Designing a dream home

The art of interior design meshes functionality with aesthetics to create a space that inspires comfort and joy. When Ellen Turnage, interior designer with Interiors Joan and Associates, took on a custom build project, she meticulously moved through each layer of the design process to create a dream home that exudes relaxation. Nestled in the The Sanctuary, the 7,000-square-foot home pairs coastal vibes with modern luxury.

For interior designers like Turnage, every project is managed and coordinated to exceed client expectations. The process starts with learning the homeowner’s goals, dreams, and inspirations to help lay the groundwork for the design. “A lot is captured through normal conversation,” Turnage said. “Learning their lifestyle and what they need allows us to explore avenues that will fulfill their requests.” For this project, Turnage determined that durable finishes perfectly suited the young family’s active lifestyle, and warm, driftwood sand tones with variations of indigo blues inspired memories of the clients’ visits to the east coast.

Whether it’s a home refresh or a new build, Turnage said the goal is always to share a client’s vision, deliver expectations, and turn their dreams into a reality. Beautiful designer touches—like the great room’s specialty-shaped cocktail table or the powder bath’s oversized light fixture—welcome a classic yet casual home with unforgettable details. “We lay out and explain all the moving parts, pieces, and details so they can visualize their space, walk through it, and imagine themselves living there,” Turnage said.

Cohesion is a crucial component of interior design and brings harmony to one’s home through thoughtful pieces and carefully selected textures and colors. Turnage ensured each room carried a distinct mood while encompassing the classic coastal atmosphere the homeowner longed for. 

From the generous space for entertaining to the lush landscaping, the five-bedroom private residence provides everything a family could desire. A two-sided stone fireplace detailed in the hearth room shares the covered deck living space area, extending outdoor enjoyment through all seasons. The refined eastern shoreline color palette echoes an ombre of deep blues, an extension of the rest of the home. 

Whereas the main floor embodies charm and soft elegance under its soaring ceilings, the downstairs Irish pub features heavier woods and moodier vibes through darker granite and leather pieces anchoring the space. The guest bedroom offers the comfort and privacy one would find in an upscale hotel room, including a comfortable lounge chair, work station for your laptop, and counter-height bar stool. The soft tranquility of the master bathroom with its tonal colors and soft shading makes for a romantic retreat, and the ribbed sink and drop chandelier nods to times past with a modern flair. “Beyond skimming a color palette, we’re looking at hardware, finishes, lighting, textural elements, the overall space—all details that are important in each finished design,” Turnage said.

Collaborating closely with the client and contractors made the project even more rewarding. Whether it’s conversations with tile setters regarding the design layout for a backsplash or partnering with cabinet designers, the team effort ensures every detail is perfect for the client. Simple design details, like the kitchen island’s decorative legs, start as a vision in Turnage’s mind before drawing and bringing it to life. “Every piece is thoughtful and intentional, and every project is unique to itself,” she said. “It takes a team of people to make everything come together.”

The three-year project carried purpose and intention through every detail of the process, and the result was a home that embodied the homeowner’s wishes: refined, sophisticated, and casual. “This is their living space—we want it to be right, and it needs to be about them,” Turnage said. “Every detail was about her family. We appointed every room according to her wishlist and checked the box for everything important to her. This truly was her dream home.”

Designing is a substantial process that involves many layers beyond choosing beautiful decorations and furniture. Each project takes time, effort, and dedication from the designer and client to ensure the most successful result. Planning projects, learning client personalities, and discovering their lifestyles enable Turnage to plan the best space, resulting in a cohesive atmosphere that meets their needs. “The reward is knowing we have provided an outstanding design aesthetic with an interior that improves and inspires the client’s overall health and well-being. It’s a process that we happily do every day.”

To schedule a design consultation, contact Ellen Turnage, designer with Interiors Joan and Associates, at

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