These standout pieces help elevate the traditional Lowcountry cottage to a modern, style-infused space.

By Mary Tomlinson
August 03, 2018
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Seating is by Lee Industries, and wood side chair is from Fritz Porter. Console and coffee table are by Bradley; grasscloth wallcovering is from twenty2. Lighting by Circa Lighting. Windows and doors are by Marvin.
Photo by J. Savage Gibson; Styling by Liz Strong

Step into any room in our 2018 Idea House in Habersham, South Carolina and you’ll be greeted with bold, eye-catching pieces by artists from the Lowcountry and beyond.

Designer Jenny Keenan, a Charleston-based interior designer, has an eye for vibrant color, selected prints, paintings, and mixed media pieces that play on the strength of each room. The creations she chose bring an element of visual intrigue to every space—a fine art photograph for a touch of modernity in the dining room, a Pop Art print in an upstairs lounge for a fun, retro touch, and a gallery wall in a sitting room replete with works that bring a sense of place to the home.

“I wanted to show how you can take a traditional cottage and really energize it for today, but still keep it warm and familiar,” she says.

Here, meet the artists featured in our 2018 Idea House and learn Keenan’s tips for designing a room with artwork in mind:

Related: Step Inside Our 2018 Idea House

Living Room: Sally King Benedict

Lighthouse Face, 2018, by Sally King Benedict
Photo by J. Savage Gibson; Styling by Liz Strong

This vibrant abstract painting and focal point of the living room is from Atlanta-based designer Sally King Benedict, who artfully layers in a youthful mix of pinks, aqua, and yellow. Benedict’s pieces often star her signature abstract female visage. Her work has been featured in House Beautiful, Elle Décor, Southern Living, and Domino Magazine.

Her painting style is free and loose—watching her young son paint inspires this freedom—and she works in mixed medium, meaning she paints and draws on the surface simultaneously. The result? A spontaneous yet refined style that’s the perfect centerpiece for our Lowcountry cottage.

Dining Room: Anne Menke

Table is by Wade Furniture Co. through Fritz Porter. Drapery fabric is by St. Frank. Host chairs are by Lee Industries, and side chairs are by Serena & Lily. Chandelier is by Circa Lighting, and windows are by Marvin.
Photo by J. Savage Gibson; Styling by Liz Strong

High-fashion and editorial photographer Anne Menke’s portfolio brims with beautifully composed shots from her travels in the mountains of Peru, the plains of Mongolia, and her home in Mexico—and this print of a woman in a vibrant, layered skirt on Taquile Island in Peru is no different.

This particular photograph also dons the cover of her 2012 photography collection book See the World Beautiful. The book showcases the German-born photographer’s ability to not only capture high fashion in far-flung locations, but to also depict the native culture and let locals be the narrator of the image.

Master Sitting Room: Gallery Wall

Artwork is from online gallery Artist Collective. Daybed and barrel chairs are by Lee Industries, and windows are by Marvin. Lighting is by Circa Lighting, and rug is by Serena & Lily.
Photo by J. Savage Gibson; Styling by Liz Strong

Keenan loves a vibrant gallery wall, and recommends starting with a favorite piece then building around it. Seek out common colors and spread them out evenly on the wall for a cohesive look. Here, a collection of works by artists from the Lowcountry and throughout the South help give the South Carolina home a sense of place. 

Woman With Plant: Page Morris

For the self-taught South Carolina painter, subtly self-possessed women are the focus for her work. “The women I paint are ultra-feminine but quiet in their strength,” Morris says. When painting, she uses paper, pencil, markers, oil sticks, and paint to achieve a multi-dimensional look replete with texture and depth.

Scroll through her Instagram page and you’ll see a grid of women who are faceless, yet formidable in their confidence and grace. They are often outfitted in bright, bold ensembles—and from time to time, with a bird perched unassumingly on their shoulder.

Oysters: Chelsea Goer 

Degas had his ballerinas, O’Keeffe had her flowers, and Chelsea Goer has her oysters—a lively pastel collection of one of the Lowcountry’s greatest bounties. Goer uses discrete strokes in soft greens, blues, yellows, and pinks to depict a handful of bivalves on each canvas, and the result is a perfect straddling of abstract and still life.

Palm Trees: Kristin Gaudio Endsley

Whether painting geometric interpretations of palm trees or creating cloud-like blends of color on ceramics and canvas, Endsley’s works are all infused with modernity-meets-Mother-Nature. Her palm tree pieces are the most natural selections for a beach house, but the mesmerizing swirls of her decorative and functional ceramics and watercolor-like mélanges on print and canvas are just as inspired by what she calls “the combination of effects of weather and time” that define life on the coast.

Photo by J. Savage Gibson; Styling by Liz Strong

Black and White Canvases: Carrie Penley

The University of Georgia graduate started her career in interior design, but has evolved into a painter who’s not afraid to experiment with techniques, mediums, and subjects. She often uses lights, darks, and subtle color combinations and evokes a moody aesthetic in her abstracts, nudes, sceneries, and life-like animal portraits.

Nude: Lynne Hamontree


The South Carolina native’s clean and simple figure is only a peek into her expressive use of oil paints. In addition to these intimate nude portraits, her portfolio contains brightly colored still-lifes juicy in color and plentiful in movement. When not creating her saturated paintings of flower, fruits, and lovely quotidian scenes, she’s working towards her Masters in Fine Art.

Black and White, Left Wall: Katherine Stratton Miller

The alluring beauty of nature—Miller grew up on her family farm—and everyday objects are the subjects of the Nashville native’s dainty illustrations. Her artistic career began with designing and art directing photo shoots and marketing for musicians such as Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, and Carrie Underwood, and now she has returned to her childhood love of painting.

In addition to the simple black-and-white print to the left of the doorway, she’s a master of simple yet life-like depictions of quotidian objects. These illustrations range from a vintage racquet to a collection of sharks’ teeth to an orange blossom gin fizz cocktail adorned with fresh herbs. 

Master Bath: Cindy DeAntonio

The tub and fixtures are by Cregger Company, and the floor and wall tiles are from Palmetto Tile Distributors. The shade fabric is by Zak+Fox. The artwork is by Cindy DeAntonio through Artist Collective.
Photo by J. Savage Gibson; Styling by Liz Strong

The bright, Technicolor stylings of DeAntonio already made a statement in our 2013 Daniel Island, South Carolina Idea House, and Keenan brought back the abstract painter and mixed media artist’s work for a focal point in the master bath.

Her distinct strokes, lines, and bright colors create a unique and highly recognizable style. Pattern, color, fashion, and the creative community in her home on Isle of Palms, South Carolina, inspire DeAntonio.

Upstairs Lounge: Roy Lichtenstein

Lighting is by Circa Lighting. Skylights are by Velux, and windows are by Marvin. Sofa and chair are by Lee Industries. Pillows are by Kate Loudoun Shand, and shade fabric is by Carolina Irving Textiles. Rug is by Holland & Sherry. Artwork from Keenan.
Photo by J. Savage Gibson; Styling by Liz Strong

The prolific, inventive, and witty works of Roy Lichtenstein—one of the originators of the Pop Art movement known for his comic book and advertisement style of illustrations—may not seem like the obvious choice for a Lowcountry beach house lounge. But Keenan says of the “Drowning Girl” poster that, “sometimes all you need to set the mood for a room is a great piece of artwork. This piece took the room a little retro—it’s lighthearted and graphic and fun.”

Girls Bedroom: Alexis Walter 

Wallpaper, window shade, and lamp shade fabric are by Lulie Wallace. Artwork is by Alexis Walter. Bed is by Lee Industries, and nightstands are by Made Goods. Lighting is by Circa Lighting.
Photo by J. Savage Gibson; Styling by Liz Strong

Abundant texture, slowly built layers, and vibrant—yet not too powerful—colors define the work of New Orleans-based painter Alexis Walter. The Crescent City’s layers of musical, architectural, and cultural history inspire Walter to create a strata of dimension and to use color schemes borrowed from antiques and historical buildings.