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Home showcase: Putting the fun in functional

Comfort, durability and child safety were the focus of this project by Kelly Caron Designs. 

Story by Barry Kaufman + Photos by Photography by Anne

Tangled up in Blue – Steeped in Lowcountry charm, this gorgeous island home complements crisp whites with rich blue accents throughout.

There’s a transcendent beauty that lies in a well-designed Lowcountry home. The light and airy openness, the crisp white tones contrasted here and there with bold colors and natural textures … it’s like living inside the sensation of a soft breeze off the ocean.

Living with young children, on the other hand, can be anything but transcendent. When they’re not doing their darndest to etch each piece of furniture with fresh scuffs and abrasions, they’re finding every opportunity to injure themselves on sharp corners and hard surfaces. 

The question is, can these two polar opposite lifestyles peacefully coexist? Can you have a gorgeous Lowcountry home that meets the challenge posed by tiny humans and their constantly grubby hands? The answer is yes, and the photos here, showcasing the Hilton Head home of islander Kelley Stearns, prove it. 

“Comfort and durability were key,” said Sara Boyles, interior designer with Kelly Caron Designs, ASID. “Kelley has two kids, so it was a question of having things that were not only beautiful, but they had to be very functional and safe.”

The living room seems perhaps the best illustration of this underlying principle. At its heart is the Bernhardt sectional sofa, perfectly balanced between style and comfort with performance fabrics that stand up to anything a kid can dish out. “She wanted something the whole family could sit on and watch a movie together,” said Boyles. Likewise, the Wesley Hall Ottoman was chosen to convey both elegance and imperviousness, with soft-edged corners to avoid any toddler mishaps and textured leather that would make each scuff a part of the patina.

Family Life – The best part of the living room is the living — piling the whole family on the couch for movie night, and filling shelves with memories.

Even the flooring was chosen with kids in mind. What may look like wide French oak at first, second and probably even third glance is in fact luxury vinyl plank. “You’d never know it. In fact, she’s had people compliment her on the wood floors,” said Boyles.  

In the kitchen, quartz counters were chosen not only to dazzle but to shrug off chips, stains and spills. “It’s pretty ironclad,” said Boyles. “It doesn’t have the maintenance of a natural stone, so you just have this carefree house that looks beautiful.”

Parents of small children know that “carefree” is a rarity, which is why Boyles designed the master suite as the ultimate maternal getaway. “Being a mom myself, and knowing that she had two toddlers at the time, she needed a sanctuary,” said Boyles. The soft, muted colors blissfully evoke a spa-like atmosphere in this spacious escape, while the lush en suite bath continues the theme of low-maintenance materials with Mont Blanc quartzite counters. 

But this home isn’t just a masterclass in form and function – it’s also a stunning example of perfectly utilized color. One of Stearns’ goals for the home was to carry a subtle theme of blue, and Boyles executed this with brilliance. From the Benjamin Moore Hale Navy center island in the kitchen to the denim, sea salt and navy found throughout, the running theme carries into each room. “I want my designs to be cohesive throughout so the house feels connected,” said Boyles. “When colors complement, it feels very inviting and comfortable.”

Mom’s Panic RoomWhen the rigors of motherhood threaten to overwhelm, the luxurious master suite indulges with tranquil splendor.

Sophisticated and elegant, this home nonetheless proves itself worthy of the challenges of toddlerdom. It truly is the best of both worlds.