Glamour Shot

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A Savannah Quarters home redefines coastal living

When it comes to coastal design philosophies, it’s easy to box it into rattan-filled spaces with weathered wooden touches for just about any home located along the Atlantic Coast from Florida to North Carolina.

Photography by Richard Leo Johnson

But when architect Reshma Shah Johnson and interior designer Christina Scharf of SHAH Architecture + Interiors met with their new clients in Savannah Quarters, their notions of what a coastal home was really made of were challenged.

“A lot of the imagery that the client was showing us was something very different than what we normally see,” Scharf says. “It was traditional but glamorous.”

But Scharf and Johnson also acknowledged the fine line between glam and gaudiness. “You can take glitz too far,” Scharf says. The goal, she says, was to deliver refined glamour that embodied the clients’ sophisticated tastes. And the pair’s success in doing so is evident from the home’s threshold.

This home is just an amazing, glamorous backdrop that allows the people of the house to be the focal point, as they should be.

Reshma Shah Johnson, architect and founder of SHAH Architecture + Interiors

A luxurious foyer sets the tone, from the marble-tiled flooring to the imperial staircase that opens into the main living space. There’s a bit of fun, too, via geometric patterns echoed throughout the house in the golden chandeliers, patterned curtains and even the furniture placed in clusters, contrasting the open floor plan.

Because of the client’s large family and love of entertaining, this setup was a necessity.“You can’t really have a conversation with a person who’s sitting 20 feet away from you, so it’s important to tighten up seating groups,” says Johnson, who founded SHAH Architecture + Interiors. “Even though you’re in this big space, much like a hotel, you’re still in an intimate setting,” she says of the homes clustered seating arrangements.

(The home movie theater, too, boasts an assortment of comfy chairs to fit everyone’s needs and preferences.) In the sitting room, gold-infused wall tiles shine against the monochromatic color scheme. Although there is often a convergence of patterns, especially in the bathroom with its golden faucets, geometric backsplash and touches of greenery and marble, there is a literal silver lining in the predominantly gray color scheme that ties it all together.

“I think it’s a very relatable color,” Johnson says. “It goes with everything, especially when you’re trying to marry lots of different textures.” Indeed, the muted palette creates a seamless flow from room to room. The homeowners’ Indian heritage was an equally important component of the final design, which includes a prayer room.

Scharf and Johnson remember when the house was blessed, and 150 of the clients’ closest family and friends gathered in the home in their Saris and traditional garb. Shah and Scharf were struck by how, despite all its glamour, the dazzling home didn’t take away from the guests mingling inside. “This home is just an amazing, glamorous backdrop that allows the people of the house to be the focal point, as they should be,” Johnson says. Scharf concurs: “The people and the family are the art.”