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

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