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Beautiful South Carolina Home

A love of classic fashion and a knack for creating timeless interiors were the only tools necessary for Michelle Smith to design a stunning South Carolina charmer for her lifelong friends

Written by Jenny Bradley Pfeffer
  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    It’s incredible what a fabulous pair of shoes can set in motion.

    When Jacqueline Bourg met Michelle Smith in the fourth grade, their lifelong friendship began with a simple compliment. Jacqueline liked Michelle’s shoes—a pair of imitable Bass bucks. (Both were apparently classicists from the start.)

    While footwear may still be a conversation starter, a Low Country-style house in Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina, is most often on topic.

    Photography: Emily Jenkins Followill  
    Produced by Eleanor Roper

    Architect: Keith Summerour, Summerour Architects,1829 Peachtree Rd., NE, Atlanta, GA 30309; 404/603-8585;;
    Interior designer: Michelle R. Smith, Studio MRS, 201 DeKalb Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205; 646/596-7678;;

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Best Friends

    Jacqueline called on Smith, now a New York City-based designer and one of our 2018 New Trads, when she and her husband were building a family home—the couple has two young boys—with Atlanta-based architect Keith Summerour.

    “I loved being able to do this project with my best friend,” Jacqueline says. “We live so far from each other; this gave us an excuse to spend so much time together.”

    Jacqueline Bourg (left) and Michelle Smith on one of the screen porches.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Lowcountry Home

    Perched under towering pines, the timeless yet contemporized home sits on a bluff overlooking the May River. Its dormer windows, double-decker screen porches, and sweeping lawn almost give the house an appearance of smiling—greeting guests as though they too are long-lost grade-school friends.

    Summerour’s approachable touches include a welcoming front porch and dormer windows.

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    Pretty and Pratical

    Inside, warm hues, French antiques, ethereal window treatments, and reclaimed wood all seem as if the filtered sunlight shines especially for them—lending a romantic, dreamlike air to each room.

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    Sophisticated Living Room

    In the living room, lightly tinted plaster, reclaimed beams, and wide-plank white oak floors act as the subdued backdrop for a fetching mix of elements. A scalloped rattan chandelier and woven console add texture and feminine allure while contemporary pieces such as zigzag cocktail tables and clean-lined sofas imbue a dash of masculine edginess. Gilded-bronze Croco Seats by Claude Lalanne hold court beneath vintage intaglios.

    Back-to-back sofas divide the room into separate spaces—one facing the kitchen and meant for socializing, the other ideal for cozying in front of the fireplace or watching television. “Every time I visit, I think how practical the layout is,” Smith says. “The boys might be watching cartoons on one sofa while Jacqueline and I are drinking wine on the other and her husband is cooking in the kitchen.”

    Feminine meets avant-garde in the curated space. Sculpted side chairs mingle with armchairs upholstered in a Rose Tarlow floral. Lush textures dress the back-to-back sofas. A scalloped rattan hanging light from Soane Britain adds a delicate touch to rough-hewn beams. The zigzag drinks tables are from Bunny Williams Home.

    Mantel Francois & Co.;
    Pendant light “Rattan Daisy Hanging Light,” wicker table to right of sofa: Soane;
    Zigzag tables “Zigzag Drinks Table”: Bunny Williams Home;
    Drapery fabric: Clarence House, Inc.;
    Sheers fabric Holland & Sherry, Inc.;
    Sofas, drapery hardware, lounge chairs beside fireplace, ottoman: Jonas;
    Fabric for lounge chairs similar available, coffee table at light sofa Rose Tarlow Melrose House;
    Chairs flanking coffee table “Hourglass Loungers”: Ferrell Mittmann;
    Artwork over mantel, dog painting, fire screen antique, pair of chairs by window antique Lalanne, framed artwork above chairs, throw on ottoman, side table by lounge chair, floor lamps by sofas homeowners’ collection.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Adjoining Kitchen

    With similarly strong features, the kitchen is the living room’s aesthetic kindred spirit. Custom cream-color cabinets adorned with unlacquered-brass pulls meld effortlessly with the tinted plaster walls.

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    Nice and Neutral

    Ceramic-and-antique-brass pendants illuminate a soapstone-topped island and custom oak farm table surrounded by wicker chairs with delicate floral cushions.  A mostly monochromatic cream kitchen with marble accents is a friendly foil for Jacqueline’s collection of jadeite dishes.

    Cabinetry custom, dining table custom: Morgan Creek;
    Cabinet hardware Samuel Heath & Sons, Inc.;
    Perimeter and island sinks Rohl;
    Main faucet, island faucet Barber Wilsons North America;
    Range Wolf Appliance, Inc.;
    Refrigerator, freezer drawers Sub-Zero;
    Pendant lights at island and sink “Lucia Ceramic Range Lighting”: Hector Finch;
    Dining chairs “London DC Side Chair”: Janus et Cie;

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    Jadeite Collection

    Calacatta marble on the backsplash repeats in a marble-clad pantry punctuated by Jacqueline’s luminescent collection of jadeite dishes.

    Jadeite dishes antique, white dishes, flatware, glassware, vase, bowl with potatoes antique: homeowners’ collection.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Chic Office

    An equally enchanting green swathes the walls of Jacqueline’s office. Fresh and feminine, the room is a tranquil retreat in a male-dominated home. Romantic details banish testosterone here. Reclaimed-oak floors are set in a chevron pattern, highlighting the planks’ contrasting tones. A vintage crystal chandelier hangs above a patinated table arranged with curiosities. A velvet 1950s Marco Zanuso chair paired with a tapestry-clad ottoman contrasts a vintage fireplace mantel.

    “In a house filled with boys and animals, it’s an escape,” Jacqueline says, “and it certainly makes bill-paying feel a bit more glamorous.”

    A midcentury Marco Zanuso chair upholstered in cream velvet and a Louis XVI-style cane bergère prove that opposites truly do attract.

    Wall paneling Morgan Creek;
    Chandelier, wing chair by Marco Sanuso, circa 1950, console table, clamshell, bust, amethyst crystals, ottoman, art on window ledge, artwork above mantel, portrait on mantel homeowners’ collection.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Attractive Dining Room

    Neither strictly masculine nor feminine, the dining room is a study in balance—and history. A weighty antique farm table harmonizes with Louis XV-style chairs upholstered in a biscuit-hue leather. The table—from a vineyard tasting room in France—still wears the carved names of past dinner guests as a romantic badge of honor. A French blue armoire lends elegance to a casual abaca rug, part of a generational push and pull.

    Dreamy sheers from Casamance balance the textural charm of the handwoven abaca rug from Patterson Flynn Martin.

    Drapery fabric “Morena Stripe”: Casamance;
    Drapery hardware Jonas;
    Chandeliers “Hanging Octagonal Frieze Chandelier”: Charles Edwards;
    Area rug custom: Patterson Flynn Martin;
    Dining table, chairs, blue-and-white pottery, blue china cabinet, armchairs at windows, and mirror, all antiques: homeowners’ collection.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Porch Dining

    In this neck of the woods, however, many an evening is whiled away outdoors rather than in. Double-decker screen porches connected by a stairway are Jacqueline’s preferred respite. Dubbed “his” and “hers”—although they’re more activity-centric than gender-specific—one porch lends itself to seafood boils and table tennis; the other plays to alfresco lunches featuring river views.

    “Screen porches are the verge between the outside and the inside,” architect Summerour says, “a middle ground of welcoming informality.” Smith agrees—the design attitude must be utterly inviting.

    Rattan chairs pull up to a Saarinen table in the airy dining area.

    Dining table “Tulip Table” by Eero Saarinen, hanging sofa, cushions, pillows, throw, large bowl, ceramic garden stool, wrought-iron chair, and ottoman: homeowners’ collection.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    “Her” Screen Porch

    Befitting Margaret Mitchell as easily as any modern-day Southern belle, “her” porch feels airy and slightly whimsical. A serpentine wrought-iron armchair is upholstered in a cyan hemp floral that meanders throughout the space—used for throw pillows on a perfect-for-lazy-days suspended sofa and wicker rocking chairs. Cyan-painted floors and bold black-and-white striped pillows add bravado to the alluring space.

    A sofa that doubles as a swing and pint-size wicker chairs from JANUS et Cie make for a family-friendly seating area. 

    Pendant lights “Lattice Lantern”: Charles Edwards;
    Wall lanterns similar available: Remains Lighting;
    Fabric for chair, ottoman, and pillow on sofa “Grace” in Cyan from the Jasper collection: Michael S Smith, Inc.;
    Coffee table homeowner’s custom design: available through Studio MRS;
    Wicker chair to right of sofa, small woven chairs to left of sofa, dining chairs Janus et Cie;

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    Sitting Pretty

    Bravado-free, every material in the gossamer master bedroom lends itself to romance. A champagne-hue velvet headboard bedecks a walnut-and-iron four-poster, accenting its delicate lines.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Master Bedroom

    Voluminous bed linens with crocheted lace fringe pool atop a diamond-pattern custom rug. Silk curtains beautify an already luscious view. “It’s so ethereal,” Smith says. “Every material invites you to cozy up.”  

    A four-poster from Rose Tarlow and a tufted antique chaise from Lobel Modern anchor this otherwise ethereal space.

    Area rug custom: Patterson Flynn Martin;
    Draperies Fadini Borghi through Pierre Frey;
    Bed “Oppede”: Rose Tarlow Melrose House;
    Bedding “Tat Linen”: Matteo;
    Small round table Tara Shaw;
    Chaise longue Lobel Modern, Inc.;
    Throw at end of bed, throw on chaise, sheer drapery, wall sconce, small rug homeowners’ collection.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Her Bath

    In one of two adjoining baths, a custom wallpaper—a sepia-hue depiction of the home’s idyllic river view—creates a lavish setting for a solid Carrara marble tub, a polished mahogany vanity, and a Fortuny-clad duchesse. All serve as intimate examples of the careful consideration given by the creative team, with their long-standing history, to every detail of this house on the hill

    Vanity custom design: Studio MRS;
    Fabrication of vanity Morgan Creek;
    Wallcovering custom: Gracie Studio;
    Bathtub “Estate,” mirror custom, soap holder “Shell Soap Dish”: Urban Archaeology;
    Bath fixtures, sink faucets Barber Wilsons North America;
    Towel rack Urban Archaeology;
    Sconce “Dora”: Remains Lighting;
    Carrying case by vanity Louis Vuitton;
    Wire rack on tub, area rug, chair and ottoman antiques, small metal side table homeowners’ collection.

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    Striking Vanity

    A custom Gracie wallcovering depicts the home’s picturesque view.

    “Part of what makes the house so inviting is the thoughtfulness put into every inch of it,” Smith says. “It was a dream project.”

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    His Bath

    Brick flooring, wooden cabinetry, and a nubby runner lend a rustic texture to this man's bathroom. 

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    Boys’ Room

    Dark tole beds and a crisp ocher-and-gray palette give the  boys’ room a tailored yet cheerful feel.

    Wall paint “Gray Mist”: Benjamin Moore;
    Fabric for window shades and bed skirt “Fermoie” in York Stripe Yellow, fabric for gray-and-white pillows “Matchsticks” in Pebble by George Spencer Designs: Claremont Furnishing Fabric Co.;
    Beds “Vintage Officer’s Bed,” blanket and matching pillow shams Restoration Hardware;
    Wall sconces “Girandole”: The Urban Electric Co.,
    Bedside tables “Slim, Round End Tables”: Room & Board;
    Wicker toy basket antique, throw at end of bed, toys homeowners’ collection.

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    A Western theme weaves its way through the boys' playroom—on the rug, the floor pillows, the throw blanket, and even the rocking horse. A  sprinkling of nautical elements are a nod to the water just outside.

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    Rear Exterior

    Architect Keith Summerour designed the house to “embrace the classical traditions that Low Country cottages traditionally only touch upon.”

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    Lounging Area

    A pair of teak lounge chairs near the back of the house offer views of the garden and a quiet spot to soak up the sun.

    Chaise longues Westminster Teak;

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    Outdoor Dining

    An patinated picnic table provides a convivial space to eat, play games, or pot plants.

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    Water Ways

    Tucked among the palms and trees dripping in Spanish moss, two teak chairs offer a relaxing view of the water.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill