Trading Spaces

A Charlotte couple’s vacation home on Figure Eight Island offers a soothing escape.

When Jan Foster envisioned what her beach house would look like she saw one thing: blue. “I just absolutely love the color blue,” she says. “But our home here in Charlotte doesn’t really have any blue in it at all.” The hue, it turns out, would play a supporting role in the Fosters’ vacation home on Figure Eight Island on the coast of North Carolina, one in which a subtle blue takes a back seat to organic tones of creams and whites that allow the beachy setting outside to play the lead.

It is an aesthetic that designer Patrick Lewis knows well after having designed for Circa Interiors for years before starting his own eponymous firm. Clean, sophisticated, and a modern twist on traditional style—it was the polished look Lewis had installed in the Fosters’ Charlotte home, and he was again called upon to create it for the couple’s vacation home. After working with architect Michael Kersting—who designed a three-story, open-concept home that’s decidedly traditional with slight contemporary touches—the Fosters met with Lewis to hammer out the details of the interiors. “The biggest thing for Jan and Doug was that the home needed to be functional,” says Lewis. With several grandchildren nearby and plenty of impromptu family gatherings and holiday feasts, the Fosters needed a home conducive to large groups for entertaining and that could stand up to the wear and tear of tiny, wet, sandy feet.

With that in mind, Lewis began designing a look that coupled practicality with sophistication, so that when the Fosters were hosting their friends for a long weekend the spaces would still look polished and elegant. The family room, which expands into the kitchen and breakfast nook for an expansive entertaining area, boasts a versatile indoor/outdoor Stark rug, which runs throughout the first living room floor and also is the runner on the wide-set stairs leading up to the family room. “It’s soft, comfortable, attractive, and it looks beautiful,” says Lewis. “It gives the house a crisp, clean feel as soon as you walk in the door.”

The oyster-white walls that run throughout the home serve as the ideal backdrop for ocean views. “There are windows everywhere in the home, so we really wanted to take advantage of it,” says Jan. Subtle blue accents in various fabrics such as the upholstery on the seating or pillows satisfy Jan’s love for the hue while keeping the home from feeling like it was painted over with a heavy brush stroke of the color.

The Fosters are equally smitten with the home’s exterior: a lush yard designed by landscape architect Tony Parker of Classic Landscapes who designed it to complement the sandy dunes and sea grasses that surround it. “We barely have any yard in our Charlotte home, so we absolutely love coming here and just walking the yard and taking it all in,” says Jan, who adds that she and her husband lack green thumbs.

The home is a true escape for the Fosters, whose townhome in Charlotte is a complete 180-degree design turn from their Figure Eight abode. “We feel like we’ve entered a whole new world when we come here,” says Jan. “It’s such a complete departure from what we live in all the time, which is exactly why we love it so much.”

Photos courtesy of Patrick Lewis.