Ten minutes from the center of Charleston, S.C. is a new development on Daniels Island called Ashton Woods.
It’s remarkable not for the homes to be built there, but for the experiential nature of the studio where owners can select the materials soon to surround them.
Designed by Anna Simone, the studio is inspired by her travels to Europe and the Middle East; it’s at once elegant, traditional, sleek, and modern.
“It’s very high design — very clean and contemporary and very European,” she says. “I was looking at the design overall, but also the fine details because that makes up the home.”
It’s a far cry from what most of developers call a décor center, where a client is likely to feel overwhelmed and frustrated in a tiring experience. Here, instead of a receptionist, a concierge does the greeting and guiding.
“This is a place where can come in from a hectic day and feel a tremendous amount of tranquility – here you can decompress because it’s not in your face. You feel at home,” she says.
There’s a particular emphasis on lighting – whether task, general, working, or ambient.
“They’ve taken time to develop a lighting plan for where art is hung, for pathways and for work,” she says.
It’s all about the feel and reveal of materials and options for tile, countertops, faucets, and cabinetry.
She’s aiming at coming as close to customizing a home as possible, not only on paper but on the framework. “There’s a model home that’s partially built – you go there and make sure it’s been developed in spec to the home,” she says. “It’s done by designers and architects who walk through so that what’s done at the design level is actually done in the field.”
She calls it the entire design experience a personalization process.
And she’s got the chops to prove it.