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Round Top_June 2021

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49 Opposite page: Curtis & Windham Architects designed the new family farmhouse on the McCarthys' property in Bellville. Top: Bailey McCarthy on a swing by Fermob USA in front of the original 1900s farmhouse. Photograph Jenny Antill Clifton. Makeup Tonya Riner. Right: The living-room bar is tented with Brunschwig & Fils stripe fabric. Custom-painted lanterns from John Rosselli Antiques. A s an only child, I've spent considerable time anecdotally studying "only child syndrome." In my research, I've found it can go one of two ways: The child thrives and grows up to be independent and self-possessed, or the child survives and grows up vowing to never be alone again. I fall into the latter group. As Ariel sings in The Little Mermaid, I want to be where the people are! And, for that reason, I have become a prolific gatherer of people. I might go so far as to call myself a professional at it, because throughout the various businesses I have started in my career, what I really do is set the stage and bring people together to create memorable experiences. There's no place I do that better than our farm. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. First I should share a bit more on how we got here. My husband, Pete, and I met in college and were engaged shortly after. We moved to Chicago (Pete's hometown) for his law school, where my desire for community led me to blogs (surrounding myself with people virtually), and I began writing Peppermint Bliss. The tagline was "Follow Your Bliss … What's Yours?" I wrote about my interest in food, design, and entertaining, as well as my efforts to decide what exactly I wanted to do with my life. Eventually we followed our bliss back to Houston with our one-year-old daughter, Grace, in tow. I opened my store Biscuit, selling the bedding line I'd started in October 2012. As busy as I was with Biscuit and my interior design clients, I wasn't about to make Grace an only child, and we welcomed our son, Harry, in January 2014. Later that year, after a string of back-to-back health scares and personal tragedies, Pete and I were starting to feel the strain. We had spent five years straight up chasing our bliss around the country. I was beyond burned out and wanted more quality time with my people. What I probably needed was to sit and regroup; instead, I decided to build a farm about it! It didn't take us long to find the place: a property in Bellville that had all of the usual trappings of a farm, like the brand-new barn we inherited from the previous owners, and also some more curious features, such as the likewise brand- new two-story air-conditioned four-car garage that dwarfed the adjacent 100-year-old farmhouse. Also, there was no farm. Just 80-something acres of unkempt land where a neighbor grazed his cattle.

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