Susan Taylor
project files

welcome to the beach house

Welcome and come on in! About 8 months of planning and dreaming have now resulted in our first beach house. While I’ve worked to design many others for multiple clients, it was exciting and personal to design our own. The main objective from the start was to create a high-end luxury rental that would pull my #purestyle tribe in an #ohsosusan way. My staff did a deep dive (no pun intended) and voila!! Here it is … I’ll have to say that the 10 day installation was quite a project, and without the help of several true friends and my family, it wouldn’t have happened in that time frame.

We found a great builder whom I highly recommend, Isenhour Homes, and partnered with them, taking on a lot of the details of the home ourselves … lighting, fans, all hardware, window coverings. These selections were provided by Black-eyed Susan and installed after closing. It’s hard to imagine how much time these details can take when putting the finishing touches on a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom, 2 living area home, with a heated pool and outdoor living space. Whew! Imagine dressing chandeliers, hanging fans, bathroom fixtures, 5 rooms of cabinet hardware … and then assembling furniture, dressing beds, wallpapering, window coverings … just thinking of this 10 day project is makes me tired all over again!


I’ll bring you through the front door and welcome you into each room with favorite highlights of the process.

The marketing of a luxury rental starts with a name for your home … so, welcome to SeaStyle, our seaside retreat that we hope will become a favorite destination for many, and our family too.

After touring the island, I settled on a bold exterior that would make a statement for color. You know I’ve never been afraid of color! Three colors of turquoise/teal in an ombre fashion, darkest to lightest, on three floors was my plan, with a bold, almost lipstick-coral door on levels 2 and 3. All being done long distance, I can honestly say that I was thrilled when we pulled up the first time I saw the color in real life, in person, standing right there in front of me!


The side of the wraparound porch boasts shaded seating with a perfect view of the deck mounted, heated salt water pool. It’s a great way to keep the sand and soil at bay, and the night time views are stunning with interior pool lights that subtly change colors.


I added this oversized enameled decorative bowl with a fabulous tendril of wild greenery and a string of pure white clam shells, easily moved for snacks, a round of cards, or iced drinks on the deck. *sigh*


The home is a reversed floor plan, with the owner’s suite and bath, kitchen, dining room and living room on the top floor where the views are best! It’s perfect to combine practicality with a stunning gray stained waterproof floor throughout the entire home, paired with performance rugs that can handle the water and sand.


I selected a wall of tile (rather fish-scale like!) and no mantel. One thought was for style and one for saving space on the floor to make room for a good-sized sectional, two performance chairs-yes, in white (!), a console for lighting, as well as a bar with three bar stools, all to bring additional seating to the home. You’ll see more of this later.

This is a great shot of the living room performance rug that almost brings the surf and sea indoors! When designing this room, performance fabrics were taken into consideration for high volume use, yet style. The abundance of these livable fabrics on the market today make designing for families and #purestyle a breeze. Solids, prints, wovens and velvets … you name it, there are a myriad of offerings to please everyone. There is even a performance leather with many striking colors that you’ll be amazed at!


Here is a closeup of the bar I promised. You’ll notice the three bar stools that welcome adults and children alike to watch a movie, sports game, or favorite series while you pull up a stool with a snack. It’s a favorite space for laptop use, sketching or dreaming up your next cake to bake from Pinterest.

Peek into the rear of the room for a teaser of the dining room-table and chairs for 10 with ease!


The color palette was designed around a bold teal for the interior living room, powder room and dining room. Note how the muted tones of the sectional are accented by the darker, more dramatic pillows, the stronger rug colors, then the art as you come up the stairs. You can see the powder room bringing the same dramatic color on the walls, tying it all together.


This closeup of the powder room shows a dramatic wall color contrasted with pure white trim and fixtures. A favorite piece of art selected from one of my preferred vendors brings the beach life inside. The aerial view of the surf, beach umbrellas, surfboards and all things water-related makes the room. I do love the white starburst mirror! Gold fixtures brings luxury into the space. You’ll need to come for your own visit to see the stunning chandelier that completes the room!


With the help of my cute friend and creative helper, Linda (also co-buyer for my retail store and CFO), we envisioned a wall of water-themed art. Here you see Fred (also known as Sneelock) making my dream come true with a creatively (if not a bit scary) makeshift scaffolding. I dream it up. He makes it happen. It’s a pretty good partnership! Truth being said, It works best for me! Somehow, he always indulges.


A closeup reveals my teal themed selections. The center story is a clean, dramatic diver in dreamy-colored water. The one to the right with the deckchairs and still pool is a personal favorite! It is one of the first investment pieces of art I purchased when just a newlywed. I’ve loved it forever, passed it around the family and just became the final owner again, in time for this collage. I couldn’t be more pleased. This shot shows how I laid it out on the floor to design the wall of art. To avoid mistakes, this is an important step. I’ll admit, we did re-position the first piece, but after that, it was smooth sailing (thanks to Sneelock’s inventive and adventuresome installation ways!)


Ok, I took this shot when I was almost leaving the house, and the toilette cleaner found its way into the picture. Oh. My. This room is a great example of when both color and theme drive the design — in this case, the color teal and and the theme of water. It’s great when you can make it work! Note the framed oyster shells with a natural teal pearl finish, and the mirror that mimics sea coral. Purposefully, the pattern works its way down the front stairway and beautifully is visible from the main living area, kitchen and dining area. Perfection.

After 2 full weekends and one jam packed week in between, we pulled out around 6 pm to head back to Charlotte. Whew! Tired, but fulfilled, a dream come true.