Atlanta-based interior design firm Melanie Turner Interiors is no stranger to the art of designing secondary homes. With offices in Atlanta, Montana and Charleston, the design firm will also open a studio and store in Rosemary Beach, Florida, in summer of 2020. “We’ve kind of become experts on doing secondary homes,” Melanie Turner says. “We try to be very thoughtful with these projects and design spaces that make life easy, especially at the beach, where there are no rules.”
It was only natural, then, that when a longtime client—a successful Atlanta-based dentist who breeds Arabian horses in her spare time—set out to create an Alys Beach refuge where she could escape the hustle of everyday life, she turned to Melanie Turner Interiors with complete confidence.
“She trusted in us enough to want to be hands-off,” says Turner. The homeowner’s only direction for the project—which totals just 30 feet wide—was “light, bright and comfortable,” Turner adds. “The key thing that she wanted in her life was simplicity, ease and restfulness. She leads a very full life, and this home creates that sense of escapism in an area that is ideal for relaxing.”
To make the most of the home’s smaller footprint, Turner took an intentional, edited approach in collaboration with developer and architect Paul Geary of T.S. Adams Studio. “The beauty of this particular house is that it turns inward on itself. We thought of it as a whole and then brought it back down into smaller spaces.”
Dual master bedrooms on the second and ground floors create the feel of separate wings, while open living areas provide ample space to socialize. In the living room, a pair of accordion doors retracts completely into the wall, allowing the room to open up to the patio and pool. A stone-like concrete floor tile by Peacock Pavers—featuring porous properties to help catch sand—was used both indoors and out, making the spaces seem larger and more cohesive. “We really massaged the spaces and tried to get these large rooms that open up into each other, with the kitchen, living, dining and outdoor spaces all becoming one,” says Turner.
In contrast with the home’s plaster walls and ceilings, Turner incorporated an abundance of texture via carefully selected accessories that were sourced locally as well as from the designer’s frequent travels. The light fixture in the entryway, for instance, was crafted from a basket from Bali, while the kitchen light fixtures were purchased from local lifestyle store Outpost. “It’s really important for us as designers to always try to buy within the area so that local shops are represented within the house and it feels like you’re part of the community,” she says.
Another focus was fostering a sense of ease. In the kitchen, bowls and plates are housed on open shelving, “so now you’re not looking for something,” Turner says. “You’re at your second home, you don’t want to have to open all these cupboards to have to figure out where something is.”
“Everything is about being thoughtful and making your life easy and not having to think,” she adds. “It’s all done in a way where you don’t realize what we’re doing, but we’re constantly calming you down.”