Modern Lowcountry Style

December 28, 2015
Beyond Starfish and Shells

Living in the Lowcountry is such a delight that it’s easy to overdo home decor in your enthusiasm to celebrate the local elements you love. Many of our clients want a home with a sense of place, but want to stay away from beachy or nautical themes. That’s a good idea because having a themed home can make it feel like a rental! Done thoughtfully,  you can create the feeling of a gracious but casual home that has been a family getaway for generations, even if it’s new construction. Or, you can create a modern vibe with traditional Charleston style, which works because this is a very progressive city that still holds tradition very dear. We helped a Kiawah homeowner put together a Lowcountry home with a sense of place – minus the kitsch. Here are our tips for creating your own modern Lowcountry style:

 Work with the Elements


Rule #1 about Lowcountry style is don’t fight Mother Nature! The foundational pieces in your space should be able to weather Charleston’s sub-tropical heat and humidity. Everything in your space, especially the foundational pieces, should breathe and stand up to the elements.

Work with the Lifestyle


Charleston has a casual, gracious culture that encourages impromptu parties, backyard oyster roasts and plenty of house guests. Plan for abundant seating if your space allows, but in Charleston it’s more important to have plenty of stemware!

Something Old, Something New

Margaret Donaldson Den

Whether your home has been handed down or you just want that feeling, don’t be shy about mixing and matching traditional with new. Embrace furnishings that have a worn patina, or give them a coat of paint or cotton slipcover if they’re too far gone. Consider abstract depictions of local subject matter to replace or mix with traditional landscapes.

Local Color

Lowcountry style

Unless you’re styling a stateroom on a sailboat, it’s okay to take a break from navy and white – or anything that reminds you of the Caribbean. The Lowcountry has a color palate all it’s own and there’s no shortage of inspiration just outside. Take a walk downtown or along the marsh and notice the hot pink of the crepe myrtle trees, the spring green of the marsh grass and the chalky grey of oyster shells. Colors particular to Charleston, such as the golden yellow of sweet grass baskets and the exotic blue of the historic indigo plant may make more sense than crisp whites and sky blues.

Local TextureMike Moyer Mirror

If your space feels like it needs some energy, you may be tempted to go straight to pattern. What Lowcountry homes usually need, however, is texture. Reclaimed wood instantly adds warmth, like  custom mirrors from Charleston artist Michael Moyer or tables from the local craftsman at Landrum Tables.

Landrum Table

Natural jute, grass or sisal rugs are perfect outdoors or in and add depth to a flat space. For accessories, sweet grass baskets reflect Charleston’s Gullah culture, and are endlessly functional (and durable).

There’s so much natural beauty and history specific to Charleston, let it inspire you as you create your own modern Lowcountry style.