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Neutral Space

What do you get with a homeowner based in Dallas, a house based in South Carolina and a designer based in Atlanta? A family abode, ready for generations to come.

Bringing the outside indoors was a priority for Hanavich at this Kiawah Island property, but still with a touch of elegance, such as these Pierre Frey-covered Griffin chairs from Lawson Fenning. 

Durable faux leather on the stools allows poolgoers to dine in wet swimsuits.

A detail of ranunculus atop a Schumacher grasscloth coffee table  

Kelly Wearstler Graffito wallpaper lines the powder room.

The custom dining table and chairs from Atlanta-based furniture designer Skylar Morgan Furniture + Design bring weight without bulk to this light, bright and airy kitchen. 

Pillows from B.D. Jeffries bring comfort and texture to the Restoration Hardware sofas.

Yoda chairs from Janus et Cie flank the fireplace for drama in lieu of a mantel.  

The master retreat has personality, as the family has not chosen to rent out the house. 

Small details like mudcloth throws, brass articulated lights and a side table make this little boys’ bunk room sophisticated. 

Marsh views and ample porch space make this LEED-certified home all the sweeter.

The abode’s exterior plays up a neutral palette.  

Never underestimate the power of social media—it’s how Helen Davis Hanavich of Atlanta-based Helen Davis Interior Design had her client for a Kiawah Island, S.C., home find her. “The homeowner is from Dallas and wanted to buy this house for her extended family to give everyone a place to be together. A lot of the family is in Texas or Georgia, but they’ve been going to Kiawah for many years,” she notes. Hanavich worked closely with the homeowner’s niece in Atlanta to bring the vision to life. “We were all on the same page with the neutral, beachy, open and airy vibe—that Kelly Wearstler, modern California style. We wanted it to be comfortable and approachable, but still beautiful,” she continues. But because the house isn’t for rent and only available to family members, Hanavich was able to emphasize elegance as well as durability, and start from a completely clean slate since it was a shared family space. “Beauty was just as important as functionality,” she muses. “We wanted to keep it open, and have pieces that were sculptural, artistic and not fussy.”

The search for the perfect home on Kiawah Island took almost five years, but it was well worth the wait—the six-bedroom home is one of 16 LEED Platinum-certified homes on the island in a community called Indigo Park (the site of a former HGTV Dream Home). In fact, Indigo Park is the first LEED Platinum-certified community within a resort in the country. Green living was important to the homeowner, so the sustainably built, energy-efficient home had a great deal of appeal. Think geothermal heating and cooling, rot-less shingles, hurricane-rated low E-grade windows, electric car-charging ports and more. Developer Dyal Compass, architect Christopher Rose and Royal Indigo Construction made homes that were clean and efficient, but high in style, much like Davis’ designs.

For example, the master bedroom is a clean, peaceful sanctuary “that reflects the owner’s tastes. It’s a place for her to escape, and started from the Manuel Canovas bird fabric,” Hanavich notes. From there, pieces from Atlanta-based companies and designers like Mr. and Mrs. Howard for Sherrill Furniture (printed ottoman) and Bungalow Classic (side dressers) came in for functionality, with the Hickory Chair Candler bed serving as an anchor. “We did the bedrooms to reflect the personalities of the people who would be sleeping there,” says Hanavich, who had generous input from the homeowner’s niece, who requested Kelly Wearstler wallpaper in the downstairs powder room and the fabric in her drapery panels as a reflection of her own personality.

Downstairs, functionality once again intersects with high design, as noted in everything from the Circa Lighting pendants to the custom-made dining table and chairs, done by Atlanta-based furniture designer Skylar Morgan. “They still wanted the chairs to be really luxe—real leather—because not everything in this house needed to be beach-proof,” says Hanavich, while noting that the barstools are in fact faux leather to accommodate wet bathing suits for more casual moments. A pretty grasscloth from Phillip Jeffries—in the aptly named seagrass shade—adds personality to both the entryway and the feature wall in the living room, while Yoda indoor-outdoor chairs from Janus et Cie help bring in texture. A commissioned piece on linen by Atlanta-based artist Sally King Benedict brings together the room with a hint of marigold. And while the house is a new build, it didn’t come without its own set of challenges—namely, everyone being located in different cities, getting deliveries to such a remote spot and accommodating for the fixed layout. “We actually went to a couple of different houses in the neighborhood to see what worked and what didn’t work,” says Hanavich. “Although there are a lot of rooms, none of the rooms are very generous space; every piece of furniture had to have a place. Every single piece was measured and had a spot. There was no room for superfluous furniture in
this house.”

As the design was intentional, so was the purpose of this home—to be a relaxing family retreat for generations to come. “In a way,” says Hanavich of the homeowner, “it was her gift to her family.”


Single-family home

Indigo Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.

Interior Design
Helen Davis Hanavich, principal designer, Helen Davis Interior Design

Dyal Compass

Royal Indigo Construction

Christopher Rose Architects

Bungalow Classic

Side dressers

Circa Lighting
Lamps, kitchen pendant lighting, sconces in powder room

Hickory Chair
Beds throughout

Janus et Cie
Yoda chairs

Kelly Wearstler
Wallpaper in powder room and drapery panels in downstairs bedroom 

Lee Jofa
Fabric on master bed

Mr. and Mrs. Howard for Sherrill Furniture
Ottoman in master bedroom

Phillip Jeffries
Grasscloth throughout

Fabric in bedroom, grasscloth coffee table and drapery fabric in living room 

Skylar Morgan Furniture + Design  
Custom dining table and chairs

Traditions in Tile