Social Studies: Deborah Blue


Social Studies: Deborah Blue


Date: April 3, 2013
by: Stephanie Hannum | Diversions Managing Editor




Attorney Deborah Blue’s love of vintage things spans from her personal style to her home, classic car and 1974 Luzier boat, Stormy. Her family’s famous Christmas cards are almost as recognizable as she is.

Our house on Snead Island was built in 1954 and has a great old Florida feel — grandfather oaks with moss, tropical foliage, a boathouse and artesian pond. The land is incredible, and the house has a lot of the original pieces. I’ve tried to make it a cozy, mid-century river house. It is a true sanctuary and very relaxing. I hate to leave every morning and can’t wait to get home every night.

My love of vintage clothing began with my admiration for my mother’s sense of style and my love of ’50s and ’60s iconic fashion, including icons Jackie Kennedy, Lee Radziwill and Edie Sedgewick. I especially love the mod fashion of the ’60s.

It is actually great fun to put together modern and vintage pieces in a way that works. I am always looking for vintage pieces locally, and wherever I travel.  Lately, I have started collecting vintage Lilly Pulitzer sport jackets for my husband, George Adley. He is good-natured about indulging my mid-century obsession and conveniently has the dark and handsome looks of Don Draper, the protagonist of the “Mad Men” series. 

I have always been attracted to the beauty of the fabrics and exotic styles. I love Yves St. Laurent, from the ’70s and North African influences. My favorite place to shop is Retro Rosie and Cobweb’s Unique Finds, in Bradenton. They are knowledgeable and reasonable.

Regarding my mid-century furniture and appliance collection, friends and complete strangers have gifted vintage items to me, whether appliances, purses or clothing items. One very kind woman from Bradenton read about my vintage appliance collection and dropped off a toaster at my law office with a loving note about her usage of the toaster. I have 50 pieces total, including one of the original Vitamix blenders.

A local banker, who was the personal representative of her aunt’s estate, contacted me as a result of an article about my ’50s fridge and appliance collection. From that connection, I was able to purchase one of the items on my “dream” furniture list, a Saarinen tulip dining table and dining chairs.

George and I have been together 17 years and married 9 years. We were a good blend because his family, the Adley family, started one of the first art galleries on Main Street in the ’80s, so I brought most of the furniture to the marriage and he brought the art.

From 1991 to 2000, I sent personalized photographic Christmas cards (done by photographer Mary McCulley) featuring my daughter, Katherine, and me. Many friends and family members still comment about them and have saved them over the years. My daughter was 11 when her father and I divorced, so initially the goal was to give a new spin on the holidays and our family.

When my daughter went to college, she no longer wanted to perpetuate the cards, so, in 2010, I re-initiated the card with my husband. It started on Halloween when we dressed as Don and Betty Draper, utilizing my 1965 Chrysler Crown Imperial as a prop. I called my friend, Barbara Banks, to see if she could photograph us in the car late afternoon before the Halloween party we were attending. 

I love being an attorney and going to court. My favorite thing is cross-examination — the trial forum is a chance to take the facts of the case and persuade the judge of the facts as it relates to your client and the law. I’m to the challenge of getting the best evidence across to the court within the context of the law. It’s also a great chance to utilize the literary skills I have from majoring in English literature.

My daughter is also a family law attorney in Tampa. It’s so incredible for us to talk about family law issues and legal issues, and be able to analyze the law and brainstorm.


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