A Taste of Everywhere

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Travels abroad accent Southern roots in Palmetto Bluff

Once February’s gray persistence leaves the Lowcountry, replaced by the balm of sunny afternoons, the Capell family opens the many doors of their Palmetto Bluff home and enjoys the way the light refracts off the pool and onto the walls. The pool, inspired by Italian courtyards seen on the family’s travels, is central to the rest of the home. Wings flank it on either side, making it visible from every room in the house. Well, almost every room.

Photography by Richard Leo Johnson

“The only room you can’t see the pool from is our master bath,” says Glynn Capell. “I tried to talk my wife, Libby, into putting a one-way window in the shower, but she wouldn’t go for it,” he says, laughing. “‘What if it malfunctions?’”

Such humor and whimsy naturally finds its way into the details of the Capell family residence. The diamond-patterned, chartreuse-colored synthetic turf in the courtyard is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland; the handmade, one-of-a-kind oyster shell chandelier above the dining room table is a playful reminder of wind chimes on a Lowcountry front porch. In the kitchen, the walls are lined with herringbone-patterned glass tile (it’s even behind the transparent glass cabinets). The stove is an appropriately French blue La Cornue, handmade in France. State-of-the-art Miele appliances provide a contemporary German style — the dishwasher doesn’t have a handle; simply knock to open. 

If it wasn’t apparent already, the Capells are well-traveled
folk. Last Christmas, they flew to Ireland. In June, they’ll pack their bags again for Europe. Thanks to journeys abroad, they were able to
collect a mélange of all their favorite finds. Though, as lifelong South Carolinians, it was important for them to retain the spirit of their native landscape. “We wanted to keep it simple like the Lowcountry but with the sleekness of a European home,” Capell says. 

The stucco fireplace in the great room best embodies this design philosophy. An artist was hired to craft it by hand, sculpting it to resemble refined oyster shells, an apt complement to raised cabinets and Mediterranean-blue wallpaper. A similar effect was achieved in the master bath, featuring meticulously selected, iridescent tile with a rough-hewn texture. To maintain a balance between rustic and contemporary, the shower is zero-entry, leaving the white oak floor stylishly unbothered.

The floor itself is sourced from an Amish barn built in the 1800s in Pennsylvania. The beams and rafters were removed, split and hauled south. “The floor is really cool,” Capell says. “We saw it and just had to have it.” Rather than stain the boards, a water-based sealant was applied to allow for the natural color to shine through. Some of the pegs used to secure the original beams are still visible. 

Upstairs, the guest suite is inspired by a studio apartment in Paris, complete with kitchenette, sitting room and sauna (the sauna, however, is Finnish). The kids’ rooms — Claire is 16; Mac, 13 — open up to a balcony overlooking the lake that sits on the property. When the weather is right, they enjoy walking to the lake and fishing together. 

The kids always come along on their travels, Capell says, allowing the family “to spend time together that normally you wouldn’t have.” To remind them of past trips, they collect and frame art found along the way: a painting of Positano, Italy, they purchased from an artist the moment the paint dried; a signed photograph of the Arc de Triomphe to preserve the memory of Paris. 

After living in the Palmetto Bluff home for a year, the Capells realize just what a high standard they’ve set for themselves. “When we travel, we’re like, ‘Man, this isn’t as nice as our house!’” Instead, they’ve given themselves a vacation home to live in every day. 


Owners: Glynn and Elizabeth Capell

Year built: 2018

Square footage: 3,600

Number of bedrooms and bathrooms: 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

Time to complete: 17 months 

Architect/planner: Pearce Scott Architects

Interior designer: Owner

Contractor/builder: Shoreline Construction 

Tile/flooring: Savannah Surfaces 

Wallpaper: Phillip Jeffries; installer Graham Brown

Kitchen and bath design: AKD

Lighting design: Vallen

Electrician: Trinity Electric

Audio/visual: AV Outfitters

Plumber: Cregger

Landscape design: Witmer Jones Keefer

Landscaper: Dalzell Landscaping

Pool: Year Round Pools

Sauna: Southeast Leisure

Furniture: Restoration Hardware

Appliances: Billy Wood Appliance, Miele, La Cornue

Art: Various pieces collected from travels

Garage cabinets: Contur