A New England couple draws on memories of Maine summer houses to create a new beach home in South Carolina.
the kind with the wide porches, plank floors, metal roofs, and carefree attitudes. They’re the ones that show up in romantic movies and, if we’re lucky enough, in our own childhood memories. Originally from Boston, Alice and Rusty Kendall were both fortunate to grow up experiencing summers in Maine where the rustic styles and simple clapboard island houses would eventually inform the design of their own home.
Life led the couple and their four kids to Charleston, South Carolina, where they discovered Sullivan’s Island, a place that recalled the nuances of those laid-back Maine summers. Engaging architect Heather Wilson and designer Cortney Bishop, the Kendalls set about creating their version of a modern farmhouse at the beach. “Our goal was to build a house with lots of light that would be very open and accessible to the outdoors,” Alice says. “We wanted it minimalist and very functional.”
Focusing on her clients’ wishes, Wilson designed family gathering spaces with smart built-ins, a multitude of porches, and an abundance of large windows and doors. The couple’s bedroom is downstairs, and the kids’ are up. “Aside from the kids’ rooms, our home lives like a one-story house, which we love,” Alice says. Wilson also planned for hidden storage with a large pantry and mudroom to keep living spaces clutter-free.
Finishing details are equal parts farmhouse, beach house, and midcentury modern, with boho influences stirred in. Authentic materials and custom furnishings ground the open, airy rooms. “We punched it out by adding bold, bright-colored accents against the all-white walls,” Bishop says. Darker, midcentury-inspired wood stains and artisanal and vintage rugs and fabrics warm up the white-washed palette.
In both architecture and interiors, the Kendalls’ home is youthful yet refined, and above all, centered on what matters most to Alice and Rusty—family. “During the summer we try not to leave the island on the weekends,” Alice says. “It feels like we are on vacation.” above: The dining area ducks off of the main living area, delineated by a lower ceiling and a wall of windows. A built-in window seat and a trestle table constructed from salvage accommodate the family’s four kids and friends. “We frequently have a couple more at our table,” Alice says. “I knew we would need something very large.”
There’s just something about an old-school beach house—