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Tag Archives: Judy Bean

  7 kitchen A big, blended family gathers on tiny Grove Point Island, surrounded by river and marsh.  Judy Bean leads us ashore.   Photography by RICHARD LEO JOHNSON   Call it fate, destiny or the stars aligning.  The Palmers of Grove Point Island—and friends who know their story—believe they’re now exactly where they were meant to be. As soft-spoken Christie Palmer recalls, she and husband David “had no intention of moving” from their previous home in Pooler.  Built as a regional magazine’s “Idea House” in 2002, the home was both spacious and well-appointed—so much so that a visiting Chicago couple made them an unsought, above-market offer. With that sudden good fortune, the Palmers began a broad home search, followed by a nomadic month, that ended in a well-worth-the-wait homecoming for the couple, their children and “grands” this past June.
Here’s a Story
Christie, a nurse, and David, an orthopedic surgeon, have six children and four grandchildren between them.  As we begin our tour of the family’s home, one of the grandchildren, 16-month-old Beck, crawls up the deck stairs as fast as a fiddler crab, gleefully seeking his “Gammie.”  His mother, Morgan, Christie’s daughter, cheerfully races behind him, and Beck is gently—albeit temporarily—pried from Christie’s neck so that she can show us around. We’re joined by Lana Salter and Victoria Holmes, the interior designers who brought this spec home to life and became Christie’s friends during the process. When the Palmers began their home search, “we knew we wanted to live near water,” says Christie. After seeing a half dozen homes in the Wilmington Island area, the Palmers felt led to this house, which happened to be next door to a house where Christie had visited family friends many times as a child. “Way back then, I used to say that I wanted to live [in this neighborhood] someday,” Christie recalls, shaking her head as if she can’t quite believe her good fortune. 8 kitchen nook
A Cheerful Outlook
Tickled as she was to be back on her old island playground—and enchanted by the new house’s river view and boathouse—Christie knew the house’s blah, builder-basic appearance had to change. Built in 2007 as an investment property, the home “had zero personality,” Christie recollects.  Water-facing windows had up to 30 panes each, fragmenting an expansive river view that was further obscured by mauve curtains.  Fixtures and appliances were big-box store bargains.  What little trim there was looked out-of-scale or overly ornate. Christie learned about Holmes and Salter from contractor Robert Lyons, an old friend of David’s.  The connection was instantaneous. “Christie was the ideal client,” Victoria says with a smile as Lana nods. From the very beginning, the designers recall Christie’s clarity about the Palmers’ preferences: “Not fancy, just happy and livable,” in Christie’s words.  She had functional priorities, such as being able to house and feed a growing family and friends, and a bottom line that was adequate but not indulgent. Just as helpfully, Christie’s collection of magazine clippings revealed a desire for a soft, relaxing palette and a preference for traditional textures—all in perfect harmony with the home’s river and marsh surroundings.
THE PALMER SPECS
Owners:  Christie and David Palmer Year Built:  2007 Year Purchased:  2015 Square Footage:  4,600 heated in main house; 748 in boathouse Accommodations:  4 bedrooms, 5 baths
Divine Design
To maximize light and views in the common areas, the designers and contractors worked together “from day one,” Victoria says.  All agreed on the need for uninterrupted picture windows, new real-wood floors to replace laminate and carpet, and new openings from room to room.  Shiplap and ceiling beams were added, along with antique bricks.  Some ceilings were painted blue for coastal style. Fulfilling Christie’s hopes to host big family meals, the kitchen was reconfigured and gutted, its “builder basic” appliances and dark cabinets replaced with a full array of Viking products and driftwood-toned faces.  A counter between the kitchen and breakfast room was removed, making it easier for family members to come and go.  A small door to the dining room was expanded to a large arch, allowing more sunlight for meal preparation and allowing cooks to enjoy beautiful views on either side. An upstairs office became a family reading nook with the addition of custom shelves.  Other remodeled rooms included the master suite, a music room, an airy home office just off the kitchen, bedrooms and baths for 13-year-old Sarah and 15-year-old Jonathan—David’s two youngest and the last ones at home—and a cozy playroom for grandchildren Beck, Coleman, Bree and baby Jack. “I close myself in here with the kids and relax while they color and play,” Christie says blissfully. portrait 3  
Practical Magic
A “waste not, want not” policy inspired clever re-use.  Old flooring, appliances and fixtures were used in the remodeled boathouse—or donated to Habitat for Humanity. “From the very beginning, we all felt this place was meant to be,” says Victoria.  Lana agrees, recalling how many of the Palmers’ old pieces perfectly fit the new spaces, and how smooth and happy the collaboration was.  When Christie burst into joyful tears upon entering the finished home for the first time, the designers knew the results were happy, too. “The Palmers are humble, sweet, happy, grateful people,” Lana says.  And now they have a home that’s worthy of them. 5 living Drink in the View. The Palmer home overlooks the Grove River from the same bank where Christie played as a child.  The Palmers found the eight-year-old home, empty since construction.  Renovations included replacing divided-light windows with larger picture panes for uninterrupted views of river, sky and the boathouse.  Birds are Christie’s favorite motif, and they play perfectly in the nature-inspired interior Holmes and Salter designed.  In the living room, an ibis lamp by Cyan pairs with a painting by Vincent Golshani, the family’s favorite artist.  The wall is covered in painted shiplap to imbue color and coziness in the large living area, which was once encased in vast planes of blank drywall. 6 dining room Build Character. “David and I both love downtown Savannah homes, especially all the old brick,” Christie says.  To echo that colonial aesthetic, Old Carolina brick tile and pavers were used in the dining room, back hallway and office.  In the kitchen, soapstone counters and driftwood-toned cabinetry hide Christie’s much-used appliances.  The island was painted blue for contrast—and as a nod to the river, which is visible here and from most of the home. 9 art room Take Note.  Both Christie and Sarah, David’s 13-year-old daughter, study and practice piano in the music room, among vibrant Golshani paintings.  Although more subdued Golshanis shine in the living area, most of the pieces shown here feature intense colors that inspire allegro playing.  Glass doors allow the room to be closed, but kept bright, during practice sessions. 10 bedroom Sing the Blues. Relaxation was top priority in designing the master suite.  Shades of blue backed by creamy off-whites combine to create calm, while varying textures add warmth.  The English linen curtains feature a bird pattern beloved by Christie.  The blue barn-style door, custom-crafted by carpenter Arnold Lanier of C-Two Cabinets, leads to a walk-in closet with custom, built-in shelves and a front-facing window that looks toward the marsh.  Across from the blue door, an exterior door leads to a screened porch overlooking the river.    
The PALMER Referrals
Interior designer:  Holmes and Salter Interiors Contractor/builder:  Lyons and Son Flooring:  Old Savannah Hardwood Flooring, pavers via Cherokee Brick Company Countertops:  Karen Sellers, Counter Designs Wallpaper:  Schumaker and Thibaut, installed by Madeline Gunter Windows/doors:  Coastal Sash and Door Kitchen design:  Showcase Kitchens Bath design:  Holmes and Salter Lighting design:  Holmes and Salter Upholsterers:  Lulu and Coco Landscape design:  Hester and Zipperer Hardscape design:  Marshall Masonry & Concrete Carpenters:  C-Two Custom Cabinets and Renovation Plumber:  Lyons and Son Landscaper:  Hester and Zipperer Furniture: C.R. Lane, Verellen, Four Hands, Custom Appliances:  Viking, Southern Bath and Kitchen Accessories:  Peacock Alley, Uttermost, Juliska, Serena and Lily, Textillery, Texture Imports, Williams-Sonoma, Lacefield, Cyan Art:  Vincent Golshani via Golding House Gallery, Alicia Leeke, assorted others

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Halloween Sav MAg 2015 (2)   Ghouls and goblins settle in during the witching season at a bright and whimsical Ardsley Park bungalow that’s anything but spooky.  Judy Bean takes us on a spirited tour. Photography by Richard Leo Johnson

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Beyond expansive windows, the wetlands brim with natural wonders—as do the extraordinary rooms of a Skidaway Island home.  Judy Bean explores.  »  Photography by Richard Leo Johnson

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Two Atlanta transplants mix casual comfort with a dash of glitz to create the ideal setting for celebrating with family and friends. Judy Bean stops by for a visit.  »  Photography by Richard Leo Johnson

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An 1854 townhome gets a 21st-century remix, custom-fitted for a sophisticated, spirited family of four.  Judy Bean plays it back for us.  »  Photography by Richard Leo Johnson  »  Styling by Joel and Erika Snayd

As you reach for the bright yellow knocker on the oxblood front door, you get a hint of what’s distinctive about this Greek Revival row home deep within Savannah’s Historic District.  Invited in, you realize that the front porch barely prepares you for this home’s stylish and sensory delights. It’s a masterful mix of vibrant colors and soothing neutrals, modern pieces and sweet antiques, custom creations and vintage finds.  Pops of “wow” and priceless original details blissfully coexist.  But there’s something more inside: a distinctly homey sensation, enriched by the individual tastes of the ebullient family who lives here—and their evident reverence for those who came before.
Homesteading
Back in 2011, Scott and Louise Lauretti weren’t really looking for a new place to live; they and their two daughters were happy in a sleek, modern marshfront house on Skidaway Island.  So, when they first heard of the recession-priced row house downtown, they considered it purely for its investment potential. But from their very first visit, something about the Neoclassical, four-story structure insisted on closer acquaintance.  Maybe it was the heart pine floors, or the nine working fireplaces—many with original mantels—or the fanciful plaster medallions and other moldings, or the soaring 14-foot ceilings.  Even amid the visual muddle of a 1980s remodel, the antebellum abode was undeniably beautiful, its graceful proportions and ageless details still mostly—miraculously—intact. Scott, a financial executive and publisher of The Skinnie magazine who says he’s “constructively manic,” found himself fixated by the old home’s possibilities.  Louise, who writes part-time for The Skinnie about local arts and architecture, was drawn to its sense of history.  Together, they decided to highlight the home’s original character, while customizing it to fit their busy and creative family’s routines and tastes. To do that, they set out to find a design team that could marry thoroughly modern sensibilities with an affection for upholding the past.
Team Building
The Laurettis first contacted local architect Andy Lynch—co-owner with his wife, Becky, of Lynch Associates Architects—to plan the spaces.  Becky, in turn, recommended Rethink Design Studio’s Joel and Erika Snayd to custom design the interiors.  Both firms’ contemporary portfolios appealed to Louise and Scott’s urbane tastes. Still, the couple resisted the idea of a sleek, streamlined aesthetic. “We had already had that,” Scott says, referring to their Skidaway Island home.  “This time, we wanted to be true to the (home’s) traditional aspects.  But we quickly learned that (Andy, Joel and Erika) are preservationists at heart.” Impressed by the team’s confidence in mixing cross-century styles, Scott began to relax.  He first allowed, then encouraged the unique interior to evolve.  And evolve it did, in some surprising ways. [nggallery id=317]
New Again
Andy began by re-planning much of the home’s interior layout, working hard to preserve the entry hall, stairwell, fireplaces and most of the main floor.  He reduced the number of bedrooms from five to three; the bathrooms from five to four.  He added a main-floor half-bath, and designed an all-new kitchen to replace the outdated version.  Plumbing and vents were rerouted as needed, and new gas lines were added for the kitchen and front-porch lights. The expanded kitchen now cantilevers over the rear garden, adding welcome floor space. The kitchen grew not just out, but also up, accommodating more storage and a new window wall, which invites natural light deep into the townhome’s interior.  The room’s previously sloped ceiling now matches the 14-foot height of the rest of the main floor.  The raised roof also created flat space for a balcony garden one floor up, just outside the third-floor master suite. Elsewhere in the house, Andy’s influence is more subtle—and deliberately so.  Original brick has been preserved in the garden-level recreational space—the home’s original kitchen when it was first built—as has the suite’s indoor staircase, including its concave dips, worn by thousands of long-ago footsteps.  The structure’s original proportions, floors, woodwork, mantels, moldings and ceiling medallions have been preserved, repaired or recreated wherever possible. “Scott and I both wanted to highlight the amazing work done long before we got here,” Andy says.  “Together, we did all we could to keep the details’ integrity.”
Custom Build
As Scott and Andy continued to plan, they hired Walter Strong, a second-generation Savannah builder, to bring that plan to fruition thoughtfully.  Joel and Erika brought their curatorial perspective on the worldwide design market, and local artisans also came on board, including cabinet maker Harley Ashbaugh and metal-worker and SCAD professor Aaron Heisler. Over the course of a year, a custom wonderland evolved in the Lauretti home.  A giant handpainted feather floats down the length of the 24-foot-long hallway, slyly introducing all of the home’s new hues against a backdrop of natural seagrass wallcoverings.  A modern, egg-shaped chandelier hangs from an original plaster medallion—a bit of foreshadowing of this home’s past-present balance. In the living room, assertive shades of magenta, dark gray and curry pop from polished cotton curtains in a flame-stitch pattern.  The drapes hang ceiling-to-floor from a polished brass rod that runs the full width of the wall—a Rethink Design Studio signature—providing a perfect backdrop for a custom Chesterfield couch clad in mustard yellow leather. The vivid couch sits across from two mid-century modern armchairs, newly upholstered in soft, gray pinstriped wool.  Between the chairs, a custom-made, metal-and-wood coffee table tops a gray-and-cream cowhide rug.  Modern art over the classic marble mantel echoes the room’s vibrant hues.  In opposite corners, a small desk and dainty pink chair wait demurely for homework duty with the Lauretti daughters. Joel notes the room’s contrasts: its classic and contemporary details; its bright and soft colors; its smooth, rough and furry textures; its masculine and feminine chairs.  Glancing at those seats, Joel says, “What guy doesn’t like to look at a pretty girl?  Opposites provide energy.”
Entertainment Center
The energizing contrasts continue into the dining room.  Another marble fireplace dominates one wall, surrounded by contemporary wallpaper, custom-printed with a life-size, black-and-white forest scene.  The natural setting is in direct contrast to the original, oval Eero Saarinen dining table, flanked by eight replica Eames bucket chairs.  Two vintage French-style armchairs, upholstered in pale pink linen with magenta piping, supply the room’s feminine mystique. Opposite the fireplace, made-to-order étagéres provide plentiful storage for antique glassware and silver.  Joel designed the units, Harley crafted the cabinetry and Aaron fabricated the metal bases, hardware and rails. Food is central to the Laurettis’ lifestyle—especially for Scott, who says one of his greatest joys is cooking for his family.  In celebration, the new kitchen exemplifies efficiency.  Abundant cabinetry, designed by Joel and crafted by Harley, echoes the dining room’s built-ins and stores all kitchen essentials.  Receding, garage-style doors conceal well-stocked pantry shelves.  Because the cabinets extend from the floor all the way to the 14-foot ceilings, Joel and Aaron created a modern “library ladder.”  It glides on wall-mounted rails past the cabinet fronts, allowing unfettered access to the loftiest storage. Countertops are made—surprisingly—of tightly pressed, recycled paper, specified by Joel for its warm, solid, chocolate color.  Above, bright task lighting aids the at-home chef.  At night, amber Edison bulbs glow warmly on friends and family who gather at the wood-topped center island. For casual meals, a small, contemporary table sits in the cantilevered kitchen addition.  Literally overlooking the courtyard through the wall-sized kitchen window, diners get the feeling that they’re “sitting in the sky,” Andy says. Underneath it all is a spectacular floor of Italian marble, hand-cut here in Savannah into a chic chevron pattern.
Personal Space
A sharply appointed powder room sits tucked behind the main staircase at the end of the long front hallway. An assemblage of vintage Fedoras and shoe-making implements—in honor of Scott’s father and grandfather, both shoemakers—stands out from a deep oxblood wall.  A built-in bud vase in the powder room holds fresh flowers, which Louise loves.  Custom teak cabinets hide half-bath essentials, and the custom wallpaper faintly echoes the front hallway’s single feather. “Repeating the feather motif is as themey as we get,” Joel says.  “A home shouldn’t feel like a theme park.” On the next level up, another large mural—this one abstract—repeats the home’s colors. This level—once a warren of bedrooms and baths—now houses a new laundry room/home office and a spacious, two-room master suite.  From the hallway, an old wood door with new insets of pale aqua frosted glass opens onto a sitting room draped in serene shades of purple and green.  Across the room, a bold floral painting hangs over the substantial fireplace.  On the right, a French door leads to a balcony garden.  Overhead, a 12-foot ceiling clad in lavender grass-cloth dangles a mid-century light fixture, flirtatiously shaped as a globular, brass daisy bouquet. Another, larger chandelier can be seen to the left, through a large classic archway.  Magnificently Baroque, hung with smoky plum crystals, it hovers over the master bed, twinkling enticingly to its sitting room sibling. Just like its dominant light fixture, the master bedroom’s décor is bold yet traditional.  As the sitting room does, it boasts a large fireplace with plum-colored porcelain tile from England surrounding the hearth.  Custom sheets and a duvet in vintage-washed Belgian linen in beige and ivory adorn the expansive bed. The en-suite master bath is equally elegant, but perfectly serene.  In cool shades of white and gray, it houses a large, glass shower and a jetted soaker tub, above which hovers a white wall of craggy-faced stone—a light-teasing textural contrast to the gleaming gray marble throughout the rest of the room. On the top floor are the Lauretti daughters’ bedroom suites, one in high-contrast turquoise and black to fit its occupant’s contemporary tastes, the other more “shabby chic” to suit the older girl’s romantic style.  Both rooms have fireplaces, with more English tiles highlighting charming, off-center hearths—characteristic of top-floor room heating in the mid-1800s.  The rooms surround a hallway split length-wise by seeming acres of bright-turquoise-to-white ombré linen, draped from the ceiling between the bedroom doors and the stairs.  As it provides privacy, the cloth seems to glow of its own accord.
A New View
Redoing the downtown home enhanced the Laurettis’ lives in ways they hadn’t imagined—bringing them not only into new surroundings, but also into what Scott calls “a new community” of close, creative friends. “Scott has a unique capacity for design,” explains Joel.  “He approaches it almost as entertainment.  He really loves color and allows his team a blank canvas.  We’re incredibly fortunate to work with someone like him.” As for Scott, he says he’s looking for opportunities to work with the team again.  Meanwhile, he’s just enjoying living downtown.  “There’s a different energy here,” he says. “Louise and I spent a long time in New York City and we realize now how much we missed the urban envelope.” And in Savannah, he notes, “The natural beauty surrounds us.  We don’t have the marsh view anymore, but we have a scenic mix: the history of the city and the gardens and the green squares.”
The Lauretti Stats »
Owners:  Scott and Louise Lauretti Year built:  1854 Year purchased:  2011 Square footage:  4,000 interior, 500 in courtyard and 200 on terrace Number of bedrooms and bathrooms:  3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths Time to complete renovation/remodel:  2 years
The Lauretti Referrals »
Architects/planners:  Lynch Associates Architects Interior designer:  Rethink Design Studio Contractor/builder:  General contracting by Walter Strong; custom-builds and cabinetry by Harley Ashbaugh, AWD Savannah Tile/flooring:  Wood floors by John Brown with Garden State Tile; tile installation by Tory Burmudez Paint:  JD Painting Wallpaper:  Edwina and Terrel Scarboro Windows/doors:  Exterior doors by Coastal Sash; interior doors by Architectural Millworks Kitchen design:  Space allocation, modern concept and storefront design by Lynch Associates Architects; design, material and finish specification by Rethink Design Studio Bath design:  Space allocation by Lynch Associates Architects; design, material and finish specification by Rethink Design Studio Lighting design:  Electrical plan by Lynch Associates Architects; custom design and specifications by Rethink Design Studio Landscape design:  Space allocation by Lynch Associates Architects; design, material and finish specification by Rethink Design Studio Hardscape design:  Space allocation by Lynch Associates Architects; design, material and finish specification by Rethink Design Studio Electrician:  Pace Electric Carpenter:  Jerry Odum Plumber:  Jenkins Plumbing Landscaper:  Savannah Hardscapes HVAC:  Gerrald’s Heating and Air Furniture:  Rethink Design Studio Appliances:  Gaggenau range, others from Livingood’s Accessories:  Rethink Design Studio Art:  Owner and Rethink Design Studio        

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A family celebration summons sweet memories of the bride's childhood summers on Tybee's sandy shores.  By Judy Bean  |  Photography by Jade and Matthew McCully

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On the banks of Richardson Creek, a family with deep Savannah roots honors the past and builds toward the future.  
Judy Bean shares their sun-soaked memories.  »  Photography by Richard Leo Johnson

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