“Wow!” I said as my client rolled-out the plans for her new house to be built in Colleton River Plantation. We were having our first meeting at the design studio, getting to know each other and talking about her likes, dislikes, her lifestyle, and what she desired for her new home.
It was an incredible plan, unlike any I had ever worked on before. The footprint of the house perfectly mimicked the unusually shaped peninsula lot, taking advantage of marsh and water views on three sides of the property. The home was divided into two distinct “pods” connected by a window-walled “bridge” that separated the master bedroom, guest bedrooms and an intimate media room from the kitchen, dining room, massive greatroom, and spectacular screened porch overlooking the river. This was no ordinary plan. I was intrigued.
After chatting for a few more minutes I knew Kathy was going to be fun to work with on this project. She was a painter and photography enthusiast. She loved to go “junking,” as she put it, “You know, not in fancy antique stores, but rummaging through someone’s old barn who wants to clean it out and get rid of stuff.” And, judging from the overflowing binder she brought in with her full of magazine clippings and ideas, I could tell she was not afraid to do her homework and would be engaging in the design process.
“I am probably not going to be your average client and the décor I want for this house will not be what you typically do down here in Hilton Head. I want it to be casual and rustic, like an old family fish camp that has evolved over time, but not contrived. It needs to embrace the setting and bring the outside inside in perfect harmony.” Then she added, half jokingly, “So, are you up for this challenge?”
Oh boy, was I ever up for this! As a professional designer I relish any opportunity to work on a project that challenges me to think outside the box and create something special. This was certainly going to be an enjoyable collaboration. I could not wait to get started.
Well, that initial meeting in the design studio was about 2 years ago and Kathy and her family have been enjoying the home for the past year or so. The building process lasted for a little over a year and the end result is nothing short of spectacular. The home perfectly harmonizes with its unique setting and suits Kathy’s lifestyle to a “T”.
The design scheme was all based around the nature found here in the Lowcountry, specifically on her property. Color inspiration came from the lichen, ferns, pine needles, palm fronds, tree bark, sand, and driftwood found on the property. The faded wood stains, distressed finishes, shell encrusted tabby, glazed paint colors, and textured, natural fabrics all look as though they were plucked from the land and help to blur the line between indoors and out.
Original works of art in the form of one-of-a-kind lighting fixtures, fabricated by Lowcountry Originals, grace the home both inside and out. A particular favorite of mine is the custom oyster shell chandelier that casts a welcoming glow over the dining room table. Chucky, rock crystal embellishments add some rustic bling while keeping it casual enough for family dinner caught from the local waters (Kathy and her husband love to fish).
Rustic antiques, found objects, and repurposed treasures from Kathy’s “junking” adventures are all intertwined with the newly bought furnishings I carefully selected to look as though they had been enjoyed over time. Slipcovers add a casual note to sofas and chairs and offer practicality as well. Distressed finishes on tables and chests suggest years of use.
Having had the opportunity to spend time in this home for social gatherings, I can attest (despite my obvious bias) that this “family fish camp” feels as though it has been there for many generations. It has an ease about it that is both familiar and welcoming for guests without pretense or contrivance. It feels integrated into its surroundings and is elegant in its simplicity. The home is truly down to Earth.