Design

PRESENT PERFECT

It comes as no surprise that the most carefully preserved sea island in the world has bragging rights to a variety of magnificent views. When a Maryland couple discovered a rare homesite where all of Kiawah’s natural charms converged, the two knew they had pinpointed the geographic equivalent of perfection.

A PERFECT PAIRING

Enter the house that Structures Building Company built for Kathy and Steve Rucker, with its low-slung design and Caribbean vibe, and you immediately sense its invitation to decompress. That welcoming feeling comes to you the moment you catch sight of the garden pool and courtyard just an open door away.

GO NATIVE

When it comes to competitive gardening, there’s nothing sweeter than horticultural one-upmanship. (Admit it. You’d rather get poison ivy than see your neighbor’s lawn look better than yours.) So whether you’re renovating or repairing an existing landscape, or simply want to add a mesmerizingly beautiful, as well as historically appropriate, specimen to your already perfect Lowcountry garden, here’s what you need: American azaleas.

CUSTOM COASTAL

President and CEO of Source Consulting Chris Findlay has thought about it. He likely has thought about it more than anyone else in the room. The “it” in question could be anything, but generally it’s style and design, and the logistics of how to get the best building products to his clients.

KING OF CASUAL

Aaron Beasley’s eyes brighten when he talks about Palm Casual, the outdoor furniture store in Mount Pleasant. It’s obvious that the partner-owner is passionate about it.

THE SMART SHOWER

If you bought a car made in 1937, it wouldn’t include power steering, intermittent wipers or a single cup holder. It traveled at slower speeds, went fewer miles on a gallon of gas and spewed far more pollutants.

MISSION IMPECCABLE

“I wish I had a ‘before’ picture of that sofa,” says David Gilkeson, owner of The French Thistle, as we settle into his intimate James Island upholstery shop.

ALL IN GOOD TASTE

“If you’d have told me I’d be a cult leader when I was a kid, I would’ve actually been OK with that,” Stephanie Rhodes deadpans. Rhodes is the owner of The Coleman Collection furniture consignment store in Mount Pleasant, and the cult in question is her dedicated clientele, an enormous group of style and design omnivores who can’t wait to see what will show up in the store next.

HIGH POINT HIGHLIGHTS

“When I visit High Point, I love to see new trends and exciting new pieces,” says designer Gigi Chapman of deGuise Interiors. “The showrooms give me fresh new ways to make my clients’ homes great.” One of Chapman’s favorite manufacturers at the market is Modern History, whose name reflects its mission to construct classically styled furnishings with a modern edge.

SATISFYING SYMMETRY

From his brick-walled office in Charleston, architect and builder Buz Morris looks down on historic Broad Street and remembers his many months of driving to Effingham, South Carolina.

COMMAND CENTRAL

The Jetsons have officially arrived on Planet Earth. You can now operate everything in your house—TV, audio, lights, intercom, doorbell, fridge, washerdryer, oven and more—from a single mobile device.

A FAMILY AFFAIR

Addison Bell had a plan: an island home all four of his adult children and their families would love and use throughout their lifetimes.

TREASURES FROM MOTHER EARTH

When you arrive at the AGM Imports warehouse in North Charleston, you climb a flight of impressive light-brown granite steps and pass between stately black-veined granite columns. You glide across a buff-colored travertine tile porch that carries through the door and into the lobby. Finally, you’re greeted at a weighty white granite desk by an expert in the field of natural stone.

METROPOLITAN FLAIR

When Steven Ferrara and his wife moved to the Charleston area in 2014, the couple planned to spend the remainder of their retirement years playing golf and relaxing in the sun. When his older brother, Vincent, asked him if he would be interested in opening a home accessories store, Ferrara admits that operating an upscale décor business didn’t fit his definition of retirement. However, he was intrigued by the idea.

Marvelous Majolica

“These days, hostesses are less afraid of veering away from matching sets and more interested in setting their tables with color, texture and pieces that stimulate conversation,” says David Evans of Charleston Antiques.

Be Square

“Functionally, square tables are the modern-day round table, and they are one of my favorites,” says Liz Baker of Coralberry Cottage, a full-service showroom and interior design firm.

A PLACE IN THE SUN

Every so often in architecture, you will find a pièce de résistance, a confluence of skills, styles and visions made possible by the coordination of true experts.

Conversation Pieces

“Life is too short to take things so seriously, including ourselves,” says Elizabeth Faith. “Sometimes, the little details are the ones that invite surprise and personality into the mix.” For example, what could be more fun than adding an unexpected, whimsical conversation starter to your party as you mix up a batch of cocktails for your guests … in a penguin? Modeled after mid-century Italian barware and sourced from Europe, the silver-plated brass penguin shaker is the perfect example of how to add a delightful, tongue-in-cheek element of humor to your décor.

A WORLD OF INSPIRATION

If you were to describe interior designer Nicole Norris’ aesthetic, words like this might come to mind: classic, eclectic, modern. “I’m a Southerner at heart,…

UNCOMMON SKILL

“This,” says a fabricator who pops her head out of the workroom, “is where the magic happens.” Ah, if only. An incantation, a wand-wave and out would come window shades, draperies, slipcovers, cushion covers, headboards, bedspreads, pillows and lampshades—every piece strictly custom. In the workroom of Southern Shades, owned by Annette and Ken Kreck, all of these 254 CSD decorative delights spring, not from magic, but from skill and painstaking attention to the fine points.