The Habersham Inspired Homes Tour

Come See Southern Living's Only "Inspired Community" in S.C.


By Diane McMahon

May is an exuberant celebratory month. It brings us spring flowers, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day and the always-anticipated Southern Living “Idea House.” This year, home tour fans will discover something completely new!

In February 2014, Southern Living announced the launch of “Southern Living Inspired Communities.” They searched across five states to select communities that exemplify the charm, taste and communal spirit of the Southern Living Lifestyle. The town of Habersham, S.C., was selected as the premiere “Southern Living Inspired Community” in South Carolina.

As an interior designer and home tour devotee, I was delighted to make my first trip to Habersham and see one of the two professionally decorated homes inspired by the South’s leading lifestyle brands—Coastal Living magazine and Southern Living magazine.

At the heart of the Habersham community, 1 Canton Row was designed by architect, Allison Ramsey of Allison Ramsey Architects, Inc. Hilton Head’s renowned interior design firm, J Banks Design, was selected for the interior design.  Allen Patterson Residential, LLC, a member of the Southern Living magazine Custom Home Builder program, was the builder.

I met with Lisa Whitley from J Banks and Allen Patterson at 1 Canton Row on a day when painters where finishing walls and woodwork, appliances were being delivered and workmen were hammering in the final details. Lisa said, “This house is simple and livable. It’s not big (under 1800 sq. ft.) but the space is so well utilized there’s everything needed to make a gracious home.”  The 10-foot ceilings, 8-foot doors and 8-inch baseboards create a sense of spaciousness. Allen says, “We are building the spaces that people actually live in.  Nothing is scaled down, there’s just no excess. It still allows people to live large.”

Lisa explained, “My concept was to create a neutral house with pops of color. My palette reflects colors found in the marsh. I wanted to evoke the past through fresh eyes. The finishes and furniture are elegant, but not overly formal.”

She chose a color for the interior doors and staircase she calls “plough mud.” It accents the grey-toned walls and white woodwork found throughout the house. The open kitchen/living area is divided by a 7-foot long island in the same “plough mud” color. The living room features a weathered-brick fireplace flanked by built-in bookshelves and a front facing window wall that floods the room with natural light.

The kitchen surfaces are soapstone; there is a farmhouse sink. The Shaker cabinets are white with bronze hardware. The Kitchenaid appliances are stainless steel. The floors are wide plank, limed oak. These selections link the past with present.  

Lisa chose neutral fabrics and uses sea foam and green accents. Pops of color come from the artwork and bold living room rug.  For real Lowcountry flavor, there’s an oyster chandelier in the dining area.

Downstairs an ample pantry, work/desk station, laundry room and powder room, are ingeniously tucked into the compact space linking the kitchen and master suite.  The master bath is sumptuous with a grand walk-in shower and marble topped vanities. Next door is the screened-in back porch.

The turned staircase leads to the upstairs guestrooms and bath, with a wonderful penny tile floor. The wide upstairs windows frame beautiful outdoor views and light is everywhere.  

Lisa said, “I approached this house with the jewel box theory. A beautiful home doesn’t have to be grandiose. In a smaller house you can take each space and make it a jewel inside a beautiful jewel box.” This speaks directly to the Southern Living concept of the “inspired home,” which includes the idea of casual, gracious living with everything needed for cooking, entertaining and comfortable out-door living on a simple, green and sustainable scale.

Lisa recommended I drive around Habersham. Homes range from stately mansions on the waterfront, to townhouses near the main street marketplace.  The community has managed to evoke a sense of cohesiveness without uniformity. In Habersham time is unhurried; the ambience is gracious. This is  an “inspired community.”

Treat yourself to an adventure! Take a day to step back in time and experience this idyllic environment during the Habersham Inspired Home Tour—every weekend May 15 - June 7, Friday and Saturday 10-5, Sunday 11-4.  For more information log onto

J Banks would like to thank contributing sponsors:
Upholstery by Stanford furniture  
Casegoods and other furniture by Stanley furniture
Artworks, accessories, Bedding by J Banks Design Group, Inc.
Rugs by KPM Flooring
Mattresses by Park Place Mattresses
Builder: Allen Patterson Residential LLC 843-470-0400


Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.