Before & After: Historic Sea Pines retreat finds new life
An extensive renovation brings back the grace and glamour of historic Gull Manor.
Story by Paula Magrini + Photos by Kelli Boyd Photography
A legendary residence with New England-style architectural elements and sweeping marsh views, Sea Pines’ Gull Manor. recently underwent a transformation. The master suite, including sitting room and bath, were thoughtfully reconfigured while the balance of the home was impeccably updated by Kelly Caron Designs.
Rooted in Nantucket vernacular
“We don’t see a lot of gambrel roofs on Hilton Head Island,” said renowned island architect Neil Gordon. “But there are many elements of this historic home that harken back to New England, such as the shingle-style siding and cupola,” he added. There’s even a gazebo to the rear of the home to capture stunning marsh views.”
Gordon was the original architect for the two-decade old estate. He explained the owner’s request was a design similar to the style that prevailed in Nantucket and around the Cape Cod area. “We basically southernized that style by adding wraparound porches,” he said. Inside, the original home was designed to accommodate a large extended family and frequent guests, with six bedroom, eight baths, a large open kitchen and plenty of gathering space for holidays and summer vacations.
Embracing a new vision
Twenty years later, the new owners of Gull Manor tapped Gordon, Lowcountry builder Danny Morgan and Kelly Caron Designs to breathe new life into the beloved property. While the basic structure of the 10,000 square foot home was to remain intact, extensive interior updates were requested, along with modifications to the master suite.
“We were thrilled to join the ambitious mission to refresh this milestone address in just one year,” said Principal Designer Kelly Caron. “The vision was a Lowcountry retreat with a playful yet sophisticated interior. We took a bold coastal approach with the palette, replacing the previous golden-yellow tones with shades of blue.”
“Kelly’s selections were both stunning and strategic,” noted builder Danny Morgan. “She has great relationships with top vendors which made orders and installations flow smoothly.” Morgan said his role entailed updates throughout the house, with focus on removing walls in the master bedroom and addressing aging internal structural items, such as the HVAC system and lightening protection elements.
A year-long collaboration
Morgan and Caron agree that it was the new owners’ trust that yielded the remarkably efficient transformation of the expansive estate, as well as the caliber of home style, interior selections and overall creative savvy. Morgan credits the ongoing team communication with owners for the exceptional outcome.
“We initially did a virtual presentation to the homeowner with all interior selections, wallcoverings, paint, rugs and accessories,” said Designer Sarah Wildridge who teamed with Caron on the project. “Because the owners weren’t local, we had weekly Zoom meetings for project updates and total design flow, allowing us to streamline the process.”
Caron added that she and Wildridge were able to expedite completion of the project thanks to the new full-service resources offered by Kelly Caron Designs. “We planned the full installation on the client’s timeline. From conceptual design to the final finishing touches, KCD and The Design Vault completed the massive task of a full home installation in just one week,” she explained. “By coordinating efforts of KCD, local vendors and The Design Vault, we delivered a flawless installation right on schedule.”
Coastal elegance elevated
Not only did steady communication and efficient project management determine the success of the new face of Gull Manor, there was intuitive design strategy at play as well.
“The KCD team chose fixtures, finishes and fabrics that complemented yet elevated the existing environment,” Morgan said. “Because the home is 20-plus years old, a seamless retrofit required research, vendor flexibility and careful attention to client wishes and needs.
Wildridge dwelled on the ambitious master bedroom and bath redesign. “Originally the bed was angled into the room creating awkward hard angles and limiting furniture in the space. Taking the shared bedroom/ bathroom walls down to the studs and adjusting the layout allowed for a better flow and use of square footage in both areas,” she explained.
The bathroom now has an expansive shower that runs the length of the exterior of the home, a tub perfect for bird watching and double vanities with ample storage and countertop space.
One look at the featured before and after photos and you can see the other enhancements that have restored the grace and glamour that are synonymous with this home since its unveiling in the heart of Sea Pines Resort some 20 years ago.