Great Room Detail 

Symmetry and a sense of proportion are carried through in all the details of the great room. 

Great Room Vignette 

An antique French chest near the pool table adds weight and character to the great room. Above it hangs a tree painting by Peter Hoffer. Designer Wendy Kirkland left the art unframed for a more casual look. The lamp from Hamptons Antique Galleries is made with architectural salvage. An antique-looking chair upholstered in a Pearson fabric tucks into a corner near mahogany French doors that lead to a back screened porch. 

Deep Porches and Overhangs

John had worked with Bray and Kirkland on an addition to his Connecticut home, and the designers understood his vision for the  South Carolina property. “John wanted comfortable, not formal. A place where people could put their feet up,” Kirkland says.

Bray tapped into the traditions of Southern and Lowcountry architecture, designing the home with deep porches and overhangs and a raised foundation that maximizes natural ventilation from cooling breezes. The design had to be approved by Palmetto Bluff’s design review committee, which oversees the exterior architecture of homes built in the development. “They don’t want McMansions,” the architect explains. “The houses have to be in colors and of a scale so that they recede into the woods. Architecture is secondary to the environment there.”

The main house, a guesthouse, and a garage are arranged on a circular driveway and are surrounded by towering plantation pines and live oaks. “The circular pattern organizes the site in a dramatic way, creating a sense of space and arrival,” Bray says.

Handsome Dining Area

Vaulted ceilings soar 35 feet into a lighted cupola set over the central dining area. Further drama comes from two mirror-image limestone fireplaces on the dining room side walls. Exposed trusses, expertly crafted butt-board, and paneled walls—all painted white—give the space a casual, almost barnlike feel. Stairs lead to a second-level catwalk that runs along three walls and overlooks the great room.

Bray and Kirkland worked hand-in-hand on the plan to ensure that furnishings and architecture were always in sync. They scoured showrooms in the Northeast to find a circular table that would meet John’s needs—large enough to seat 12 or more but able to be downsized to accommodate more intimate dinner parties. Kirkland found what they were looking for on a showroom floor at the Boston Design Center. “The outer edge comes off in three sections, like a pie crust, so the size can be adjusted. And it’s not too polished or formal looking,” the designer explains.

The showpiece chandelier was custom-made after the architect and designer found a too-small version on a showroom floor. The two pros experimented with paper models and elevation drawings to determine the proper dimensions for the space—a staggering 6 feet tall and wide. “While it really is quite large, it is so light and almost frail looking that it never overwhelms or dominates the table below,” Bray says. 

Kitchen Designed for Entertaining

The kitchen was designed for entertaining, with spaces for guests to gather when John is preparing a meal. “I’m kind of famous for having a dinner party and cooking something I’ve never made before,” he says.

A pair of rattan chairs by the windows and a breakfast nook with a cozy banquette offer guests comfortable places to enjoy a cocktail and talk to John as he cooks.

“That kitchen gets a lot of use,” says Kirkland, who is often a guest at John’s South Carolina home. “We can play pool and blast music on those great speakers. It’s a pretty special place to be.” 

Breakfast Nook 

A built-in corner bench and shelves create a cozy place to hang out while checking views from the front windows. Banquette and chair cushions are covered with fabric by Kravet. 

Cozy Sitting Area 

Wicker chairs and a bamboo-style table offer seating by a kitchen window. 

Upstairs Hall

Art lines the walls of the catwalk-like gallery overlooking the great room. The painting on the end wall is by Ann Grimm.

Guest Bedroom 

Sisal and linen fabrics with pops of coral provide texture and a soft palette. The sisal rug is from Stark Carpet, and Roman shades were made with a Pindler & Pindler linen.

Charming Guest Bedroom Details

A classic bust and a glass vase of white roses beautify the guest bedroom. 

Graceful Bed

The whimsical headboard of the Hickory Chair bed is upholstered in a natural linen in the master bedroom. Elizabeth Eakins woven pillow shams lean against pillow shams in a Schumacher fabric.

Master Bedroom Sitting Area  

A Lee Industries chair with contrasting piping sits next to a chest and mirror from Circa Antiques. Floors are reclaimed heart pine stained a rich coffee color. 

Homeowner Portrait

Homeowner John Howard poses on the porch.

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Breezy Lowcountry Home

An inviting new home in South Carolina 

Written by Amy Elbert
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Emily Jenkins Followill

Breakfast Nook 

A built-in corner bench and shelves create a cozy place to hang out while checking views from the front windows. Banquette and chair cushions are covered with fabric by Kravet. 

Built-in shelves and banquette: Genesis Construction,
Dining table (custom): Berkshire Home & Antiques,
Dining chairs (“Campaign Side Chair” #7436): Palecek,
Chair-seat fabric (“Pop Flower”/Birch #11, by Echo Design): Kravet,
Pillows at either end of banquette (“Bandra”/Goa Sand #1201/A): Seema Krish, Through Studio 534,
Pair of pillows on banquette (“Fluid Design” #31988, colorway discontinued): Kravet Couture,
Chandelier: owner’s collection.
Glass vase: Circa Antiques,


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