LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: Charleston native Tara King first fell for this Sullivan’s Island house in her teens. After admiring it from afar for some 25 years, she and her husband, Kirk, purchased the more-than-a-century-old home in 2011. In the process of making it their own, they added a new back porch with French doors to maximize oceanfront views.
Kirk and Tara King
COASTAL CHARM: The Kings asked designer Allison Elebash to infuse the home with a laid-back island vibe. For the living room, she chose a color palette inspired by coastal landscapes—the walls, for example, are Benjamin Moore’s “Beautiful in My Eyes,” a rosy hue inspired by the pink sand beaches of the Caribbean.
Framed works by Danish painter Louise Fenne (above mantel), German modernist Otto Neumann, and area artist Sally King Benedict add texture and personality.
NATURAL ACCENTS: The use of natural materials, such as sisal area rugs and the cherrywood of the circa-1825 Biedermeier chest, underscore the home’s connection with nature.
French doors frequently draw the family out onto the patio for a dip in the pool or a round of table tennis.
GOLDEN TOUCH: In the kitchen, simple roman shades in an abstract Kelly Wearstler fabric and clean-lined open shelving are offset by dramatic hammered-gold sconces. Instead of an island, the room is anchored by a custom dining table and comfy slip-covered chairs.
AN ELEGANT WELCOME: In the foyer, a vintage Biedermeier chair covered in Forsyth hide and an acacia wood console exude warmth, while a work by Otto Neumann in a gilt frame adds sophistication.
BLUE ZONE: In the den, the Kings opted for grass-cloth wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries in a navy in keeping with the coastal color palette. “It reminds me of the Mediterranean,” says Tara.
Here, Elebash maximized space, transforming one underutilized corner into a work and study zone. “The Lucite chair is functional without taking up too much visual space,” she notes.
Similarly, a Lucite console disappears into a small nook under the stairs, allowing cherished pieces, such as the Anne Darby Parker painting, to shine.
ARMCHAIR TOURISM: Strategically positioned near French doors that lead to the patio, this Eames lounge chair and ottoman provide a sleek yet comfy perch for taking in views of the pool and the Atlantic.
Elebash dressed up the powder room with geometric wallpaper from Romo and a beaded sconce from Circa Lighting.
SWEET DREAMS: The serene color palette of the master bedroom and adjoining sitting room allows the ocean view to take center stage.
A hand-carved credenza by Kelly Wearstler is flanked with locally commissioned abstract paintings by Emily Brown.
DRESSED FOR SUCCESS: In the dressing room, an Oly light fixture and tufted blue ottoman set an elegant tone.
IN THE SWING: Alyssa’s room features a favorite spot for lounging or doing homework.
BRIGHT SPOTS: In the guest room, accents of cerulean blue pop against a Bermuda hemp wall covering.
The custom settee in this guest room features a twin mattress covered in indoor/outdoor fabric, so it can pinch-hit as an additional guest bed.
JUMP IN: “We all pretty much live on the back porch,” says Tara. Palmetto trees and the harbor provide a scenic backdrop for regular swims and backyard parties, especially the family’s annual Fourth of July shindig.
Beach time with the whole family: Brock, Alyssa, Tara, Kirk, and Chelsea with husband Brad Milford, plus pups Nala, Lilly, and Sulli
With help from Caribbean-influenced designer Allison Elebash, Kirk and Tara King turned an 1890s Sullivan’s Island abode into the casually elegant beach house of their dreams