Step inside the colorful world of this dazzling Palmetto Bluff masterpiece.
Story by Barry Kaufman + Photography by Anne
The provenance of Lowcountry luxury has long been a balancing act between two aesthetics – on the one hand, there are the earthen tones and textures that evoke the region’s beauty: your tabby, your wood, your brick, your subdued palette of blues and greens that mirror the marshes and rivers outside. On the luxurious side of that balance lie the crisp white lines and dramatic architecture that defines modern sophistication.
However, it’s not always white board-and-batten paired with black wrought iron accents. Sometimes, as in the majestic Palmetto Bluff home you see here, Lowcountry luxury can get a little bit colorful.
“I’ll never forget, one of the first things the client said when we were meeting was, ‘I’ve convinced my husband that pink is a neutral color,” said designer Shell Neely of Kelly Caron Designs. Armed with a slew of the client’s vision board images from Houzz and Instagram and mandated to give this Lowcountry home a vibrant tapestry of colors, Neely got to work in conjunction with the team at H2 builders and architect Pierce Scott.
“My client came with a lot of inspiration, so basically I just started pulling colors, tiles and wallpaper to achieve those looks in each of the rooms,” said Neely. “Every suite has wallpaper in it, either in the bathroom or the bedroom, so it was really pulling a wallpaper theme for each room and then building around it.”
The result is a radiant color palette that excites but stops just shy of flamboyance, allowing the beauty of the home to speak for itself.
Be upfront about it
Neely’s inspired use of the wallpaper to inform the home’s color palette is best illustrated in the “front kitchen.” Some of you may be mentally correcting that last sentence. After all, it’s the back kitchen that has become a hallmark of Palmetto Bluff design. In this case, however, the more colorful of the home’s kitchens is found at the front of the house, hence the name.
“The first one we selected was the lemon tree wallpaper in the front kitchen. From that we pulled the Midsummer Night Blue for the cabinetry,” said Neely. She didn’t stop there. Neely carried the Midsummer Night Blue across the foyer to the richly detailed office as well, playing up the symmetry between the two spaces.
Although as long as we’re discussing proper names for rooms, perhaps the office is too limiting.
“It’s also a lounge space. After dinner, the family will pile onto the sectional in there and listen to records. When they have parties, the guys usually end up either on the screened porch watching a game or in this room because it has a bourbon bar,” said Neely.
That same Midsummer Night Blue also finds its way into the exquisite mudroom, not only on the cabinets but in the eye-catching custom hex tile “Later Gator” pattern on the floor.
Hit the ceiling
One eye-catching aspect that sets the dining room apart, and carries the colorful theme found throughout the home, is the wallpapered ceiling. Popping up in luxury homes as an emerging trend, this sky-high pop of color adds sumptuous flair to this space.
“We had always planned on doing that in the dining room,” said Neely. “And then we echoed the pattern of the ceiling in the fabric on the chairs.”
The color not only ties the room together, it creates a sense of intimacy that balances out the openness of its panoramic view. “We really worked with H2 Builders and architect Pearce Scott to get as much window to maximize weight and height, because she really wanted to see the yard from three sides of that space,” said Neely. “Bringing in the wallpaper on the ceiling still makes it kind of a cozy space, even though you have that light.”
Keep it open-ended
With their passion for entertaining, the homeowners had one clear mandate: Keep the main living spaces as open as possible.
As such, the living room and kitchen blend not only into one another to create the perfect spot for unforgettable soirees, they have easy access to the outdoor spaces. The kind of color that informs the rest of the house can overwhelm in larger spaces, so the palette is noticeably toned down.
“It is more neutral in the living room, but there are still pops of color. We didn’t do color on the walls, but we did blue and white with teal and orange pillows that echo the wallpaper behind the bar,” said Neely.