Stray Dog Friends: Stephanie Hunt

Stray Dog Friends: Stephanie Hunt

Posted by Della Wheeler on

Hey there, Stephanie! We're beyond thrilled to spotlight you in our latest (and first) edition of Stray Dog Friends. Your name has been buzzing around our office for ages, and for good reason! Let's dive into your fascinating journey with our beloved co-founders, Jane and Billy.

As a writer, Stephanie has woven tales of wonder and inspiration for years, capturing hearts with her eloquent prose and keen eye for detail. But her path to the pen wasn't a straight line – it's a tale filled with unexpected twists and turns, much like a Stray Dog creation itself. From her early days in university development to her current role as editor-at-large for Charleston Magazine, Stephanie's journey is a testament to the power of following your passions and embracing the unexpected.

Join us as we chat with Stephanie about her love for design, her favorite topics to write about, and how she keeps her creativity alive. Plus, get a glimpse into her favorite room at home and discover what she's digging right now.

So grab a cozy seat, dear readers, and prepare to be inspired by the one and only Stephanie Hunt. It's a feature you won't want to miss! 

Hi, Stephanie! I’ve heard your name in our office for so long. How do you know Jane and Billy?

Ha, well, let’s just say we go way back. Like to when Billy tagged along on my first date with my now-husband of 35+ years (hmmm, does Billy get to edit this?). I think Noel was Billy’s conscience in high school, or Billy was Noel’s free-spirited pal, or both. Either way, they’re still great friends, and I kinda became the third wheel. Thankfully, Jane interjected her brilliance at some point and turned Billy into an honest, hardworking man. At least, that’s one version of the story.

Pictured above: Right: A Charlotte, NC, book signing at Cotswold Marketplace | Left: Me biking in our Old Village neighborhood, an evening sunset ritual.

Tell us a little bit about your story as a writer. How did it begin and where are you now?

I fell into this sort of the way that Billy, who’s the real writer here– proud owner of an MFA in poetry, no less– fell into lighting and home decor.  I was a religion major and have a masters in theology, which basically means I’m unemployable, but as a liberal arts gal I was always a strong writer. It never occurred to me that that wasn’t the case for everyone.

I worked in university development/admin for several years in Boston, then we moved to Charleston, with 4 month-old baby and knowing no one. I started writing personal essays as a creative outlet, to basically not lose my mind. It all just grew from there. Today I still write the occasional essay or reflective piece, but the bulk of my work is magazine editorial for titles like Veranda, LUXE, Southern Living, Coastal Living, and others, including Charleston Magazine, where I’m editor-at-large and cover a range of topics, from reported features to profiles to other lifestyle and travel stories.  

How did you get into writing about design? What do you enjoy about the work you do in the interior design industry?

The design writing grew out of my work with Charleston Magazine, which years ago had a quarterly publication called Charleston Home (no shortage of stunning, magazine-worthy homes here in the Lowcountry!). I approach a design story as I would a profile, with an interest in what someone’s taste and style says about who they are and how they see the world.

I love learning about what inspires people and how they translate that into their personal surroundings. I may have grown up in The Furniture Capital of the World (High Point, NC) with a mom who had excellent taste and knew furniture, but her interior design talent did not convey. I’m more drawn to the interior life. I can move sentences and words around till they sit in a comfy, brightly-lit (with a Stray Dog pendant, no doubt) space, but you don’t want me picking out your window dressings. 

Pictured above: Left: Stephanie and her family | Right: A book signing for Fritz Porter’s “Design Luminaries” event in Charleston, Fall 2022, with Celerie Kemble

What is your most loved topic to write about (either for work or play)?

Oh, so hard…. I guess it’d have to be the natural world. If I had to start over and only do one thing, it’d be environmental writing that is lyrical, compelling and wakes people up.

What writers inspire you the most?

In the design realm: Wendy Goodman, Dominique Browning, Ellen McGauley, and whoever writes the Stray Dog blog. In non-fiction: Rebecca Solnit, Terry Tempest Williams, Anne Lamott, Drew Lanham. Fiction: gosh, too many to list but currently loving Lauren Groff, Maggie O’Farrell, Claire Keegan, Alice McDermott.

How do you keep creativity alive? 

I co-teach a monthly “Joy of Writing” class at a funky contemporary art center in Charleston with the novelist Gervais Hagerty. It’s my favorite day of the month – our students are so talented and fun, they push my creativity and astonish me with theirs. 



Pictured above:
Left: Playing tennis with Richard Branson while on a recent assignment to Necker Island | Right: My mom, Nancy Blum Wood, the inspiration for Stray Dog’s ‘Blum Wood’ lamp

Enough about writing! What is your favorite room in your home and why?

Our living room at Christmas, with candles lit and the fire going, and my family just lounging around.

What are you digging right now (podcasts, books, music, movies, shows, etc)?

Big fan of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s whip-smart repartee on her podcast, Wiser Than Me. Listening to Ezra Klein makes me feel smarter.  And the New Yorker’s Fiction podcast is like a mini English class – you get to hear a short story, followed by a high-level excavation of what’s going on in the story by the fiction editor and the writer who chose that particular piece.

Pictured above: Stephanie's coffee table books (Simply Chic and At Home in the Southlooking cozy at her daughter’s lovely Atlanta home. 

Where have you enjoyed traveling the most?

My husband and I are big cyclists, and Mallorca was the pinnacle for that. I also got to travel there last year for a story on Richard Branson’s new property, Son Bunyola. Pretty exquisite.

How can people find and follow you and the work you are doing?

I embarrass my kids regularly on instagram @stephhuntwrites and you can find my two Veranda coffee-table books, Simply Chic and At Home in the South at your favorite independent bookstore. And look for me in magazines–print still lives!

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