Sparrow, Dickcissel, Scarlet Tanager, House finch, and Carolina Wren. 


The artwork featured in this room is by Louis Aston Knight, artist to many American Presidents who stayed at Hobcaw Barony in the early part of the 20th Century as a guest of Bernard Baruch to paint scenes of Hobcaw and near-by Georgetown historical sites. His works are featured in the White House, Lourve and Smithsonian museums to mention a few and many noteable private collections.   


Continuing with this theme in the adjacent bathroom, the shower curtain and window treatment are showcased in Thibaut’s song-bird fabric.  Thibault was established in 1886 and is the nation’s oldest continuously operated wallpaper firm.  This pattern is an exclusive screen print from the Thibaut library.

Article written by: Rebecca Ceron Martin, Guest Bedroom Designer
 click on article to enlarge for reading


Article written by: Jackie Broach /photos by Tanya Ackerman              Thursday, June 11 issue