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Tag Archives: reThink Design Studio

Sprawled along the picturesque Herb River, this family’s dream home took nine years to complete.  Charlotte Nauert spends some time with the passionate people behind it.  Photography by Richard Leo Johnson

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Rethink Design Studio's step-by-step guide to detox your home of clutter.

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  As Andrea Goto discovered, there’s no better way to celebrate the best Savannah has to offer than to welcome more than a thousand revelers to the historic and sprawling grounds of the Charles H. Morris Center to eat, drink and be merry.  Photography by Katie McGee » That’s exactly what happened at this year's carefully curated Gatsby-esque garden party honoring the winners of Savannah magazine’s annual “Best of” readers' poll.  Transforming the Morris Center into a time capsule with uptown Art Deco details, Joel and Erika Snayd, the dynamic design duo of Rethink Design Studio, transported party guests to the Roaring Twenties.  And roar they did. The celebration kicked off promptly at 5:30—early by Savannah standards—quickly filling the main hall where repeat winners such as Leopold’s, Back in the Day Bakery and Wiley’s Championship BBQ shared their blue-ribbon fares.  After titillating their tummies, guests spilled into the back garden to be treated to the big, classical sounds of Jeremy Davis and the Equinox Little Band on what turned out to be one of the most beautiful, temperate evenings September can offer. True to form, Savannahians enthusiastically embraced the Jazz-Age theme.  Dapper dudes and women donning flapper-inspired fringe and feather headdresses complimented one another’s playful take on the theme and posed for endless photographs.  The laid-back affair even included an impromptu performance by party guest and co-founder of Savannah Children’s Choir, Roger Moss, who crooned Frank Sinatra’s “Fly me to the Moon” to wild applause. The party showed no signs of slowing down, even after the seemingly tireless Clay Johnson sang his last set.  Unwilling to call it a night, partygoers then pedicabed their way downtown to search out more of Savannah’s best, which, as it turns out, is aplenty. [nggallery id=318]
 You're the Bee's Knees!  Many, Many Thanks to our Sponsors!
Title Sponsor

Premier Sponsors

Tate Law Group

Platinum Sponsors

AWD of Savannah

American Moving and Storage

Official Wine Sponsor

Jeremy Davis and the Equinox Little Big Band

John Davis Florist

Maureen Eason Designs

Munn Brothers Films

Savannah Special Events by Ranco

Speedi Sign & Graphics

Stage Front Production Services

Gold Sponsors

Clark Creative Communications

Claudia Gaughf, M.D./Chatham Skin and Cancer Center

East Georgia Oral and Facial Surgery

Emily McCarthy

Georgia Nasal & Sinus Institute

Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours de'Elegance

Jackson Printing

Johnny Moran State Farm Insurance

Most Fun Photo Booth Rentals

Old Savannah Tours

Optim Healthcare

Regions Bank

Rethink Design Studio

River Street Sweets

Savannah Age Management

Savannah Christian Prep School

Savannah Morning News

Savannah Plastic Surgery and Skin Institute

The Detail Department Event Planning and Public Relations

YMCA of Coastal Georgia

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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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It's simply the best party in town and it happens only once a year.  Don't miss it!

Join us at a swank Jazz Age garden party, styled by Rethink Design Studio, to honor the winners of Savannah magazine's annual readers' poll in dining, nightlife, people, community, shopping and services.   We'll have decadent bites and dancing to the little big band sounds of Jeremy Davis & the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra.

» Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 at the door.   To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE >>  » If you' like to sponsor the Best of Savannah, please contact Tammy Moseley Ray with The Detail Department, 912.604.1267.
 You're the Bee's Knees!  Many, Many Thanks to our Sponsors!
Title Sponsor

Platinum Sponsors

Jeremy Davis and the Equinox Little Big Band

John Davis Florist

Maureen Eason Designs

Munn Brothers Films

Savannah Special Events by Ranco

Speedi Sign & Graphics

Stage Front Production Services

Gold Sponsors

Clark Creative Communications

Claudia Gaughf, M.D./Chatham Skin and Cancer Center

East Georgia Oral and Facial Surgery

Emily McCarthy

Georgia Nasal & Sinus Institute

Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours de'Elegance

Jackson Printing

Johnny Moran State Farm Insurance

Most Fun Photo Booth Rentals

Old Savannah Tours

Optim Healthcare

Regions Bank

Rethink Design Studio

Savannah Age Management

Savannah Christian Prep School

Savannah Morning News

Savannah Plastic Surgery and Skin Institute

The Detail Department Event Planning and Public Relations

YMCA of Coastal Georgia

       

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We asked local style icons to show us their must-have looks for spring—and how to get them at Savannah's indie boutiques.

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