ask almost anyone who’s designed, built and furnished a new home. It’s always easier when you have a team working with you on such a large project. That was the case with Chris and Stephanie Jones, who recently moved to St. Simons Island from Atlanta. The couple have spent a lot of time in the Golden Isles, and decided to make a permanent move. They also have two grown children in Atlanta, who enjoy the St. Simons as well. Heather Jowers, of Rae Lane Interiors, was with the Jones through their building process. The home was completed in 2021, and Jowers says the new construction took about nine months.
It was about two months after they moved in before we had the new furniture and custom window treatments,” she said.
A designer’s role is much more extensive than what some folks may think. There’s a lot more going on than helping clients choose furniture, fabrics and floor coverings. Jowers specializes in new construction.
“There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to building a new home,” she said. “My main goal is to get to know my clients and make sure I incorporate their lifestyle needs and aesthetic desires.”
The Joneses live a relaxed but elegant lifestyle, and their floor plan, which includes generous outdoor living spaces overlooking the marsh and shipping channel, reflect that.
Jowers begins at Square One and works hand-in-hand with the building contractor and other specialists to help coordinate the process.
“I start with the exterior selections, such as roofing material, siding, stucco, brick, window color, et cetera,” she said. “The outside usually sets the tone for the interior.”
Then the real fun begins, she said. Jowers loves the selection process for plumbing fixtures, decorative lighting, flooring materials, tile, cabinet design, countertops and paint colors.
Jowers didn’t design every room in the house, but you can see her touches everywhere. She has a signature style where she integrates contemporary touches with classics with the result being a whole new look. This worked with the Jones’ in particular, because they have antique heirlooms that are very much a part of the current home.
Rooms Jowers designed from top to bottom include the kitchen, master bath, powder room, all the guest bathrooms and the “fun laundry.”
The spectacular laundry room is just steps away from the main living area. Blue cabinetry lines the walls and the washer and dryer look as if they were designed specifically for the space.
“Not many people I know love to do laundry, so we wanted to make it fun,” she said. “I selected a beautiful patterned tile with a bold cabinet color.”
There is a dog wash station for a dog the Joneses want, but don’t yet have, as well.
“We did a cute penny round tile (in the dog wash) and paired it with timeless white subway tile,” Jowers said.
Elegance is the middle name of the elegant white master bathroom, which features Rohl Plumbing fixtures. Items in this luxury brand are curated from around the world and Jowers says they “capture elegance and bring sophistication to any space.”
Of course, the powder room is also breathtaking.
“The York Heron wallpaper is eye-catching, (and) the Capiz shell chandelier and bamboo mirror made it meld together perfectly,” she said.
Jowers also selected the living room furniture and the window treatments in the kitchen and dining room.
This home, Jowers said, is decorated in a more transitional style because it embraces fresh classic style while incorporating traditional elements.
Jowers enjoys bringing an Asian influence into a living space and isn’t afraid of mixing patterns with an eclectic, yet still classic, vibe. In the living room, you’ll find pillows with an Asian print, classic chinoiserie lamps, and a Greek key pattern on chairs. These all sit atop a plush Persian rug.
“The rug was a beautiful staple, and when I was searching for a fabric, and the moment I saw the emperor navy blue oriental toile, I knew it was the one. The colors and the scene were exactly what I was visualizing for the space.”
Jowers’ tip for mixing patterns is to make sure she distributes patterns evenly throughout the room for balance, while using textures and tone on tones for depth.
“Do not ever be afraid to step out of your comfort zone,” she said.
One of the trickiest challenges for people is figuring out how to incorporate family heirlooms into a more current design motif. The Joneses treasure their items and because they’re functional (and interesting) they still use them.
Outdoor living space spans the entire width of the house and overlooks the marsh and the shipping channel, with a fabulous view of the Sidney Lanier Bridge. One half is screened in, and the other is open. The open side includes an outdoor kitchen and comfy seating. The screened-in side also features the same view, generous seating and overlooks the lap pool that’s tucked into the yard. Jowers said there are tricks to getting the indoors and outdoors to flow seamlessly.
“When marrying the indoor to the outdoor, I think the tones need to visually flow,” she said. “Prioritize comfortable outdoor furniture, and use lots of plants to make your space feel warm and welcoming.”
Jowers said hearing the background about each of the Joneses beautiful antiques was one of her favorite parts of this job.
“I really enjoyed hearing all of the stories of each special piece,” she said. “The chandelier that was Chris’ great-grandmother’s is so unique – it made quite the statement in the butler’s pantry.”
She also has some advice for people trying to blend older pieces into a newer design.
“When integrating older pieces into a modern design, you want to think about balance and proportion, mix materials and (have) a bit of contrast,” she said. “Do not be afraid to layer different styles together. You want your home to be a collection of things you love and find meaningful.”