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Coloring outside the lines

Creativity counts when creating a picturesque Lowcountry home.

Story by Barry Kaufman + Photography by Lisa Staff

Every beautiful home you’ve ever seen in these pages began with an idea. Whether it was a homeowner who had saved Pinterest images or magazine clippings in the pursuit of their eventual dream home, or it was a moment of inspiration on the part of a builder, architect or designer, it all starts in the creative mind.

And the creative mind stagnates in complacency. By its very nature, it seeks out the new and the novel with everything it does. Certainly, the creative mind can subsist on the everyday, but if you really want to see a creative mind operating at its fullest capacity, you give it a challenge. Because where we see obstacles, the creative mind sees opportunity.

Jay and Jenny Nelson of May River Custom Homes helped homeowners Stephanie and Tom Wilde through the entire process.

Tangled up in blue • Variations of the color blue can be found throughout the home, whether it’s in a set of bookends, an accent bowl or along the pool’s edge.

“From guiding the Wildes in selecting their lot up to today, they have been nothing short of a dream,” Jenny Nelson said. “Their thoughtfulness and consideration when ideas were presented to them were always appreciated. Their home is casual yet tailored and welcoming, which are also words that I would use to describe them. The team collaboration between Kelly Caron, Court Atkins and many other phenomenal subcontractors was second to none, and the end product is something that we are all proud of.”

“The porch runs through all those spaces in the rear. At any point you can walk up to the outside.”


Architecturally, the opportunity within this Colleton River home came from its uniquely wedge-shaped lot. Hemmed in by majestic live oaks on one end, and a property line that tapered toward breathtaking marsh views, the architects at Court Atkins had their work cut out for them.

“This house lays out a little differently. We do a lot of open-plan living, but this house is unique in that it is linear, with the kitchen dead in the middle,” said architect William Court. “It’s a fun layout in the sense that you get the traditional great room and dining room with that view, but also the porch runs through all those spaces in the rear. At any point you can walk up to the outside.”

Modern art Beyond its distinctive design and color palette, the quality and craftsmanship at play throughout exemplify modern Lowcountry living.


From these challenges came a design that flips the script on the traditional Lowcountry cottage-style home. Circulation paths connecting the living and dining rooms take the kitchen from being the metaphorical heart of the home to the literal heart of the home. Rotating the pool to fit the lot creates an extraordinary and impressive outdoor living space.

The opportunities this house represented for designer Kelly Caron challenged her creative mind and, in the process, let her work with the builders and homeowners create something truly memorable.

“We all clicked immediately,” said Caron. “We had a lot of fun going through fabrics and materials.”

Throughout the home, you’ll find finishes, materials and fabrics that dance across aesthetics, firmly rooted in the basics of Coastal chic design but with a playful sense of creativity. Caron refers to this as the materiality of the home. And tying all of this together is a mandate made loud and clear by the homeowners from day one: keep it blue.

“She loves the color blue,” said Caron. The color runs throughout the house, from the royal blue shade on the built-in bookshelves, kitchen island and upholstery to the light cerulean of a window bench or a throw pillow. It’s a color that accents the crisp white of classic Lowcountry décor brilliantly.

Built for Comfort
Balancing such splendor is an emphasis on comfort, whether a quiet master bath or a seat in the sunlight.


“Her house is not boring at all. I think it’s really comfortable. I love that she let us use color to add some interest in her living room,” said Caron. That includes a set of spool chairs tailor-made for the home and hand-painted to match the palette of blues and whites. “We had those custom made to match her built-ins.”

Beyond its inspiring views and exquisite craftsmanship, this home is a testament to the creative mind at work. Feed it a challenge, and as you can see here, it will create something truly special.


The home team

Interior Design: Kelly Caron Designs, ASID
Builder: May River Custom Homes, Jay and Jenny Nelson
Architect: Court Atkins Group + Cabinets: AWD Cabinets
Lighting: Cregger + Plumbing: Ferguson + Tile: Savannah Surfaces