October 2016

Coastal Home by Marco Polo: Furnishing a Lowcountry State of Mind

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

The team at Coastal Home by Marco Polo delights in putting customers in a Lowcountry state of mind. For some, spending time in a beautifully appointed Lowcountry home conjures up feelings of serenity and calm, where tracking a little sand in on the sea grass rug is requisite, and a seashell collection is scattered across the table where gin and tonics and cheese straws are served. For some, spending time in a beautifully appointed Lowcountry home brings about memories of a family vacation, where beach bikes were ridden while wearing bikinis and board shorts, and after a day of water and sun, sleep came easily in a luxurious bedroom. For some, spending time in a beautifully appointed Lowcountry home elicits dreams of a leisurely pace, where passions are practiced on the course or the court, in the kitchen or from the reel end of a fishing rod. Whether it’s with one meaningful accent piece, a singular room, or an entire home or office, Coastal Home is expert at setting the mood.

Spending time in the Lowcountry inspires his customers, said Coastal Home owner Steve Steele, “We’ve had customers here who are on vacation. They start thinking about their other house, and the next thing you know they are in our showroom figuring out what they want for their other home. When you go on vacation and you go into that home and you think, ‘This is the feeling I want’—that’s what we try to interpret here. When people shop here they find the things that make for a coastal, casual, Carolina lifestyle.”

With retail and bistro ownership experience, Steele, his wife Heidi Schultz, and their then-eight-year-old son Payton, moved from Oregon to Hilton Head Island five years ago to partner with his parents, Bob and Martha Steele at Marco Polo, their interiors shop on Hilton Head Island. At the same time, renaming the business Coastal Home by Marco Polo, moving to a 10,000-square-foot showroom located in the Bridge Center, and expanding the inventory to include indoor and outdoor furnishings, the family created a company where three essential elements to a successful shopping experience became woven into the fibers.

First, the furnishings and accessories are displayed in carefully crafted, constantly changing vignettes throughout the showroom. Each arrangement is designed to display the choices available from a grouping of complementary manufacturers and designers, as well as inspire customers to visualize how pieces may look in their own homes. Just one of many manufacturers, Coastal Home sources furnishings from The Bramble Co., stocking and custom-ordering some of the most beautiful Lowcountry-suited wood furnishings that vary in style, finishes, and colors.

Stepping from one Bramble-inspired vignette to another will take the customer’s imagination from coastal casual to formal colonial and beyond. Coastal Home also works directly with a local craftsman who makes custom wood furnishings to meet specific size, color, and finish specifications, building truly one-of-a-kind pieces.


The team at Coastal Home by Marco Polo is ready to assist with all of your decorating needs.

Next, everything in the shop is available for purchase directly from the showroom floor, which is one of the reasons the vignettes are ever-changing. This provides customers with the option to take home pieces that strike their fancy today, or to personalize furnishings from the nearly limitless fabric choices used for slip covers, cushions, headboards, and upholstered pieces. Along with several others, Coastal Home carries both Sunbrella™ fabrics for indoor and outdoor use, and Ultrafabrics®, the latest in high-performance, polyurethane fabrics, all available in a thrilling range of colors that are extremely easy to care for and clean.

Finally, the services provided by Steele, Schultz, and their team of professional designers give customers the option of learning about products and materials from the experts, along with utilizing their know-how from the tiniest projects to full residential or commercial design. Video resources about specific manufacturers or materials are also available for customers to view.

The only local showroom specializing in the Tommy Bahama outdoor line of furnishings, Coastal Home is committed to carrying outdoor furnishings from the most classic to the newest in contemporary design and construction—from Lloyd Flanders, the only manufacturer still making traditional wicker furnishings, to pieces made with Ipe wood, which is harder than teak and ages beautifully in the local climate. On-trend today, Steele carries the Breezesta and Pawley’s Island lines of heavyweight, 100 percent poly furnishings and Adirondack chairs, gliders, tables, and accessories made from recycled milk jugs.

“Two years ago everybody wanted a big fire pit,” Steele said. “Now they want little bistro space savers. Some are also made so you can cook on them.” Using gas tanks like in the average gas grill, the table top versions make a big impact for an affordable price.

The Coastal Home website is brimming with ways to get creative, get assistance with a project, or make a connection with Steele and his team. The site’s room planner is a great way to start, and the company’s presence on iHome, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Houzz provides inspiration for every possible design project or accessory addition to a coastal Carolina home or back home. Continuing to be inspired, Steele is also building a résumé of commercial projects from the Disney Beach House and the outdoor space at the new Leamington clubhouse on Hilton Head Island to the Pooler Tanger Outlets.
With Bob Steele manning the warehouse, taking care of inventory and small repairs and Martha Steele doing the books, the family business is in a good place.

A member of a local Rotary and a Hilton Head Chamber Ambassador, Steele and Schultz have involved themselves in several area non-profits and charitable events. Getting involved at Hilton Head Christian Academy where Payton attends school is a priority, along with getting out now and then for some nice food, good wine, and to enjoy some music, Steele said. Getting into a Lowcountry state of mind is delightful, indeed.

Coastal Home by Marco Polo is located at 1528 Fording Island Road, Hilton Head Island and is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, please call (843) 837-4100 or visit coastalhomehhi.com.

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