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Suzanne Kasler Designs a Serene Seaside Getaway

Sophisticated and calm, a home on Georgia's Sea Island welcomes every day—not just on weekends

Written by Krissa Rossbund
  • Photography by Simon Upton

    Sometimes the road home finds us rather than the other way around. Longtime clients of Atlanta-based design luminary Suzanne Kasler had long imagined a second home—a place where they could savor long weekends and vacations in tranquil bliss. But the question was: Where?

    The family, a couple with three college-age daughters, had an equal affinity for the mountains and the beach. Their path was unclear until an oceanfront property on Georgia’s Sea Island, about six hours from their primary home in Atlanta, seemed to call their names. They snapped up the spot and immediately called on architect Thad Truett to bring their dream home to life.

    Truett, who also owns a home there, understands the vernacular of Sea Island architecture. He set out to design a house that adheres to the style seen in many of the island’s historic homes, all built in the 1920s.

    “Mediterranean Revival architecture is the identity of Sea
    Island,” Truett says. “This house needed to feel like it had been here for a long time. And with the water so close by, it was also all about building a house to take advantage of the views.”

     

    The Mediterranean Revival-style house on Georgia’s Sea Island is laden with architectural details.

  • Photography by Simon Upton

    With an architectural plan in motion, next came a shopping trip. Kasler knew her clients were aiming for furniture, fabrics, and accessories that supported indoor-outdoor living, so she thought it was important to study a locale that’s mastered that way of life—Southern California.

    “Los Angeles design bridges the spaces within a house to take advantage of the moderate climate,” Kasler says. “I wanted my clients to understand the scale of the furniture that would be unfolding in their home. We visited showrooms and made selections for tile and permanent architectural details in the place where this style is so familiar and expected.”

    Kasler then purposefully staged those well-considered picks in the Sea Island home to work in tandem with architecture that unfailingly connects indoors and out. While a walk through the front door into the foyer impresses with water views straight out the rear of the house, a pivot in the opposite direction provides equally poetic sight lines.

     

    Under the sweeping staircase, the light tones of a blue bergère from Dennis & Leen juxtapose a dark finish on the antique Italian table.

  • Photography by Simon Upton

    A lesson in symmetry and simplicity, the foyer’s dual threshold pairs iron-and-glass doors with stately wooden ones, all melding into an arched wood-clad frame. Here, Kasler created a mirror-image space, positioning matching settees, botanical sketches, and gilded mirrors across from one another. Steps away, a French chair clad in blue linen and a round center table nestle beneath the sculptural staircase.

     

    In the entry hall, botanical prints in gilded frames and benches covered in cognac leather are all from Dennis & Leen.

  • Photography by Simon Upton

    The light blue moment in the foyer serves as a teaser for the grand, open-plan living and kitchen areas. Here, sea-referencing aqua swells to become a full partner in the palette rather than merely an accent. A massive rug with traditional floral motifs softens the limestone floor and anchors a seating arrangement of -linen velvet upholstery—and a casual dining vignette with ticking stripe chairs circling the table.

     

    Aqua-hue ceramic lamps from Christopher Spitzmiller pull color from trim on Gregorius Pineo upholstered chairs, a wool rug from Mansour, and a Fortuny lumbar pillow.

  • Photography by Simon Upton

    The aqua color happily spills into the kitchen on a tile backsplash, one of many tile moments throughout the house. “The clients love tile, and because we wanted the house to feel historic, we used it strategically as they would have when Sea Island’s original houses were built,” Kasler says.

     

    Leather bar stools with nailhead trim from Ballard Designs repeat the color of backsplash tile from Ann Sacks. Cabinetry knobs and pulls are from Rocky Mountain Hardware.

  • Photography by Simon Upton

    On the back staircase, tiles in coordinating blue patterns decorate the risers. 

     

    Coordinating blue-and-white tiles from Walker Zanger deliver a visual show.

  • Photography by Simon Upton

    In the diminutive powder room, hexagonal tiles wrap the walls.

     

    Simple in style, glass tiles from Ann Sacks blanket the walls to create a sealike infusion of blue.

  • Photography by Simon Upton

    The home’s European style emphasizes shape with beamed ceilings and arches but forgoes details such as base and crown molding, which it doesn’t need to feel complete.

     

    A crystal-and-gilded chandelier elegantly hangs over a Spanish-style table from Formations and cane chairs from Dennis & Leen.

  • Photography by Simon Upton

    One exception is the library. It’s enveloped in pecky cypress, a regionally produced material also used for the regal ceiling that caps the dining room. To enhance the warmth of the library’s rich wood tones, Kasler took a step away from conventional leather and covered seating pieces in mustard-color linen and velvet.

     

    Windows were more of an architectural priority in this house than wall space, which left minimal opportunities to display artwork. But designer Suzanne Kasler made the most of a spot here, where a colorful abstract by Peter Burega references the caramel and blue tones of the furniture. Quiet patterns include windowpane plaid on the Hickory Chair wing chair, animal print on a sofa pillow, and a floral motif on the Mansour rug.

     

  • Photography by Simon Upton

    Design elements on the upper level subtly distinguish it from the living areas below. Floors switch from limestone to French oak. Generously proportioned bedrooms clad in blue and ivory are vaulted and detailed with lime-washed beams.

     

    Executed in blue and white, the master suite is full of texture and pattern, including an array of wood finishes, a carved panel over the bed from Dennis & Leen, and quilted linen and velvet fabrics.

  • Photography by Simon Upton

    The relaxed atmosphere lets the homeowners unwind to beachy views as they keep easy, tranquil living top of mind—in a house that’s so much more than a vacation spot.

    “Houses on Sea Island allude to a lifestyle more than a weekend situation,” Kasler says. “Designing this home to be sophisticated and simple through editing makes it livable for every day.”

     

    Arches adorn the shaded alfresco gathering space, which is delineated into two gathering zones—a comfortable lounge spot and a dining area punctuated by wide blue and white stripes on chairs from Michael Taylor.