A young family goes all in with a beachy escape on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, where they can make memories in high style.

By Caroline McKenzie
July 15, 2021
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Work hard; play hard! It's a phrase North Carolina residents Megan and Matt Lineberger have adopted as a way of life. It took on new meaning when they decided to put down roots with a vacation home on South Carolina's idyllic Kiawah Island. "We fell in love with the quiet beauty and knew it was just the place to escape on weekends and spend quality time with our four kids—Mason (10), Mia (8), Millie (5), and McCoy (2)—for years to come," says Megan. To bring their "forever beach home" to life, the couple enlisted general contractor Tom Martin and Son, architect Mark Maresca, and interior designer Cortney Bishop. Maresca tackled the first step of the process, crafting an old Charleston-style home that's well suited for large and lively modern-day gatherings. Bishop took on the next portion, infusing the rooms with an energizing blend of bold patterns and an inviting palette of blues, greens, and yellows. Together, they created a design that packs a major one-two punch of form and function—just what the young family needed for their space. "The minute that we walk in this front door, we all just take a deep breath and completely relax. It's the embodiment of home," Matt explains.

Exterior of Kiawah Island Home Designed by Mark Maresca
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins
Mark Maresca Designed Home in Kiawah Island, SC
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Look to the Past

Maresca took inspiration from prerevolutionary Charleston homes when designing the Linebergers' Kiawah abode. "We immediately connected with Mark's vision of a 'new-old' house that felt at one with its surroundings," says Megan. That idea was brought to life with numerous references to the Lowcountry vernacular including a limewashed brick foundation, functional shutters (solid on the main floor and louvered on the other levels to allow airflow), and beaded lap siding.

Casual traditional entry space
Credenza Styled Wet Bar in Traditional House
Left: Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins
Right: Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Jump Start the Fun

In the spacious entry, painted wood in a modern geometric design sets the color scheme for the home. "There's a nod to tradition, but interpreted in a fresh way," says Bishop. On the other side of the space sits a wet bar disguised as a traditional credenza. "That was all Matt!" says Bishop who custom designed the brass and rattan piece complete with a petite sink and hidden beverage fridge. "After a four-hour drive with four kids he knew he'd be ready for a cocktail once he walked in the front door." It's also the ideal way to welcome guests.

Soft Coastal Color Kitchen
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Put a Twist on Tradition

"The kitchen was created to read as an old cookhouse that was adjoined to the main home over time," says Maresca. "The lines and millwork are simpler, but the playful palette enlivens those 'old' bones." Below the oversize pendant (designed by Maresca) is a cerused white oak island that's topped with gray-blue Arabescatus marble. The banquette was outfitted with twin bistro tables to work for both the single morning coffee drinker and a large dinner party.

Neutral Modern Casual Living Room
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Forgo the Matching Set

"We knew the living room would have to be a bit toned down because of the number of children who would be running through the space," explains Bishop. Still, she was eager to give Megan the elegant style she's drawn to. The solution? A bevy of vintage furniture that blends sophistication and durability. "It really became an art collection of furniture," says Bishop. The new Verellen sectional is surrounded by a thoughtfully curated mix of Parisian antiques and Danish mid-century finds for a space that is far more elevated had it been filled with straight-from-the-factory buys. Plus, those old pieces can take some wear and tear—they've already experienced plenty of life—they can handle a bit more.

Warm Neutral Modern Casual Living Room
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins
Neutral Modern Dining Space
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Dare To Be Creative

What could have easily been an overlooked pass-through space is a hub of activity in Maresca's and Bishop's capable hands. The two put their heads together to transform the stairwell landing into a game room meets dining space. "Yes, this is a large home, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't utilize every last inch creatively," says Bishop. The round whitewashed table by Amsterdam Modern is the perfect place for a rousing game of chess or a lazy lunch. The vintage fringe wall art was sourced from Tandem Antiques & Design in High Point, North Carolina.

Cozy den with patterned sofa and ocean view
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Up the Coziness

 "This is our children's go-to room for everything from breakfast to movie night," explains Megan of the upstairs sitting room. (And really who can blame them?) Knowing the area would be the kid zone, Bishop prioritized coziness at every turn. The woven rug and extra-plush sofa are impossibly comfortable. Meanwhile, their patterned finishes are forgiving of scuffs and spills. The honey-hued Danish coffee table and woven pendant light add to the space's homey warmth.

Coastal Bedroom with Tropical Wallpaper
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Extend the View

How do you design a bedroom that has what might possibly be the best view east of the Mississippi? You go all in with a no-fear wallpaper. So says Bishop who enveloped the main bedroom and adjoining sitting area with a bold palm tree motif (Caracas in Noir Blanc by Nobilis). "The scenery outside the window is truly stunning. There's no competing with it!" she explains. But one lucky day, Bishop just happened to be walking the site at sunset with a sample of said paper in hand. Outside was awash in pale pink and royal blue just like the wallpaper. "I instantly knew it would carry the natural beauty into the room," she says. Rounding out the space are a mid-century chest and woven bed by Radnor.

White Bathroom with Soaker Tub
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Put It in Neutral

Casting the pattern-filled main suite in sharp relief, is the neutral main bathroom. Anchored by white paneled walls and a curvy soaking tub, the gleaming space amplifies the natural light with large mirrors that align with spacious windows. What the space lacks in color in makes up for in texture, including the waffle weave towels and plush Moroccan rug.

Coastal Bunk Bedroom
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Age Gracefully

Is it really a beach house without a bunk room? We don't think so. This one was custom designed by Maresca, right down to the beveled millwork and wrought iron guardrails. "The bones are so stunning that it didn't take much for it to feel complete," says Bishop, who was careful to utilize layered prints and patterns that could easily camouflage the daily wear and tear from kids. What's more, this is a look that the Lineberger children can age with—not out of.

Coastal Guest Bedroom with Lots of Neutral Patterns
Coastal Guest Bedroom with Neutral Colors
Left: Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins
Right: Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Tell a Story with Textiles

While the home may be brand new, the last thing the Lineberger's wanted was for it to feel, well, new. "The goal was for the interior to fresh, not staid or sterile," says Bishop. "Layering textiles became an important way to take the edge off the new build." Each guest bedroom, for example, features a triple threat of patterned draperies, throw pillows, and quilts. The latter were especially critical to the design scheme. "The antique quilts really infuse some old soul," adds Bishop.

Coastal Guest Bathroom with Green Accents
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Embrace the Small Spaces

Want to make a small space shine? Then avoid the temptation to assume less is more. "People often equate small with simple," says Bishop. "But bathrooms, laundry rooms and other compact areas are great opportunity to use a big mix of materials for a wow factor." In this guest bathroom, dainty wallpaper, tongue-and-groove paneling, unlacquered brass fixtures, and concrete tiles comes together for a space with ample character and depth.

Hanging Porch Bed
Credit: Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Find a Happy Balance

As much as Bishop loves classic elements and vintage finds, she is the first to admit that sometimes new is definitely the way to go. Case in point: the dreamy hanging porch bed. The piece, from German furniture manufacturer Dedon, is a dead ringer for honest-to-goodness wicker but is actually fabricated from engineered fiber. "Outdoor furniture is not what it used to be! It's possible now to have old-fashioned charm and modern durability too," says Bishop.