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Home showcase: Eclectically unified

A kaleidoscope of design inspirations comes together beautifully in this Port Royal home.

Story by Barry Kaufman + Photography by Lisa Staff

Coastal design must be mostly white, with a few pops of cooling neutrals here and there for visual pop. Lowcountry design must be rustic, defined by the natural elements of wood and metal. Monochromatic color schemes belong in contemporary homes and nowhere else.

These are the fundamental rules of design that this gorgeous home in Port Royal Plantation gleefully breaks. 

From the wreckage of these old, tired rules, J. Banks Design Group has created something entirely new and refreshingly eclectic. It’s a home that dares to bring together the crisp modernity of black-and-white tiles, the pastoral wood grain of the Lowcountry and the soothing tones of coastal, binding them together with a singular vision for what a home can look like.

“We had a lot of fun visioning and looking at materials and textures with the client, and we came up with a unique scheme that was all theirs,” said Hannah Fulton, designer with J Banks Design. “We wanted it to feel coastal but also really warm. They wanted to add some rusts, organics and warmer tones, so it was fun to do something different.”

Picking and choosing from different design schemes, Fulton turned the home into a master class in unifying several disparate elements. Using what she refers to as “lead fabrics” was one of the handiest tools at her disposal, like the subtle blend of tones on the dining room host chairs which brings together blues and greens with a pop of dusty orange beneath the timbered ceiling of the kitchen. 

Throughout, neutral tones also bind together some of the design elements, with light walls doing most of the heavy lifting. “The natural tones (in places like the kitchen) brought in more natural dark tones throughout the house, but keeping the walls light kept everything bright. It also gave us the opportunity to do some darker places, like the wine room and the guest bath, in a way that didn’t feel foreign to have darker pieces. It really allowed for a richer palette.”

And running throughout this masterpiece, you’ll find subtle intermingling of design elements. The main foyer’s grass-cloth wallpaper speaks to the more earthy elements found throughout, while the hazy blues in the chandelier tie into the cooling tones in the master bath and on the shutters.

It’s a freestanding testament to the power of creativity and to the notion that some rules were just made to be broken. “The clients were excited to work collaboratively, from the first plans to the furnishings,” said Fulton. “It’s really enjoyable to work with people who are interested in following a vision.”

And the results speak for themselves.
(Click thumbnail images to view larger)



Ready to break the rules?

Here are five ways you can create this look in your own home.

1. Expand your color palette: With this home, Fulton allowed herself to access the entire spectrum, resulting in a bold and colorful vision. “People are tempted to stay with blue and green, but a home can be coastal and add in colors like a lavender or purple. Bring out the colors that speak to you.”

2. Take interior design outside: Some of the most inspired parts of this home’s design aren’t contained under its roof. “The way the landscaping was done created these little vignettes for enjoying the outdoors. They planned for different moments where you can enjoy the outdoors.”

3. Don’t be afraid to mix and match: One of the hallmarks of this home is the way slight (and sometimes not-so-slight) variations on the theme create different atmospheres as you tour the home, from the orange and white of the laundry to the blues of the casita. “We created our own scheme based on a few of their different things but based around a few lead fabrics and textures, so it feels cohesive.”

4. Find your fabric: One of the key elements to this home was the use of “lead fabrics” patterns that could set the tone for the rest of the home’s color palette. “The one on the back of the host chair is what brings all these colors together. There’s our palette. It gives us freedom.”

5. Build around what you love: Much of the home’s variation in colors and textures comes from a handful of treasured pieces owned by the clients. “Whether it’s an antique piece of furniture, a fabric, a texture or a tile, it’s important to take the time to learn what you love and what makes you happy. Then it’s fun to build around those things.”