Stories 20 Decorating Ideas From The Southern Living Idea House

December 30, 2017 2:09 am by admin
Stories 20 decorating ideas from the southern living idea house 70 comments southern living idea house kitchen
Southern living idea house
Stories 20 Decorating Ideas From The Southern Living Idea House

And on an amazing scale….if 1 is the perfect chocolate chip cookie and 100 is finding a yard sale where all the milk glass marked $1.00….

Two matching banquettes make great spots for predinner drinks. The Matisse-like faces hanging on the wall by Atlanta artist Sally King Benedict are a bold, new-fashioned twist on portraiture.

This space boasts a double vanity, miles of tile, lots of luxe marble, and other high-end touches. “We created this bath to be smaller in size but still on par with the master bath,” says Ken. Suzanne continued the restrained styling of other rooms and layered in plenty of muted colors and patterns for interest. “I like to design baths that are timeless,” she says. “In here, the bluish gray colors and the combinations of glass, grass cloth, and marble create a very chic feel.” Simple, plain-front cabinetry; minimal twin mirrors (23030128, rh.com); and picture-light-inspired sconces (Calliope Bath Light, circalighting.com) take a backseat to the rest of the room’s details.

Take a video tour of the Palmetto Bluff Idea House outdoor living spaces

Take a video tour of the Palmetto Bluff Idea House boy’s bedroom

The hemp burlap walls fill the room with coziness, while Liess reinvented the traditional Southern four-poster bed. “When most people think of a canopy bed, they think of frills and ruffles. Instead, we took a clean-lined bed and created a box-pleat canopy with block-print linens,” she says. The bedding is also simple— white sheets and plain shams with two accent pillows for interest. One is an old vintage rug turned into a pillow, and the other—the rust-colored one—has an unfinished hem that’s purposely unraveling to keep it from feeling too done. The nightstands serve a purpose: “I must have a large nightstand to fit all my books and a glass of water,” Liess says. On one side she chose a vintage storage chest, and on the other, she created a workspace by pairing a West Elm Parsons desk with a kooky bamboo chair.

Idea #6:  Install a front door that looks like it came over on the Mayflower.

Her Inspiraiton: The references between Gilbreath’s foyer, bedroom, and upstairs landing and the January 1976 bedroom are clear. “We took a lot of the built-in cabinetry and mustard yellow hues into account,” she says.

Her Inspiration: “There’s something so cozy and warm about the bedroom from the October 1974 issue,” says Berry. “Like in the photo, I covered all of our walls and ceilings with fabric—especially the pitch of the roof. That’s what instantly finishes a room.”

Ken highlighted the exterior’s razorsharp silhouette with an X shape by extending and crossing the roof’s rafter tails.

Chrome hardware, stainless-steel appliances, and brass lighting add glitz and character. No more 1970s avocado green! For 2016, it’s Sherwin-Williams Evergreens (SW 6447). “It’s soothing and cooling,” says Ingram. The Thermador hood insert (wrapped in a custom wood hood) comes with halogen lights.

Upstairs, Ken created a guest suite that loosely mirrors the layout of the master suite below. “It’s nice to have a retreat-like space for guests that is away from the hustle and bustle of the house,” he says. Relying on a mature, gender-neutral palette of deep taupes, soft grays, and crisp whites, Suzanne grounded the space with Hickory Chair’s Candler Bed and shapely West Paces Side Tables in matching birch finishes. The wooden frame around the striped greige-and-white headboard dresses it up for special visitors. A bed skirt in the same fabric as the headboard and timeless white bedding ensure that this occasional use room won’t go out of style.

It’s clear that Ingram took some green inspiration from the June 1975 kitchen with its wallpapered ceiling and stenciled cabinets. He just magnified it, selecting the same shade for the Wellborn cabinetry, walls, and ceiling. “The dark green adds a cozy warmth,” says Ingram. A butcher-block-topped island is another thing that Ingram likes from the 1970s kitchen. “I typically use two different materials for countertops,” he says.

“I always envisioned this space as a place to read, but it would also be such fun to hang out with girlfriends and drink martinis in here,” says Berry. The glamorous tête-à-tête and the L-shaped corner banquettes create separate little zones for multiple conversations. Fun aside, there is a serious design takeaway: The deep color contrast from the blue abstract painting by Mallory Page and the sapphire and magenta pillows keeps all that leopard from overwhelming. The rest of the furniture is understated in gilt or whitewash.

For our 50th Anniversary Idea House, we selected five of today’s best young designers, shared old Southern Living stories for inspiration, and set them loose to decorate this charming cottage designed by Bill Ingram Architect. See their fresh takes on traditional Southern style. Find information to plan your visit here. 

The DIY Home Planner Tips and Ideas and Inspiration to Decorate It Yourself Order your copy here

(total aside:  I would be happy with just one of the cabinets and that flooring).

Idea #18:  Build a counter top for the washer and dryer with built-ins and baskets on the side.

Ken hung a classic screened door over the front door to lessen the entry’s formality and set a relaxing tone. Gas lanterns in a stainless steel finish from Bevolo (bevolo.com) complement the house’s cool color palette.

To encourage people to flow forward through the house, Ken de-emphasized the stairs, tucking them off to the side. 

Next door in the boy’s room, Suzanne took a slightly nautical direction that is particularly apropos for a home on the water. She anchored the room with a navy headboard and bed skirt. Then, she layered on striped navy-and-white bedding (Percy Stripe Duvet Cover and Euro Shams in Cobalt and the Beach Stripe Sheet Set; serenaandlily.com). “You need to create a tasteful foundation that gives the child the freedom to accessorize the room however he wants,” she says. To temper the stark contrast between navy and white, Suzanne worked in natural wood and khaki accents. “A warm, limewashed wood finish goes well with navy,” she says. A campaign chest from Ballard Designs (ballarddesigns.com) serves as a bedside table and packs extra storage in the room.

Sikes carved the 30- by 20-foot living room into two seating areas anchored by back-to-back sofas and comfortable armchairs (all by Henredon). “I wanted one space where everyone could hang out and another smaller, more intimate area by the fireplace,” he says. All the upholstery is plush but skirtless, and the sofas have only bench cushions, a smart way to keep things comfy and easy—no need to fuss with shifting cushions! Matching demilune tables and mirrors flanking the doors to the porch accentuate the room’s symmetry. Sikes also accessorized with reproduction bird prints by famed Swedish artist Olof Rudbeck (ornisgallery.com)—a great alterna- tive to mallard prints in old Southern homes—as well as bits of brass, fresh ferns, and oakleaf hydrangea cut from the yard.

“Always place a comfortable seat near a window that looks out on the water so you can savor the view,” says Ken. Heeding this advice, Suzanne placed a pair of upholstered armchairs in the windowed niche.

I like mismatched chairs, crickets singing in the rain, chalkboard paint, sweet tea with lime, thunderstorms & knights in shining armor.

Citrusy splashes of pink and orange adorn this room, courtesy of Galbraith & Paul’s Lotus fabric in Rhubarb. “It is sophisticated but will appeal to any age,” Suzanne says. “In kids’ rooms, it’s key to pick a fabric that allows whoever will be in the space to add their own personal touches. It needs to evolve with them over time.” Although this pattern has several hues to pull from, Suzanne practiced her signature restrained use of color and simply ribboned pink accents throughout the room: on the sheets, bed skirt, and windows. A simple, square-shaped headboard, directed by the room’s angular architecture, and a matching pair of natural wood bedside tables complement the space. Above the bed, Suzanne hung a row of artwork for a final burst of color.

Idea #5:  Make magnolia crosses for either side of front door.

Meg Braff’s Sasa wallpaper in Celery on White and Stray Dog Designs’ Marrakesh mirror sharpen the bath and coordinate with the curtain and towel monograms.

Built by the 2012 Southern Living Custom Builder of the Year….Castle Homes….the house is located in the Nashville area and is open for tours from now through December 29.

Those who park in the carport enter the home through here. Designed as a passthrough space that leads to either the clutter room or the dining room, it is sparsely furnished with an aged, blue farm table that’s convenient for holding handbags and keys. Two bulletin boards for posting schedules and other items keep a busy family organized. Tucked beneath the main stairwell of the home, the mudroom rests at a slightly lower level. Ken retrofitted antique timbers to make the stair treads. “I like using creative materials to help make our lives more interesting,” he says.

The Casual Classicist: Texas born, Nashville raised, Sikes has an eye for pattern, antiques, and collecting that’s impossible to miss. A move to California, which he now calls home, left a tailored, more natural effect on his style. Sikes employs well-balanced color palettes and comfortable furniture choices to compose graceful rooms. Look closely at the details in his work—they shine in their subtle execution. We love the watery, hand-painted stripes on the walls.

A small hallway with two walk-in closets leads into the serene bath, painted a soft blue (Rainwashed; sherwin-williams.com). Suzanne created dramatic focal point using curtains to frame a freestanding tub. The rest of the space is completely symmetrical: Twin vanities are opposite each other, and two frosted-glass compartments flank the entrance. The opaque glass adds spa-like feel and lends a sense of privacy to the generous shower and water closet.

(total aside:  So happy I dried all those hydrangea this year).

Sticking with the blue-and-white palette that runs throughout the living room, Suzanne shook things up a bit, giving the bridge a California-cool vibe infused with deeper indigo hues. “We planned the room around this striped dhurrie rug found on a trip to Los Angeles. The tones are a bit stronger, but it shows the power of using a single pop of color,” she says. To crank up the room’s Southern sensibility, gracious armchairs, a wicker ottoman, and a lamp made from blue-and-white pottery round out the mix.

Keeping traffic flow in mind, Ken designed a square, U-shaped kitchen that opens off the living area and then leads out to the porch on one end and to the clutter room on the other end. When stationed at the large island, which has a stove-top, the cook in the family can still interface with others. “It’s like being at a Japanese steak house,” says Ken. The windowless wall was a natural place to house the rest of the appliances.

“As I was designing, I was inspired by the architecture of the space, and I wanted to take the bedroom’s vibe into the adjoining master bath,” says Liess. “Bill Ingram did a round skylight in the bath that I accentuated by pulling the durable hemp wallcovering up onto the ceiling. Hemp has natural imperfections, so it works great in a bath.” Ingram set the stand-alone tub in an arched nook against a planked wall to sharpen the tub’s sculptural effect. To enhance Ingram’s design, Liess hung a grid of 18 vintage botanicals, sourced from antiques malls around town. A potted tree adds an extra natural touch to the space.

I know your to-do list is long and it’s cold and the day is already full….but seriously…..

Idea #19:  Add greenery….like miniature topiaries….to the laundry room.

7 Of My Favorite Decorating Tips #DecoratingTips #Tips #DecoratingIdeas

Gilbreath entered college as an architecture major, which turned out to be a great primer for her career. “If you can’t recognize the architecture, you can’t pull off good design,” she says. Her decorating is intentionally understated. And her understanding of form and color highlights a room’s architecture, or makes up for a lack of it.

Take an overview video tour of the Palmetto Bluff Idea House

Gilbreath measured and designed this 180-square-foot room (which has two slanted walls) 10 times before arriving at this clever arrangement. Covering the walls in this mist-colored linen allowed her to use pelmets and curtains to create two separate nooks (one for a desk and one for sitting) along the slanted walls. She placed a queen-size bed in front of the window, using an extra-low headboard to avoid blocking the view.

Keeping the room “undecorated,” Suzanne focused on a few embellishments: Floor-to-ceiling curtain sheers (Mist Snow; sunbrella.com) frame the windows, layered rugs add texture to the space, and dressy chandeliers offset the minimalism.

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Idea #15:  Add two tufted ottomans to the end of the bed for storage and a place to put on your socks.

His New Take: “I wanted to maintain that room’s timelessness and maximize the space to seat as many people as possible,” he says, “and also include an organic nature.” The room’s many finishes—raffia, rush, wicker, and linen— give the right casual and elemental touch.

When entering the home, guests walk directly into the dining room, which opens onto the expansive living room. To help define the two spaces, Ken nestled the dining area beneath an open-air bridge that connects the two upstairs wings. “The lower [9 1/2-foot] ceiling helps orient guests. Walking into the smaller space, they instantly feel more connected to the house,” says Ken. The compact, cocoon-like entry also works as a telescope, focusing your attention on the water views out the living room windows. 

Intended to double as an entertaining space, this structure has a steep two-story profile to up the building’s drama and balance the main house. In lieu of hardware, Ken notched the doors to make handles.

Welcome to the 2014 Palmetto Bluff Idea House in Bluffton, South Carolina! Here you’ll find a room-by-room tour of our coastal showcase that’s designed to inspire you and your home.

Dallas-born (and based) Amy Berry says, “I love classic American design with European elements. Madeleine Castaing has always been a point of inspiration for me.” Castaing, known for her elaborate draping and strong color, is the French counterpart to legendary American decorator Dorothy Draper. “I’m always trying new things with fabric,” Berry says— though in a much more livable way than her flamboyant mentor, Castaing.

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To ground the 30-by 16 1/2-foot space, Suzanne used large sofas to carve out two separate seating areas: one in front of the windows and another around the hearth. Lightweight chairs and tables add a kinetic energy to the room. The pieces are easily interchangeable between spaces, so the seating combinations are flexible. Bringing the exterior color inside, Suzanne swathed the room in shades of white and added ribbons of blue. “It’s a sophisticated French blue with gray and green undertones,” she says.

For our 50th Anniversary Idea House, Associate Decorating Editor Elly Poston designed a bedroom and bath featuring the Southern Living Collection for Dillard’s. Starting with the traditional Hayward Bed in Taupe and a mix of classic white bedding (Cotton Percale Sheet Set, Emery Tile Jacquard Matelassé Coverlet, and Heirloom Sateen & Twill Duvet; dillards.com/southernliving), Poston wrapped the room with a textured, blue-green raffia wallcovering to “play up the jewel-box effect,” she says. Then, she had overscale monograms in chartreuse by O’Connor Monogramming appliquéd on the bedding; layered two rugs (a sisal one from Jaipur Living and a vintage one from Paige Albright Orientals); and pulled everything together with the drapery fabric, Le Lac Toile Linen (brunschwig.com). When decorating with new things, it’s important to pull in older pieces to jump-start some patina,” advises Poston.

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Extended overhangs show off simple rafters around the house. The M-shaped chimney flue keeps water out of the fireplace and was inspired by the work of architect A. Hays Town.

During a construction walk-through, Suzanne discovered a sizable portion of unused space off the bridge above the master bath. A quick measure revealed that the oddly shaped room was around 13 feet wide by 8 feet deep. Coincidentally, the combined length of two twin beds is about the same distance. “We all know that the best houses are all about friends and family,” says Suzanne, who crafted the space into an accommodating hangout and extra sleeping spot. Two twin mattresses rest on a tiered wooden platform covered with custom, tightly fitting, orange-piped bed covers—similar in design to fitted sheets. A window ledge (tucked between the eaves of the roof and built up to bed level) serves as a nightstand. Space-saving library sconces mounted at each end provide reading light. A cheerful blue-and-orange-striped (Stockholm Stripe by Vanessa Arbuthnott) Roman shade is a smart option for compact spaces and injects youthful energy into this area.

Idea #3:  Combine an old farmhouse table with wicker chairs.

With our house nestled on a corner lot in Mt Laurel, a community located between Birmingham (our hometown!) and Double Oak Mountain, Ingram played to the woodsy locale with a dark gray palette. The corner lot allows for 900 square feet of porch area wrapped with a traditional X-railing and newel posts, a more modest way for carpenters to finish posts on-site.

Take a video tour of the Palmetto Bluff Idea House guest bath

Hickory Chair’s Regency Bamboo Writing Table and the Maurice Chair from the Mr. and Mrs. Howard collection for Sherrill Furniture make a great place to write a note. For the walls, Berry recast Carleton Varney’s classic Madagascar pattern, enlarging the print and updating the colorways

Because 90-degree angles and straight lines are less often found in nature, Ken’s hand-drawn curves lend an organic, artistic touch to his homes.

Idea #4:  Add architectural interest to a ceiling with exposed beams that are painted white.

Idea #16:  Create a dressing room with wood doors and painted molding.

I think this house could work anywhere. Painted white, it could be in an open field, but here in this rocky locale, we wanted it dark gray. But it still has classic white trim.” Try the mountain palette for yourself with Sherwin- Williams Night Owl on the siding, Meadow- land on the shutters, and Pure White for the trim.

“Here, I chose Absolute Black honed granite for the perimeter and basic butcher-block on the island. It just gets better and better with age.” He created a faux-handcrafted look with semi-custom cabinetry. “I like for kitchens to look like another room in the house, not a showroom,” says Ingram, who mixed and matched diagonal tongue-and-groove cabinets with a raised-panel style. Chrome hardware, stainless-steel appliances, and brass lighting add glitz and character.

“In an open floor plan, you need to make sure there is a backstage area to hide things you don’t want the public to see,” says Ken. This multipurpose room, located between the mudroom and the kitchen, houses a dishwasher, a sink, two walls of lower cabinets, and a full wall of open shelves to help with kitchen storage. An antique French table and stools can be used as a desk or another spot to eat.

“I wanted to show that a modest house can still be dramatic,” says Ken. So on the water side, he created a headturning look with a sharply symmetrical facade centered on a steep gable roof that houses the double-height clerestory bay window. To balance the soaring shape, he flanked the gable with shed dormers and hugged it with the wraparound porch. On the sides, Ken takes your eye on a fun zigzaggy ride with a double-gable roofline outlined with exaggerated overhangs. The cheerful colors, familiar barn forms, and classic materials balance the home’s impressive back side. “For every elegant gesture in the architecture, I tried to include an equally humble one,” Ken says.

Take a video tour of the Palmetto Bluff Idea House Girl’s Room

Her Inspiration: “I fell for the dramatic drapery and the deep orange color on the walls in the dining room from March 1989. Looking through more old issues, I saw that this color and wallpaper were used a lot,” she says.

Idea #2:  Wrap jute rope around the chain on the porch swing.

Idea #12:  Add a basket for books, magazines and newspapers under the coffee table.

The Nostalgic Modernist: Ingram was born in Birmingham, graduated from Auburn University, and now has an office in Atlanta in addition to his Birmingham base. Several of Ingram’s projects— including his own home—have graced our pages in the past, so he was a natural choice for designing our 50th Anniversary house. In addition to being responsible for the home’s architecture, he also decorated the kitchen, family room, and back hall.

Located just outside our hometown of Birmingham, AL, the community of Mt Laurel provides a picturesque location for our 2016 Idea House. Architect Bill Ingram and designers Mark D. Sikes, Margaret Kirkland, Ashley Gilbreath, Lauren Leiss, and Amy Berry came together to create a one-of-a-kind home that has no shortage of Southern design inspiration. From a beautiful, green kitchen to a living room filled with shades of neutral, each room showcases the talent of these designers. The home is of course topped off with a wraparound porch, including a cozy porch swing.

Open to the dark green kitchen , the square family room needed a boost. “The tented ceiling lightens up the space, and it’s a 1960s throwback,” says Ingram. The secret to pulling off the look is to use only simple, inexpensive fabrics sold by the bolt. You must also realize that the ceiling’s labor is not for the faint of heart. First, line the room with curtain rods and drapery panels at the top of the walls. Instead of letting the panels hang down like curtains, pull them up to the center of the ceiling and secure above the pendant light. The valances hide the rods and conceal the junctures of the curtains. “It’s a lot of work,” says Ingram, “but there is no other treatment with such impact.”

(total aside:  I’m taking my fall wreath apart and moving the hydrangea to the tree.  This idea alone was worth the price of admission.)

Take a video tour of the Palmetto Bluff Idea House guest bedroom

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Noting that today’s appliances are so well designed, Suzanne didn’t bother hiding the double oven. And she stocked the open shelving with a mix of clear glasses and white pottery (Alexa and Potterswheel dinnerware from the Southern Living collection; dillards.com). “Put everyday things in reach so you can stow and go,” Suzanne says. Ken agrees, saying, “There is beauty in the functionality.”

“I wanted to design a house that feels fresh right now but will still be relevant in 100 years,” says Ken. Using time-tested, durable materials with crisp lines, such as James Hardie board-and-batten siding, plank-style shutters, and a standing-seam metal roof, creates a simple silhouette that won’t tire over time. The location of this home in Palmetto Bluff is both suburban and waterfront, giving Ken the opportunity to create almost two homes in one. Street side, he designed a more humble facade with a covered storage area and parking pad running perpendicular to the main mass. “I imagined it like an arm reaching out to visitors,” says Ken.

Her Take: She used only one tonal, animal-print pattern (a fabric actually), rather than multiple prints throughout her pajama lounge. “This makes the banquettes seem to disappear into the wall and the room appear bigger,” says Berry.

The Relaxed Naturalist: “Natural elements add warm, welcoming vibes to my spaces,” says Liess. Clean-lined furniture, vintage pieces (instead of precious antiques), and thoughtful vignettes also give her rooms an approachable simplicity. “I want people to relax and breathe easily,” she says.

The six pendants have the feel of an art installation and further accentuate the lowered, beamed ceiling. Combining these lights with the tabletop’s driftwood and globe accessories, Suzanne established an entry point for her layered, sculptural look. “I wanted to show a casually elegant side of living,” she says. Suzanne set a wooden ball beside the stairs to call attention to the gentle curve of the railing, which references the flowing lines used on the exterior.

The Lively Traditionalist: I just want to bring out the pretty in spaces,” says Atlanta- based decorator Margaret Kirkland. “Monochromatic rooms bore me. I want to see people’s personalities, and color is an important part of that.” In addition to vibrant palettes, she also has a knack for enlivening antiques and reinventing classic Southern decorating gestures— like the bold portrait hanging from the wall.

Her New Take: The red orange from 1989 was reimagined as deep coral that’s more suitable for 2016. “I went all out with two wallcoverings and great, chinoiserie curved pelmets and draperies, which feel so fresh now amid the more familiar curtain and rod treatments,” she says.

“When we settled on this corner property, it begged for a wraparound porch that faced both streets,” says Ingram about his Southern raised cottage. A relaxing side porch opens off the living room.

In regards to the moss-toned walls that Gilbreath used both upstairs and downstairs, she adds, “I’m drawn to natural colors that pull in the outdoors and keep you moving. Stark colors like neon green will stop you in your tracks.” Upstairs, a game table and 9-foot- long banquette turn a landing into a useful hangout space.

The bottom floor has a 10-foot-wide center hall, which separates the level into two zones: a more active side for the kitchen and dining room and a calmer side for the living room and master bedroom. “I tried to pull off some overstated, catch-your-attention pieces. Too many tchotchkes become disorienting in a foyer,” says Gilbreath. And she found a few key big things, such as the 9-foot-tall walnut basket propped against the wall, a 10-foot-long antique English table, and a 9-foot-long seascape (a tattered but still amazing find from France) that hangs above it.

Treat the furniture arrangements like you would inside—but not the materials. The porch is exposed to the elements, so outfit it accordingly with outdoor fabrics and rugs, such as these Sunbrella cushions and pillows. Don’t be afraid to bring out a few older pieces to lend the space some patina. An antique rattan chair is light enough that it can be moved inside quickly and easily. Accessorize tabletops with lanterns for light and floral arrangements in weighty, windproof containers.

Idea #7:  Create a welcoming porch with stripes and patterns in neutral gray with fresh greenery.

Take a video tour of the Palmetto Bluff Idea House entry and dining room

Suzanne broke from the rest of the home’s muted scheme and papered these walls with an exuberant pattern. “Try to make a small space extra special,” she says. Window trim painted Westchester Gray by Sherwin-Williams picks up on the deep blues in the paper and the steel legs of the Bradley sink, which is the only stand-alone sink in the home. A sliver of a mirror is topped with a library sconce to round out the furnishings.

His Inspiration: “The 1986 living room was gorgeously neutral,” says Sikes. “There were stacks of books, layered rugs, striped sofas, even a bit of rattan. That mix of finishes and textures gave it an elegance that’s still relevant.”

Wanting to create a comfortable but stylish outdoor area, Suzanne approached the space the same way she approached the living room—with a blue-and-white palette, flexible seating arrangements, and an edited mix of styles and materials. “Off the kitchen, two tables are pushed together to make one big square surrounded by the same chairs that flank the dining table inside,” she says. In the central lounging area, she placed two sectionals together to create a u-shaped seating area that looks out to the water. She anchored the space with a blue-and-white-striped rug and an elegant teak coffee table. Beyond the seating area is a second, smaller dining table that can double as a card table. “It’s important that this outdoor space accommodate a lot of people,” says Suzanne.

Idea #1:  Hang magnolia wreaths on the exterior windows from ribbon attached above the molding.

Kirkland thinks a lot about how people really live in a space. “We wanted the dining room to be a comfortable, everyday experience and not for occasions only,” she says. She limited the dressy elements to the windows, chandelier, and table and surrounded the table with durable upholstered chairs. Two banquettes set in the corners of the room double as extra seating. Then she wrapped the room in fun patterns using two different types of wallcoverings. A lattice fabric below the chair rail emulates a classic lattice garden room. “There’s a real outdoor quality to it,” says Kirkland. And a white embroidered paper above the chair rail adds slight dimension to the walls.

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So here’s my list of 20 decorating ideas from my trip to the 2013 Southern Living Idea house to get started. 🙂

Idea #9:  Install french doors off the dining room that open onto a screened-in porch.

Her Take: “We made it accessible for today, using mustard just as an accent,” she says. “The bed coverlet speaks to that era’s style. Rather than having elaborate millwork for built-ins, we got creative with curtains.”

Like Ken, Suzanne encourages people to explore and use every part of a home. “In a house like this, most of the eating happens outdoors,” Suzanne says. She laid the proper foundation for a dining room: a rug to anchor the space, a trestle-style table, and a variety of seating options. But then she took a thoroughly modern approach, pulling an ottoman (which is more useful than a bench) right up to the table and using the dining area more like a library table. This home’s dining room, like every other one in the South, shouldn’t be relegated to occasional-use-only status. Enjoy it every day. “This is today’s way of living,” says Suzanne.

Surrounded by pine trees and nestled beside a lake, the east-facing back porch offers unrivaled views of the sunrise. 

To get to the master suite, you walk through the hidden upholstered door in the super-hearth. To give the room a water view, Ken placed it at the back of the house with a door leading off to the porch. Suzanne positioned the bed between the windows so the water is always in sight. White walls and breezy drapery (Linen Blanc fabric; ballarddesigns.com) on the windows and doors give the room an ethereal vibe and provide continuity with the nearby living room. To help soften the space, Suzanne layered in a sisal rug and rich bedding textures including velvet, pom-pom fringe, and metallic linen. Shiny lacquered nightstands add a mod punch to the subdued mix.

Idea #8:  Convince my husband to go into the table making business….starting with this coffee table.

At 49 feet long and 12 feet deep, the wraparound back porch was conceived as a series of three rooms, not a narrow hallway. “The porch wraps the living room’s bay window,” says Ken. “To keep the outdoor furniture out of the window’s sight lines, I dropped the rear porch 2 feet lower than the main-floor rooms.” Entry points placed on the sides echo Ken’s interior floor plans but don’t disrupt the central seating area. Ceiling fans help keep the open porch well ventilated on hot and humid South Carolina days.

It’s classic and farmhouse and timeless and new and barn wood and burlap and visionary….

Idea #10:  Add industrial nesting tables with wood tops to the back porch.

Simple Shaker-style cabinets in a gray-blue shade (Winslow in Willow; wellborn.com) mirror the hearth’s colors. Suzanne says, “In open layouts, make all the spaces relate.” Free of top cabinets, the upper half of the kitchen looks especially expansive with white walls and a Calacatta gold marble backsplash that extends the countertops up the walls.

STORIES 20 Decorating Ideas from the Southern Living Idea House

“The stunning views of the marshland drove the living room design,” says Ken. He also wanted the room to be large enough for a family to be simultaneously connected and separate in two seating areas. The floor-to-ceiling clerestory bay window is more than just Ken’s grand gesture to the landscape; it also ensures that the wraparound porch won’t steal a sliver of light from this ethereal space. To balance the white walls, Ken created a “super-hearth” (shown on next slide) opposite the kitchen. “It’s like the one at historic Biltmore,” he says. Made of blackened steel, it inconspicuously houses the tv, a bookshelf, and the master bedroom door.

(total aside:  they didn’t allow beverages….but I really wanted to drink a cup of coffee right here).

In perfect tandem, Architect Ken Pursley and Interior Designer Suzanne Kasler work together to write the next chapter of Southern style with our 2014 Idea House. It’s lighter, fresher, and more livable than ever before. | Story by Zoe Gowen

In keeping with the home’s open-air vibe, Ken elected to go wall-less in the space that connects the two upstairs wings. He affectionately calls the area “the bridge,” a play on the home’s waterside location. Like an observation deck, the area provides the best views in the home and makes a great place to perch. “You can sit and read up here away from everyone but still be in the know about downstairs happenings,” notes Ken.

The dining terrace was designed by Margaret Kirkland, with the native landscape and hardscape done by David N. Brush. The Ballard Designs Suzanne Kasler Directoire dining set sits on the outdoor terrace.

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