By Lanier Laney
Over the past few years, Grayco Hardware has been undergoing a dramatic transformation into Grayco Home and Hardware with the addition of beautiful decorative objects for home, garden and entertaining.
The creation of this transformation has been a result of the hard work of Marjorie Gray and Maleia Everidge, Grayco’s in-house designer. Maleia, a North Carolina native, says, “Thanks to Marjorie, Grayco is a family owned local hardware store that has taken on a new image — not only as a place where you can find the tools to build or repair a home but beautifully decorate it as well.”
The now-gorgeous home department that was started by Marjorie as a few humble shelves in the middle of the store four years ago has expanded to an entire furniture and lamp department in the back of the store. Maleia currently oversees and buys for this “Lowcountry Living Showroom.”
Marjorie hired Maleia as her co-buyer and in-house designer two years ago.
”Maleia has been a very successful designer in Beaufort for years; I saw her work and loved it and what a wonderful fit it has been for us,” Marjorie said.
Maleia got her design experience early, working in some of the best designer showrooms at the famous North Carolina furniture market in High Point during college.
She started her first design business in the early 2000’s, a few years after graduating from the University of North Carolina. She also gained experience building and renovating numerous homes of her own and for friends and clients over the years. She’s a former associate of Beaufort’s prestigious M Home and Garden store on Bay Street, where she further refined her craft.
Maleia “discovered” Beaufort through her good friends Francis and David Cherry. She and her husband moved here and raised three wonderful children. Zach, 21, is now at the College of Charleston; Addie, 19, attends Clemson University; and Emma, 17, goes to Beaufort Academy.
Says Maleia about Beaufort, “I just love the sense of community we all have here and our beautiful setting on the coast.”
Maleia has volunteered for more than 10 years with Historic Beaufort Foundation and has been an active contributor to many of the beautiful decorations at the organization’s annual soiree and other events. She is also very involved with St. Peter’s Catholic Church’s “Homes for the Holidays,” where she has decorated five acclaimed show houses.
When it comes to her style, Maleia says, “Some people call it ‘Coastal Chic’, to me it’s more of a ‘Refined Rustic.’ For example, I’d put an elegant, modern, white lamp on a table with a driftwood finish. I love clean, modern, simple, sophisticated, and to me, the rustic part makes it approachable, warm and inviting, by using lots of natural materials and finishes and more casual and easy living for our seaside lifestyle. I like to make people feel good in a room and that it shows a part of their personality.”
With so many people redoing their beach rentals this time of the year, Maleia specializes in the “quick refresher.” She keeps up with the trends in home design and says you can do it easily (without spending a fortune) with some new graphic pillows, a pair of modern lamps and maybe a mirror.
In the Lowcountry Living Showroom, Maleia has worked hard to give customers a high-end chic look, at a great price. She points to a mirror and says, “That mirror on the wall looks exactly like a Mitchell Gold which retails for almost $1,000. Our version is $299.”
The showroom also exclusively carries one of Maleia’s favorite High Point furniture collections called Braxton and Culler, made in the USA. (It’s proved to be so popular they can barely keep it in the store!) She brought modern graphic wallpaper and fabric to the store and several new lamp lines, to name just a few. She also loves the new Benjamin Moore paint line that Grayco owner Herb Gray has added “because of their beautiful coastal colors.”
If a customer brings a picture of a room or a paint swatch to the store, Maleia will gladly give advice there. For larger jobs, she has a successful interior design business called ME Design where she does large and small residential and commercial projects. She recently did a very beautiful re-do of Dr. Karen Eller’s office in Port Royal. She’s been a great resource too for other top interior designers in the Lowcountry who visit her often for suggestions and help.
It’s rare to find a place like Grayco that can meet all your decorating needs — from nails to designer sofas — under one roof. And with Maleia Everidge on the team as the in-store designer, the store has hit a “home run.”
CONTACT MALEIA: Call her interior design business ME Design at 843-812-1814, visit her at Grayco Hardware and Home, 136 Sea Island Parkway, Lady’s Island, SC, 843-521-8060, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.