Coastal casual


The colors are soothing, like an early evening Lowcountry breeze in late summer. The backdrops in shades of whites and grays are splashed with blue, muted green, turquoise and soft red accents throughout the spacious Wexford Plantation waterfront home.

The visual color palette exudes calm and comfort and the easy-living coastal lifestyle.

Sharon Cleland, an interior designer from J Banks Design Group on Hilton Head Island, coordinated every detail and selected all the colors, furniture, textured fabrics and wall coverings, light fixtures, tiling, accessories, appliances and even the exterior’s siding, trim and shingles for this Wexford Plantation home.

Her favorite room is the the living room because it epitomizes the home’s look and feel.

“I love the colors, and I just love the casual elements,” said Cleland. “I love the accessories and the built-ins. It’s just very conducive to relaxation, which is what it’s all about down here.”


This 3,554-square-foot custom-built home features a dock and boat on the Wexford waterway.

The custom cabinetry with built-in bookcases frames the fireplace on both sides. Sharing the room’s cozy space is a casual linen-wrapped sofa, two railroad-style swivel chairs with horizontal stripes that complement the blue-and-turquoise accent colors, a tufted-top ottoman with a weathered wood finish, and two wooden club/lounge chairs from the J Banks Collection built by Stanford Furniture.

A hand-woven platinum/gray Sisal area rug with blue border stretches across the 6-inch-wide dark plank hickory flooring, which also covers all the major rooms downstairs and the upstairs hallway.


Cleland worked closely with the project manager at H2 Builders in Bluffton after taking their cue from Grady Woods Architects in Ridgeland. She sat down with the homeowners in September 2012, and listened as they described their vision of what their dream vacation home should look and feel like.

“The interior design vision I expressed to Sharon was a casual coastal feel,” said the wife, who, with her husband, reside and own a utility and drain company in Bardstown, Ky. “I gave Sharon a basic idea of what I wanted for the house, and she ran with it. She listens very well and has great taste. … It’s exciting to put your vision on paper and watch professionals like Sharon and J Banks bring that to life.”


White plantation shutters lend the master bedroom its Southern charm, which is enriched by exquisite bedding, monogrammed pillows and a custom chest.

Cleland was indeed off and running with an explosion of creative ideas, which she shared with the couple throughout the year-long construction of the 3,554-square-foot, custom-built home with a dock and boat on the Wexford waterway.

“They wanted something casual and suitable for their lifestyle and family life,” said Cleland, who has had a lifelong passion and love of design, fabrics and antiques. “They wanted to entertain friends and family, so they wanted low-maintenance, easy-care fabrics and pale, neutral and easy-to-live-with colors.

coastalcausual6“It’s not a formal house in any sense of the word,” Cleland said.

The open floor plan proved to be the key architectural element that allows the couple and their teenage son and daughter and guests to be within eyeshot of each other during their brief monthly visits or extended stays on the island.

“My favorite ‘room’ in the house is the kitchen, dining and living area,” the wife said. “It is a very comfortable and beautiful space. I love for people to gather in one area and visit with one another. The cook, which is usually me, never feels left out of the fun.”

Her white and gray kitchen features polished granite on the three-seat island and perimeter countertops and custom-crafted “cabinets that extend up to the ceiling, which I think is a much more finished look,” Cleland noted. White glass subway tile makes the backsplash sparkle.

Adjacent to the kitchen is a bar with a rich dark stain for color contrast and shiplap paneling, which also adorns other walls in strategic areas to accentuate the casual coastal look.


The white and gray kitchen features polished granite on the three-seat island and perimeter countertops and custom-crafted cabinets.

Food is served on the large casual dining room table, where family and guests sit comfortably on six rattan chairs and two linen-covered host and hostess chairs. Overhead are trimmed wood beams.

Elsewhere on the ground floor, white plantation shutters from J Banks Retail lend the master bedroom its Southern charm, which is enriched by exquisite bedding, monogrammed pillows and a custom-painted chest by Palu. The couple retreats privately in style in their bathroom featuring his/her vanities separated by a comfortable window seat.

Upstairs, fitted natural seagrass carpeting softens each step in the guest bedroom, one of four in the four-and-a-half bathroom home.

coastalcausual9The tucked-away bonus room, a handful of steps above the attached garage, features a comfy reading nook.

Cleland’s interior design took advantage of the natural sunlight, which saturates every room of the two-story home throughout the day.

“We didn’t want to block the light, so that’s why we pretty much used side panels which do not obscure the view or the light,” she said. “The shutters maximize the light and give you privacy whenever you need it.”

The views, the weather, the beaches, the bike trails and the restaurants are what impressed this couple on their first visit here in 2010. They purchased their .38-acre wooded lot the following spring.

“It was an easy choice to make (to live on the island and build at Wexford),” she said.

Vendor List

Builder: H2 Builders Inc.
Architect: Grady Woods Architects
Interior Design: J Banks Design Group
Flooring: KPM
Cabinets: H2 Cabinet Gallery
Granite: Granite Distinctive
Appliances: Billy Wood
Lighting: Hegemeyer through H2 Builders
Plumbing fixtures: Cregger
Shower door:Low Country Shelving
Light fixtures Hagemeyer