When a young couple fell in love with a stunning piece of land on Georgia’s Sea Island, they knew just who to call after snapping it up—Chad Goehring, principal at the architecture firm Harrison Design, who had masterminded their previous home.
“The lot is on the north tip of the island overlooking the estuary where the Altamaha River and the Atlantic Ocean meet and offers views of the river, marshes, ocean, and Little St. Simons Island, which is a beautiful wildlife habitat,” says Goehring. “The couple wanted a Shingle-style home, which is a comfortable style and popular in this area because it captures water views with its signature oval and arched window features.”
The custom-built, 7,471-square-foot residence has a symmetrical façade with a center front door that leads to exterior views. “It’s a real ‘wow’ factor,” says Goehring, “because when you walk into the front hall, you want to keep going to see the water.” An open floorplan and neutral color palette promote flow between the kitchen, dining room and living room, while dark wood floors ground the signature space. Black framed steel windows and doors throughout the house usher in light.
Since the couple enjoys throwing parties and hosting dinners, they worked with Kitchens by Design to help create the ultimate cooking and entertaining space. In addition to high-end Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, the kitchen has a central island fitted with six barstools but it’s large enough to accommodate at least twelve comfortably, along with plenty of space for platters and drinks. White marble countertops and white cabinets lend a clean, polished look nicely balanced by rustic wooden ceiling beams, which extend into the dining and living rooms.
The classically detailed living room has a light, airy feel thanks to several large windows overlooking the logia and out onto the river. Three arched-top transom windows above the French doors in the 15-foot ceiling dining room bring in additional light, a feat achieved by grabbing space above the porch roof.
Because the downstairs was so open, Goehring carved out several retreats within the home to promote “hygge,” the popular Scandinavian concept of coziness. In addition to a breakfast nook off the kitchen, Goehring designed a “man cave” accented with a pecky cypress ceiling.
“It’s a sort of den with a masculine feel,” says Goehring, “and a throw-back to the farmhouse look of The Cloister Hotel at Sea Island, a 1930s icon famous for its masculine rooms in pecky cypress.” A stone fireplace warms the den set with plush furniture arranged to watch TV and soak up water views. Nearby lies another snug spot, a brick-floored, temperature-controlled wine cellar. Accessed through an arched steel door with a grid pattern of steel and glass, the wine room holds approximately 1,000 bottles and is the perfect hideaway for intimate wine tastings.
Because the couple wanted to reserve the second floor for study, exercise, and play, Goehring put their master bedroom on the first floor in the back of the house, overlooking the water, with a child’s bedroom on each side. On the second floor, Goehring installed a small office and guest suite. In the back, he designed an at-home gym and recreation room for the children with a two-story rock-climbing wall.
Since having a place for visiting parents was a priority for the couple, Goehring placed an in-law suite above the three-car garage, complete with a bedroom, kitchenette, and sitting area. Although it’s connected to the main house, it also has its own private access. Another guestroom and bath are tucked away on the home’s third floor.
Last but not least is the tower accessed from the exercise room. “The couple requested a room with sunrise and sunset views,” says Goehring, “so we built an octagonal tower that popped out of the roof.” Up a small set of stairs guided by an invisible glass railing, the refuge has windows on seven sides, offering near 360-degree views under a vaulted, formed and faceted wood ceiling. “It was intended to be a very serene, private getaway and possibly one not everyone was invited to,” says Goehring.
Outside the home, the couple’s love of entertaining resulted in a kitchen area tucked under the loggia with an outdoor grill, fireplace, and dining table. Toward the water lies an infinity pool with a vanishing edge that visually runs parallel to the river.
“The biggest surprise we encountered when doing this project,” says Goehring, “was how well the house frames the views. Every room captures water views in a unique way and the couple was blown away by that. The interior and exterior spaces blend seamlessly together, and the finishes either contrast or reflect the interior and exterior spaces.”
For more information, visit harrisondesign.com.