The Perfect Space for a Southern Gent

Monte Durham’s recipe for success includes a heaping spoonful of organization, a splash of manners, a touch of grace—and a big ol’ pinch of Jackie O.

Monte Durham’s recipe for success includes a heaping spoonful of organization, a splash of manners, a touch of grace—and a big ol’ pinch of Jackie O.

By Jenna Makowski

Photo by Jonathan Timmes

Anyone who watches TLC’s “Say Yes To The Dress: Atlanta” knows that Fashion Director Monte Durham, who resides in Alexandria when not shooting, is a stickler for detail. In his world, it’s common knowledge that beach weddings require soft brown eyeliner and that evening receptions necessitate polished shoes. Durham, himself, polishes his shoes weekly.

Though some might interpret makeup as tangential to a wedding or shoe shining as a waste of time, Durham’s attention to detail belies something deeper: a framework for living steeped in manners and graciousness. His key to achieving the ultimate state of grace is just a touch of OCD. “I hope I don’t sound old and stodgy,” he says, “but I think gracious living is part of being organized.”

From stationery on the desk to color-coded closets and cordial glasses, graciousness and organization penetrate every corner of the TV star and entrepreneur’s existence.

Durham’s value system stems, in part, from a regimented childhood. Waking at dawn to carry water and regular spring cleanings were necessary routines in West Virginia’s coal country. “But when we walked into church,” he shares, “our clothes were pressed. We had to [sit] up straight.” And Durham’s days are still shaped by his gram’s acute eye.

 Click to enlarge photo

Photo by Jonathan Timmes (Click to enlarge)

Each month get behind the scenes and find out what everyday life is really like for local VIPs.

 

(January 2013)

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