DESIGNER EMILY BOURGEOIS LOOKED TO THE LOWCOUNTRY LANDSCAPE FOR INSPIRATION BEHIND A SOUTH CAROLINA BEACH HOME.
When Emily Bourgeois was approached by her good friends to design their home in DeBordieu, South Carolina—a sleepy, private community just south of Pawleys Island—she was elated. The soonto-be clients were the architectural designer’s dear friends, and this was their first foray into building a home from the ground up. “I was flattered that they had chosen me to design their new home,” she says. The lot the couple had chosen was breathtaking. So much so that the moment the couple saw the piece of land, they bought it the same day. “We just knew this was where we needed to build our beach home,” the homeowner says. The lot overlooks a golf course with a large pond in the forefront. Towering oak trees strewn with lazy Spanish moss provide shade from the powerful Carolina sun. But it was the view of the grassy fairway coupled with the glassy pond that both the homeowners and Bourgeois knew had to be the focal point of the home. “The water, sun, sky, trees, everything about nature and being down there inspired the design of this home,” the homeowner says. “The inside wasn’t the story. The house had to lend itself to being where you saw the beauty of nature. That’s what guided the design.” With that in mind, Bourgeois set to work designing a home that allowed for views from just about every inch of the home. Though the couple wanted something a touch more modern, Bourgeois looked to traditional Palladian architecture, which features symmetry and graceful, understated decorative details. “They both appreciate the beauty of classicism, while truly loving the clean lines of modern architecture,” she explains. “We wanted the house to reference both. We used four main elements to tie the house to the past: a strong base and water table made of tabby, an exaggerated main floor with oversized windows, a minimized top floor with clipped walls and short windows high on the wall, and a floor plan driven by axis. The house even has a point inside where you can see outside on axis in all four directions.” The homeowners were laissez-faire about the process, letting Bourgeois take the lead on the architecture to design a home that took advantage of every possible view the structure would allow. “Once we had this in place, the owners were free to play with minimalism and modernism in furnishings and palette,” Bourgeois says. “The homeowner is a master at this and has an incredible eye for interiors. She is not afraid to be a little edgy but she always uses shapes familiar throughout history. She is never trendy or gimmicky. With that tether, her rooms are always mysteriously soothing and inviting.” “I really wanted the home to be one where you don’t walk in and say, ‘Oh, I love your sofa!’ but rather, ‘Oh my gosh, your view is amazing,” the homeowner says. “I really let Emily’s architectural details inspire the rest of the interiors. They’re so beautiful that I didn’t want to overpower them.” Swooping lines frame various areas, such as the range in the kitchen, so as to blend seamlessly with the adjacent living room. A hidden scullery hides the everyday appliances so the kitchen feels less utilitarian and more like an extension of the living room. At the top of the stairs, there are views in every direction, including down the hallway to the master bedroom where Bourgeois added a nail-head trim door to draw your eye through to the vista beyond. Letting the views dictate the design, or, at the very least, inspire it, allowed Bourgeois to utilize Palladian architecture’s signature design elements to enhance the experience one has throughout the home. “It was really about letting nature play center stage from the very beginning,” Bourgeois says. The homeowner adds, “The moment you walk in, you’re drawn right to the outside. It’s really breathtaking.
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