May 2024 Home showcase

Home showcase: A place in the sun

The timeless look of tabby lends Old-World opulence to a stunningly modern outdoor oasis in Sea Pines.

Story by Barry Kaufman + Photos by CSTJ Photography

Constructed in 2022, this Sea Pines residence epitomizes contemporary design and breathtaking architecture. It showcases meticulously crafted, high-end finishes, offering a host of luxurious amenities. Notably, it affords spectacular views of the ocean from the majority of its rooms and outdoor spaces, which include a resort-style pool complemented by a sundeck, spa and a distinct lap lane.

There are countless elements that go into a home’s design. When you marvel at something as seemingly simple as a roofline, what you’re seeing is the result of endless decisions and conversations – how to angle its descent to best guide rainwater, which shingles would complement the design scheme and endure brutal sunlight, whether its lines interfere with the home’s overall symmetry.

And that’s just one part of the home. Those same conversations sprung up about everything. The width of the windows, the color of the paint, the depth of a screened porch, the angle of a soffit, the material of the cabinet hardware … each was a labor of collaborative love.

The closer you look at a home, the greater appreciation you gain for the decisions made along the way. With that said, this month we will raise up that which is usually underfoot. Within and around the dramatically angular design of the outdoor spaces in this Neil Gordon-designed Sea Pines home, there is one element that needed very little discussion.

“Old World Tabby is so appropriate to the Lowcountry,” said Lisa Bakke of Savannah Surfaces, which supplied the Oyster White porcelain pavers that D. Anderson Construction used to create this stunning backyard retreat. “The color is really versatile because you have the white background with the gray and beige from the shells… it’s easy to take any color palette and have this fit.”

Old World Tabby is one of the Lowcountry’s signature aesthetics, making it the obvious visual choice. But when you’re using a material for a covered patio and a pool deck, it needs to be versatile in more ways than one.

Laying it out

While traditional tabby has existed for centuries, it has always been a material better suited for pouring into large slabs. When you’re trying to create a patio floor, you need something a little more nimble. That’s where Savannah Surfaces’ Old World Tabby Porcelain comes into play.

“Tabby is a beautiful product, but it has restrictions,” said Bakke. “The porcelain version gives you the beauty of tabby with the ease-of-use of porcelain.”

For this patio Savannah Surfaces used a 3/8-inch grip finish tile that could be set on top of the existing slab. 

“This was new construction, but this is also a great product for a remodel if you can’t use a thicker tile,” said Bakke. The thinner tile makes it easier to work with under a roof, as contractors have more flexibility in putting it on top of a foundation slab. “A lot of times customers will come to the hardscape selections later, but when the builder is getting ready to pour the foundations, they really want to know what’s going on with the elevation.”

Getting a grip

The versatility of these tiles also made them the obvious choice for this project, owing to the indoor/outdoor nature of it. The same tiles that run across the patio also encircle the pool, running up some of the coping as an accent.

So while the tiles run 3/8 inch in the patio, on the pool deck Savannah Surfaces switched to a 3/4-inch paver that increased durability. According to Bakke, these tiles were mortar-set over a slab but could be set in sand if need be. 

“Because it’s porcelain, they could even use it for the pool’s beach entry,” she said. “As long as it’s set properly, it won’t erode, stain or discolor. It’s generally pretty low maintenance – since it’s non-porous, it won’t absorb any stains.”

The exterior pavers surrounding a pool have a similar grip to their counterparts for obvious safety reasons, and the light and bright color also keeps it from holding heat. Inside the patio the 3/8-inch tiles are similarly designed for easy living. 

“You can run out there with a Swiffer and clean it,” she said. “There are no nooks and crannies that hold water. It’s essentially an updated version of what they’ve been doing for decades on porches and patios.”

One less decision

Building a home comes with enough decisions. This home proves that taking the timeless look of tabby into the 21st century might just be the easiest decision in the whole process.

“D. Anderson Construction has been a big fan of our Old World Tabby. He’s used the tiles and the pavers for projects in every color in our oyster collection,” said Bakke. That’s especially true in situations like this, where the goal was to capture that visual flair of oyster shell and lime, while creating a space that allowed for year-round outdoor enjoyment. 

“The traditional way of pouring tabby – broadcasting shell over concrete – is beautiful but not exactly barefoot-friendly. The Old World Tabby collection is very barefoot-friendly.”

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