An ambitious renovation turned the neighborhood eyesore into a Southern charmer
Photography by KELLI BOYD
“YOU KNOW WITHIN FOUR SECONDS of entering a home if you want to go in further,” says Kati Ann Wright. But don’t worry: “You can make any house a home if you can envision it.”
Although conveying that vision to her clients is a specialty of Wright’s (she’s a real estate agent with ONELUXE Realty Group), one secluded, golf course home in The Landings evaded even the most optimistic of imaginations: A stale brown façade, layers of leggy shrubbery and yellowed oak cabinets left potential buyers unconvinced of its potential.
“I showed it to multiple clients of mine and all of them walked in and said, ‘No, thank you’ because the project was so extensive,” Wright recalls. But with her own vision for the property fully formed after showing it for weeks, she decided to tackle the “brown beauty” herself, purchasing the home in February 2021 and immediately taking it down to the studs.
“Not one room really made sense,” Wright says of the polished brass finishes, parquet flooring and code-defying bathrooms, all relics from its early 1980s conception. “It was a disaster.”
Wright started with the home’s façade, where she laid out a flagstone walk lined with boxwoods and hydrangeas, filled cheery window boxes with the season’s showiest flowers and added a pergola covered in jasmine for a fresh take on the front porch. To lighten the expansive interior, she opened the foyer and stair hall to the living area and clad the walls in white board and batten — the perfect, indestructible backdrop for the family’s gallery wall.
“You know within four seconds of entering a home if you want to go in further. [But don’t worry:] You can make any house a home if you can envision it.” — Kati Ann Wright
She continued this visual vocabulary throughout the home, mixing weathered, wooden antiques from Clutter Furnishings and Interiors and Tapley’s Mercantile with playfully durable furnishings, like the cowhide coffee table in the living room, sourced from Gaston Crue Lifestyle & Interiors. Warm greens and browns appear in a mix of soft velvets, linens and chalky paints throughout the open floor plan creating the stylishly “muddy” interiors Kati Ann loves. “There’s nothing worse than walking into a home and feeling like you’re in a museum, like you cannot touch anything,” Wright says. “I like the patina in my home. You walk in and know it’s well-lived in.”
Patina also happens to work well for Wright’s everyday life. To further outfit the home for her family, she carved out a mother-in-law suite for her mom and a new playroom complete with a Dutch door for her active toddler, Talmadge, ensuring he plays happily while she cooks dinner and catches up on business calls from the adjacent kitchen.
“There’s nothing worse than walking into a home and feeling like … you can’t touch anything. I like the patina in my home. You walk in and know it’s well lived-in.” — Kati Ann Wright
Here, Katy Osterlund (KLO Interiors) and Wright balanced French flair with commercial touches inspired by the realtor’s favorite restaurants. Aged brass lighting and bin pulls shine against glossy white subway tiles and off-white cabinetry. Anchoring the space are a towering walnut range hood — her favorite feature — and coordinating island housing a chewy ice machine, Thermador warming drawer and two refrigerated drawers. “I told [AWD principal Harley Ashbaugh], ‘If I don’t get the walnut hood, I’m not doing the renovation,” Wright says with a laugh, stressing the importance of the focal point designed by AWD of Savannah.
Just off the bright kitchen, a moody, black butler’s pantry serves as a workhorse room for food prep, bartending and china storage — party prep is a cinch. “This home was built in a way that I could multitask and still be a mom,” Wright says of the methodically planned design that considers work and play.
To accommodate the former, the Realtor transformed what was once a sitting room into a sophisticated office tucked neatly behind a pair of French doors. Walls wrapped in suit gray make the space feel expansive, while large windows adorned with bamboo blinds throw slits of summer sunlight atop the antique farm table repurposed as Wright’s desk. Here, the occasional crayon finds a home among a stack of client files — evidence of a curious toddler. “I love being able to be here with him during the day,” she says. Still, after a 9 to 5 packed with work and mom duties, Wright retreats to her decadent primary suite, complete with dream closet. “What woman wouldn’t want one?” Wright says. “It’s beautiful.” Equally lovely, her bathroom is a lavish spa of cream shiplap and white marble tiling finished with two marble-topped vanities, a modern soaking tub and a dual-sided fireplace that serves both the bathroom and bedroom.
During the year-long renovation, Savannah’s real estate market exploded with many properties selling overnight and for far more than asking. “We’ve seen a drastic number of people decide to plant themselves in [our] gorgeous city.” With so many on the move, Wright is happy to be rooted, for now.
“I’m in houses all the time, so I won’t say it’s our forever home, because if there was another project that intrigued me, I could see us moving,” Wright says. But for the time being? “We are so incredibly happy here.”
Owner: Kati Ann Wright
Year built: 1990
Square footage: 3,142 square feet
Number of bedrooms and bathrooms: 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
Time to complete renovation/remodel: 1 year
Interior design: Kati Ann Wright; Katy Osterlund, KLO Interiors; Crue Conley, Gaston Crue Lifestyle & Interiors
Tile/flooring: The Rug Shoppe
Windows/doors: Coastal Sash & Door
Kitchen design: Kati Ann Wright, KLO Interiors, AWD
Lighting: Lowcountry Originals, Visual Comfort
Landscape design: Grassroots, R&R Landscape & Hardscape
Furniture: Gaston Crue Lifestyle & Interiors, Clutter Furnishings & Interiors, Serena & Lily
Appliances: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting
Hardware: Bird Decorative Hardware & Bath
All details supplied by homeowner