Most newly constructed houses are move-in ready, but not all. Although nobody had ever lived in this cottage, it sat empty on an island outside of Savannah since completion in 2007. “It must have been priced too high when the market crashed, and maybe the investors were holding onto it until it reached its value again,” says Victoria Holmes, an interior designer with Holmes + Salter in Savannah. “The house hadn’t been touched since it was completed, and it seemed as if they were running out of money towards the end of the project, because some corners had clearly been cut.” Cabinetry was all stock from a big-box store, she explains, countertops were inexpensive, dark light fixtures were low-end retail selections, and the paint colors were … well … awful.
But the property was amazing. “The house sits on an island with only five other homes — and it came with a dock and a dock house,” says Victoria. “The homeowners knew they couldn’t pass it up, but they also couldn’t just move in and start living.”
To make it a forever home for Christie and David Palmer, the designers and contractor Lyons & Son Contracting gutted the kitchen, living, dining room, master bath and master closet. Cheap flooring was pulled up on the main floor, and in its place, timeless heart-pine was installed.
The streets of Savannah are filled with old houses made of aged brick, so it was a natural fit to incorporate some of that here, as well. “Christie loves the texture of brick and wanted to use it somewhere inside the home, so after considering different areas, we ended up using brick — real brick cut in half, not brick pavers — on the archway leading into the dining room, two walls in the breakfast room, her home office and one of the powder bathrooms,” says Victoria. “In the breakfast room it became the most wonderfully textured background for Christie and David’s collection of antique copper pots and pans.”
The homeowners had some antiques and artwork they wanted to use, but for the most part, the designers were able to start fresh with new furnishings and accessories. The family was excited to start using the house as soon as possible, so the design team actually started work on closing day. “It had to be kid- and pet-friendly but still sophisticated enough for entertaining and hosting large gatherings,” says Victoria. “I think we achieved all that. These clients have a blended family with grown children and grandchildren, so this home has now become the hub for parties, low country boils, fishing off the dock, boating — you name it.”
Thank you to Abby Caroline Photography for the gorgeous photos of this special home.
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