A reader named Lisa wrote me about her beach house renovation on Sea Island in Georgia, saying, “I love New England and Virginia architecture. When we spotted this home on the island in 1999, my husband and I were smitten! As an artist and a frustrated architect I always felt the house had so much potential.”
When I saw the photos of how it looks since they completed their renovation, I asked if I could share them with you. I’m a sucker for a traditional, shingle-style house, and I like that hers looks more like a home than a showplace.
Here’s how the exterior looked when they bought it, before it got a facelift:
Their architect was William T. Baker & Associates. He has written a couple of books, and Lisa’s home will be featured in a new one coming out next year. Can’t wait to see it!
Even though it’s a big house, she says she wanted each room to feel cozy and inviting. That made this two-story great room a bit of a challenge, but all of the woodwork and warm colors keep it from seeming too grand.
She had slipcovers made to update this furniture recently, and here’s how it looks with the new fabric:
“A lot of the homes on Sea Island were inspired by Addison Mizner, who designed the original hotel on the island The Cloister in 1928, so a shingle style home is not very common down here,” Lisa explains.
The original fireplace in the family room was two stories high, “A tall, skinny stretch of tabby (a local finish, which is a mix of cement, shells, and sand). They only had the square opening for the fireplace–no mantel or anything,” Lisa says. Now it’s much more traditional and down to earth.
The artwork over the mantel is something that Lisa painted as a gift for her husband Derek when they were dating.
Lisa says that she loves the traditional houses in old movies, and you can see that old-movie influence in rooms like the kitchen.
The kitchen has a Viking stove and an Aga. She says the Aga “really is the heart of a home.” The Viking is there for her guests who prefer to cook on something more familiar.
The painting over the Viking stove was done by Lisa herself of their marsh view. She says it’s just propped there so she can remove it when cooking something too messy.
This is the Keeping Room by the kitchen:
Looks like a comfortable, sunny spot to hang out in!
Her son’s room:
Her daughter’s room:
“I like to do most of my own decorating but have a decorator (Gerry Burge of Allenbrooke Carpets and Interiors) who has the most fabulous stash of fabrics and a magical way of putting them together,” Lisa says. “She is wonderful and lets me do my own thing–just gently nudges me if she thinks I am heading in the wrong direction.”
I really love her master bedroom. That’s her beautiful Kuvasz pup Marley lying on his bed next to hers.
I can imagine these rooms as the sets for a classic old movie starring someone like Katharine Hepburn or Barbara Stanwyck.
The wallpaper is from Pierre Frey and has timeless look to it.
Lisa says she owes a lot of the credit for how the renovation turned out to her builder Frank Serafini and his talented artist wife Renee who works with him. (Look for Renee in the September issue of Romantic Homes!)
The master bath is just as pretty:
All the bedrooms have balconies with scenic views.
Instead of the beach, the balconies look out over the marsh, which Lisa says constantly changing, both seasonally and throughout the day.
“The light can be breathtaking. Since it is a tidal marsh, it can go from all lush green grasses with only a few tidal pools to 85% water in a matter of hours,” Lisa says and has the photos to prove it. Here’s a sunset view–gorgeous!
“My ‘look’ is not really ‘in,'” Lisa says, “but I don’t really want it to be! I just want our home to have a certain feeling and to be a reflection of our family. I am not trying and have never wanted to try to impress anyone. I just like to create an atmosphere…a warmth. I want my family and friends to feel that they can plop down anywhere and feel at home.”
Here’s how the back of the house used to look, before the renovation:
And here it is now:
I love Lisa’s approach to creating a home. Many thanks for giving us the tour!