Living Love and Peace
When your motto is Live Love and Peace, you don’t let something as devastating as a fire get you down. Instead you give thanks and prayers that no one was hurt and you rebuild something that is better than before. That’s what happened to dMd fifteen years ago when her family’s rivah cottage on the Piankatank River was struck by lightening. Nearly all of the contents of their beloved second home were destroyed, but the love she and her husband had for this piece of land on Horse Point,
and the family memories created there compelled them to rebuild. The result is a home overflowing with reflections of the home’s occupants and guests, but above all it is flush with serendipity and grace.
Upon arrival to the house, dubbed Camp Miller, you get a sense that something special awaits within. A life-size mermaid by Chris Alexander for the Norfolk Mermaid Festival years ago greets visitors. The arbor entrance built by dMd’s husband beckons,
and from somewhere you are certain you hear a siren call.
Not from a firetruck, it’s from the host of mermaids who reveal themselves
on your journey through dMd’s home.
No, it is not your imagination; you have crossed the threshold into one of the most whimsical and welcoming homes you will ever enter.
dMd is a life-long collector extraordinaire who has always had a fascination with mermaids. Shortly after the house fire, she discovered this Versace china
in her travels and decided that it would be the inspiration for her rebuilt home. With that selection made, the rest of the decor fell into place.
Turquoise has always been dMd’s trademark color, and it blends perfectly with her mermaid theme. From this custom rug from Williams and Sherrill,
to others made by Claire Murray.
dMd’s theme starts under foot and goes up from there. High-end mermaid artwork
mixes seamlessly with mass-market and homemade mermaids,
but for dMd, they all bring joy.
dMd’s generous soul causes others to reciprocate in tangible ways, and family and friends have filled her home inside and out with mermaid treasures when they return to Camp Miller.
Mermaids grace every surface of the home,
and most have an accompanying story. dMd especially loves her mermaid-abilia crafted from local artists. A visitor could easily spend a week browsing the shelves and tabletops and floors
and still not see every mermaid in this riverside retreat.
A guest in this mermaid house can’t help but wonder how the family’s son lives in such a feminine space.
Now a college graduate, he has shared most of his life with these sea-creatures and his friends welcome the invitation for a weekend at such a fun and happy home.
Where else can you wake up to this larger-than-life mermaid beauty, which was created and painted by dMd and her daughter’s friends?
Can you believe that the mistress of this mermaid paradise was once an FBI agent?
Though that lifestyle is now a distant memory, it still informs her current life. As dMd raised her children, she became heavily involved in parenting education. Her focus was not on raising an Ivy-League bound child but on helping parents raise children to make good choices and be good citizens.
dMd is passionate about creating a more peaceful, loving world and formed a venture named Live Love and Peace. As a co-founder, her goal is to encourage
Love and Peace worldwide by promoting global awareness of a symbol to mean Love and Peace.
The logo is a peace sign inside of a heart, which dMd sells on decals in a multitude of colors.
dMd is not afraid to emblazon this symbol on her own belongings. Serendipitously after adoption of the design, dMd discovered that many of her mermaid designs included hearts. With a simple Sharpie marker, she has no qualms about embellishing the heart with a peace symbol.
Now she asks artists to complete her mermaid art, like her most recent acquisition, with the Love and Peace icon.
Mermaids have come to symbolize everything that Denise loves about her own life and are the springboard for sharing her huge heart with others.
Her river retreat sustains and restores dMd,
and all visitors leave feeling the love.
In fact, she won’t let a visitor leave without taking an aloe plant baby from her nursery of this natural curative.
Potted in dMd’s favorite turquoise color, which is also the symbol of ovarian cancer that stole her mother at too young an age, the farewell gift is another example of how dMd lives a life of love and peace.
dMd’s rivah cottage reflects its owner’s personality like no other. Infused with joy and love, it infects all who enter with a heightened sense of love and peace.
What a marvelous legacy for family and friends, as well as inspiration for all.