When interior designer Robyn Roberts couldn’t find
her dream home, she built it
Photography courtesy of ROBYN ROBERTS by KELLI BOYD PHOTOGRAPHY
LIFE IN THE SAVANNAH YACHT CLUB development was sweet for Robyn Roberts and her husband, Rob. Far from bustling Atlanta where they fell in love, the couple was savoring Lowcountry living with their toddlers, George (now 7) and Lake (6), taking outings on the water and strolling around the squares for inspiration. But bursting with creative energy, Robyn, an interior designer trained under the masterful eye of Atlanta designer Phoebe Howard, decided her life was due for a change in pace — a major one.
“Once my son was born, I decided it was time to start my own [design] business and see what would happen,” Robyn remembers.
“The tough thing about being a designer is you see so many beautiful things, and it’s hard to narrow down what you like to make it cohesive.” — Robyn Roberts
The entrepreneurial plunge was fast. Clients immediately came calling and, when a friend tipped off the designer about an available lot in their neighborhood, Robyn jumped at the chance to put her design fantasies onto paper. She immediately enlisted architect Gerry Cowart (Cowart Group Architects) and builder Barry Koncul (Barry Koncul Building & Development) to realize her vision — a visual wonderland set against a backdrop of black, white and pale blue.
From the home’s French front doors (painted Farrow & Ball No. 22) to the back patio, outfitted with a trellised ceiling and black-and-white checkerboard floor, the home’s palette perfectly marries French design and Lowcountry comfort. “I was really trying to think, ‘What am I not going to get sick of?’” Robyn says of her tailored color palette and finish selections.
“I wanted everything to be timeless. I love everything French, so I incorporated a little bit of that everywhere.”
Nowhere is this inspiration more apparent than in the home’s airy living room. The soft blue ceiling is topped with an oval molding detail lifted from a Parisian apartment the designer discovered on Zillow (she frequently scours the real estate site for ideas). As a complement, Robyn designed a pair of curvilinear Dorothy Draper-inspired pocket doors to conceal the adjoining family room. And, for a touch of black, Robyn imported a stunning bolection mantel with heavy black veining from England.
Playing off the traditional architectural features are swaths of Greek key, checked, striped and star-patterned fabrics in subtle shades of cream and blue (Pindler, Houlès and Beacon Hill). Above the French daybed (Noir), a gallery wall of whimsical figures and floral paintings infuse the room with chromatic energy.
“I knew I wanted black and white, lots of windows and natural light and high ceilings in the living room,” explains Robyn. “This room was my priority, and an office was Rob’s.”
With her husband’s requests being minimal, the designer painted the ceiling and walls an enchanting shade of Inchyra Blue by Farrow & Ball. To complete the room, she wrapped the walls with towering bookcases, added leather furnishings, and hung an overscale black-and-white drapery fabric from VillaNova — creating the masculine counterpart to her living room.
For another small space — the wet bar and butler’s pantry neatly tucked behind the kitchen — Robyn selected a rich blue-green for the walls and casework. Staggered wooden shelving inspired by Lowcountry Produce in Beaufort, South Carolina, and skirted cabinets hold the hostess’ platters and dry goods, while light from a porthole window dances across mirrored cabinet door faces.
The adjoining kitchen is a sunny gathering spot, perfect for serving up smoothies. “I do not cook at all, but I use the blender a lot,” Robyn laughs. A gleaming, cream Lacanche range and heavily veined countertops pop against naturally stained cabinets, while counter stools upholstered in a dreamy blue-and-white floral (Boughton House by Schumacher) and Moroccan milk glass pendants (L’Aviva Home) add a touch of cosmopolitan glamour.
“I wanted everything to be timeless. I love everything French, so I incorporated a little bit of that everywhere.” — Robyn Roberts
“The tough thing about being a designer is you see so many beautiful things, and it’s hard to narrow down what you like to make it cohesive,” Robyn admits. “There’s a lot of black and white because I am never going to tire of that combination.”
Upstairs, in the children’s realm, Robyn’s selections are every bit cool and casual. Yellow-patterned pillows, bold striped rugs and prints of octopi and guitars are the perfect backdrop for slumber parties and movie showings.
Making the most of Lake’s penchant for pink, Robyn had stripes painted on the walls in her daughter’s preferred hue for the bedroom. Dotting the space are antique furnishings, while pressed botanicals from local artist, Mary Margaret Monsees (M Studio) add another pop of color on the walls. In the bathroom, a scalloped vanity features antique glass cabinet pulls that once belonged to the designer’s great-grandmother.
“I wanted Lake’s space to be serene and little girl-ish,” Robyn notes. “She’s not going to want that forever, so I figured this was my opportunity.”
Even with her carefully crafted home nearly complete (the homeowners are contemplating a swimming pool addition), Robyn’s design fervor has yet to lessen. After all, there are always ideas brewing in her mind, furniture groupings to tweak and new spaces to dream up.
“Even after three years, I am constantly moving things around. When I stop moving things around, we usually move.” Robyn laughs, adding, “If someone came and knocked on my door with an offer, I would sell it.”
The design evolution continues.
Owners: Robyn and Rob Roberts
Year built: 2018
Square footage: 4,500
Number of bedrooms and bathrooms: 4 beds, 3.5 baths in the main house plus a flex space above the garage with a full bath
Time to complete: 8 months
Architects/planners: Gerry Cowart, Cowart Group Architects
Interior designer: Robyn Roberts Design
Contractor/builder: Barry Koncul Building & Development
Tile/flooring: Garden State Tile; Savannah Surfaces; Floor & Decor
Paint: Farrow & Ball; Benjamin Moore;
Wallpaper: Lulie Wallace
Windows/doors: Grayco; Guerry Lumber
Kitchen design: Robyn Roberts Design
Bath design: Robyn Roberts Design
Landscape design: Sprout Landscape & Garden
Hardscape design: Sprout Landscape & Garden; Robyn Roberts Design
Electrician: J Ryle Electric
Plumber: Jenkins Plumbing Company
HVAC: Gerrald’s Heating and Air
Furniture/lighting: Hickory Chair Furniture Co.; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; Lee Industries; A. Tyner Antiques; Englishman’s Fine Furnishings; Circa Lighting; some pieces are custom-made or have been collected over time
Appliances: Billy Wood Appliance; Lacanche
Art: Heart of Gold Gallery; some pieces have been collected over time
All details provided by the homeowner.