Text by Katie Ellis
After 25 years of living on the West Coast and traveling abroad, Leslie and Tim Maier decided to “come home” to South Carolina. With sweeping marine vistas and plenty of rich history, the Lowcountry was the perfect place to settle, and the Maiers found their own piece of heaven on Brays Island in Sheldon, South Carolina.
Leslie grew up in the South and was eager to create a space that felt like home while finding ways to incorporate family heirlooms and travel treasures. “I always loved the idea of having a cottage that looked like everything had been passed on from prior generations,” she says. With the help of interior designer Sheena Jenkins of SF Jenkins Interiors, Inc. in Port Royal, South Carolina, Leslie was able to make her vision come to life.
The couple built their Lowcountry-style cottage charmer in 2016 with a distinct design aesthetic of vintage Southern charm. The front door opens up to a sunny open-concept kitchen and living space that exudes an immediate vintage vibe. The pitched roof with bright white ceilings makes the cozy space feel larger while the black-and-white checkered floor pattern grounds the space with a sense of nostalgia. “[Leslie] always wanted a painted floor for a traditional Southern look,” Sheena says, noting they utilized the talent of local artist Tim Fensch to paint the kitchen floors.
The kitchen’s cozy footprint required an extra dose of research to make the vintage-style space compatible with modern amenities. “We were able to locate smaller appliances to fit the space and add character,” Sheena says.
Another way the Maiers incorporated Southern style into their new build was by adding painted planked walls that look like shiplap. By keeping their furnishings simple, they allowed the architectural details to shine. A patinaed trunk works double duty in the small space as needed storage and a stylish coffee table.
The cottage’s two bedrooms are simple and full of comfortable charm. Each is home to vintage beds passed down from Leslie’s grandmother and provides the perfect backdrop for a collection of heirloom family quilts. The plush neutral bedding is the ideal cream-colored dreamy cloud offering rest after a long day of the outdoor activities the Maiers enjoy in the Lowcountry.
The black-and-white checkered pattern found in the kitchen and living space repeats in a fresh way in both the bedrooms via the custom curtains and in the bathrooms via the flooring. Sliding barn doors were installed for the bathroom not only to save on space but also to add a subtle vintage country element.
A hallmark detail of Southern cottage style is having a space to entertain and dine outdoors. The screened porch looks out to the old live oaks draped in Spanish moss and the lively marsh and is the perfect setting for a seasonal meal or refreshing beverage with friends and family. Bright red wicker chairs give the eye a place to land amidst a sea of greens just beyond the wooden table.
The Maiers’ vintage cottage dreams—and their hope of returning home—all came true thanks to their team of local experts and the thoughtful layering of their special, collected housewares.