The open, flowing floor plan of the home allows each room a view into the next—and outdoors. Kroeger, who describes the architecture as "refreshing and open," was involved during the building process from the beginning. "I really didn’t feel like I had to do a lot in terms of changing or adding anything because Jeff’s plan was so complete," says the designer. "Of particular note is the beautiful detailing in the molding." Kroeger developed a color palette that coordinated with both the water and the sunny southern weather and still incorporated Cookie’s color preferences. The designer chose a neutral background of creamy beige for the entire house. She brought Cookie’s favorite light blue into the dining room and master suite and used what she calls "sun-kissed colors" to give each room its own personality.
"The whole effect is like a bouquet of flowers," she explains. Where the relationship between the architecture and the interior design really shines is in the great room. The most important architectural component in the room is the row of arched windows looking out over the water. Their graceful symmetry draws the eye to the view—after all, the water is the main feature of the property—while capturing the spirit of the colonial Bermuda style. "I particularly love the windows in this room," enthuses Cookie. The striking windows have the added advantage of being timeless, which was critical to the architect. "A hundred years from now, they won’t want to tear this house down," claims Harrell. "They’ll be able to repaint and redecorate, but the bones of the house are so good, it will last forever."
The great room is large enough to contain two seating groups. One is anchored by a handsome fireplace topped with an arched mirror that echoes the shape and scale of the windows, and the other is focused on an antique armoire that houses the home-entertainment system. Even though there are two distinct seating areas in the room, Kroeger coordinated the fabrics so that it feels like one seamless room when the Cregers entertain.
In the dining room, Cookie wanted to use wallpaper she had seen that imparted the look of a gazebo, but Kroeger felt the scale of the pattern was not in the right proportion for the room. So, she hired Chicago-based painter Zulyka Benetiz to create the look Cookie wanted with paint. The faux gazebo—a pattern of grids, circles, and arches—is not only in scale but also complements the design in the rest of the house.