Making a house a home


Cynthia Bailey loves empty space, a blank canvas to transform nothingness into a vision of colors, textures, light, balance and warmth.

“That’s a dream for me,” said Bailey, who owns CW Bailey Interiors in Okatie.

Featured Home9That dream came true in August, when she sat down with her friend and client Laurie McDougall. They did a walk-through of McDougall’s home, took measurements and discussed ways to furnish and decorate the 5,000-square-foot Southern-style home in Colleton River Plantation. McDougall and her husband, Timothy, a commercial real estate developer, moved in two weeks later; by November, the house was a comfortable, elegant home.

“She made my dreams come true,” said McDougall, a fitness instructor in Bluffton. “It’s casual, comfortable and elegant.”

“We didn’t change any of the traditional bones of the house: lighting fixtures, cabinetry and countertops,” said Bailey, who moved to the Lowcountry nine years ago from Ohio. “Our design personality was transitional, and we furnished it completely new.”

A transitional aesthetic strikes a balance between traditional and contemporary design elements — and, in the McDougall’s case, that extended to the home’s decor.

The two women would talk and then head out to shop for items that would accent the “quiet, calm, gray neutral tones” that they had selected for the dominant color scheme, Bailey said.

“She’s a friend first,” Laurie said. “I told her what I liked and trusted her. When we went to places, she would show me things, and I said if I liked something or not. If I liked something and it didn’t work, she would nicely tell me that it wouldn’t work, and I needed to hear that. … She helped me achieve that flow.”

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That “flow” extended to all aspects of the hone, from the color palette to the furniture.

“The furnishings are extremely current,” Bailey said, adding that she’s “loving the grays and the neutrals, an upbeat look, the transitional with a little touch of contemporary.”

“I love the way the décor all flows together,” she said. “The color scheme, the style of furniture that flows from the family room through the dining room, the formal living room, even through the master bedroom. Each room is a little different, but it also flows very nicely.”

The formal living room features two sofas with clean lines and a herringbone solid gray fabric, two club chairs, a coffee table, a sofa table, new lamps, a custom-made fireplace screen, handmade pillows in linen and silk, and a hand-woven rug. French glass doors in lieu of window treatments make for perfect viewing of the swimming pool and the Pete Dye-designed golf course on the horizon. Above the fireplace mantel is an original oil painting of Lowcountry scenery.

Featured Home6The master suite’s signature element is its window treatments. “There’s a whole bank of windows in the back so you have a beautiful angle on them,” Bailey said. “They were a splurge. We used a quality silk fabric; the way they laid and the pattern on it was just spectacular, with pleating on top.”

McDougall said she never considered window treatments for the house, especially in the master suite, because of the house’s plantation shutters. “I would never have thought to put them in, but they are very beautiful,” she said of the Tiffany blue silk window dressings, accented by a cream pattern.

“Balance is everything,” Bailey said. That’s why she incorporated black into the home’s color palette, adding the hue in pillows, fabrics, rugs and lampshades.

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Five bedrooms — including a guest suite above the garage — and five-and-half bathrooms complete this two-story architectural masterpiece.

The massive kitchen has a center island, high-end appliances, and custom cabinetry and trim, plus a back chef and butler’s pantries. A three-sided banquette is perfect for family meals.

The striking foyer leads to the formal living room and formal dining room, which are separated by two columns and a bank of low shelves.

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Double-stack covered porches in the front and rear of the home suggest a Lowcountry antebellum architectural influence. The expansive rear porch opens to extensive stone decking around the pool and spa.

Adjacent to the family room is what McDougall calls the “summer room,” a screened-in porch with a working kitchen, fireplace and lush outdoor views.

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Her favorite room is the formal living room, overlooking the patio, porch, deck, pool and golf course in the distance.

“It’s very peaceful,” she said.



Interior Designer
CW Bailey Interiors

Coastal Home

Furniture and Rugs
Fine Furniture Galleries

Custom Pillows
Judy’s Sister

Window Furnishings
Custom Window Fashions and Design


Outdoor Potting
The Garden Gate Nursery

Bedding & Bath Linens
Yves Delorme