Family Ties

Summerour Architects and Kay Douglass Interiors team up to create a Sea Island retreat for a top Southern realtor with strong area roots

Part of a family that has been coming to Sea Island for four generations, Bonneau Ansley leapt at the rarified opportunity to purchase a pristine waterfront property there, soon assembling an all-star team to build a custom home for him and his wife, Jen, to bring their two teenage children. “Sea Island is where you learn to love life,” he says. “When you arrive, all your worries go away.”

As the founder and CEO of Southern real estate company Ansley Real Estate, he has toured a multitude of high-end homes over the years, often taking photos of architecture and design details he particularly loved. Many of them made their way into architect Keith Summerour’s design. “I wanted a one-of-a-kind home that was unlike anything else on the island,” says Ansley, describing Summerour as a “living legend.”

In contrast to the many Spanish-inspired houses on the island, Summerour designed a cedar shingle-style home with white metal windows and a unique louver system that wraps the front facade’s lower level. Making the most of the island’s size restrictions, he incorporated a poolside lounge on the lower level and tucked a third floor into the softly curved roofline. “From the third floor, you feel like you’re in the captain’s quarters looking out over miles and miles of marsh,” says Summerour, comparing the house to an upside-down ship.

Visible from every room, the beautiful vistas inspired interior designer Kay Douglass to select a neutral palette punctuated by punches of color, graphic pattern and texture. Citron lanterns and black and white encaustic tile, for example, enlivens the white cabinetry in the open kitchen. “It needed that kick,” she says. A boisterous black, white and cobalt wallcovering has the same impact in the poolside lounge, where tailored furnishings covered in performance fabrics surround a white stucco fireplace.

Pattern and color also energize the bedrooms. Matching upholstered headboards covered in a daring mustard and white tropical pattern pop against the white walls and tongue-and-groove ceiling in the third-floor bunk room. And exemplified by the encaustic floor tile in the adjacent bathroom, a unique red, white and pink palette distinguishes the daughter’s bedroom suite. “When an owner trusts everybody with their trade, you get magic,” says Douglass.

Ansley and his family agree wholeheartedly, spending as much time as they can at their seaside retreat, which includes a pickleball court and a private dock where the family enjoys fishing and swimming. “It was a dream to build this place and carry on the family tradition,” he says. “Hopefully my kids will bring their families here one day.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Kay Douglass, Kay Douglass Interiors, (404) 625-1052; ARCHITECT Keith Summerour, Summerour Architects, (404) 603-8585; BUILDER Lance Summerour, Summerour Construction Services, (912) 506-1751;