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.

By Lacey N. Howard
July 02, 2004
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.
Brian Vanden Brink

In late afternoon, the community of Habersham in Beaufort, SouthCarolina, welcomes high tide. Water ripples where a few hoursearlier there was only puddled marsh, and the sun casts a goldenpath on the choppy Broad River. Pelicans fish for dinner in tallgrasses rising above the water's surface, and boats meander throughnarrow channels that define the river's junction with HabershamCreek.

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

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

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

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

There, a brightly striped, woven rug defines a traditionalfamily room. Around a brick fireplace are sofas in soft yellowchenille and a pair of rattan armchairs separated by a skirtedround table. A generous coffee table displays a shellcollection.

Inside the front door, in place of a traditional foyer, a longpine dining table invites guests into the cottage. With two 18-inchleaves, the table stretches more than 8 feet, easily accommodatingeight ladder-back armchairs. A low-hung chandelier brings intimatelighting to the table. If a party's in the works, the chairs can bepulled away and the table becomes a perfect buffet.

The hardworking kitchen is equipped for a big family orlots of guests, and the cottage's open floor plan allows hosts toparticipate in the party. "I love the way the kitchen is integratedinto the living area," Linda says, noting the cook's ability topass samples over the island.

A cooktop with a nonstick grill and self-ventilation system anda combination oven and drop-down-door microwave make preparingdinner a breeze. "It's a great workspace," Linda says. Long-lastingtitanium cookware helps the cause. A stainless-finish refrigeratorhas ample room for leftovers, while the large-capacity dishwasherkeeps cleanup to a minimum. Two under-mount sinks featuringgoosenecked faucets complete the kitchen. One sits in thepine-topped island; the other looks across the property to thewater.

The master quarters, separated from the main house by avestibule, offer a retreat. A black bed with posts resemblingoversize chess pieces commands attention. Luxurious linens, aquilted coverlet, and down-filled pillows and comforter soften thelarge frame. Overhead, exposed beams add texture, while awhisper-quiet, 52-inch ceiling fan circulates incoming breezes. Thebed's black-and-white theme carries over to other areas of the roomwith checked fabric?a soft throw, a chair cushion, and ribbon tabstopping window sheers. Beyond red double doors, a private porchawaits.

The master bath looks out to a lush courtyard. "Each componentof the house has a spectacular view," says residential designerEric Moser.

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

Both upstairs bedrooms have a private dressing and lavatory arealeading to the shared bath. Here, a footed tub is outfitted with arain-style showerhead and a chrome-finished shower system withthermostat. Windows look out to native palms, live oaks, and theriver. A high chair rail displaying shells wraps the room, whilewindow seat-style ledges on either side of the tub hold bubblebath, soap, and other niceties.

The boy's room is dressed in sailor-uniform blues. "Westarted with the striped fabric," Linda says of the windowtreatments and pillows. "It has a nautical feel, so we built aroundthat." She continued the blue stripe with a natural fiber rug and abed skirt she fashioned from two star-patterned, twin-size quilts.Completing the maritime theme are tin boat-rental signs and extrapillows bearing a sailing motif.

In the corner, a rocking chair provides an ideal spot forbedtime stories. A tray-topped table inspires daytime art projects.Toys and treasures wait for playtime in woven baskets that line abookcase. Adding the visual motion of waves, scalloped details runthroughout the room's furniture.

Large windows open to the park below, and a web of live-oakbranches acts as a virtual headboard for the twin-size bed?turnedsideways to open up floorspace. "The placement of the bed makes italmost like a window seat," Linda says. Roman shades withindividual safety tassels echo the natural woven texture of the rugand easily lower to shield sleepyheads from morning light.

Connected to the main house by a screened porch, thecottage's guesthouse can stand alone as a studio apartment. With asmall kitchenette, bath, and living area, the structure couldfunction any number of ways. "You could even build the guesthousefirst, and let the [main house] come as money and necessity allow,"Eric says.

The interior plays off a backdrop of natural plank walls. Here,the planks are painted a handsome half-strength gray. Lindacontrasted the pale wash with a red leather love seat and boldartwork. Martha Worthy lets nature inspire her paintings, conveyingbotanical elements in rich, intense colors. "The guesthouse is moreearthy than the rest of the house, not as sweet," Linda says.Stairs lead to a sleeping loft, just big enough for two. The openloft makes the small house feel more spacious.

A wide porch stretches across the cottage's face, welcomingpassersby. "Part of a cottage community is sitting on the porch andchatting," Linda says. The master suite and guest cottage each havea porch, too, in addition to the screened dining porch. To tie allfour together, Linda furnished them with classic wicker from onecollection, topped with water-resistant canvas cushions.

Behind the house, a bricked patio connects the living units."You look out and it draws you there," says builder Ken Troupe."The front porch is public; the courtyard is a place to relax andnot be on display."

Ken's landscape staff created outdoor spaces with a lush,tropical feel. Plantings in front of the house are low-maintenancenatives, such as palmettos, with verbena and daylilies for color.Containers simplify gardening in the courtyard.