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A Sea Island Treasure Restored into a Peaceful Retreat

All images by Garden & Grace | Interior Design by Mary Mac Interiors | Architectural Design by Brandon Ingram

All images by Garden & Grace | Interior Design by Mary Mac Interiors | Architectural Design by Brandon Ingram

If you haven’t been to Sea Island before, it’s a small island off the coast of South Georgia and just a few miles from St. Simons Island.  I grew up visiting neighboring islands like Amelia Island and Jekyll Island, which you may be more familiar with, and about 9 years ago started visiting Sea Island with my husband. We loved it so much we actually flew down from Chicago where we lived at the time to spend a few magical days on the idyllic island.

While it is a private resort, you can book a stay at the resort’s hotel, The Cloister, or stay in one of the island’s cottages which is what they call the homes on the island. Once there, you have access to the Beach Club which is great for kids, the spa and workout facilities, several restaurants, beaches and restaurants and shops in St. Simons. It’s become one of our family’s favorite places to visit. BUT, that’s not why you are reading this blog 🙂

On a recent trip, I was so honored to tour a home remodeled by Atlanta-based architect C. Brandon Ingram and interior designer Mary Mac for an Atlanta family who bought this marsh front cottage as a retreat for their busy lives and extended family. I think I was in the home for 2 hours, and I could have stayed ALL day and still have found more to photograph and enjoy. 

I hope these images fill you with new ideas and design inspiration on whatever project you are in-motion on or dreaming up. I also hope you can take a deep breath and take in the incredible, serene waterfront views.

The home is built with a tabby exterior which is a masonry building material made up of essentially sand, oyster shell and water. The roof is a completely new cedar shake roof and to me, completely sets the home apart. I share more up close images of the cedar roof a little later in the blog. The black exterior light is from 14th Colony Lighting. And I know you’re wondering! The exterior trim paint color is everyone’s favorite Farrow and Ball Parma Gray semi-gloss. 

For more of the exterior, check out this 90 second Reel on Instagram and the longer home tour on YouTube.

The before! The next three images show the tired, 1980’s exterior that lacked personality and curb-appeal. The homeowners wanted to maintain the look and feel of the home but bring it back to life and make it a place that felt inviting and fresh. They got exactly what they wanted! The exterior changes were cosmetic with a new cedar shake roof, cleaned up landscaping, new outdoor lights, trim color and benches. 

As I take you inside, remember, this is a remodel. Every square inch of this home was touched and updated. The kitchen was opened up and the old dark attic is now a character-filled, playful kids room. All of the cabinets were designed by C. Brandon Ingram and made by Kingdom Works, who I’ve featured on Instagram before!

I’m including some before images here too so you can see the amazing transformation. The layout stayed primarily the same but new flooring, paint and finishes and of course, decor, brought this home back to life. 

I’m kicking myself for not getting more images of the kitchen. I have tons of video of it which you can see here and here. These next two images are of the scullery right off the kitchen that includes a second oven, dishwasher, sink and ice machine as well as a coffee bar. Look at the storage! It was such a smart idea to include this area for a family that loves to host and entertain. I love the idea of having a separate working kitchen area for food storage and prep so that the kitchen can be reserved for serving and conversing. 

I’m not sure if you can see it well but the coffee maker is actually built into the cabinets. Genius! The wallpaper is a popular Talavera wallpaper by Brunschwig and Fils.

This is the master bathroom which expanded to the right with a water closet and large walk-in his and her closet with beautiful custom cabinets. A really smart feature is they added a “secret” door from the master closet to the laundry room so the owners wouldn’t have to go through the main living space with their laundry. How convenient! 

The next bedroom and bathroom used to be unfinished attic space that was covered in shiplap and outfitted in the cutest little boy decor. Two of the three twin beds were made by the Beautiful Bed Company and the other was built into the room like cabinetry. The adorable door makes you feel like you’r in the cabin of a ship!

The upstairs is a guest suite area for their children and their families. It’s the perfect layout with privacy, views and a built in bar area with a sink, wine cooler and coffee maker. They thought of every last detail to make this a peaceful, relaxing retreat. 

These are before images of the office / spare room that is now the room with green and white wallpaper on the ceiling, aka 5th wall. The other room is the upstairs guest room that has its own bathroom and incredible views. I share what that room looks like now just below the green and white wallpapered room. 

Below are more images of the bathrooms, details and exterior o the home. The backyard was completely transformed to add a resort like pool and extended porch. There’s even a sweet swing off one of the oak trees on the edge of the property looking out onto the marsh. 

Ah, finally. The backyard. Sit back and enjoy the calming, expansive views of one of the prettiest marsh properties I’ve ever seen. 

The outdoor patio furniture is from Brown Jordan and the bench facing the pool against the marsh is by McKinnon and Harris. The large, classic planter boxes are Bunny William for Century Furniture. 

I can’t express enough gratitude to the amazing family for trusting me and opening up their home. Mary Mac and Jay Sanders, the contractor on the project were a delight to work with and made an incredible team along with C. Brandon Ingram.

The home is a beautiful example of the important of finding the right design team from the start! The Garden & Grace directory is here to help you find the right team for any design project you are planning – big or small. Check it out here.

And for more on this home see Instagram Reel and longer tour on YouTube. We hope you enjoyed this exclusive Sea Island marsh front home tour! We can’t wait to bring you more amazing homes in 2024. Stay tuned! 

A Sea Island Treasure Restored into a Peaceful Retreat

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