Coastal Carolina charm makes 2022 Southern Living Idea House a ‘Great Escape’

Situated on the picturesque North Carolina coast, the 2022 Southern Living Idea House fulfills all the requirements of a quintessential “Great Escape.” Incorporating the sleek luxury of state-of-the-art Monogram appliances, the design team created a home that is both “luxurious and thoughtful in its design.”

The picturesque coast of North Carolina was just what Southern Living sought in a location for this year’s Southern Living Idea House: relaxing, charming and luxurious. And the dreamy, getaway-style home they created there – aptly dubbed “The Great Escape” – is a vision that embraces everyday pleasures.

“When you’re there, you really feel like you’ve escaped,” says the interior designer Charlotte Harris Lucas, the creative mind who designed the home’s aesthetic.

Located in the scenic waterfront village of River Dunes in Oriental, N.C., the 4,125-square-foot Idea House boasts impressive water views, modern lifestyle conveniences, separate guest and carriage houses, extensive wraparound porches and outdoor living spaces designed to maximize all of life’s experiences. With tranquil views of the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound, the home needed to feel “luxurious and thoughtful in its design,” but also livable with an instant feeling of relaxation, Lucas says.

“Blurring that line between interiors and the beauty of the outdoor environment at the coast was a big focus for this project,” explains Lucas, founder of North Carolina-based Charlotte Lucas Design. “This is a home that was built and designed for entertaining and hosting and really just enjoying that hospitality.”

For more than 30 years, Southern Living has created signature custom homes that celebrate life in the South while offering new takes on style, comfort and innovation. With distinctly coastal elements like the two-story front porch and central courtyard, the 2022 Idea Home, designed by Court Atkins Group and built by SLD Custom Homes, boasts a layout that explores a new version of open-plan living with spaces that feel both distinct in their usage yet are seamlessly connected.

“There is an element of Southern hospitality in this house for sure,” says Charlotte, N.C.-based Lucas.

Known for her bold use of color and whimsical details, Lucas took inspiration from the laid-back vibe of private coastal village community. Lucas selected colors and patterns, like custom-painted stair treads and flooring in beachy teal and peach, to bring a fresh and bold feel to the house. She balances those elements with timeless antique pieces to ground the spaces and make it feel like home.

Furthering that idea of home, Lucas worked with Monogram to bring fashionable functionality to not only the kitchen but multiple rooms in the Idea House.

“At the end of the day, my role as the designer isn’t just to make a space beautiful, it’s to make a space thoughtful and livable too,” Lucas says. “It has to be designed in a way that can be enjoyed and have that unique element of ‘home’ to our clients. Products that allow us to do both are my favorite to work with, and the selection of Monogram appliances at the Idea House did that.”

Lucas wanted the open concept kitchen to feel warm and inviting. A custom Monogram hood over the 48″ Dual-Fuel Range injected the space with strong lines and “just the right pop of brass,” perfectly juxtaposed with the feminine scallop of the open shelving on either side. With its minimal, sleek design, Monogram’s versatile Five-in-One Wall Oven fit easily into the aesthetic, along with the panel-ready fully integrated column refrigerator and freezer and integrated dishwasher.   

“They were such seamless additions to the design, and we loved the ease of incorporating them with custom panels,” Lucas added.

The Idea House’s back kitchen, which Lucas calls the “workhorse,” is also well-equipped with Monogram.

“For a house that’s bound to do lots of entertaining, it gives that flexibility—there’s an extra dishwasher, prep sink and a great Monogram wine sommelier,” she says. “There’s also a great bar area off the kitchen that houses a Monogram wine reserve and nugget ice maker, which just feels perfect for parties at the coast.”

Lucas also incorporated Monogram appliances in less traditional spaces, bringing the “great escape” feeling into areas used for day-to-day life: An office nook featuring Monogram’s 30” Wine Sommelier and an automatic espresso machine from sister-brand GE Profile; Monogram’s refrigerated drawers in the dressing room; and beverage centers throughout the home.

“It might not seem like an immediate connection to think of appliances working toward the idea of the ‘great escape’ for the Idea House,” says Lucas, “but we really leaned into those niche areas and adding elements that would elevate everyday tasks. Whether it’s a bottle of rosé in your dressing room, an espresso bar in your office, or an outdoor kitchen space in the courtyard, the beauty of design is in those details that make living in your home more enjoyable.”

Tickets to tour the 2022 Southern Living Great Escape Idea House are available online through Dec. 18, 2022.

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