Check out this cook's paradise, where the look of the Caribbean isles meets Charleston style.
Island Appeal
Cooking and eating areas merge in this space, while an open island makes it all the more breezy.

There may be a body of water separating South Carolina and the Caribbean, but this home proves the Atlantic isn't such a big obstacle. Step into the Beaufort kitchen of Mark and Sue Nicol, and it's a quick trip to the Tropics. The light teal tones and aquatic accents hint at wetlands, the West Indies, and all that's marine in between.

Sea It Your Way
A house doesn't need anchors and sailboats to show off the ocean. Natural is the new nautical here. The sea mist shade reflects the outdoors, while dark woods in the floor and tabletops drive the tropical feel.

"I love the West Indies look and mixing the old with the new," says Sue, who designed the room with help from interior designer Anna Watkins. She also wanted to showcase Charleston style. "The cabinets have louvers to mimic the outside of many homes in Charleston," she says.

Translucent glass tiles on walls and in a mosaic above the stove complement the paint color found on the back panel of the built-in bookcase. The ceiling beams are from an old barn.

Combined Not Confined
Sue and Mark wanted the room's eating and food-preparation areas to be united, so they made no distinction between the two spaces when planning. "The cook is never far from the rest of the company in the room," says Sue.

Having the front door of their home open into the kitchen helped to create a sense of openness. "In the kitchen, we can always look up and see the outdoors, our garden, our neighbors going by, and glimpses of the marsh," Sue says.

No Harm in Being Different
Sue chose not to hang a chandelier over her dining table. "I wanted the focus to be on the actual table, which was custom-designed," she says.

Under-cabinet lights were used to brighten up the space and spotlight details. "I wanted to show off the tile," Sue explains.

They chose an unconventional island. "It resembles a table rather than a typical island, and it provides a more spacious, open look," she says.