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A Mom Turns Her Vision for a Bright, Airy Family Home Into Reality

Modern. Beachy. Colorful. Check, check, check. Carrie Morey—whose kitchen was featured in the May 2019 Better Homes & Gardens' issue—brought that to her family's South Carolina ranch with personal artwork and vintage finds.

This house lived in Carrie Morey's mind for a long time before it came to be. When she finally got the chance to create a laid-back ranch that welcomes family and friends, she imbued it with her fun-loving sense of style: "It's a mishmash," she says. "I love modern, mid-century, and antiques—and throw a little beachy in there. I don't know what it is, but so far, so good."

Carrie and husband John always wanted to live in a U- or L-shape house with a pool in the middle that encouraged a relaxed lifestyle. So when a 1950s ranch on a corner lot came available in their neighborhood in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, they went all-in with a yearlong renovation. They enjoy the pool in the back, but they also love to hang out on the expanded front porch, watching daughters Caroline, Sarah, and Cate play volleyball on the lawn. The metal roof and black-trimmed windows give the low-country architecture a modern edge.

Life moves pretty fast when all three Morey girls are active in school and sports. John travels the country doing market analysis for public attractions like zoos and museums. And Carrie heads up the regional biscuit eateries, Callie's Hot Little Biscuits, produces a line of biscuits called Callie's Charleston Biscuits, and authored a cookbook. But the family carves out plenty of together time, riding bikes to school around the corner, playing with Biscuit the dog, and enjoying spots like this inviting porch swing. Carrie had a local carpenter make a wood frame big enough for a twin-size mattress, then fluffed it with lots of pillows. "John loves to nap out there," Carrie says.

The hub of the family home is the kitchen—no surprise with Carrie's culinary background. Originally the living room, the vaulted ceilings, white walls, and lack of crowding upper cabinets means the space lives large and accommodates lots of cooks. "I love this space on weekend afternoons. It's so bright and airy. We all come together and cook. It's always a group effort," Carrie says. "To me, our kitchen really is our living room."

Carrie drew on her experience in commercial kitchens to install wipeable white subway tile across the walls and easy-access open shelves. But she also made the space feel invitingly homey by choosing marble countertops, which gain character with use; warm-toned woods for the floors, beams, and shelves; and twinkly brass highlights in the light fixtures and cabinet hardware. The antique Moroccan rug and collection of eclectic glassware introduce color. "I'm really particular about being clean, so that's why there's so much white to start with," Carrie says. "But color really makes me happy."

When Carrie pictured her ideal family home, she saw mid-century antiques melding with Etsy bargains in a casual, lighthearted style. Her vision was so strong, she bought $3,000 worth of furniture at "the most fabulous mid-century antiques store" they stumbled upon while on the cookbook tour—and they didn't yet have a house to put it in. Eventually, her score ended up sprinkled in the living room (coffee table) and dining room. A painting from a local design store is a focal point feature that Carrie accents with teal blue leather chairs and a revolving collection of pillows. "I get bored really easily, so I can always change things up with new art or pillows or a vintage piece with bright colors," she says.

Though her plan was clear, Carrie improvised along the way. As the painter was about to brush white on the dining room's original paneling, Carrie got the sense that the wood's innate texture and warmth would be an interesting addition. "It brings a whole other element to the house," she says. She enjoys the learning process. "This house has evolved and expanded my style. I have learned that everything doesn't have to be matchy-matchy, and it's cool to have different textures and layers." The dining table and chairs are beautifully vintage—even down to the white leather seats—so Carrie payed homage with a new chandelier modeled on mid-century design. "Almost every light fixture in the house is the result of an obscene amount of hours going through thousands of pages of mid-century lighting on Etsy," she says. "It took me a few months, but I didn't pay more than $300 for any of them." High-gloss white paint on the ceiling is her sleek, modern counterpoint, which draws light into the room with its reflective sheen.

Hunting vintage items and bringing home style from travel experiences has become a family affair. Now, when the Morey girls head out of town for a volleyball tournament, they ask for extra time to take in a local flea market. "It's really a fun thing to do with the kids," Carrie says. As a result, Caroline had a lot of say in the retro-chic surf vibe of her bedroom, choosing a tropical print duvet and tiki-style macramé chandelier.

Carrie's love for home design is obvious. "If I didn't make biscuits for a living, I might very well be a house flipper," she says. Part of the thrill is seeing her vision come to life. "I know nothing about design, I just know what I like," she says. "And the more you do it, the more you learn."