In Porters Neck, a young family finds a perfect site for their new coastal contemporary house — at the tip of a peninsula overlooking Futch Creek
By William Irvine • Photographs By Rick Ricozzi
Allison and Ryan Luckadoo had found their dream spot. Residents of Wilmington for 15 years, they had reached a crucial stage in life. As their family grew bigger and the list of renovations grew longer, Allison and her husband, Ryan, a construction project manager, realized it would be cheaper to start anew than to stay put. They had often noticed a beautiful lot for sale down the road, one that the neighborhood used as a green place to walk their dogs and an informal bird sanctuary — 1.8 acres at the tip of a peninsula overlooking Futch Creek, with picturesque views across to the wetlands beyond. The creek originates right at the foot of the property.
“The boys and I can paddleboard out to the Intracoastal Waterway and beyond to Figure 8,” says Allison, who with her sister Tracee Meyer hosts the podcast Welcome to the Fam. “We offer a lot of unsolicited sisterly advice,” she adds with a laugh. (And they have plenty to offer, coming as they do from a family of five sisters).
It was a fateful meeting at the Junior League of Wilmington that brought Allison and Lindsey Gregg, the principal of LSG Interiors, together. Both women were serving on the board of the organization, and Lindsey had recently redesigned the offices. Says Allison: “I had seen the work of other decorators in Wilmington, but I saw that office and thought, ‘This is the one. We share exactly the same design sensibility.’” They soon became fast friends.
The new house was designed by Ryan with the help of architect Matt Williard, and the result of their collaboration is a style that could best be described as Coastal Contemporary. “I am more of a fan of old Charleston, and my husband is all about clean lines, so this design was a perfect compromise,” says Allison. “We call it our creek retreat.”
The layout contains spacious rooms on two floors. Downstairs is a large living room, dining area and kitchen with attendant bedrooms, one a guest room and bath, the other a master bedroom suite. Upstairs are bedrooms and baths for the couple’s two sons — Grady, 10, and Asher, 8 — a playroom, and Allison’s office, where she and Tracee produce their podcast.
Upon entering the house, you are struck by a sense of calm. It’s a large, open space with a soothing palette and large windows that take advantage of the spectacular views of the wetlands. The decorating has been a three-year collaboration with Lindsey Gregg, and she was intimately involved at every stage. “Everything from light fixtures to lightbulbs,” says Allison.
In the dining room, Gregg has combined dining chairs, tables and a sideboard by Stanley. “The style is influenced by Chinese Chippendale taste, but it has a more clean, modern feel at the same time,” says Gregg. “The hexagonal dining table is great. It’s not as formal as a traditional dining table and works for a large group — Ryan and Allison have lots of friends and family in and out all the time.”
And holding pride of place over the table is a large chandelier by Ro Sham Beaux in Charleston. “After Lindsey showed me some pictures I had a dream about it — then I woke up and realized I had to have it!” says Allison.
The adjacent living room features a coastal palette of icy blues and seaglass colors with casual takes on formal furniture pieces from the MT Company, all upholstered in Sunbrella fabrics, which are both UV and water-resistant. “Family-friendly and durable is the name of the game these days, particularly at the beach,” says Gregg. An architectural fireplace features a white-tile surround by Tidewater Flooring, which also installed all the wooden floors in the house. It’s a peaceful space, with very little on the walls except a Jean Rosenberg painting over the sofa. A large Stanley coffee table at center is accessible from both sides of the room.
In the kitchen, designed for entertaining, everything is shipshape. The countertops are of Berwyn quartz, “which I love because it reminds me of oyster shells,” says Allison — with a bit of glitter mixed in for good measure. Tailored globe lights from Ro Sham Beaux wrapped in raffia hang above the kitchen island.
Sleek white wooden cabinets and enclosure by Wall to Wall Cabinetry in Wilmington surround a deep Belfast sink from Kohler, with a well-placed window above it. “It makes it a lot easier to do the dishes when you have this incredible view,” says Gregg.
Down the hall in the master bedroom suite, the bathroom features a Victorian-style soaking tub with a view of the woods and a walk-in shower with a hotel-grade rainfall showerhead. Gray-streaked marble his-and-hers vanities flank the doorway. The bedroom itself is quite spare, with luxurious Matouk linens and custom pillows. The rug and nightstands are vintage finds. Giclee prints from Protocol flank the master bed, which has a stunning view of Futch Creek from its adjoining porch — a great spot for morning coffee.
The overall feel of this elegant house is one of cool, calm perfection — a great antidote to the frenetic lives of its occupants. And while the creation of the design has always included three different aesthetic opinions, more often than not, Lindsey Gregg has prevailed. “That’s the thing I realized about Lindsey,” says Allison with a broad smile. “She’s always right.”
William Irvine is the senior editor of Salt. His latest book, Do Geese See God? A Palindrome Anthology, is available on Amazon.