Home designed by Michelle Smith:
A LOVE OF CLASSIC FASHION AND A KNACK FOR CREATING TIMELESS INTERIORS WERE THE ONLY TOOLS NECESSARY FOR MICHELLE SMITH TO DESIGN A STUNNING SOUTH CAROLINA CHARMER FOR HER LIFELONG FRIEND
it’s incredible what a fabulous pair of shoes can set in motion. When Jacqueline Bourg met Michelle Smith in the fourth grade, their lifelong friendship began with a simple compliment. Jacqueline liked Michelle’s shoes—a pair of imitable Bass bucks. (Both were apparently classicists from the start.)
While footwear may still be a conversation starter, a Low Countrystyle house in Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina, is most often on topic.
Jacqueline called on Smith, now a New York City-based designer and one of our 2018 New Trads, when she and her husband were building a family home—the couple has two young boys—with Atlantabased architect Keith Summerour.
“I loved being able to do this project with my best friend,” Jacqueline says. “We live so far from each other; this gave us an excuse to spend so much time together.”
Perched under towering pines, the timeless yet contemporized home sits on a bluff overlooking the May River. Its dormer windows, double-decker screen porches, and sweeping lawn almost give the house an appearance of smiling—greeting guests as though they too are long-lost grade-school friends.
Inside, warm hues, French antiques, ethereal window treatments, and reclaimed wood all seem as if the filtered sunlight shines especially for them—lending a romantic, dreamlike air to each room.
In the living room, lightly tinted plaster, reclaimed beams, and wide-plank white oak floors act as the subdued backdrop for a fetching mix of elements. A scalloped rattan chandelier and woven console add texture and feminine allure while contemporary pieces such as zigzag cocktail tables and clean-lined sofas imbue a dash of masculine edginess. Gilded-bronze Croco Seats by Claude Lalanne hold court beneath vintage intaglios.
Back-to-back sofas divide the room into separate spaces—one facing the kitchen and meant for socializing, the other ideal for cozying in front of the fireplace or watching television. “Every time I visit, I think how practical the layout is,” Smith says. “The boys might be watching cartoons on one sofa while Jacqueline and I are drinking wine on the other and her husband is cooking in the kitchen.”
With similarly strong features, the kitchen is the living room’s aesthetic kindred spirit. Custom cream-color cabinets adorned with unlacquered-brass pulls meld effortlessly with the tinted plaster walls. Ceramic-and-antique-brass pendants illuminate a soapstonetopped island and custom oak farm table surrounded by wicker chairs with delicate floral cushions. Calacatta marble on the backsplash repeats in a marble-clad pantry punctuated by Jacqueline’s luminescent collection of jadeite dishes.
An equally enchanting green swathes the walls of Jacqueline’s office. Fresh and feminine, the room is a tranquil retreat in a maledominated home. Romantic details banish testosterone here. Reclaimed-oak floors are set in a chevron pattern, highlighting the planks’ contrasting tones. A vintage crystal chandelier hangs
above a patinated table arranged with curiosities. A velvet 1950s Marco Zanuso chair paired with a tapestry-clad ottoman contrasts a vintage fireplace mantel.
“In a house filled with boys and animals, it’s an escape,” Jacqueline says, “and it certainly makes bill-paying feel a bit more glamorous.”
Neither strictly masculine nor feminine, the dining room is a study in balance—and history. A weighty antique farm table harmonizes with Louis XV-style chairs upholstered in a biscuit-hue leather. The table—from a vineyard tasting room in France—still wears the carved names of past dinner guests as a romantic badge of honor. A French blue armoire lends elegance to a casual abaca rug, part of a generational push and pull.
In this neck of the woods, however, many an evening is whiled away outdoors rather than in. Double-decker screen porches connected by a stairway are Jacqueline’s preferred respite. Dubbed “his” and “hers”—although they’re more activity-centric than genderspecific—one porch lends itself to seafood boils and table tennis; the other plays to alfresco lunches featuring river views.
“Screen porches are the verge between the outside and the inside,” architect Summerour says, “a middle ground of welcoming informality.” Smith agrees—the design attitude must be utterly inviting.
Befitting Margaret Mitchell as easily as any modern-day Southern belle, “her” porch feels airy and slightly whimsical. A serpentine wrought-iron armchair is upholstered in a cyan hemp floral that meanders throughout the space—used for throw pillows on a perfect-for-lazy-days suspended sofa and wicker rocking chairs. Cyan-painted floors and bold black-and-white striped pillows add bravado to the alluring space.
Bravado-free, every material in the gossamer master bedroom lends itself to romance. A champagne-hue velvet headboard bedecks a walnut-and-iron four-poster, accenting its delicate lines. Voluminous bed linens with crocheted lace fringe pool atop a diamondpattern custom rug. Silk curtains beautify an already luscious view. “It’s so ethereal,” Smith says. “Every material invites you to cozy up.”
In one of two adjoining baths, a custom wallpaper—a sepia-hue depiction of the home’s idyllic river view—creates a lavish setting for a solid Carrara marble tub, a polished mahogany vanity, and a Fortuny-clad duchesse. All serve as intimate examples of the careful consideration given by the creative team, with their longstanding history, to every detail of this house on the hill.
“Part of what makes the house so inviting is the thoughtfulness put into every inch of it,” Smith says. “It was a dream project.”
Architect: Keith Summerour
Interior designer: Michelle Smith
Boys’ room Dark tole beds and a crisp ocher-and-gray palette give the boys’ room a tailored yet cheerful feel. Master bedroom A four-poster from Rose Tarlow and a tufted antique chaise from Lobel Modern anchor this otherwise ethereal space. Master bath A custom Gracie wallcovering depicts the home’s picturesque view.
Office A midcentury Marco Zanuso chair upholstered in cream velvet and a Louis XVI-style cane bergère prove that opposites truly do attract.“Her” screen porch A sofa that doubles as a swing and pint-size wicker chairs from JANUS et Cie make for a family-friendly seating area. Rattan chairs pull up to a Saarinen table in the airy dining area. Preceding pages Architect Keith Summerour designed the house to “embrace the classical traditions that Low Country cottages traditionally only touch upon.” Jacqueline Bourg (left) and Michelle Smith on one of the screen porches.
Dining room Dreamy sheers from Casamance balance the textural charm of the handwoven abaca rug from Patterson Flynn Martin.Kitchen A mostly monochromatic cream kitchen with marble accents is a friendly foil for Jacqueline’s collection of jadeite dishes.Exterior Summerour’s approachable touches include a welcoming front porch and dormer windows.