When you have both a designer and a real estate agent in a couple, you know that their home is going to blow you away. This Charleston-based house is our case in point. When designer Melissa Lenox and her real estate agent husband found their waterfront house in downtown Charleston, they couldn’t resist its location. Although a new construction wasn’t their first choice, she was determined to turn it into the home of their dreams.

The most important thing for them was to give this completely new structure historical charm. “We both love old houses and never thought we’d live in a new house,” admits Melissa, “but we could not resist the waterfront lot with a boat dock or the downtown location.” To give it the character that it was missing, Melissa incorporated 100 year old pine flooring, a traditional gas lantern at the entrance, moldings, a mantel, and created an old Charleston single style slanted roofs in the hallways. But that’s where the historical part ends and the contemporary comforts begin: “We invested in a lot of built in cabinets throughout the house. We both hate clutter so they help us keep everything looking sleek and clean.” That along with a full office with some more affordable pieces, such as the brass Crate & Barrel bookshelf, gave the home a necessary functionality for the family.

Their home is also a lesson in taking risks. “We have an enormous entry hall that runs almost the length of our house. Everyone thought we were crazy to give up that much square footage to a hallway but it was definitely the right decision for us. When you come to the front door you can see all the way through the house with a view of the water.” Outdoor life was very important to Melissa and her husband. They created a stylish bar for indoor/outdoor entertaining as well as built in speakers in every room in the house. The furniture is also in line with the couple’s love of having guests over. Melissa states that two of their biggest decorating investments that paid off were their Lee Industries sectional and Ligne Roset dining table. “We saw it on a New York shopping trip and had to have it,” Melissa shares, “it was a splurge but I love it more and more every day.”

Although this home has been tailored to the couple’s specific needs, it is also a lesson in restraint. “We didn’t want any wasted space–no formal rooms that we used on special occasions, we use every square inch of our house daily.” The sparse furniture layout, and simple details also communicate the message of just enough, but not too much. It’s a great takeaway for us all to reevaluate what’s necessary in our homes, to keep things minimal.