Before & After: Anatomy of a makeover

J. Banks Design Group transformed this  Sea Pines beach villa into a masterpiece. 

Story by Barry Kaufman + All After Photos by Katie Charlotte Photography

There is one inescapable fact when it comes to homes: there is always room for improvement. 

For example, you might have an adorable oceanside villa in Sea Pines’ exclusive Turtle Lane Club where you’re nothing more than an open door away from stepping out among the dunes. Let’s say it’s even an end unit, giving you lush green space to enjoy and natural light throughout your house.

That’s great. But there’s always room for improvement. Especially in the case of this particular Turtle Lane villa, where décor stuck in the ’90s begged for a modern reboot. Enter Hannah Fulton with J. Banks Design Group and her unique vision for updating, brightening and dragging this villa into the 21st century with the help of owner Jacquine Clark and contractor VanGeison Construction. 

“From the flooring up, it was very dated. It was in need of a complete renovation,” she said. “We made it more sleek, more transitional. Everything we did cleaned things up.”

Cleaning up is an understatement, as the photos show.

The dining room


They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Such is the way with mirrored walls. They are generally installed with the noble intention of making a space seem bigger, but in practice they do nothing more than instantly date a space.

“They are our favorite things to rip out,” said Fulton with a laugh. Pulling down the mirror allowed for a fresh and modern shiplap half wall, balanced out with a grasscloth upper wall dyed to reflect a watery, coastal feel. These colors find an elegant complement in the tray ceiling, painted a subdued sea-glass shade during renovations, as well as in the new dining table’s dramatic aqua chair and bright blue seat cushions. 

Part of renovation is looking to the future, and in the flooring Fulton chose a material that would stand up to the test of time (a must should the villa ever enter the rental market). “It’s a parquet tile designed to look like wood,” she said. “It’s very durable for sand and pets.”

The kitchen


Speaking of pets, Fulton was sure to include a special treat for the villa owners’ prized pooches. The same Vetrostone festooned with sea glass that comprises the customized pet bowl also winds its way up the waterfall edge of the kitchen’s new counters. These counters serve as a beautiful complement to recycled glass tiles that wind around the kitchen’s walls.

The freshened material not only adds visual flair, it subtly amplifies the sense of spaciousness that drove renovations in the kitchen.

“It’s not a large space. We wanted to maximize what we had,” said Fulton.

One of the more ingenious ways the team at J. Banks Design Group maximized the space was through the kitchen’s center island. Set on casters, it’s not only eye-catching, it’s a multi-functional wonder. With just a slide across the room, it goes from a work surface to a buffet to a breakfast nook.

Living room


If the living room is the heart of the home, this villa was in serious need of a cardiologist. Filled with overstuffed furnishings and ringed with arch-topped built-ins, this space was saved only by the breathtaking views beyond its sliding-glass doors. Step one was trading up the furniture for lighter pieces that evoked a greater coastal motif, and step two was, well, everything else.

“We wrapped that whole living room in shiplap to be light and bright and give it a little detail without too much molding,” said Fulton. 

The built-ins were rebuilt to not only clear up the clutter of smaller drawers and eliminate the arches but also to enhance the maritime theme through nautical sconces above each. And the piece de resistance was the custom rug, hand-picked by Fulton to reflect the color scheme. 

“It was the perfect piece that just grounded the space,” she said. “We selected each thread. It was a neat process to customize.”

The result is a living room as beautiful as the views beyond.

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