It’s late morning in Stuart in February, and the weather is typical of South Florida’s ambiguity. The sun is shining, then suddenly the sky is overcast and a rain mist springs up to end a few minutes later. At her North River Shores home, Georgiana Hawken sips a mimosa and puts the finishing touches on the decor, while Chef’s Table General Manager Carra Crehan is busy preparing the food and drinks the restaurant has prepared for the festivities of the day. It’s brunch day with the girls and Hawken is ready for her friends to arrive.
It’s not his first rodeo. In the 10 years she’s lived in the neighborhood with her husband, Kevin, Hawken has hosted many events at their home, including a 200-guest Kentucky Derby party to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Young Life Martin County youth events, an annual 4th of July party for family and friends, Halloween parties and college football nights.
“I have always liked to receive!” she says. “When I was younger, I loved helping my mom get ready to host her bridge clubs or whatever social event was happening that day. Sure, I was always given the unwanted task of polishing silverware or ironing laundry, but I enjoyed the excitement and formality of it all.
Throughout her college years at the University of Mississippi, she worked at a bed and breakfast. “We were planning everything from holiday parties to weddings to baby showers,” she says. “This is where my love for creating table settings began.”
His passion for entertainment is evident. She created all of the stunning flower arrangements herself, including hydrangeas, garden roses, Queen Anne’s lace, succulents and white tulips. The table setting is equally impressive, with fine Pickard china set on gold chargers and antique sterling silver Gorham flatware. “I like to mix old and new,” she says, noting that the camellia-patterned silverware belonged to her grandmother. The water and wine glasses are made of Waterford crystal; the fun gold stemless champagne flutes were purchased from Bed Bath & Beyond.
Originally from Mississippi, the independent mom of two boys moved to Stuart for love. She was studying business at Ole Miss in the 1990s when she met Stuart native Kevin Hawken. Kevin grew up in North River Shores, where the couple now live, and attended Martin County High School. Now president of Stuart Web Printing, a local company founded by his late father in 1981, he was also a business student at Ole Miss in the 90s when he and Georgiana met. The two lost touch after graduating, but they reconnected in 2010 during a college football game at their alma mater. Georgiana was living in Jackson at the time; Kevin had returned to Stuart. They started dating from a distance and got married in
Jupiter in 2012.
They bought land and started designing their dream house, hiring architect Reed Collins of RC Designs and homebuilder Team Parks (owned by Ryan Strom, whose wife, Carolynn, is one of Georgiana’s dearest friends and a guest at today’s brunch) to bring their vision to fruition. Located along the St. Lucia River, the two-story home takes full advantage of the water views, which can be enjoyed from all upstairs bedrooms (and balconies) as well as the three outdoor patios that face to the water and the dock they built for their boats.
Southern touches like large wooden front doors flanked by New Orleans-made gas lanterns and white columns wrapping the house reflect Georgiana’s roots, while the custom stairs and carefully selected antique baseboards and doorknobs make the space truly unique. The walls are decorated with paintings and artwork from their travels, telling stories of special moments in the couple’s lives.
His friends are now arriving, and Hawken enthusiastically greets each woman and escorts them straight to the mimosa bar. The ladies sip and chat, as the soothing sound of jazz fills the air. The music selection, says Hawken, was a no-brainer: “Growing up, my family spent a lot of time in New Orleans visiting family and friends. Jazz brunches are a big part of the culture there, so I’ve always associated jazz music with brunch. Mimosas, Bloody Marys, brunch and jazz go hand in hand!
The catered brunch is cleverly set up in different areas of the house. On the menu, deviled eggs, charcuterie, pancetta and cheddar quiche, spinach and Gruyère quiche, chicken and waffles with rosemary honey, apple and pear salad, watermelon and feta bites drizzled with jalapeño mint. As the women graze, they catch up on each other’s lives, which Hawken says usually includes a lot of talk about being a mother. “[Over the years]we went from sharing experiments with field trips in kindergarten, then dances in middle school, and now moving our kids hundreds of miles to start college careers,” she says.
As the sun rises again, everyone heads outside to enjoy cocktails and admire the magnificent view. There’s a lot of laughs because days like these have been less frequent over the past two years due to the pandemic and it’s clear these friends are enjoying the moment.
“I feel like we’re all finally getting back to pre-COVID dating, and hopefully we can comfortably enjoy 2022,” Hawken says. “It’s really good for the soul to be able to all come together and share advice, tell funny stories, shed a tear when needed and enjoy great food and drink.”