Picture Perfect Homes

To memorialize life’s most momentous occasions, there’s no better setting for family portraits than the home where memories span the years.

Text and Photography by Mick Schulte

To celebrate the engagement of her daughters, Penelope and Isabella, Pandora Shaw asked me to photograph each of them in the space where they grew up. While driving to the first bridal shoot in 2016, I remember feeling my inner Anglophile emerge. Named after Sir Walter Raleigh’s English birthplace, the Hayes Barton Historic District whisked me away to a fine table setting with tea. Throw in some Southern biscuits (the gravy kind, not the cookies), and you have a perfect mix of Southern charm with English aristocracy.

The interior of the home was even more interesting and refined than I expected and, while both sisters posed in exquisite dresses in the same setting, each brought her unique taste and personality to the portraits. We sat down to talk after the shoots and the Shaw women shared their thoughts. Pandora spoke at length about her home.

In January 2015, I relocated to New York City from a job in London and my parents helped me move. My mom stayed extra days and, on a whim, I asked if she wanted to look at wedding dresses. I wasn’t even engaged, but I was in love with my future husband. I looked up bridal on Google Maps and saw Forever Amour Bridal not far away. At first we didn’t see much on the racks, but then I saw my dress hanging on the far wall, as if it was waiting for me. The dress is the L’esposa brand, and I love the element of antiqueness in the dull ivory color.  —Penelope

In January 2015, I relocated to New York City from a job in London and my parents helped me move. My mom stayed extra days and, on a whim, I asked if she wanted to look at wedding dresses. I wasn’t even engaged, but I was in love with my future husband. I looked up bridal on Google Maps and saw Forever Amour Bridal not far away. At first we didn’t see much on the racks, but then I saw my dress hanging on the far wall, as if it was waiting for me. The dress is the L’esposa brand, and I love the element of antiqueness in the dull ivory color. —Penelope

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How did your family end up in Raleigh?
My husband, Brian, and I met at Harvard Law School and lived in several places around the country before coming to Raleigh. While living in Portland, Maine, he met someone at a conference who had a school law firm in Raleigh. Brian had long wanted to practice exclusively in that area, so we decided to relocate. I felt immediately at home here, as it reminded me of my native Texas. The people and priorities were quite similar. We are still in the house we bought 26 years ago and in which we raised our three daughters.

How did you choose your Hayes Barton home?
We were attracted to the house at first sight and immediately called the realtor. She said the owner happened to be out of town and suggested that we go peek through the windows. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw hand-painted Gracie wallpaper in the dining room—and I fell instantly in love. Sadly, the realtor was mistaken and the owner was indeed inside (and terrified). We learned later that he called his mother to say goodbye because, “Two huge men are breaking into the house.”

What influences your style?
All of the artwork in our home was created by my mother, Patricia Nix, who is a member of the National Academy of Design. She has been the dominant influence on my style. Her work is deeply evocative of the culture of Texas. Strong religious faith, Southwestern churches, Mexican icons, and Native American crafts are represented in the vibrant imagery of her paintings. My love of books is another big influence. I have so many that they dominate the appearance of a number of my rooms, and I like that.

My mother, sister, and I were about to leave Alexia’s Bridal Boutique in Raleigh when Penelope pointed out “this pink one.” The moment I put it on I knew it was the right dress for me. It’s modest, classic, and traditional, but also exciting. My skin tone is so pale, and the color of the dress complimented it perfectly. I walked out of the store about an hour later having bought my Sareh Nouri dress and a veil.  —ISABELLA

My mother, sister, and I were about to leave Alexia’s Bridal Boutique in Raleigh when Penelope pointed out “this pink one.” The moment I put it on I knew it was the right dress for me. It’s modest, classic, and traditional, but also exciting. My skin tone is so pale, and the color of the dress complimented it perfectly. I walked out of the store about an hour later having bought my Sareh Nouri dress and a veil. —ISABELLA

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