When Jennifer and John Eaves first saw the egret and heron rookery on the island in the lake behind this Port Royal Lantern Lane home, they fell in love with the natural setting. The home sits on a lake, away from the main waterway and its passing boats that would disturb the tranquility.
They also appreciated the character of the place. “I prefer the charm of an older home,” Jennifer says. “The house was one of the original structures built in this area.” Upon closer inspection, the couple realized the original, ranch-style home and guest house could not stand. Built in the mid-1950s, the structures did their best to capture the view but were too small for the Eaves family and sat below the flood plain. They also had significant damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017.
The couple decided to replace the home with something larger that was up to code and still captured the warmth and style of the original residence. For that, they called on Stofft Cooney Architects and interior designer Lisa Kahn.
Before starting the build of this Port Royal Lantern Lane home, the owners invited the designer and architects to visit the original property to glean inspiration for the new design. Both delivered in their own ways. Stofft Cooney created a classic two-story, six-bedroom, eight-bathroom house (along with a new guest house) with West Indies detailing, including transoms and wood elements that make the home appear as though it’s been there for decades.
Kahn let the natural charms of the site dictate the design. “This location is almost sacred,” she says. “At sunset, all of these beautiful white birds come in and spend the night, and then, in the morning, the sun hits them, and they all take off again. I found it mesmerizing.” Water and wildlife are referenced in Kahn’s restrained decor composed of soft greens and blues (including French-inspired blue shutters) and natural materials, like the textured wood on the kitchen island and the vanities throughout the home.
The designer also pulled from the outdoors for the home’s street-facing dining room. A subtle, Chinoiserie mural by Paul Montgomery Studios, titled Maysong Spring, sets imagery of pheasants and blossoming branches against the green grass and blue skies. The room perfectly encapsulates the Eaves’ style: classic, elegant and timeless with a light touch. “It references Florida, but in a sophisticated way,” Kahn says.
The rest of the interior design exemplifies the same restrained elegance, with wide plank European white oak flooring throughout. The neutral color of the floors allows the grand staircase in the foyer and gold-accented lighting throughout to pop. A handsome waterfront study houses built-in bookcases that rise to coffered ceilings of stained pecky cypress and are topped with brass picture lamps. Traditional furnishings, like a burl wood writing desk and a Queen Anne sofa, add to the study’s stately look. The room also has southern views of the lake and access to the home’s expansive outdoor pool and lounge area via French doors.
Outside, an alfresco living room continues the genteel qualities of the estate, with a tabby shell mortar fireplace under a tongue-and-groove ceiling with blue paint. With open views of the pool and lake, it’s an ideal spot to sip some iced tea and watch the birds. “It’s just as beautiful as what was there before,” Jennifer says. “That is the enduring quality of this place.”