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Gone fishing – Kelley Designs kitchen reflects location

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Fishing camp-style kitchen by interior designer Gregory Vaughan

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Kitchens are invariably at the center of action in a vacation home – the place where you plan the day, and the fishing trips, and then gather to relax and prepare the catch at the end of the day.

With adjoining family dining and living areas, it's easy to include everyone in on the plans – and conversely it's easy for everyone to pitch in and help with meal prep.

This waterfront house, which sits on an idyllic peninsula surrounded on three sides by water, echoes the traditional architectural vernacular of the South Carolina Low Country. Both its rustic styling and building materials reference this heritage. And it's a theme that has been brought inside.

Interior designer Gregory Vaughan says the owners Rick and Kathy Fairman wanted to embrace the local history, and they wanted the house to look as though it had evolved over time, much like a hunting lodge or fishing camp.

"This project was also about bringing the outdoors inside," says Vaughan. "For example, the large hood over the range in the kitchen features tabby – this is an indigenous stucco material made from a mix of oyster shells and lime. It also forms the base of the house on the exterior."


The furniture-style cabinets are in pecky cypress, chosen for its grain and colour. These were custom built by John Zook, with the sink unit jutting out a little to reinforce the sense of a kitchen that has come together over time.

"The cypress pantry door even has a hole right through one of the knots – this is all part of the charm," says Vaughan. "Kathy loves an aged patina, so we were careful to ensure this looked very real and not like a faux finish. The painted cabinets, also built by John, are in a distressed teal green shade with a dark-brown glaze finish that enhances this look.

"John Zook fine-tuned the layout, adding all the little details that make this kitchen unique – such as the open shelving flanking the tabby hood, and the table-style islands that are not fixed."

The main food prep island has a butcher's block, which is bolted through the sides so that the wood won't separate or warp. Deep baskets along the front are used to store fruit and vegetables.

All the appliances in the kitchen, except for the large Viking range, are integrated into the cabinets, with the microwave oven kept in the adjoining scullery.

Another key feature is the mirrored backsplash behind the range. This reflects the water view opposite, ensuring the owners always enjoy a close link to the great outdoors.

First published date: 05 March 2014

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Credit List

Architect Wayne Windham, Wayne Windham Architect (Bluffton, SC)
Interior designer Gregory Vaughan, Kelley Designs, Inc (Hilton Head Island, SC)
Kitchen designer John Zook, Wood Creations, Inc
Builder The Stringer Group
Cabinet company Wood Creations, Inc
Cabinetry Pecky cypress and alder
Countertops Costa Esmeralda granite from Distinctive Granite and Marble
Flooring Oak by Rick Bent Flooring
Wall tiles Traditions in Tile and Stone ceramic tiles in Sienna Sage Tagina from Savannah Hardscapes
Dining furniture Dovetail and Hickory Chair
Lighting The Light Post
Sink Rohl in Biscuit from Ferguson
Faucets Perrin & Rowe English Bronze/Bridge from Ferguson
Range and ventilation Viking
Refrigeration Sub-Zero