| from the editor |
I had no way of knowing, in the
spring of 2012, how my life would be
enriched by a story.
I was on the way to interview Shane
Meder, an interior designer from Atlanta,
for a story about the transformation
of his tiny weekend home on
the lake. I was excited to feature it in
the magazine and give readers a departure
from our typical coverage of
grandiose lake homes and stately historic
renovations. This was just a little
spec house that had been reinvented
by an experienced designer.
He told me, humbly, that he was
hoping to eventually garner enough
business around the lake to justify
moving to the cottage full time, which
is now ironic knowing the success of
Black Sheep Interiors and his full integration
into the heart of this community.
The cottage was indeed impressive,
and I got a great story and photos for
the magazine, but I also made a connection
with someone who would go
on to become a friend and collaborator
on creative projects for the magazine
for years to come.
That day, he welcomed me into
his home and, ultimately, into his life
that he shared with his husband, Don
Schoenberger, beloved neighbors, and
He made it clear that the true meaning
of home wasn’t about the size of a
house or the price of the things inside,
but about the people with whom you
chose to share it.
When the feature was published,
he threw a magazine release party at
the Black Sheep Cottage and I got to
experience my first “Shane party.” He
was a masterful entertainer with the
soul of a storyteller. He was magnetic
and evenings at the cottage were
He shared his knack for entertaining
with me over the years, giving generously
of his time and resources to
make sure the magazine’s own “Best
of Lake Oconee” red carpet awards
galas were up to par. In 2014, he threw
a party so big as part of our Lake
Oconee Living Dream Home project
in collaboration with DreamBuilt that
we were able to raise $200,000 for Extra
Special People (ESP) in Watkinsville.
Shane consistently shared ideas for
distinctive homes that would make
for good features in the magazine
and would lavishly style them for our
photo shoots with his eye for perfection.
He was an avid supporter of Lake
Oconee Living and believed in the
power of storytelling.
In June, we tragically lost this shining
light of a soul. The world is a little
emptier without his big personality,
but I would argue all the more beautiful
by having him in it for a brief
lifetime. He not only created beauty,
but showed us how to find beauty and
meaning in every moment. Most importantly
he taught us to find beauty
During what would be our final
photo shoot together this summer,
as we were chasing the sunset on his
boat – one of his favorite things in
the world – he slowed to dedicate a
cheesy Broadway showtune to our
creative partnership over the years. I
can’t for the life of me remember the
song, but as the sentiment goes, you
rarely remember the things people
do, but you always remember the way
they made you feel. Shane made everyone
feel special and important.
He encouraged, dare I say demanded,
me to think bigger, to strive for
more even if it seemed out of reach.
That was the magic of Shane. Nothing
was impossible. He forever changed
me and changed this community.
This year, the charitable events he
so passionately supported, like the
Showcase of Homes for Habitat, will
continue on without him, as we all
must learn to do. But I am comforted
knowing that I can always find glimpses
of Shane at that little cottage on the
lake, in stories told by his friends, and
in the pages of this magazine.
The meaning of
My first interview with
Shane Meder and his
Yolie Bybee, at his
Lake Oconee cottage
in the spring of 2012.
Vahan ®, Alwand Vahan ®, Moiré Pattern ® are Regd. Trademarks
Designs © Alwand Vahan Jewelry Ltd.
177 W. Jefferson Street
Madison, GA 30650