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Inspiring Idea Houses

Take a look at design ideas, tricks, and inspiration from Southern Living Idea Houses - past and present!

Exterior: The Front Door | A classic screened door hung over the front door lessens the entry’s formality and sets a relaxing tone. Gas lanterns in a stainless steel finish from Bevolo complement the house’s cool color palette.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Exterior: The Roof | Extended overhangs show off simple rafters around the house. The M-shaped chimney flue keeps water out of the fireplace and was inspired by the work of architect A. Hays Town.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Exterior: The Garage | Intended to double as an entertaining space, this structure has a steep two-story profile to up the building’s drama and balance the main house.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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  • Jil Freeman

    Girl's trip in the near future to see the Southern Living Idea House. Can't wait!

Exterior: The Double Gable | The exterior’s razorsharp silhouette is highlighted by an X shape by extending and crossing the roof’s rafter tails.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Exterior: The Swoop | Because 90-degree angles and straight lines are less often found in nature, architect Ken Pursley’s hand-drawn curves lend an organic, artistic touch to his homes.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Exterior: The Sides & Back | The Palmetto Bluff Idea House proves that a modest house can still be dramatic. The cheerful colors, familiar barn forms, and classic materials balance the home’s impressive back side.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Exterior: The Front | Using time-tested, durable materials with crisp lines, such as James Hardie board-and-batten siding, plank-style shutters, and a standing-seam metal roof, creates a simple silhouette that won’t tire over time.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Porch: The Details | Treat the furniture arrangements like you would inside—but not the materials. The porch is exposed to the elements, so outfit it accordingly with outdoor fabrics and rugs, such as these Sunbrella cushions and pillows.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Porch: The Decorating | Mimicking the style of the living room, this outdoor porch is made stylish and comfortable with a blue-and-white palette, flexible seating arrangements and an edited mix of styles and materials.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Porch: The Space | At 49 feet long and 12 feet deep, the wraparound back porch was conceived as a series of three rooms, not a narrow hallway.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Kids' Bedrooms: Boy's Room | In the boy's room, interior designer Suzanne Kasler took a slightly nautical direction that is particularly apropos for a home on the water. She anchored the room with a navy headboard and bed skirt. Then, she layered on striped navy-and-white bedding.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Kids' Bedrooms: The Girl's Room | Citrusy splashes of pink and orange adorn this sophisticated room, courtesy of Galbraith & Paul’s Lotus fabric in Rhubarb.

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Guest Suite: The Bath | This space boasts a double vanity, miles of tile, lots of luxe marble, and other high-end touches.

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Guest Suite: The Bedroom | Always place a comfortable seat near a window that looks out on the water so you can savor the view.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Guest Suite: The Bedroom | Relying on a mature, gender-neutral palette of deep taupes, soft grays, and crisp whites, the space is grounded with Hickory Chair’s Candler Bed and shapely West Paces Side Tables in matching birch finishes.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Bunks & Bridge: The Bridge | Sticking with the blue-and-white palette that runs throughout the living room, Interior designer Suzanne Kasler shook things up a bit, giving the bridge a California-cool vibe infused with deeper indigo hues.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Bunks & Bridge: The Bridge | In keeping with the home's open-air vibe, the space that connects the upstairs wings is wall-less. Like an observation deck, the area provides the best views in the home and makes a great place to perch.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Bunks & Bridge: The Bunk Room | Interior designer Suzanne Kasler crafted this previously unused space above the master bath into an accommodating hangout and extra sleeping spot. Two twin mattresses rest on a tiered wooden platform covered with custom, tightly fitting, orange-piped bed covers—similar in design to fitted sheets.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Master Suite: The Bath | A small hallway with two walk-in closets leads into the serene bath, painted a soft blue. Curtains frame a freestanding tub to create a dramatic focal point.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Master Suite: The Bedroom | To give the room a water view, architect Ken Pursley placed it at the back of the house with a door leading off to the porch. Interior designer Suzanne Kasler positioned the bed between the windows so the water is always in sight.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Side Rooms: The Mudroom | Those who park in the carport enter the home through here. Designed as a passthrough space that leads to either the clutter room or the dining room, it is sparsely furnished with an aged, blue farm table that’s convenient for holding handbags and keys. Two bulletin boards for posting schedules and other items keep a busy family organized.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Side Rooms: The Powder Room | Interior designer Suzanne Kasler broke from the rest of the home’s muted scheme and papered these walls with an exuberant pattern. “Try to make a small space extra special,” she says.

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Side Rooms: The Clutter Room | This multipurpose room, located between the mudroom and the kitchen, houses a dishwasher, a sink, two walls of lower cabinets, and a full wall of open shelves to help with kitchen storage.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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Kitchen: The Details | Today’s appliances are so well designed that the double oven was left in plain view. Architect Ken Pursley says "There is beauty in the functionality."

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Kitchen: The Decorating | Free of top cabinets, the upper half of the kitchen looks especially expansive with white walls and a Calacatta gold marble backsplash that extends the countertops up the walls.

Palmetto Bluff Idea House Photo Tour

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