Modern kitchen with pops of bold color

Home showcase: Creative elegance

Step inside a Palmetto Bluff house where the fearless style and geometric flair run far below the surface. 

Story by Barry Kaufman + Photos by Gridley + Graves Photographers

Is it too early to say that color is back? 

This stunning Palmetto Bluff home seems to serve as a testament to that notion, taking a whole rainbow of hues to the understated gray, white and teal that has served as the holy trinity for home design over the last few years. 

What captures the attention with this home isn’t just the striking use of color in its décor, it’s the brilliant way that the structure of the home – its architecture, its materials, its textures – all serve as support to this bold vision without seeming either incongruous or distracting. 

“The client came to us with a pretty significant direction, so it was just a matter of dialing in on the products that would accomplish that goal,” said Jessica Cheek of Savannah Surfaces. “They really liked color and geometric patterns, so we focused on that.”

Working with builders CS Thomas Construction and designers from Rod Mickley Interiors, Savannah Surfaces provided the perfect finishing touches on a home that fearlessly defies the rules. In the process the team created something simply stunning.

Beyond backsplashes 

One of the most brilliant ways that this kitchen’s design upends the traditional rules of homebuilding can be found in the kitchen. Where some might let an eye-catching backsplash dictate the colors and layout of the rest of the kitchen, Savannah Surfaces works backward.

“We always tell people that the backsplash is one of the last decisions we make,” said Cheek. “Over the course of a new build, the kitchen tends to evolve.”

With the kitchen’s design mostly determined, Cheek weighed the textures, patterns and artwork in the kitchen and found this dazzling custom herringbone marble mosaic to tie everything together perfectly.

Great room grandeur 

As the centerpiece of the great room, the soaring fireplace had the important job of serving as its own attraction while not drawing the eye away from the vibrancy of the décor. To accomplish this, Savannah Surfaces covered the space in Tennessee fieldstone, a natural stone that softens the room with a richly organic, seasoned contrast. 

“It’s a natural stone, cut to 1.5 inches thick,” said Lisa Bakke with Savannah Surfaces. “It lets us keep that natural weathered look, but in a nice lightweight material…. A lot of people who move here from other areas are used to seeing stone used like this, and they want to bring that warmth and texture down here.”

Not only were the stones cut into flat slabs for the wall, they were intricately carved at an angle where the walls go around the corner, creating a seamlessly natural look.

Modern Living Room with stone fireplace

Hexagonal harmony 

Part of the mandate given to Savannah Surfaces in creating the flooring of the primary suite’s attached bath was to provide something that would complement the throwback aesthetic provided by the boldly pink shiplap walls. In these hexagonal interlocking tiles, they found the perfect fit.

“It’s a very interesting hex-on-hex kind of design,” said Cheek. “Hexagonal tiles make for a great retro look, and this pattern, with that larger overall hex, makes for an updated, modern take on that classic design.”

Master bathroom with hexagonal tiles for a retro look

Subway simplicity 

Few people can even boast of having a bathroom in their garage, and those who do have one generally tend to keep things fairly utilitarian. With this home the mandate for style didn’t stop, infusing this space with a provocatively stylish contrast of circular elements, subway tile and plank paneling. 

“It’s such a big area, so we actually started from the floor and worked our way up,” said Cheek.

The floor’s customized cement tiles were shipped in from a vendor in Puerto Rico who can create customized patterns, allowing the circular pattern on the floor which draws design cues from throw pillows in the attached guest room. The marble subway tiles, meanwhile, had one job – to get out of the way.

“We didn’t want everything to have this big personality, so we let the flooring be the rock star and the shower wall serve as a supporting star,” said Cheek.

A garage bathroom

Savannah Surface’s four tips on integrating stone and tile

1. Start from the ground up: In both the garage bath and the primary bath, the flooring selections were made first, providing guidelines for every other design element. “A lot of times when working with designers or clients, the tile will drive the other selections,” said Cheek.

2. Look everywhere for inspiration: The pattern on the garage bathroom floor only appears in one other place — on a set of throw pillows in the adjoining room. That connection, although subtle, creates a cohesive whole. “It’s not very common, but there are people who have a nice rug, a piece of art or a specific wallpaper they have in mind that they want to have influence their selection,” said Cheek.

3. Don’t sweat the backsplash: If you don’t have a specific design element integrated into the mosaic, just leave the backsplash for last. “In a kitchen everything from lighting to the cabinets will dictate the direction of the backsplash,” said Cheek. “It’s not something you need to worry about initially. Just leave that until the end.”

4. Don’t overdo it: Adding texture, geometry and color can make for an incredible overall design scheme, but you should know when to pump the brakes. “I personally subscribe to the ‘less is more’ philosophy.  You want one main focal point, especially if you want to go bold in pattern or color,” said Cheek. “Don’t feel like you have to add something else to accomplish that goal.”

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