When designers source our products, we never know the style of the rooms in which they’ll be placed. It intrigues us when we see any one of our creations feel just as at home in settings that range from contemporary to industrial chic or modern farmhouse to low country style because this illustrates how adaptable they are. Phoebe Howard and Nellie Jane Ossi of Mrs. Howard chose a number of products for this South Carolina coastal home in which our lighting and furniture feel so perfectly placed.
A Look at Low Country Style
There are many aspects of low country style that foster a relaxed way of living, though none are lacking in gracefulness. Southern influences in this vernacular include expansive entries; gracious porches and verandas to make indoor/outdoor living seamless; cleverly aligned windows with shades and screens to enhance cross-breezes during the balmy spring and fall seasons; large overhangs for shade during the steamy summer months; and relaxed but durable textiles, especially on the coast.
Taking direction from nature is key in creating proper low country style because homes that sit at the hem of the great expanses of marshland or on the ocean are one with the sweeping swaths of water interrupted only by cattails and salt grass or sand bars and sea oats. Herons, egrets, and kingfishers skim the surfaces for the catch of the day as the sun traverses the southern sky.
To celebrate sea and sky, the color blue is a mainstay in low country style. In her book Coastal Blues, Phoebe Howard explains why it is such an important color in waterfront homes: “Blue connects us to nature more than any other color. But it also connects us to worlds of possibility.” She explains, “We gaze out at the sea, fantasizing about exotic lands, and stare up at the sky, contemplating the limitless universe. Just like the universe’s unlimited potential, blue knows no bounds.”
Screened porches are staples along the marshes of South Carolina, the design of these covered “rooms” as highly considered as the interior ones because they are often the most lived-in spaces of all. These have become much more complex during the past several decades since homeowners have begun requesting full-on livable spaces in as many square inches as possible for kicking back and entertaining. Amenities include grilling stations, pools and pool houses, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, outdoor fireplaces, and docks.
Thanks to the incredible array of performance fabrics now available, the loggia living room can be as comfortable as the one indoors. The outdoor dining room, when tucked under a roof, will find as much or more use as its twin interior space because in the low country, al fresco is a beloved concept thanks to the warmer climes.
Though hospitality is drilled into the DNA of southerners, it is often a relaxed version of socializing given the popularity of low country boils; days spent on rivers and lakes; and evenings during which lights are strung between live oaks to illuminate long, outdoor dining tables.
In his book Arriving Home, published in 2020, James Farmer featured a South Carolina home he designed with a lovely sunroom in which he used an array of wicker and rattan furniture, and lattice prints and florals. His aim with the space was to retain elements that have served as hallmarks of southern porches for centuries. He painted the ceiling of the room in “haint” blue to salute the long tradition of reflecting the pale sky above.
He says of southerners, “We devote generations of time and dedicate inheritances and annual income to our homes and gardens, and we open them for weddings, parties, family gatherings, and community events. It is not a brash type of pride, but a wholesome sense of duty to share and include our friends and family for life’s events in an intimate setting—a true reflection of hospitality.” We featured his book in this blog post if you’d like to see a few of his lovely projects.
To the two intrepid designers we’ve quoted here, and all of the others in our orbit who create incredible interiors with our products, we are certainly happy you see a seemingly limitless universe in our stylistic offerings.
We’re Nominated for the Red Awards!
We’ve been nominated for the RED Awards in the Furniture Design category for our Sergio Bar Cabinet. Here is the link to register and vote. You can vote daily through Feb. 11th so don’t be shy! Luxe Interiors + Design’s annual RED Awards is launching this new category, The RED Awards for Products, this year, which honors the best-designed residential products for excellence and innovation across 12 key classifications.