If you live in Charleston, and you have the means to have a house on the waterfront, you typically go to Sullivan’s Island, a magical little barrier island that’s only accessible by a single road; an authentic beach community where people have summered for generations, just minutes from historic downtown Charleston.
This particular home is a stunning example of how modern design can bring out the best in a traditional beach house. Marshall Erb, Principal & Lead Interior Designer at Marshall Erb Design, was tasked with balancing the client’s directives with the island’s restrictions for building. “Salt, wind and water are constants at the beach,” says Erb. “If you don’t invest in weather-abating materials at the onset, you’ll constantly be doing upkeep—and no one wants that level of maintenance at their vacation home. They want to show up and be able to relax the moment they walk through the front door.”
Unlike many of the nearby homes, the client didn’t want shiplap and pecky cypress-clad interiors – the usual suspects for beach homes. She wanted something more modern but still in keeping with the traditional Bahamian-style, vernacular beach cottages that pepper the area.
The result is a 6,000-square-foot home that features arched openings, hardwood flooring, and built-in bunks that give it an easy-going yet elegant beach house vibe.
The kitchen is accessed from two points of entry from the foyer providing a sense of natural flow.
The living room, adjacent to the bar and kitchen, flows effortlessly onto the 450-square-foot, screened-in porch through mahogany-framed, glass sliding doors from Stewart Brannen Millworks.
But it’s the specialty spaces that truly bring home the personalization, including a hidden bar painted in peacock blue (the Mrs.’ favorite hue) and a butler’s pantry with glass cabinetry and polished-brass hardware that’s meant to tarnish and patina in the sea air.
The beach views just outside were truly the inspiration for much of the design. That’s why the guest rooms all have independent access from the outside. And all of the rooms play to the breathtaking views of the dunes, sea grasses and horizon.
“Even from the butler’s pantry, you can see all the way out to the ocean through this giant, circular, waxed steel-encased window,” says Erb.
The flow of this home is incredible and allows for the inhabitants to choose their own journey as they wander through the spaces and enjoy the vistas that are framed by all of the windows
The outdoor spaces are just as remarkable as the indoor ones, with 2,000 square feet of shaded recreational space underneath the property, featuring two wood-burning fireplaces, two lounge and dining areas, and a pool that starts under the house and extends out toward the ocean.
“Most people use the space as a garage or storage, but we created these amazing outdoor living spaces underfoot,” explains Erb. “It’s a truly unique design that perfectly encapsulates the best of beach living.”
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