Design Legacy ..................................... 88
this photo: Rustic meets sleek in the family room as reclaimed pine beams and bookshelves pair with a lime-washed stucco fireplace and clean-line furniture. “We’re not afraid to mix time periods and styles,” says homeowner Michael Brewer. “It makes our home feel more authentic.” opposite: The most treasured piece in the Brewers’ entry is daughter Mary Wade’s Picassoinspired self-portrait.
A clever mix of materials gives a newly built coastal home both instant age and up-to-the-minute style.
Michael and Alison Brewer know and love Southern-style houses and Low Country living. As the design team behind Gray Wade Design, they’ve renovated and built dozens of houses in and around Charleston, South Carolina. But after living in a handful of homes downtown, the Charleston natives jumped at the chance to move across the bridge to the historic village of Mount Pleasant. “It is such an idyllic little neighborhood,” Alison says. “We were drawn to its coastal vernacular, and we loved the idea of finally having some green space.”
Because the existing home on the property was an outof-place 1950s ranch house, the couple had it relocated and started their project from the ground up. It was a dream chance to design every detail, but as lovers of old homes, they didn’t want their house to look brand-new. Mission accomplished—thanks to elements that authentically reflect traditional coastal architecture and a design that makes the house look as if it grew gradually over the years.
The floor plan features a rambling layout composed of three individual “pods” that appear to have been added to the home at different times. Each has a unique siding material—lap, flat, and cedar shake—and even the window and shutter styles differ. White paint that “has the just right tint of gray and green,” Michael says, and a musthave cedar-shake roof unify the various parts with modern freshness. Details such as exposed rafters and board-andbatten shutters add authentic coastal charm.
The home’s material mix doesn’t stop at the front door. Floors vary from whitewashed oak to untinted concrete. Walls and ceilings, all painted white for airiness and unity, change from wood clapboard to drywall.
Getting the home’s sense of age just right involved layering on plenty of patina. Some surfaces add instant age, like the family room’s pine beams salvaged from a South Carolina barn. Others, such as the bronze kitchen hardware, are works in progress. “We love to use living finishes so that with every touch, pieces keep getting better with age,” Alison says.