Peek Inside a Kiawah River Home and Q&A with Interior Designer Duo McLaurin Parker

Browse the gallery below for photos of McLaurin Parker design in a Butterfly Garden Cottage

When designing the Butterfly Garden Cottages at Kiawah River, Julia Starr Sanford of Starr Sanford Design was inspired by the land’s rich history and her passion for living on the water. With oversized windows, generous porches and tall ceilings, the cottages perfectly complement Kiawah River’s sea islands lifestyle.

Decorating a handful of the model cottages is Charleston-based interior design firm McLaurin Parker. We sat down with the sister-duo behind McLaurin Parker, Mary Scott McLaurin and Frances Parker, to learn more about their style inspirations for the Butterfly Garden Cottage and the importance of supporting local companies in their designs.

How would you describe your style?

“Definitely a classic, timeless look that is considerate of both form and function,” Parker said. “It blends the simple with the ornate, and we try to find a healthy balance of classic styles.”

“We gravitate towards neat, clean lines that are classic but a big part of what we do is ensuring a balance between the new and the old. You appreciate one when you have a little bit of the other,” McLaurin said. “We also love white because it represents a beautiful, blank canvas.”

What is your style inspiration for the Butterfly Garden Cottage?

“Kiawah River is a beautiful, special place and we wanted to bring the charm of the outdoors into the aesthetics of the indoors by embracing its natural beauty, so it feels like an extension of the community,” Parker said. “It was important to make sure there was an apparent connection to the outdoor surroundings without correlating the pieces and the outside settings too directly.

“For example, we placed walking canes near the door for a resident to explore the scenic nature trails and an oil painting indicative of the surroundings without matching too much,” McLaurin added. “The natural grass rugs and hints of green aren’t too obvious, but they wink to the colors and textures outside the window.”

Are you looking forward to using any specific pieces for the model cottage?

“We’re really excited to install this beautiful antique oval table,” McLaurin said.

“Most of our pieces are sourced from vendors located all around Charleston,” Parker said. “There’s an incredible amount of artistic talent nearby and we support that however we can. Plus, much of our artwork, like the oil painting from Horton Hayes Fine Art, pays tribute to local landscapes.”

“Since everything is sold online now, it’s important for us to support local companies to keep them here and thriving,” McLaurin said.

What sets the Lowcountry apart regarding style and décor?

“The Lowcountry has such rare and special moments that are indicative to the area, which is why visitors fall in love with Charleston,” Parker said. “The city has a sense of practicality and people appreciate that – it’s traditional, classic, clean and youthful – not unlike our designs.”

“You’ll often see injections of modern art, like an abstract sculpture, blended with pieces that have been inherited or found locally,” McLaurin said. “It’s important to incorporate these inherited pieces, it is what gives a new space soul.”