A family’s move from Charleston to the Caribbean includes transforming an outdated cottage into a home away from home. Discover how they did it, step by step.
For many, the choice to pack up and move to an island paradise happens only after lifelong dreaming and years of searching.
For Charleston, South Carolina, residents LeGrand and Allison Elebash, a developer and interior designer, respectively, that
decision was almost instant. "We were offered an opportunity to build a resort on St. Kitts, which required us to move there
for a few years," says Allison.
A whirlwind house-hunting trip led the couple and their two children, Hudson and Chloe, to a circa-1980s West Indies-style cottage overlooking Frigate Bay. "It was a little outdated, but it had so much character," Allison says. Here's how the Elebashes combined Caribbean style with familiar comforts to form an island abode that makes them feel right at home.
Not wanting to detract from the house's vintage character, the Elebashes embraced its best qualities, such as its open floor
plan, original parquet floors, and West Indies--style vaulted ceilings stained dark brown. "It was perfect—we wanted a home
that felt like we were in the islands, but still had an elegance about it, because we entertain a lot," says Allison.
Get the look: The mirror is from South of Market, the candelabra is from shopcandelabra.com, and the table is from Victoria & Thomas Trading Company.
Allison made sure the porch could accommodate the family's daily activities, including seaside siestas in a quilted hammock.
"When we're home, we spend most of our time out on the porch," says Allison. "So there's a spot to do everything."
Get the look: The hammock is from Hatteras Hammocks, the rug is from Dash & Albert, the stool is from Pottery Barn, and the pillows are from John Robshaw Textiles.
While the vintage charm of the island retreat appealed to the Elebashes, it did have its shortcomings—particularly when it
came to the size of the windows. "They were all very small," says Allison. "So I ordered bamboo blinds that would extend beyond
the top of the actual window. Hung higher, it gives the illusion of a taller, more expansive space."
Get the look: The living room blinds are from Smith+Noble.
Allison brought several of her treasured vintage finds to St. Kitts, including this bar cart and chair. The collection of
coffee table books and pictures creates an interesting display.
Get the look: The bar cart is from Elizabeth Stuart Design. The coral sculpture is by Regina Andrews.
The family room—with its slipcovered sofa, bold coffee table, and patterned pillows—exemplifies one of Allison's simple design
tricks: "I always like to start with neutral sofas, because you can do anything with them," she says. "You can change out
the pillows, side chairs, or tables in the room and the sofa still works."
Get the look: The sofa is from Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, the blinds are from Smith+Noble, the coffee table is from Shine by S.H.O., the lamp is from Arteriors, and the Lichen pillow is from John Robshaw Textiles.
Rather than starting from scratch, Allison opted to recycle some furniture from their Charleston home. The only caveat? Their
previous aesthetic didn't quite jibe with their new island vibe. "We covered a lot of our antiques and existing pieces with
slipcovers so they would feel more island-like," she says. In the master bedroom, Allison gave the couple's existing headboard
a makeover with soothing blue fabric.
Get the look: The blinds are from Smith+Noble, the headboard fabric is Daisy Daisy David Hicks by Ashley Hicks from Groundworks, leejofa.com, the lamps and sconce are from Circa Lighting, the bedside table is Elizabeth Stewart Design, the quilt and pillows are from John Robshaw Textiles, and the bench and blanket are from Celadon.
"Island homes lend themselves to color and prints," says Allison. "You have permission to use brighter, bolder things." In
Chloe's room, the designer chose vibrant, statement-making curtains in feminine hot pink. She added an eclectic touch with
aqua accents and plenty of pattern.
Get the look: The drapery fabric is from Braemore, and the coverlet is from Peacock Alley.
In her son Hudson's room, the designer took a cue from the water outside, infusing sea-inspired turquoise into the curtains,
art, and accents. She grounded the look with natural colors and textures in the headboard and nightstand.
Get the look: The bed is from West Elm, the art is from Z Gallerie, the blanket is from Pottery Barn, the drapery fabric is from Schumacher, the nightstands are from Celadon, and the lamps are from Morris Sokol Furniture.