The 2022 Southern Living Idea House is a choose-your-own adventure. Nestled where the Neuse River meets Pamlico Sound in North Carolina, it’s a relaxing oasis for families to gather. It offers both wide open space and private nooks and rooms for solo retreats inside and out—all with a Southern, coastal charm that combines modern touches with traditional design and a focus on indoor-outdoor flow.
“For me, an escape isn’t a spot to go and hide,” interior designer Charlotte Lucas told Southern Living Magazine. “It’s somewhere you can feel happy and calm but also inspired and rejuvenated. It’s important to have a place that evokes those feelings … not just in you but in the guests who might come over too.”
The team that brought the vision to life includes Lucas of Charlotte Lucas Interior Design, builder Jordan Maroules of SLD Custom Homes, architect William Court of Court Atkins Group, and landscape architect Daniel Keefer of Witmer Jones Keefer, Ltd.
A Layout For Every Getaway
The home is designed for everyone. The main house is open and airy, with plenty of opportunities to step outside and take in the coastal air, making gathering spaces plentiful. There are also six private spaces, including a guesthouse and carriage house so guests can steal away quiet moments.
Each room is designed to feel airy and inviting, incorporating thoughtful design elements that encourage relaxation and connection.
It starts in the foyer, where floral wallpaper greets you and a stenciled design on the floor is painted to withstand high traffic, wet shoes, and paws.
Anchored by a Marvin Ultimate Sliding French door with transom windows for floor-to-ceiling sunlight, the dining room dresses up or down for casual breakfasts or formal dinners. All basked in natural light and overlooking a courtyard. Lucas added matching floral upholstered chairs and window treatments to add a feeling of outdoors inside.
The kitchen features peach-colored cabinetry and a standout brass range hood, and a custom herringbone backsplash ties in the simple elements with a stunning design.
Luxury In The Primary Bedroom
“We wanted this suite to look out on the harbor and to be on its own, away from the action,” Court said. A porch offers views of the water, and a four-poster bed creates a feeling of luxury. It also faces the porch so you can take in breathtaking views from the comfort of bed, or the silk-covered bench at its foot.
Colors and Patterns For the Guest Rooms
Pops of color highlight the primary bath. The vanities are hand-painted and a vintage rug warms up the space. A custom double-drawer refrigerator highlights the bedroom vanity and offers a hidden space to store skin-care items at cool temperatures.
“I stick to a few rules of thumb for mixing patterns,” Lucas said. “Whenever I have a floral, I always try to balance it with a striped or geometric pick—something with structure.”
The second-story guest room features a peach bamboo-garden wallpaper that is eye-catching and balanced by a geometric striped rug and pillow-covered sofa.
On the first floor, soothing blue dominates the guest room. It’s a calming and classic space fit for a coastal design.
Outdoor Spaces For Expanded Living
Outside, you’ll find a screened-in porch, guesthouse, and carriage cottage. Each space ties into the main property but has its own distinct feel. The screened porch feels “like the epitome of a Southern porch with all the wicker,” Lucas said. A fireplace offers a focal point and gathering spot for chilly nights, and subtle navy on the furniture adds to the coastal feel while creating a cozy spot for gathering.
An outdoor dining space creates an Eastern shore beachy feel, with a twist on Southern louvered shutters and decorative wood panels. The decking is designed to mimic indoor flooring and crafted from materials to withstand the weather.
Tying the outdoors together is an artificial turf for maintenance free greenery and outdoor space.
Little Touches Pull Everything Together
Every space in the home is thoughtfully designed. The design team pulled together nostalgic Southern Coastal charm with modern, functional touches to create a space for families to connect with each other and disengage from the busy world outside.
Every room, indoor and out, flows together while having its own distinct charm, feeling and design to create the ultimate getaway for rest and relaxation.
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