In 1994, my mom, a working interior designer, decided to jump on the home computing bandwagon and get 3D Home Architect (opens in new tab). The Broderbund program was part of an awkward, curious wave of computer-aided design (CAD) software adapted for the burgeoning home market (opens in new tab)—the average joe looking to redecorate and remodel in an exciting new digital world. I was already familiar with floor plans and architectural drawings from watching my mom at her drafting table. My mother made a valiant attempt to get used to the program, but as a diehard traditionalist, she eventually returned to working with her trusty pencil and paper. Suddenly 3D Home Architect, which my parents didn’t consider a videogame (and therefore not something to worry about), was all mine.
In one residence at the southern tip of Hilton Head in South Carolina, the comforts of home are on impressively seductive display. Chicago-based interior designer Suzanne Lovell was responsible for it—she executed a nine-month renovation of the property, including its outdoor spaces. Lovell was more than up to the task, thanks in part to her pre-existing relationship with the clients (she also designed their home in Lincoln Park, Illinois).
Upon entering this warm-weather retreat—far from the icy winters of the Midwest—several details immediately stand out: a covered brick patio that overlooks the dunes, a tidy stand of palm trees and a boardwalk that slopes down to the Atlantic, the sublime primary bedroom suite, and the massive kitchen, notable for its warmth. All in all, it’s a “lovely life,” Lovell says of the routines made possible by this home’s design.
Grass cloth and hemp may be popular today, but Lovell used