From the August/September 2019 Issue  

A Southern Belle in Cape May

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Rebecca McAlpin  |  Designer Felicia Layne  |  Location Cape May, NJ

SECOND FLOOR | Layne also incorporated a “bit of a French influence” in the home.

A Cape May County Home is infused with southern charm

Felicia Layne’s clients had done their research before deciding how the interiors of their vacation home in Cape May County, NJ, would look. Layne, of White Horse Fabric & Design in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, says that while visiting Kiawah Island, the homeowners “fell in love with southern, low-country design—the kind you find in the coastal communities of the Carolinas.”

FOYER | An elegant foyer greets visitors. “There is a level of traditional design influence in the home,” designer Felicia Layne says.

The wife did not want this home to look like a typical beach house. “I was not allowed to use any type of beach motif,” Layne says. Instead, she “provided us with inspiration photos. She loves antiques, traditional style and timeless design. She wanted that throughout this house. We searched vintage furniture and antiques stores for some of the furnishings to create a casual classic elegance.”

  • The bunk room features a window seat — perfect for reading or daydreaming.



  • Layne broke up the massive 16-foot-long island with some pattern in the form of houndstooth stools.


That style is apparent throughout the home, in its classic wood-trimmed furnishings, soft lines and unfussy aesthetic. In the foyer, a vintage cane bench tucked under the stairwell waits for guests. The living room is awash in neutrals, accessorized in shades of blue. The family room features even more blue hues against the pale tones of the taupe carpet and wall covering. “We didn’t go with the typical navy blue and white. We used softer tones of blue, incorporating a bit of a French influence.”

MASTER BEDROOM | The master bedroom seating area repeats the patterns found in the bedroom itself. The leopard print bench at the foot of the bed features a carved wave detail.

The overall effect is elegant yet relaxed; but creating that kind of atmosphere required a bit of convincing, Layne says. “My biggest challenge was pulling the wife back from her desire to have a really traditional home down there. If I had just listened to her and not pushed back, the home would have been a lot more formal than it is.”

ORANGE ACCENT BEDROOM | A guest bedroom takes a measured approach to color.

And formality was not the goal. “It’s a vacation home,” Layne says. “It’s a gathering spot for friends and family.” The residence is intended to be welcoming and achieves its goal from the moment guests step across the threshold. The entryway leads to a large bar area and the family room. “The foyer is not that large,” Layne says. “Three steps into the foyer, you’re immediately into entertaining space.”

FAMILY ROOM | The family room features grass-cloth wall covering, which adds a touch of texture to the room’s neutral underpinnings.

In that entertaining space, the seats are designed to be as inviting and comfortable as possible. But they’re also effortlessly tidy. “This client loves to have her house be maintenance free,” Layne says. “She doesn’t have time for fluffing the pillows.” So though the seating options are cushiony and soft, the fabrics are tight for minimal crumpling. “She doesn’t want the back pillows getting out of line because then the room looks sloppy.” Spots and stains are easily dealt with as well. The fabrics Layne chose are either intrinsically stain resistant or treated to repel soiling.

Soothing tones and a scenic view create a restful retreat in a guest bedroom.

The designer and the homeowners also paid close attention to the style and entertainment value in one unexpected space. “I suggested doing something whimsical in the laundry room,” Layne says. That room, which is located right off the foyer, is where the towels end up when the family and guests return from the beach. “As much as they might want to keep the door shut, functionally, that’s not going to be the case. So I suggested making it a fun spot.” She chose beautiful cabinetry and accessories, but it’s the wall covering that garners the desired reaction. A zebra print from Scalamandré is whimsical and fun—just the right touch for a vacation home.

LAUNDRY ROOM | The laundry room features iconic Scalamandré zebra wallpaper. “When you look at it you smile,” Layne says.

Layne also added fun touches in other areas, including a trim detail on a bench in the master bedroom that mimics ocean waves and turtle pillows in one of the guest bedrooms. The client was okay with these tiny nods to the home’s beach locale. “We were allowed to do these subliminal beach influences, but she wasn’t going to have any lobsters or crabs.”



Layne understands that reasoning: “When you go to these coastal communities, you’re up to your eyeballs in it [a beach theme]. If you’ve been through one beach house, you’ve been through them all. What was wonderful about this home is that we were able to create something different but that still fit so well.”

“We drove the design through colors that you’d find at the beach—the sand, the dunes, the sky, the water.”