Saturday, March 24, 2012

Interior Design on the Islands

Christ Church
Every Spring I look forward to the arrival of March. No, it is not the enjoyment of warm weather and the appearance of beautiful flowers, of course I enjoy those too! But March means my touring gal friends and I will be heading south for the Christ Church Tour of Homes. This year was the 59th year that the homeowners on Saint Simons Island and Sea Island (Georgia) have opened their home for several hundred admiring tour participants to enjoy viewing the homes.

The chairs of the event this year, Dana Parker and Susan Imhoff, and their crew of volunteers put on an excellent, well run tour. Everything went smoothly and we were able to enjoy seven beautifully appointed homes. There are also historical sites included on the tour. Along with Christ Church you can see, Musgrove Plantation and St. Ignatius Church.

Are you ready to go on the tour? You can wear your highest heels when you tour with me! Unlike on the actual tour, where you do a lot of walking and standing. Comfortable shoes are a must!

The first home is a low country plantation style home located along the banks of Dunbar Creek in Sea Palm West. The home is surrounded by old oaks and is built on what were once the formal gardens of an old plantation. This home was designed by Biggs Powell. Website One of the tour guides said he is the homeowners son.

Our next stop is a  2-year-old home in Federica on St. Simons that centers on a multi-generational family that includes 10 young grandchildren. The house has views of a lake and its antique furnishings include a shipping container from a general store in Virginia that belonged to the homeowner’s great-great-grandfather and an old pew from a Baptist Church in North Carolina. This home was built in 2012 by Rob Marrett, the architectural firm was Harrison Design Group and Liza Bryan website created this comfortable residence.

A second house in Frederica recreates the feel of a Tuscan farmhouse. A lot of planning and thought showed in this home. No detail had been missed. It included repeating arches, coved and vaulted ceilings and other features of a Tuscan home. It has reclaimed terra cotta floors and several original sculptures. It has a roman cap and pan roof and an outdoor screened summer kitchen and herb garden.

Roof detail

Richard McDonald sculpture

Next we boarded our tour bus to Sea Island where Jim Howard website had designed a casual Sea Island cottage incollaboration with architect John Rentz on the interior and Skip Russell on the renovation. The cottage was built originally in the 1930s and now has a Nantucket style kitchen and a mix of old world and new.

Our second Sea Island stop was La Belle, a Sea Island cottage built in the 1940s with a pool and courtyard between the main house and a spacious guest house. The house has a grand fireplace and a custom armoire showcasing large specimen shells and has pecky cypress walls and floors. The house was designed by local interior designer Mary-Bryan Peyer website and Atlanta designer Jackye Lanham website. Multiple shades of pink shell colors were used in the home.

Our next stop was a classic Georgian style home with Old World Mediterranean features that was custom built with a winding staircase and original oil paintings. A wonderful mix of formal and informal was designed by Libby Britt Designs website We were growning tired and the shade porches on both levels made us wish we could stay awhile. But there was more to see!

Our finald destination on Sea Island was a new home overlooking Sea Island’s saltwater lagoons. It is a short walk from the beach and marsh. The house has two master suites with covered porches with lagoon views and large bathrooms with spa-like features. Local builder and master craftsman Jim Redden in coordinationwith the homeowners used materials inspired by the reconstruction of the Cloister. Local interior designer, Linda Lindsey, assisted with the colors,finishes details and fixture choices throughout the home.

I hope you have enjoyed our island tour. I apologize for the fuzzy pictures. Since "no photos" are allowed inside the homes, I had to do some digging and use what I could find to show you all of the beautiful interiors. St. Simons and Sea Island always welcome my friends and myself with their special charm and gracious southern hospitality. If you find yourself with a desire to travel and see magnificent homes, beautiful interiors and enjoy the many spring flowers and trees that are blooming on the islands, you need to make plans now for next years tour! Visit for information on the 60th tour that will be March 16, 2013.

source:, Brunswick News, Coastal Illustrated, House Beautiful

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring is here and so are the Interior Design Showhouses!

I love Spring! I so enjoy watching the outside change from drab and gray to a beautiful green and colorful world. Scattered across the country are rooms that will take on this same transformation come Spring. Here in Georgia, one of the best places to see the magic unfold is the Atlanta Symphony Association's Showhouse. This will be the 49th year that one of Atlanta's magnificent homes gets decked out in the finest attire of the season.

This year the showhouse will be Knollwood. It was designed by Philip Trammel Shutze. Built in 1929 it is located at 3351 Woodhaven Drive in Buckhead. It also served as the 1976 Showhouse and offers 30 decorative spaces. You can get all the information you need about this year's showhouse by following this link:    2012 Atlanta Decorator Showhouse

I really can't remember what year I started going to the Atlanta Showhouse. I know I have gone for a very long time. I also use to go every Fall to the Charlotte Showhouse, where my Grandmother lived. Each year I would try to decide which city had the best designers.

Charlotte Showhouse 2011

One thing that can always be said for "good design" is that it can withstand the test of time. So why don't we take a look back at some of the rooms that were featured in the Atlanta Showhouses. Many of them would fit right in with our homes today.

The 2011 Decorators’ Showhouse was Lotus House It is an impressive
20,000 sq. ft. estate in Buckhead.

Barry Dixon Living Room 2011

Cheryl Lucas and Jackie Cottrell Entrance 2011

Melanie Turner Dining Room 2011

 3639 Tuxedo Road, and was the former estate of Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.
It was also the 2010 Showhouse.

Beautifully landscaped!

Carol Weaks Solarium 2010

Patricia McLean Master Bedroom 2010

Boxwood Greenhouse 2010

The 2009 Showhouse was at the St. Regis

St. Regis

Alison Womack Master Bedroom 2009

Design Galleria Kitchen 2009

John Oetgen Dining Room 2009

The 2008 Home at 3750 Tuxedo Road is called Camelot.

Elizabeth Brennan Guest Suite 2008

Elizabeth Brenna Bedroom of Guest Suite 2008

Carol Weaks Master Bedroom 2008

Whitehall, home of the 2007 Showhouse, is an antebellum-inspired estate at 4795 Harris Trail. It is located in northwest Buckhead.

Living Room 2007

Dining Room 2007

Originally built in 1983 for the first owner of the Atlanta Falcon football team, this English Regency-style house has a Palladian entrance. It was the 2006 Showhouse.
Bob Brown Dining Room 2006

John S. Banks Breakfast Room 2006

Suze Surdyk Jones and Cheryl Petros Espy Ladies Office 2006

In 2005 the Showhouse was again held at Camelot on Tuxedo Road.

Stanton Home Furniture 2005

Tish Mills The Retreat 2005

The 2004 Showhouse in Buckhead had a  resort-inspired California vibe. It was unlike any other Showhouse Atlanta had seen! 

Front View

Meg Adams 2004

The 2003 Decoator Showhouse

Christine Haught Two Shots Hallway 2003

The 2002 Decorator Showhouse

James Essary and Bill Murphy Two Shots of the Living Room 2002

There you have it a look back at some of the great designs that made up the Atlanta Symphony Decorator Showhouses. Are you ready to go see what great designs will be in this year's home?