Text: Lydia Somerville
Photos: Jessie Preza
Designer Will Huff was hired by a client to decorate her Atlanta home, but before they’d gotten out of the gate, she put the project on hold.
A few years passed, and she called again. “She was a widow, and in that time she had met an amazing man, gotten married, and was building a house on Amelia Island with him,” says Huff. Together with the architecture firm Spitzmiller & Norris, the designers created a casually elegant retreat with space enough to host their children, grandchildren, and granddogs.
The husband runs his business from home and frequently holds meetings on Amelia Island. The couple are also active philanthropists and wanted space to hold fundraisers. “The lot is very narrow,” says Huff. “The architects were masterful in maximizing space for large gatherings and capturing spectacular views.” Surrounded by protected marshes and the Intracoastal Waterway, the house sits on a sliver of land that drove the team’s efforts to build large on a restricted footprint.
The living room, with its 18-foot ceiling and multiple seating areas, could easily have felt like a hotel lobby. But with warm textures and refined silhouettes, Huff was able to maintain a distinct sense of home. “In our initial design meeting, the client stated that she wanted the house to reflect a casual, happy, and sophisticated feeling with fine things sprinkled throughout,” says Huff. “And she wanted it all in shades of blue.”
Blue envelops the dining room, with textured wallpaper setting off a play of wood furniture and gold accents. “We thought it would add interest to have two different scale checks layer the table,” says Huff. “They are from the same collection by Schumacher, so they are the exact same color.” Mahogany antiques ground the room, contrasting with white painted Chippendale chairs arranged around the table. An airy, gold chandelier adds just the right amount of sparkle. Huff designed the hand-painted panels depicting a marshland scene with local flora and fauna.
In the kitchen, double islands allow guests to hang out with the cook without impeding dinner prep. A large breakfast table seats eight comfortably, with a banquette allowing children and grandchildren to pile in for family meals. Spill-proof leather covers the seat, with an over-scale check on the back and chairs to connect the space to the other rooms.
A long hallway to the main bedroom gave the architects an opportunity to dazzle. “We imagined that walking from the bedroom through a trellised gallery, with its large windows, would heighten the feeling of the house being related to its site,” says Rick Spitzmiller.
The clients wanted the bedroom to have the feeling of being in a cloud. To that end, Huff chose ethereal hues of blue and cream. Exquisite details in the fabric treatments add dimension to the restrained design. “We used an embroidered fabric on the outside of the bed’s cornice and cut it into strips to edge the draperies,” says Huff. “I think we accomplished what she was going for.”