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Watercolor by the author.

Watercolor by the author.

There are always people who we see at the best parties and social events, yet how well do we really know them? Take for instance my exquisite friend Frances Shultz – we’ve known each other for several years and have run into each other in all sorts of places — Lyford to Los Angeles and everywhere in-between. I knew she has great Southern charm, elegance, and wit, but reading her marvelous memoir, The Bee Cottage Story: How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness, gave me a whole new level of appreciation for this wildly talented, resourceful, and intelligent woman!

photo: Tria Giovan

Garden Room – photo by Tria Giovan

The Bee Cottage Story shares Schultz’s journey from utter despair and confusion to a place of love, acceptance, confidence, and joy — we see this journey paralleled by the transformation of her home; a metaphor for the process of healing and self-discovery. It’s a revealing book filled with goodies; from spiritual insights to the nuts and bolts of decorating. Actually it touches on a whole lot that I find near and dear! Needless to say, we absolutely love it!

The author

Frances Schultz – photo by Trevor Tondro

Schultz certainly has had her share of ups and downs, yet the process of turning Bee Cottage into a home was a tremendous gift that got her through some of her darkest days. Shultz’s tells us that the cottage’s name alludes to the many “be(e)s” that accompany any good transformation — that is, one should “… be creative, be outdoors, be cocooned, be social, be alone, and best of all be me, just be.”

It should also be mentioned that Schultz’s book is filled with the most glorious photos capturing early images of her homes, her family, friends, and much morel It really is a joy to explore her many facets —— her gorgeous process, her highly considered interiors, her thoughts on living comfortably, and the many notes on subject like guest rooms and collecting!


The Pergola – photo by Trevor Tondro

“Maybe it is not so much perfect bliss we seek,” Schultz tells us, “but rather self-awareness.The Buddhist principle of detachment from self-imposed suffering is in its essence the ability to recognize our own neurotic patterns and step aside from them. We aren’t necessarily “cured” of them; we just aren’t caught up in them.The openness and effort to learn sustains our momentum to grow and change. It gives us confidence to admit that things, thoughts, people or places that worked for us at one time in life may not work in another. Letting go creates the space in our closet/day/life for the new/better to come in – or maybe there is just space, and that’s great, too. There is no magic pill for a muddle free existence, but there may be a way to keep one muddle from spilling into another.”

Certainly one of the best books I have read in a long time — do pick it up!

Photo by Tria Giovan

Photo by Tria Giovan

Frances Schultz recently invited me to stop by Bee Cottage, and from the second I stepped onto the property I felt the healing energy of the place. The glorious gardens and the incredible interiors are, in a word, spectacular.

James Andrew at Bee Cottage.

James Andrew at Bee Cottage.

I’m pictured here, seated on one of a pair of the most beautiful benches at Bee Cottage, soaking up the glorious energy and beauty of Bee Cottage and recalling Schultz marvelous memoir. Sporting a Hawke & Co. gray down vest, Tom Ford era Gucci khaki cotton safari shirt, Michael Bastian white denim pants, Kiel James Patrick white woven cotton belt, Polo Ralph Lauren pale blue top siders, vintage Rolex and my fragrance is Jo Malone 154 Cologne.

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  1. Karena says:

    James, Frances sounds like such an interesting ( and of course gorgeous) woman who has led a fascinating life!! I cannot wait to read her story in The Bee Cottage! Thank you for this feature!

    The Arts by Karena

  2. Dean Farris says:

    Dearest James,

    I think you totally belong in East Hampton !
    Not the North Fork-
    Looking forward to more on WIJW!


  3. Dean Farris says:

    Bee Cottage so reminds me of Arthur Dunnams’ house
    which I was taken to many years ago-

    It was published in AD-


  4. Dear James,
    Just don’t even know where to start. First, thank you. From a longtime fan from afar, and now new friend from our many mutual acquaintances and felicitous social encounters, I am both honored and humbled to be here. Of course one is always happy to have one’s work appreciated and promoted, but you have clearly gotten at the core of the message, and for that I am most grateful: Beyond the personal story and pretty pictures, what I want people to come away with is the assurance that what is authentic for and to them is also what is best for them, and therefore for everyone around them, whether they consciously know it or not. That the true you is also the purposeful you and the divine you. However you get to that–whether it is through decorating, or baking cupcakes, or driving carpool, or donning a fabulous outfit to wear everyday–that is what you are meant to do, and that is your joy and your heart’s song. Frances P.S. I daresay I speak for many when I say I am also grateful for your permission to wear white jeans past Labor Day.

  5. James Andrew says:

    Darling Karena,

    She is so delicious and Bee Cottage is an absolute dream.

    You will adore the book – it really is a must read!

    So many lessons and musings on a well lived fufilled life!



  6. James Andrew says:

    Dear Dean,

    I j’adore the Hamptons off -season!

    I hope you run to the book store and pick up this marvelous memoir!

    Cheers and Many Thanks


  7. Dean Farris says:

    Oh Amazon-a-lutely! 🙂

  8. Dean Farris says:


    I forgot to mention- have already pre-ordered PARISH HADLEY TREE OF LIFE !
    Can’t wait to read all about you on page 28 !


  9. Hi! She lives out here part of the time! My daughter has met her; my friends have met her! SOB!!

    I know I will love her!

    The book was sold out; and I am figuring out how to change the “kindle into the audible”;

    Your friend who is not a “digital native”!!



  10. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Penelope Bianchi,

    You will be instant friends- I am sure of it!!!

    Do whatever you can to get a copy – it is just beyond marvelous and you will cherish it all!

    Much Love


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