Cottage of the Year 2002: Cozy Retreat

Welcome to our Coastal Living Cottage of the Year, nestled among live oaks in South Carolina. This home offers ideas in seaside architecture, interior design, and salt-marsh landscaping.

Cottage of the Year 2002: interior
Photo: Brian Vanden Brink
In late afternoon, the community of Habersham in Beaufort, South Carolina, welcomes high tide. Water ripples where a few hours earlier there was only puddled marsh, and the sun casts a golden path on the choppy Broad River. Pelicans fish for dinner in tall grasses rising above the water's surface, and boats meander through narrow channels that define the river's junction with Habersham Creek.

At 24 River Place, the sun also brings a warm glow to our cottage's great room and screened porch. Plush furniture and throw pillows?each with a punch of yellow or red?beckon visitors to relax. "A cottage is comfortable and warm, laid-back," says Linda Woodrum, interior designer for the 2002 Coastal Living cottage. "This place doesn't take itself too seriously."

"We wanted to blend urban and natural areas using old towns and Southern villages as models," says Bob Turner, codeveloper with Stephen Davis of Habersham, the 5-year-old community. Eventually, he says, it will be an independent town with a school and commercial area.

"Lots of living is going to happen in this room," says Linda of the great room. The first floor of the main cottage encompasses three distinct living spaces: sitting, dining, and living areas. Linda tied them together by keeping the basic decor and color scheme consistent. She painted the yellow-pine plank walls a diluted version of the glossy white on the trim and ceiling. Antique heart-pine floors add an heirloom quality, while bright hues enliven interiors.

The sitting area holds oversize red and yellow leather chairs that make a perfect couple?one with metal tacks and matching ottoman, the other a petite recliner. Shelves displaying art and books flank the stair landing. Splashes of color come from the same rug, lamp, and skirted table that are in the living area.

There, a brightly striped, woven rug defines a traditional family room. Around a brick fireplace are sofas in soft yellow chenille and a pair of rattan armchairs separated by a skirted round table. A generous coffee table displays a shell collection.

Inside the front door, in place of a traditional foyer, a long pine dining table invites guests into the cottage. With two 18-inch leaves, the table stretches more than 8 feet, easily accommodating eight ladder-back armchairs. A low-hung chandelier brings intimate lighting to the table. If a party's in the works, the chairs can be pulled away and the table becomes a perfect buffet.

The hardworking kitchen is equipped for a big family or lots of guests, and the cottage's open floor plan allows hosts to participate in the party. "I love the way the kitchen is integrated into the living area," Linda says, noting the cook's ability to pass samples over the island.

A cooktop with a nonstick grill and self-ventilation system and a combination oven and drop-down-door microwave make preparing dinner a breeze. "It's a great workspace," Linda says. Long-lasting titanium cookware helps the cause. A stainless-finish refrigerator has ample room for leftovers, while the large-capacity dishwasher keeps cleanup to a minimum. Two under-mount sinks featuring goosenecked faucets complete the kitchen. One sits in the pine-topped island; the other looks across the property to the water.

The master quarters, separated from the main house by a vestibule, offer a retreat. A black bed with posts resembling oversize chess pieces commands attention. Luxurious linens, a quilted coverlet, and down-filled pillows and comforter soften the large frame. Overhead, exposed beams add texture, while a whisper-quiet, 52-inch ceiling fan circulates incoming breezes. The bed's black-and-white theme carries over to other areas of the room with checked fabric?a soft throw, a chair cushion, and ribbon tabs topping window sheers. Beyond red double doors, a private porch awaits.

The master bath looks out to a lush courtyard. "Each component of the house has a spectacular view," says residential designer Eric Moser.

Warm, brown walls and ceiling and glossy white trim bring a crisp, classic look to the upstairs girl's room. "I love the contrast," Linda says. "It's very light and girly?without being gooey." To complete the feminine feel, Linda chose all white furnishings: a queen-size bed, round side table, and small-scale armoire with a cedar-lined closet and glass-front drawers. For color, two floral throw pillows, a shade darker than the walls, and a red plaid bolster dress the bed's quilted coverlet and down comforter. A child's vivid artwork finds a home atop the armoire, adding height and interest.

Both upstairs bedrooms have a private dressing and lavatory area leading to the shared bath. Here, a footed tub is outfitted with a rain-style showerhead and a chrome-finished shower system with thermostat. Windows look out to native palms, live oaks, and the river. A high chair rail displaying shells wraps the room, while window seat-style ledges on either side of the tub hold bubble bath, soap, and other niceties.

    Most Popular

    1. Top 21 Beaches, Coast to Coast

      Plan your summer getaway now: From white strands to secret coves, we've found the ultimate spots by the shore, plus fabulous lodging so you can stay as long as you like.
    2. 100 Comfy Cottage Rooms 
    3. 20 Beautiful Beach Cottages
    4. 29 Delicious Salads
    5. 10 Tropical Destinations