In the late ’90s, when Loretta and Randy Roulier started getting serious about building their ideal home at The Landings on Skidaway Island in Savannah, GA, they envisioned a combination of art gallery and comfortable living space. Long halls, arched niches and a grand foyer accoutered with high-tech lighting would showcase their extensive collection of paintings and art objects. Large windows in key rooms would bring the outdoors in, creating a restful, casual haven perfect for entertaining friends and family. Soft greens, light woods, natural stone and textural rattans would accentuate the nature-friendly mood.
The active couple also wanted to have separate offices for their respective interests and pursuits. “She has her space and I have mine,” says Randy, a former Denver-based oil company owner. “To be able to do our own thing is really nice.”[singlepic=52,320,240,,right]
A jewelry designer, gourmet cook, seamstress and interior stylist, the remarkablycreative Loretta had precise ideas about the look and feel of the home that would be a permanent residence, melding all the elements she and Randy cherished. She methodically collected magazine photos of the design features she wanted to incorporate, and ultimately presented them to an architect.
For two years beginning in 2003, the Rouliers drove every day to the construction site from their temporary address two miles away. Although their blueprint was very exacting, it wasn’t set in stone. “We made spontaneous modifications along the way,” Randy says.
One afterthought was the addition of two long, vertical openings in the wall facing the entrance in the foyer. Flanking a magnificent painting of a Low Country marsh, these see-throughs-embellished with wrought-iron grillwork-afford an enticing glimpse into the great room beyond, where a sleek bar and tall windows overlooking a tranquil lagoon beckon visitors. “They pique your curiosity,” says Loretta. “They give just a hint of what’s to come.”[singlepic=51,320,240,,left]
Completed in 2005, the Rouliers’ bi-level, cupola-crowned home, with seafoam-hued stucco exterior, is best described as Southern Contemporary with Southwestern overtones. Arched windows and doorways, coupled with the rounded corners of interior walls and an open floor plan, reflect their Colorado origins. In the guest quarters, which they’ve dubbed the “Southwestern Wing,” one of the two bedrooms is a picture-perfect tableau of Southwestern style with its rough-hewn pine furnishings (ordered from Mexico), vibrant paper mache bowls, ceramic cactus and knotty-pine shutters enhanced with a border of spines from Saguaro cacti.
Indeed, what sets this home apart are its extraordinary architectural and decorative details. The house’s intricate features extend to the ceiling as well: it incorporates 12 different ceiling treatments. Among the stand-outs: the handsome cream-and-taupe coffered ceiling in Randy’s study complements the masculine cherry paneling and built-in bookcases; the bath adjoining the Southwestern-themed bedroom is adorned with an ornamental pressed-tin ceiling; the interior of the cupola above the foyer features a trompe l’oeil sky with wispy white clouds; the dining room is distinguished by an elaborate rolled ceiling with inlaid brick tiles. Dropping elegantly from the center of the ceiling is an exquisite alabaster chandelier that Loretta purchased in Volterra, Italy.[singlepic=50,320,240,,right]
The Rouliers’ home is a classic example of how the little things add up to a glorious whole. A stickler for particulars, Loretta zeroed in on the minutest aspects of her evolving home, right down to the distinctive plantation shutters at the front of the house, which she ordered to be white on one side-to match the exterior trim-and natural on the flip side. “The manufacturer thought I was nuts-they had never gotten an order like that-but it works,” she says.[singlepic=49,320,240,,left]
In terms of entertaining, the home’s most inviting feature is the sophisticated, black-granite bar backdropped by rich maple built-ins with subtle, mood-enhancing lighting. A prominent element of the great room, the bar conjures up an intimate rendezvous spot at a five-star boutique hotel. It has become a convivial 19th hole for Randy and his golf buddies, who recap the birdies that got away while watching football on a vast flat-screen television built into a paneled wall adjacent to the great room’s fireplace. Directly behind the bar is a state-of-the-art, cedar-lined wine room, where Randy stocks 1,200 predominantly domestic vintages. The climate-controlled room is always a cool 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
The spacious, streamlined kitchen, where Loretta reigns supreme, is a dream for the avid cook. Gleaming stainless steel, maple cabinetry inlaid with green ceramic tiles and ‘wide-screen’ windows looking out onto landscaped grounds create a space that’s both highly functional and aesthetically pleasing. The well-defined[singlepic=48,320,240,,right] color scheme is underscored by a maple breakfront that displays Loretta’s formidable collection of green Depression glass. A cooking island anchors the kitchen, and just steps away is an enormous walk-in pantry outfitted with modular industrial shelving that Loretta found at Sam’s Club. Stocked with myriad condiments, comestibles, utensils and a huge range of cookware, the pantry greatly reduces clutter in the kitchen and is so painstakingly organized that Loretta can see exactly what she’s looking for from the moment she opens the door.
Many less-visible components add to the convenience and livability of the Roulier home. The shades in the master bedroom are lowered and raised via a push button, a small control panel in a hallway regulates lighting throughout the home, and a misting system has been installed in the patio area to fend off pesky gnats and mosquitoes in summer. “The mist is composed of chrysanthemum extract,” explains Randy, “so it’s completely safe for humans and pets.”[singlepic=47,320,240,,left]
Compounding the immense appeal of the couple’s home is its location. Bordering a lovely lagoon in the Deer Creek enclave of The Landings, an exclusive, densely forested Savannah community, the Rouliers’ new residence is surrounded by the beautiful scenery that inspired their move from Colorado nine years ago. For Randy, the community’s six golf courses were also a big draw. For Loretta, the abundance of trees and Savannah’s rich history were irresistible. “We visited this area about a decade ago,” she recalls, “and I fell instantly in love. I said to a friend, ‘Someday I’m going to live here.’”[singlepic=46,320,240,,right]
Some of the Rouliers’ most enjoyable at-home moments take place in the evening, when the couple pours themselves glasses of vintage wine and strolls through the halls, savoring the 150 pieces of original art they’ve collected on their travels over the years. Randy categorizes their paintings as “landscape-oriented contemporary realism.” Each canvas captures the essence of a particular region they’ve visited. All are riveting and wonderfully evocative, especially the paintings depicting the marsh-laced, pristine Low Country in and around the Rouliers’ beloved Savannah.[singlepic=45,320,240,,left]