A Sea of Citrus

Summer hues zing throughout this Sea Island abode where art and antiques combine for a delightful coastal getaway

Powerful pops of color are balanced by crisp white notes and tailored lines in this artfully designed Sea Island cottage. “The series of citrus paintings by Laura Powell Smith hanging above a turquoise banquette were the inspiration for the interiors,” says Atlanta designer Will Huff of Huff-Dewberry, Inc. The paintings feature a blue background with zesty tones of lemon, orange and lime outlined in black—a creative element Huff deftly replicated in the design details by hanging brightly colored draperies from thin black iron rods. 

This vibrantly colored, yet elegantly composed residence was created for an empty nester couple whose love of Sea Island began with their honeymoon. After many years of renting vacation homes, this house captured their sights with its blue shutters and River Oak-framed facade. Built in 1974, the house features high beamed ceilings, herringbone brick and tabby floors, and a beautiful pine mantel in the great room—all original architectural features that the owners wanted to preserve. “The proportions of the great room fit today’s lifestyle, so the only significant architectural change we made was designing a new kitchen within the original footprint, and one that feels original to the house,” says Huff. 

While maintaining the architectural integrity was paramount, the owners desired a beach house that felt fresh, current and colorful, but neither trendy nor cliché. Additionally, they asked to incorporate antiques from their primary home into this vacation home, including a few special mementoes such as the carved table in the great room that was purchased on their honeymoon. 

Appreciating the owner’s request for color and art, Huff integrated both into every space. “I envisioned the entire dining room wrapped in a watercolor painting, and the Phillip Jeffries grasscloth was the perfect wallcovering,” says Huff. A contemporary starburst mirror, a 19th-century English sideboard, and a mid-century modern turquoise lamp create an eclectic vignette, yet one that’s in harmony with the pattern of the wallpaper. Less obvious, but equally transformative, Huff painted the original ceiling beams light blue in order to create a lighter palette reflective of the coastal lifestyle and one that relates to the exterior shutters. 

The house is ideally proportioned for two people, yet it has ample space to accommodate large gatherings. From the guest house, to the courtyard, to the pool, there are plenty of areas for rest and relaxation. Sunrise and sunset are always beautiful at the beach, but in this colorful cottage, an array of art mixed with a profusion of bright fabrics and cherished antiques creates the stylish seaside canvas.

INTERIOR DESIGN Will Huff, Huff-Dewberry, Inc., (404) 355-7600; huffdewberry.com