Step Inside This Perfectly Pink Bahamas Cottage
"I never dreamed we'd own a home in the Bahamas—I still have to pinch myself," says Chassity Evans, an Indiana-born, flash-a-grin-over-the-shoulder kind of gal (think a 21st-century Mary Tyler Moore, but blonde and with better shoes). She's the mind behind popular lifestyle and design blog Look Linger Love, and this rosy nonchalance is what makes her so magnetic. It's part of the reason, anyway: The other half is that she knows how to spot a gem.
But her discovery on Harbour Island was different than the sartorial selections she delivers daily. In the first place, the mid-1800s limestone-block home wasn't on anyone's "New and Now" list when she found it three years ago. The original 1,500-square-foot island Loyalist cottage hadn't been renovated since sometime in the 1970s. But more importantly, her connection to it was more visceral than visual. Chassity and her husband, Josh, had been vacationing in the Bahamas for a couple of years and were smitten with Harbour Island's pink-sand beaches and Dunmore Town's quaint, historic vibe. "It reminded me of Charleston, where we live," she says. They began looking at possible investment properties and came upon a faded coral two-story across the street from the harbor. "When Josh and I first walked in, it felt light and bright, and we loved it immediately," says Chassity. (The white picket fence out front didn't hurt, either.)
Soon, Josh was crunching out spreadsheets to see if they could make the project work. The clincher: adding two bedrooms and a pool so the cottage would not only accommodate their family and guests, but also attract potential renters. And being situated on a corner lot with a side yard gave them room to maneuver. Charleston-based architect Beau Clowney opened up the layout to improve the home's flow and designed a new bedroom wing with a Palladian hip roof to ensure that the addition fits in with the traditional architecture. "The goal was to keep the spirit of how things were done back in the day, while making it more livable," Clowney says. Here, more on how he and Chassity turned the old island dwelling into a Bahamian stunner.
Bring big character to small kitchens.
Clowney turned the existing U-shaped kitchen into a galley, which opened it up to the living room. "This helps the rooms relate better and streamlines the space," he says. Open shelving makes the small room feel more spacious, and the kitchen's pièce de résistance is the pink, retro-style fridge. Chassity commissioned a portrait of a Bahamian woman by Charleston artist/friend Chambers Austelle. "She just belongs here—I feel like she keeps watch over the kitchen," Chassity says. The refrigerator is by Big Chill; the papier-mâché lighting pendant is by Stray Dog Designs.
Work with what you have.
As in most Bahamian homes, much of the furniture conveyed with the house. "It's hard to get things on and off the island, so we work with what we've got," explains Chassity, who covered the existing sofa and chairs in colorful patterns by Charleston friend Lulie Wallace. Natural elements and textures—a large mirror framed in cockles and small conchs, along with a woven lamp shade crafted by beloved "Miss Alice," Harbour Island's iconic basket weaver—complement the more mod blue and green prints. To make the compact cottage feel larger, Chassity and Clowney replaced two windows with French doors leading out to the pool deck. "We wanted as much access to the outdoors as possible," she says.
Look, linger, lounge.
Clowney created a pergola-covered lounge to connect the outdoor dining room with the pool area. "I love how the breeze whips through," says Chassity, shown here with friends from Charleston. And while she hated to lose the grass that the patio replaced, Josh was "adamant that everything be low maintenance, so no mowing," she adds. "And he was right." Bonus: the coral-stone pavers stay cool on warm days.
Show off the old woodwork.
Painting the floors, ceilings, and walls the same crisp shade of white (Pure White by Benjamin Moore) lets the architectural elements shine. A turquoise faux bois chandelier draws attention to the exposed floor joists overhead. White Chippendale-style dining room chairs contrast the wood-toned table, and Chassity ditched the existing seat cushions—"not good for wet, sandy bottoms," she notes. The oversize shell-encrusted mirror was crafted by a Harbour Island artist.
Give sea treasures top billing.
When Clowney added the new bedroom wing, he had to close up a window, which Chassity turned into an opportunity for built-in display shelves. Now a colorful array of locally collected conch shells, sea fans, and driftwood serves as a fitting backdrop to a comfy conversation area alongside louvered French doors and a window.
Bring tropical florals inside.
Drawing inspiration from the vivid bougainvillea and hibiscus flowering all over the island, Chassity chose a single floral print by Lulie Wallace to bring pattern and color to the master bedroom. The woven lamp shade is by Miss Alice, and the ottoman is by Annie Selke. The pink pillows are by Biscuit Home.
Walk on the ocean.
The two new bedrooms are joined by a shared bath and feature turquoise tile floors that mimic the bright hues of the sea. "The tiles are my favorite—one of the first things I picked out," says Chassity. Because they are wood, not ceramic, they're warmer on bare feet. (Plus, the pattern is great for hiding sand.) She paired inexpensive rattan headboards from Urban Outfitters with cool cotton bedding and Quadrille Euro shams. "I wanted these bedrooms to be spare and clean, but full of personality," she says. The tiles are by Mirth Studio, and the bedspread is from Dake's Shoppe on Harbour Island.
Build a backyard beach club.
Clowney turned what was formerly a small bunkhouse into a petite pool bar and laundry room, and designed the pool with a coral-stone surround and Marazzi tile. "Because we rent the house, we wanted to keep all the outdoor furniture simple and inexpensive," says Chassity, who found the bar's sea green chairs and the striped pool umbrellas on Amazon.
Borrow from the past.
Clowney designed a new railing for the upstairs porch, which overlooks Bay Street (a main island thoroughfare that traces the shoreline). "Variations of this X-pattern design are very common in Bahamian architecture, and are found throughout the Caribbean, as well," he says. Chassity updated a set of vintage sling chairs with striped fabric by Schumacher.
"We wanted as much access to the outdoors as possible. Now, we get to hear the roosters crowing and golf carts passing, indoors and out."