Quiet Composition is the New Loud

Lew Oliver, our 2012 Ultimate Beach House residential designer, describes his signature style and inspiration for the 15th anniversary home. Lew_2

How would you describe the style of the 2012 Ultimate Beach House?

 The house presents a serene, understated exterior punctuated by an elegant Regency styled frontispiece and dormer.  The style is influenced by the British Colonial architecture of South Africa. It is less about showmanship and all about defining the street, providing the terminating vista for the street, and framing the courtyard….the real asset of the house.  After the excess of the late 20th century, quiet composition is the new loud.

What were some of your inspirations for designing the house?

I was greatly influenced by the best work at Rosemary Beach, namely, Scott Merrill's Town Hall, which contaminated my own style forever.

How does it reflect ideas of “New Urbanism”?

The oval foyer, rendered in Venetian plaster, and without moldings will be a stunning space in its simplicity…it will be like being inside of a pearl egg.  The restraint and straightforward classical proportions epitomize the Regency style.

What are some of your favorite features of the house?

The house, more than any I have designed, shows a return to elegance.  After the revolt against excess took place after the Fall of 2007, residential design turned to increasingly vernacular inspiration…folk forms, native textures, and rural materials, that many think Serenbe embodies.  The new look will marry the vernacular with Baroque elegance, in the manner that great house designers do superbly.


  1. James

    Can’t wait to see it. We need progress pictures!

    April 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm
  2. Lacey Beno, Coastal Living Fellow

    James, keep checking the blog! We hope to post pictures leading up to the opening of the home for tours. Thanks for reading!

    April 13, 2012 at 7:04 am
  3. home, garden, life

    Not sure I would use the word “contaminated” to describe style influence!

    August 31, 2012 at 5:58 pm

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