South Carolina Homes & Gardens Rose Dhu Creek Plantation

Published September/October 2004 issue

Harkening back to an easier way of life, Rose Dhu Creek Plantation reminds you of lazy summer afternoons spent rocking on Grandmother’s front porch, shaded by grand live oaks, their branches draped with lacy Spanish moss gently swaying in the warm breeze. Photography: Ted Borg and Jay Vaughan.

For many Lowcountry areas, the building boom of the 90’s has begun a shift from clear cutting large land tracts and building homes within mere feet of one another, to a more environmentally responsible plan of development. And nowhere along the South Carolina coast is that more evident than at Rose Dhu Creek Plantation.

Located only four miles from historical downtown Bluffton, Rose Dhu Creek, a saltwater tidal creek, is home to egrets, wood storks, wild deer and the occasional alligator. Named by early Scottish settlers, “dhu” is Gaelic for black, and refers to the color of the brackish currents that flow from the May River.

Originally part of the 6,000 acre Buckwalter tract, Rose Dhu Creek Plantation was initially envisioned as a golf course. Stephen Anthony, president of the Legacy Group, developer of the tract, upon realizing the number of moss draped grand oaks, towering pines and other indigenous trees and planting which would be destroyed in the process, decided to shelve that plan. Desiring the community’s input on what potential homeowners were seeking in a development, he placed an ad in the local Bluffton newspaper. Overwhelmingly the responses included large wooded home sites secure within a gated community along with an equestrian center. And thus the 264  acre Rose Dhu Creek Plantation was conceived. But David Lively, sales executive with the Southern Lifestyle Group, exclusive listing agents for Rose Dhu Creek, is quick to assure the golfing homeowner, “There are 44 golf courses in the Bluffton-Hilton Head area; all within an easy drive from Rose Dhu Creek Plantation.”

Sensitivity to nature began with the initial infrastructure. Roads are eight inches of crushed granite and all utilities are located underground, eliminating unsightly wires and poles. Wherever possible, as roadways, home sites and the Equestrian Center were being cleared, grand oaks, wild crepe myrtles and native marsh grasses were protected. The end result is 73 estates, ranging in size from one acre to almost five acres, skillfully planned around the natural elements.

While each home has to be approved by the Rose Dhu Creek Architectural Review Board, the community allows a great of flexibility when it comes to personal preferences. In fact, on estates two acres and up, private paddocks are allowed and dogs aren’t required to be leashed while on your property. Rose Dhu Creek believes in many more freedoms than restrictions. Tree houses and front porches; vegetable gardens and horses; these are just a few of the differences found at Rose Dhu Creek Plantation.

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Rose Dhu Creek is a refreshing departure from the developments that have been popping up everywhere in the last ten years. Here, there are no houses that sit right on top of each other. Plenty of room to breathe-and play- is available. 

Complementing Rose Dhu Creek, two man-made, freshwater lagoons were created and will be stocked with bass, bream and catfish. These small lakes are the perfect setting for a lazy afternoon of fishing or picnicking.

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Rose Dhu Plantation is a wonderful community for families. It offers more than horses and room to run. The creeks and lagoons offer an excellent opportunity for fishing, crabbing or exploring in a kayak. The community pool-complete with bath house-and outdoor pavilion also draws families outdoors for active fun. 

Handy with a cast net? Rose Dhu Creek is ideal for shrimping and crabbing. Plus, it also offers homeowners a place to try their hand at kayaking and canoeing. No individual or community docks will be allowed in order to preserve the natural setting around the creek.

Centrally located and convenient to all homeowners is the community pool and outdoor pavilion. Complete with a bathhouse and barbecue area, this is destined to become a great neighborhood gathering spot for oyster roasts and pool parties.

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During the planning stage of Rose Dhu Creek, the Legacy Group placed an ad in the local Bluffton paper seeking input from the community on what potential homeowners were seeking in a development. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of large wooded home sites as well as an equestrian center. 

Horses are a big part of the Lowcountry, and Rose Dhu Creek was designed so that horses feel as much at homes as their owners. The 20 acre Rose Dhu Creek Equestrian Center is state of the art! Professionally managed by Tracey Martino, the equestrian center offers riding arenas, paddocks, and one of the best constructed and equipped barns of its size on the South Carolina coast.

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The plans for this property originally involved putting in a golf course. The large number of moss-draped oaks and other indigenous flora convinced Legacy Group president Stephen Anthony otherwise. 

Tracey hails from California and has been a part of Rose Dhu Creek since February 2004. Her furniture wasn’t the only thing Tracey moved to the Lowcountry. Over a dozen of her own horses, an Australian sheep dog and several “barn” cats, came with Tracey  and her mother and co-manager, Dee Dee Martino. This mother and daughter team created and managed a successful training barn before moving South.

 Tracey’s philosophy is “you never stop learning,” and on a regular basis continues her own education so she can manage and teach to the best of her ability. Tracey also plans on offering on-site dressage clinics with Amy McElroy and a Downunder Horsemanship Clinic with renowned horseman, Clint Anderson.

Designed and constructed by Legacy Construction, the barn has over 14,500 square feet and includes over thirty-two 11′ x 12′ stalls, four tack rooms, two grooming and wash bays, a lounge and restroom with shower for patrons, and a convenient manager’s office. Upstairs there is a spacious apartment for the on-site manager along with an educational center adjoining a covered porch overlooking the arenas and paddocks. Each of the 32 stalls was designed with the latest equipment insuring each horse’s comfort, including individual cooling misters for those hot and humid Lowcountry days.

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The Rose Dhu Creek Equestrian Center offers riding arenas, paddocks and one of the best equipped barns on the South Carolina coast. The barn has over 14,500 square-feet and includes four tack rooms, two grooming bays and a lounge and restroom with a shower for patrons. 

Presently the Equestrian Center includes run-in sheds with cooling misters, an all-weather round pen, farrier shed, an all-weather dressage area and an all-weather jumping area. Tracey says, “The Rose Dhu Creek Equestrian Center is not only beautiful but very function. Mr. Anthony had the facility designed and makes all decisions pertaining to the center based on what’s best for the horses.”

Construction recently began on the 20,000 square-foot indoor arena. When complete, this area will be used for judged horse shoes, night-time riding, and events scheduled during inclement weather.

Rose Dhu Creek also offers over six miles of eight foot wide nature trails. Riders can spend the day exploring the surrounding woods and creeks without ever leaving the Rose Dhu Creek boundaries.

Rose Dhu Creek Equestrian Center is not reserved strictly for plantation homeowners. Area residents have the opportunity to use the facilities for boarding, lessons and training. Summer riding camps are offered and open to the public as well as vaulting classes and membership into the local chapter of the United States Pony Club.

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Californian Tracey Martino was imported to South Carolina to manage the 20 acre equestrian center. Along with her expertise, Tracey also brought along her mother, Dee Dee Martino, as her co-manager. 

Presenting large lots at reasonable prices, Rose Dhu Creek is quickly on its way to being completely sold out. An additional 60 acres have recently been optioned and will be marketed in the near future. Owners also have the flexibility of purchasing their home sites now with no time limit on building. Rose Dhu Creek Plantation is not a second-home or investment community. Appealing to a diverse group of local Lowcountry residents, Rose Dhu Creek Plantation is home to growing families and working professionals. And with full-time homeowners comes a sense of community not found in many Lowcountry neighborhoods with a large percentage of out-of-state owners.

Homes in Rose Dhu Creek Plantation are reminiscent of days gone by with wide covered front porches, river rock fireplaces and upstairs balconies designed to capture the late afternoon summer breezes. While the Architectural Review Board is quite lenient, contemporary and futurist building plans need not apply. “Rose Dhu Creek is all about a more relaxed way of life and we want the home to reflect that by having a gracious southern Lowcountry traditional design,” says Lively.

Legacy Construction, a subsidiary of the Legacy Group, constructed the first home, appropriately named Seven Oaks, on over two acres directly across from the Equestrian Center. Built for the discriminating buyer, this 3, 780 square-foot home, reminiscent of a turn of the century farmhouse, can be purchased along with the adjoining property for a total of almost 6.5 acres. Complete with a full-length covered front porch, second floor exterior balcony, rear screened porch accessed from both the kitchen and great room, large rear deck off the master suite and great room, this custom home also offers a formal dining room, study, spacious kitchen with breakfast nook and separate laundry/mud room.

A great room fireplace, heart of pine flooring, custom cabinetry, granite and marble countertops and custom mouldings throughout, make this home special.

The three car garage is connected to the main house by a covered walkway. Topping the garage is a 720 square-foot guest suite complete with full bath and coffee bar.

Professionally decorated by Kay Buck, owner of Interiors by Kay Buck, Seven Oaks in very much a country gentlemen’s estate. “The captive charm of the development inspired the interior,” Buck says. “Along with the obvious equestrian touches there are also many subtle references to the overall aspect of gracious country living.”

Legacy is now in the planning stages with two additional homes for sale.

Each home built in Rose Dhu Creek is a custom home and while Legacy is the preferred building, as long as plans meet ARB approval, any builder may be used. Square footage requirements start at a minimum of 2,000 square-feet and increase depending on lot size. Each home is specifically tailored to the site allowing for maximum retention of trees and shrubs.

Whether it’s fine dining, a gourmet grocery store, cutting edge medical care or places of worship, new homeowners are always concerned about local services and amenities. Residents of Rose Dhu Creek Plantation have the added advantage of Bluffton, a quintessential riverfront village, only minutes away. The larger more sophisticated Hilton Head Island with its numerous golf courses is less than half an hour and the big city of Savannah is a relaxing forty-five minute drive. For those with growing families, the community of Rose Dhu Creek is only two miles from the new Bluffton educational campus.

Rose Dhu Creek Plantation offers privacy, peace and serenity at an affordable price. What could be better than experiencing the soul of the Lowcountry surrounded by love oaks, a stunning marsh view, sleek horse and the knowledge that Rose Dhu Creek has been carefully developed with long-range preservation goals incorporating sensible land development, care and concern for the environment and promoting a simpler, gentler way of life.

For more information on Rose Dhu Creek Plantation please call David Lively or Steve Anthony at (843) 815-2500. To find out more about the Equestrian Center, Tracey or Dee Dee Martino can be reached at (843) 757-2927.

South Carolina Homes & Gardens Park West

Published November/December 2001 issue

Park West

Along with breathtaking natural beauty, Park West also has that “small town charm.” Designed to respect nature and providing amenities and services normally not found in most neighborhoods, Park West has become one of the Lowcountry’s premier communities.

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Already a signature landmark in Mt. Pleasant, the entrance to Park West offers calming pools, sparkling fountains, lush foliage, and brick walls scripted with the Park West name. Welcoming and graceful, blending into the natural beauty of the land, the main entrance of Park West showcases the carefree and serene lifestyle found within. 

Remember as a child riding bikes with your best friend who lived right next door? Now with a family of your own, haven’t you wished your children could walk to school or ride their bikes to the pool or tennis courts? Wouldn’t it be wonderful on a lazy fall afternoon if the whole family were able to enjoy a walk to the local ice cream parlor?

Welcome to Park West! A magical community with neighborhoods, schools, a sports complex, jogging trails, bike paths, a planned marketplace and so much more!

Conceived in 1996, Park West, located in Mt. Pleasant, just north of Charleston, is set on 1700 acres of prime Lowcountry property. Bordering Toomer and Darrell Creeks as well as the Wando River, Park West has over 4 1/2 miles of waterfront property and also includes 250 acres of saltwater marsh and 292 acres of freshwater wetlands. From its inception, the developers, Bill Bobo and Pat Tomlin were committed to the “town within a town” concept. Realizing that people were seeking more quality family time and less commuter headaches, Bobo and Tomlin worked to create a community where a family could work, play, attend school and shop while never having to drive onto a major highway. While zoning allows construction of multi-family and single-family homes, in addition to office/commercial property, Park West, has developed each stage with a keen sense of protecting the environment. Zoned for 6,000 residences, Park West envisions no more than 2,800 homes when fully developed. This spectacular site features massive moss draped oaks, rustling palmettos, grand pines, and swaying marsh grass, alive with herons, egrets and deer. Roads as well as building sites have been mapped out to follow the natural lay of the land. Sensitivity of the preservation of wetlands as well as Park West’s mission to safeguard the abundant vegetation and forests within has made them a pioneer in residential development.

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Meandering throughout Park West is the Wando River, along with tidal creeks, salt marshes and freshwater wetlands all preserved and protected to maintain the integrity of Mother Nature. Imagine enjoying the sunrise with a steaming cup of coffee, or the thrill of your child catching their very first fish from your own personal dock! Each waterfront home site comes with approved dock corridor plans. 

A development as unique as Park West deserves a unique entrance and at a cost of over one million dollars, the Park West entrance is spectacular! Lining the incoming and outgoing roads are twin tiered pools fronted by elegant brick walls showcasing the Park West name. Entering Park West, the water gives the impression of reflecting pools. Actually because of the natural topography of the land, each pool is tiered, creating waterfalls, which feed into the next level. At the end of the entrance the pools culminate with three cascading fountains. Using Chinese elms, weeping willows and magnolia-leaf hollies, the landscaping is simple yet elegant, reflecting the serene and calming environment which lies within.

Once inside Park West you notice a distinctive European flair in the use of roundabouts or one-way traffic circles. The roundabouts complement the natural beauty by eliminating overhead traffic signals as well as slowing traffic and helping the flow.

Of particular interest to homeowners with growing families is the 105 acre educational complex. Jules Deas Jr., Director of Sales for Park West told me, “Children attending our state of the art elementary and middle schools are being offered cutting edge technology which is reflected in their academic performance. And having the schools actually located inside the community has certainly fueled sales!” A brand new high school slated to open in 2004 is being constructed adjacent on Hwy 17.

Mt. Pleasant Recreation Park is located inside Park West on 59 acres and includes a football/soccer field, a baseball field, a multi-purpose athletic field as well as a community center which hosts a variety of activities from continuing education classes to seniors’ programs. The fields are lighted, restroom facilities are available and parking is plentiful. In the works is an additional baseball field and runner’s track. While the recreation park is open to the general public, the residents of Park West benefit since it is located only a short bike ride, relaxing walk or brisk jog away!

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Along with football and soccer fields at the Mt. Pleasant Recreation Park, which is conveniently located inside the Park West development, is the newly constructed 4,000 square foot community center. Complete with kitchen and restroom facilities, this versatile building is home to a variety of adult and children’s programs. 

A junior Olympic pool with bathhouse, kiddie pool, summer kitchen and toddler playground are available for homeowners to enjoy at the Park West Amenity Center. As the community continues to grow, tennis courts, an outdoor concert area and two additional pools will be constructed as rooftops dictate.

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During the summer the whole family can take advantage of the junior Olympic pool complete with gazebos and a full service bathhouse. As development at Park West continues tennis courts and additional pools are planned. 

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Time to put your toddler in his stroller and take a leisurely walk to the Park West Amenity Center. He plays on the tot lot while you help plan the neighborhood oyster roast to be held at the adjoining summer kitchen. 

The Park West community will build out at approximately fifteen neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. With the emphasis on Lowcountry design, the attention to detail combined with the beauty of the land makes these neighborhoods a welcome respite from the outside world. Each neighborhood has a themed entrance, some with fountains, which correspond with the main entrance. Natural buffering provides privacy as well as architectural harmony for each area. No matter what your housing needs, Park West offers it! multi-family neighborhoods featuring elegant townhomes and patio homes are included as well as pre-designed single-family residences and distinguished custom built homes. With 22 custom builders and 4 national builders including Centex Homes, D.R. Horton, David Weekley Homes and Beazer Homes, potential homowners have the option of purchasing an existing home for immediate occupancy, working with an approved builder to custom design their dream home, or using a builder of their own! Park West is truly a community for all of life’s stages and budgets, with homes ranging in price from the low $100K’s to over a $1 million. All waterfront homesites have pre-approved dock corridors for future development. All homes, whether site or custom built are constructed with a detailed list of criteria from the Park West Architectural Review Board in order to produce an atmosphere of compatibility. Deas said, “Park West has two ARB boards each which include an architect and meet on a weekly basis to address issues in a timely manner.” Strict adherence to architectural standards as well as approved builders who follow these rules have contributed greatly to the success of Park West.

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From the beginning, Park West developers worked hand and hand with environmental specialists to make certain that roadways and home sites were constructed following the natural lay of the land. Architecturally distinctive homes, meticulous landscaping and seasonal perennials and annuals enhance each neighborhood. 

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Spacious lots, home sides designed with sensitivity to nature, wide streets with sidewalks, bike paths and jogging trails, Park West’s neighborhood range from patio homes to custom-built waterfront estates. Suited for growing families as well as “empty-nesters,” prospective homeowners have the option of an existing home or working with a custom builder to create the “home of their dreams!”

Taking cues from a “Mayberry” style of small town life, which revolves around a center town square, the proposed marketplace will be a quaint village built to reflect “Lowcountry Charm.” Architectural features such as peaked roof, dormers, windows and doors shaded with colorful awnings, and old-fashioned chimneys, will highlight the intended “town within a town” concept. While future plans include bringing in a national anchor tenant, more immediate retailers will be specialty shops and cafes, along with service businesses such as dry cleaners and personal care salons. These will be ground floor tenants. Second and third floors will be utilized as offices for physicians, accountants, and other professionals, along with unique one-of-a-kind apartments. This diverse mix will create a self-contained community, meeting the needs of all residents.

The actual town square will be a neighborhood park and pavilion where residents can sit and leisurely visit with neighbors or just people watch.

Park West is the community of a life-time. Designed for homeowners of all ages, from growing families to busy executives to downsizing retirees, Park West has successfully created a blueprint for small town living combing a plethora of amenities with careful consideration for Mother Nature. Park West, the epitome of what Lowcountry living truly is all about.

South Carolina Homes & Gardens Quiet Elegance

 

Published November/December 2001 issue


 

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Winner of the Charleston Trident Homebuilder’s Association 1997 Prism Award for Best Resort Home, the Cowart residence is very symmetrical. Farris Cowart of Osprey Construction Company, the builder of the home, was involved in every detail. 

Seabrook Island, a setting of beauty and serenity. Farris and Jackie Cowart have certainly captured the essence of the island as well as incorporating their own ideas and tastes into a home than can best be described as “quietly elegant.”

Hidden from the main road behind a natural screen of wax myrtles, magnolias, live oaks, oleanders and ligustrums;  positioned as if the building process disturbed nothing, sits the Cowart’s 4,000 square foot Lowcountry Vernacular residence. Architect Wayne Windham told me, “While the Cowart home isn’t what one would call a true Lowcountry home, its roots and origins are Lowcountry based.”

Retaining the majority of mature vegetation was a primary goal of the Cowarts. John Hires of Three Oaks Landscaping mentioned, “We tried to retain the natural look of an old pasture, which it used to be. The rear of the property overlooks Horseshoe Creek and the mature live oaks were left in place to provide a shady canopy. Shrubs and plants were planted for different seasonal interests.” The placement of the home was dictated not only by the existing vegetation but also by the view. Every room except for the dining room and master bath embrace the panoramic marsh view.

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The rear porch has a spectacular view of Horseshoe Creek and the surrounding marsh. White wicker furniture with relaxing blue and white cushions invite you to sit and enjoy the tranquility. Baskets of ferns along with other thriving plants give testimony to the owner’s “green thumb.” 

Turning onto the drive, which was designed to wrap around the existing wax myrtles, you are greeted by a Stylus Lucas brick “welcoming arms” staircase. Lined with concrete planters bursting with shades of fall color, the staircase beckons you to the welcoming front verandah. This verandah, flanked on either side by bow windows, showcases the perfect symmetry of the home. Stately white Tuscan columns offset the richness of the classic mahogany front door and transoms.

Upon entering the soaring two-story foyer it becomes apparent that Farris, Owner and Partner of Osprey Construction Company, Inc. and his wife Jackie, a retired high school business education teacher, have created a graceful home full of warmth and comfort. A stunning hand-rubbed gold chandelier is the centerpiece of the entrance way. Capturing the different shades of gold from this chandelier are two Chinese inspired lamps resting atop a mahogany and granite Ralph Lauren console table.

Conveniently located off the foyer, the powder room is one of my favorite rooms! On a trip to the North Carolina Mountains, while browsing through an old junk store, Farris spotted a 1920’s dining room buffet with serpentine side doors. A master craftsman, Farris purchased the buffet for a future project. Deciding that it would make a perfect powder room credenza, Farris refinished it with crotch mahogany, then added brass hardware and a Kohler Artist Edition handpainted flowered sink with matching floral faucets. Picking up the rich reds, Jackie chose an eggplant hue for the walls.

The towel rack adds a touch of the unusual! The top part of an antique dresser mirror frame, it has been refinished and pegs added, making it stylish as well as functional. “I like the rustic look of the towel rack with the elegance of the rest of the room,” Jackie told me. Another unique touch is the antique copper calling card stand.

Entering the sophisticatedly appointed living room through two sets of Tuscan twin columns your eye is immediately drawn to the custom fireplace mantel. Designed and constructed by Farris, the detail work is exquisite, making it truly a work of art! Built-in bookcases along with dental moulding and window cornices are more examples of Farris’s talent and craftsmanship. From the Maitland/Smith ostrich leather cocktail table to the Jacobean animal print chairs flanking a gaming table, this room is filled with unique and eclectic pieces. The soothing palette of reds, olives and golds is accented by Jackie’s collection of Spode and Flow Blue china.

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In the living room, overstuffed reading chairs are positioned to enjoy the fireplace. Three sets of French doors leading to the rear porch help bring the outdoors in and allow for an unhindered marsh view. 

Natural outdoor light reflects through the wall of French doors that lead to the tiered rear porch. The level nearest the house is shaded and has a wrought iron table and chairs perfect for brunching al-fresco. Comfortable white wicker chairs complete with blue and while cushions invite you to sit and enjoy the relaxing marsh view. Located on the lower tier and convenient to the kitchen through the breakfast nook door is Farris’s custom designed BBQ grill. This state of the art gas grill and side burner is recessed into a cedar shake cabinet with Spanish cedar doors, a Mexican tile counter and rustic hardware. More of Farris’s handwork is evident in the unique plant stands he has created from antique sewing machine bases with Corian or granite tops.

With the kitchen, breakfast nook and sunroom to the right of the living room, the house flows nicely and is very “user-friendly” for entertaining. White cabinetry with white Corian offers a nice contrast to the cherry center island and its Verde Fontaine granite counter. Tiled into the backsplash to the right of the sink is a colorful cornucopia of flowers and fruits overflowing a graceful urn. Over the center island is a light box constructed of cherry featuring a custom designed stained glass panel. Artist Susan Suffel told me, “The stained glass design is what I envisioned the top of the tiled flower urn to look like if you were gazing down on it.” Windows surround the sunroom and breakfast nook filling them with natural light and maximizing the spectacular view. Along with the entire house, this room is filled with plants. “Before Farris and I married I had a greenhouse and I wanted our home to reflect my love of plants,”Jackie said. A cozy room perfect for watching TV or curling up with a good book, the sunroom features a Lillian August settee in shades of red, gold and pumpkin which coordinate perfectly with the two Drexel Heritage wing chair recliners and a round reading table with a chenille paisley topper. An antique sewing machine found scattered in pieces in an old garage, was painstakingly reconstructed by Farris and is on its way to becoming a treasured family heirloom. The bamboo paddle fan brings a touch of the islands to the room. “I like to throw in the unexpected,” said Jackie. Resting on the window cornices, adding holiday cheer are Farris and Jackie’s collection of a Dickens Christmas Village.

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The center cherry island with custom stained glass paneled light box is a striking contrast to the white cabinetry used throughout the rest of the kitchen. 

Holding court in the stately dining room is a Maitland/Smith mahogany table, chairs and sideboard. A Theodore and Alexander mirror reflects the beautiful Royal Albert Old Country Roses Christmas china. Victorian reproductions of Monkey lamps from Chelsea House along with monkey ornaments and napkin holders add a whimsical touch.

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Rich deep red walls framed with white wainscoting and moulding complement the Maitland/Smith mahogany table, chairs and sideboard. A Theodore and Alexander mirror reflects the beautiful Royal Albert Seasons of Color Christmas china. 

Located at the other end of the home for privacy is the master suite. Calming green seafoam walls with white moulding make for a soothing respite from the rest of the world. All colors and fabrics are soft and peaceful and work well with the four-poster pineapple bed and writing desk. An antique green and blue Oriental rug placed at an angle on the oak stained mahogany hardwood floor complement the chosen fabrics and bedding. Artwork here, as well as through out, is mainly from a Savannah artist, Sharon Saseen Dillon. Since Farris and Jackie are both from the Savannah area, Dillon’s work reminds them of home!

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The E.J. Victor French Legacy four-poster pineapple bed makes a beautiful statement in the master suite. 

Through a dressing area complete with double vanities and a walk-in closet you enter the striking, spacious master bath. The soaking tub is set into the bow of the windows and surrounded by Verde Empress marble which has also been used on the bath floor, creating long sleek lines. Concave shelves are recessed at each end of the tub and hold treasured family heirlooms along with personal pictures and other mementos. A crystal chandelier directly above the tub reflects sparkles of light and color that play around the room. Gazing around this room as with all others it is easy to see Jackie’s passion for loving accumulation. “I don’t subscribe to the ‘less is more theory,’ I buy by instinct, because I know what I want and where I want it to go.”

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This tub is the perfect place to soak away the troubles of the day! Curved shelves at each end of the tub follow the progression of the bow windows. 

Adding an artistic touch on the second floor staircase is a Chelsea House chinoiserie folding screen featuring birds and foliage in shades of black, gold and red.

The upper level houses the Charleston library room and two separate bedrooms each with full baths. While masculine in feel with a leather couch and khaki, beige and deep red striped fabric chairs, the library also has a TV, VCR and computer, perfect for keeping the grandchildren entertained! This room, just like the entire home, contains many antiques in addition to treasured family pieces and “junk store finds.” French doors open to an upstairs balcony, providing another fabulous waterview.

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The upstairs Charleston library holds treasured eclectic pieces that when put together with Jackie’s eye for detail blend perfectly! More of Farris’s handiwork is shown in the design of the fireplace mantel on which rests their collection of Byers Choice Carolers. 

In the guest room on the right hangs the framed marriage certificate of Jackie’s parents. The soothing palette of roses, pinks and creams are also highlighted in the adjacent bath. The guest suite to the left has been decorated in blues, reds and creams and hosts a separate dressing area along with separate bath. This bath, in addition to the usual cabinetry has a unique antique dressing table with full-length mirror and needlepoint antique chair.

Emanating a sense of quiet elegance, and showcasing furniture and collectibles from traditional to French to custom designed one-of-a-kind creations, every pieces in the Cowart home has been chosen and placed with care, concern and love. Definitely creating a home with a heart.

Charleston Living & Home Design Distinctly Different

 

published in May/October 2002 issue

 

Bright yellow Italian Pace chairs add bursts of color in the contemporary living room. The room’s focal point is the brushed stainless steel mantel and Blue Pearl granite fireplace.

Larry and Jan Lipov certainly were thinking “out of the box” when in 1996 they purchased a 1960’s two-story brick Greek Revival home in South Windermere on James Island and envisioned in its place a spacious 9,600 square-foot yellow stucco contemporary with standing seam metal roof. Builder Steve Brenner, President/Owner of Solaris, Inc. on Johns Island says, “This was as major a rebuild as I have ever done. The original home drove the entire design. Larry and Jan threw conventionality to the wind ending up with a whimsical fun contemporary that suits their lifestyle perfectly.”

A sixth generation Charlestonian, Jan Pearlstine was living in Washington, DC when she met her future husband Larry Lipov. Returning to Charleston to run the family business, Pearlstine Distributors, Jan and Larry initially relocated to Mt. Pleasant. After the birth of their first child they decided to return to the neighborhood Jan grew up in. Working hand in hand with architect G.M. (Skip) Wallace, Jr., owner of Island Architects in Chester, Virginia, it took two years before Larry and Jan’s dream home became a reality. “Working with Larry and Jan was a lot of fun. They were open to new innovative things and that was refreshing. It was an unusual project, limited in many ways by the original home’s footprint,” recalls Wallace.

The Lipov’s love of family and friends along with their many philanthropic interests factored into all design decisions. “We use the house to promote good in Charleston. From children’s events to Jewish functions to the Charleston Symphony, we constantly open our doors for fundraisers and other gatherings,” says Jan.

 

Perched on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway and complete with a pool, it’s easy to see why their son Edwin and daughter Halle are true “water babies.” In the summer when the Lipov’s host swimming lessons it isn’t unusual to have 50 children splashing in and around the pool. With that in mind, a special pool area was created inside between the garage and kitchen. Cubbies full of brightly colored beach towels, cabinets for guest’s personal belongings and a separate refrigerator full of drinks and snacks is across the hall from a full bath featuring Shirley Kratz hand-painted tiles.

 

 

In the main hall leading from the garage, Jan decided against the traditional coat closet instead creating a wall of lockers. “With coat closets, stuff gets pushed to the rear and lost; individual lockers allow each person their own personal space,” Jan remarks.

Another sensible idea is the two separate laundry rooms; one upstairs and one downstairs near the pool. A gift-wrapping station and drip basin for wet swim-suits located in the downstairs laundry fall into that “why didn’t I think of that” category.

Twin center islands topped with Lake Placid granite aid meal preparation by providing additional counter space. Using a freestanding Viking range instead of island cooktop and providing colorful polka dot barstools, there is plenty of room for family and friends to gather!

The original home had low ceilings which the Lipov’s raised to pay homage to the spectacular panoramic view. Offering access to the outdoors from each room, the kitchen, breakfast nook, living room and bar area has a vast expanse of glass casually draped with sheer silver fabric creating proper feng shui. “The main concept for the house since it is on the water, was being able to integrate inside and outside,” says Wendy Marcus Goer, owner of Marcus Goer Interiors, Inc. in Charleston.

Larry loves to cook and can often be found in the warm teal, bright yellow and purple kitchen inspired by Manual Canovis fabric featuring tulips and daffodils that drape the breakfast nook windows. “Jan is very innovative and had definite ideas on her color combinations,” notes Linda McLain, of Signature Kitchens and Baths of Charleston, Inc. Tay wood cabinetry was finished with a high gloss aniline dye that captures color while still allowing the beauty of the wood to come through. Stainless steel appliances and hardware were added for contrast. Gray granite is used as flooring through out the downstairs to blend and accent the vibrant color palette.

From the kitchen and breakfast area into the bar and living room resplendent in bold reds, yellows, purples and greens it is easy to imagine casual brunches as well as catered black tie cocktail parties being hosted on a regular basis. A Blue Eyes granite topped bar with comfortable, colorful chairs and glass shelves displaying the Lipov’s collection of Anheuser-Busch memorabilia reflect the nature of their business. The round remote control gaming table with Italian Pace chairs can be raised or lowered for dining or playing a friendly game of cards. In the living room an eclectic mix of furniture, family photos, fabulous artwork, objet d’art, and inherited treasures, including an antique silver tea set, which belonged to Jan’s great-grandmother, creates a room bold yet inviting.

Located in the soaring entry hall a free floating curved staircase with open risers and acrylic panels lends itself to the extreme open floor plan and magnificent view.

Above: Unique papier-mache and rope chandeliers coordinate perfectly with the rich red custom credenza and colorful fabric chair backs. Alternating gold and silver chair seats harmonize with glass topped silver table bases and glass accessories.

Defining the main dining room are silver graduated columns capped with mahogany bands. A Mona Lisa portrait and rich red credenza originally owned by Jan’s late mother are the focal points of this room. Two glass topped tables each seating eight are perfect for the rectangular space. “The two tables side by side make for easier dinner conversation than one single long table,” states Jan. A master craftsman from Chicago was commissioned to create the additional pieces in the dining room as well as the wet bar and living room built-ins.

Above: The custom crafted obeachy wood media center has been finished with an interesting trio of ceiling mouldings. This triple moulding effect has been used in different patterns throughout the home. Giving the media room a true “theater feel” is the black ceiling with spot and recessed lighting.

Across the hall mahogany pocket doors inset with Charleston artist Robert Hines stained glass lead into the state-of-the-art media room. From the surround sound media center to the comfortable relaxing black and red leather furniture resting on a cream wool rug with black leather squares, this is the perfect gathering spot for family and friends.

 

Emanating subtlety and sophistication with unexpected bursts of color, the master suite is a restful retreat yet continues to showcase Jan’s love of color. Soothing greens and muted golds commingle with royal purple accents. A raised fireplace flanked with lighted deco glass blocks is steps away from the outdoor hot tub. Original eight-foot ceilings visually soar with creative cuts hued in deep purple.

Purple cabinets in the master bath had Larry thinking twice about Jan’s color selections while the limestone floor has deep purple, emerald green and topaz colored glass blocks randomly placed. Jan initially wanted lighted glass blocks until Larry told her she would be responsible for going underneath the house to change the bulbs.

The second level is home to the children’s bedrooms each with private bath, two guest suites, family office and spacious playroom/exercise room with a second staircase leading down to the kitchen. Sweeping verandas featuring cozy sitting areas perfect for dolphin watching or enjoying a good book are accessible from all upstairs rooms.

Originally traditional and now boldly sculpted, Larry and Jan’s home truly reflects their love of family, their sense and commitment to community and their pure enjoyment derived from a home that is creative, comfortable and colorful.

South Carolina Homes & Gardens Eye of the Storm

Published November/December 2003 issue

EYE OF THE STORM

 

 

Landscaping has been kept at a minimum as not to detract from the unusual exterior design.

Huiet Paul was returning to Presbyterian College in Clinton when he decided to drop in at a Furman University freshman mixer. He was immediately captivated by a beautiful young woman standing in the middle of the dance floor dressed in white, Miss Helen Miller of Greenwood. Several years passed before Huiet and Helen met again, and Helen, Miss South Carolina-Camden 1937, didn’t remember their initial meeting. But Huiet’s charm and persistence obviously paid off as the Pauls recently celebrated their sixty-first year of marriage.
The proud parents of five children and seventeen grandchildren, the Pauls  were living on Sullivan’s Island in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo struck. “The last nail hadn’t even been pounded on the major remodeling project we were doing when Hugo came through and we lost everything,” Huiet says. Determined to rebuild, the Pauls enlisted help from their son, George. Taking his cue from shells found along the nearby beach, George sold his parents on the idea of a concrete monolithic dome in place of their previous traditional home. “I like to say the idea transpired after lots of coffee and late night drives,” George laughs.  Construction started in 1991 and took a year and a half to complete. “We originally designed a round house but eventually because of the lot and the view we increased the linear footage and ended up with more of an elliptical shape,” says George. The Paul home is called Eye of the Storm and was designed to be indigenous to the seashore by reflecting the curve of the beach, the dunes, and the seashells.

The covered deck area spans the entire rear of the home, overlooks the ocean, and makes the perfect spot for family get-togethers.

Eight huge openings, several of which are used as parking garages, along with storage areas, and a play area for the grandchildren, make up the home’s ground level. With its aerodynamic shape, wind and rain curve around and travel through these openings, eliminating pressure buildup. During a hurricane or tropical storm, these openings allow nature’s fury to pass through, leaving the structure unharmed. One-piece solid reinforced concrete and steel construction also means that Eye of the Storm can withstand up to a category five hurricane and any subsequent tornadoes. Concrete pilings were driven into the marl stopping one foot above the earth’s surface. One by two-foot reinforced concrete footings were poured on top of the pilings. A nylon balloon-like fabric was then inflated to the desired size and shape and interlocked with the footings. Rubberized stucco mixed with walnut shells for added texture was used to finish the exterior, while the interior was completed by installing additional insulation, concrete, and stucco. Cut into the exterior are several covered porches, each placed for a spectacular ocean view.

Eighty feet wide and fifty seven and one half feet in length, the Paul home has three separate interior levels and a total of 3800 “round” feet. The three levels weigh in at 250 tons and hang from the dome’s main shell, basically holding the roof in place. The lack of a “traditional” roof, with no gutters, eaves, or overhangs lessens yearly maintenance. Because of design and construction materials Eye of the Storm is very energy efficient and interior temperatures are easily maintained with minimum cost. Ground heat is drawn up into the shell through the concrete slab and helps to keep the home at a comfortable temperature; while continuous ocean breezes flow through the seaside wall of windows.

Above left: Facing the ocean, the dining room enjoys a spectacular view. Above right: The wall of windows overlooking the Atlantic ocean draws light and cool ocean breezes into the second main living area.

Exterior concrete stairs gently curve around the side of the home and lead into the main living area. This second level is home to a large open kitchen, dining, and great room, along with three guest suites each with a private bath. Running inside underneath all the ocean-side roll-out casement windows is a built-in concrete and stucco ledge topped with Italian tile showcasing the Paul’s thriving houseplants and sweetgrass basket collection. Outside covered porches feature the same type of ledge and provide plenty of additional seating when all the children and grandchildren are visiting. The great room has a wood-burning fireplace and a built-in-home entertainment nook both sculpted into the concrete walls while the home was under construction. Keeping with the circular theme of the home, the great room sofa sectional and separate reading chairs are all curved, along with the rounded kitchen center island.

 

Above left: Bedroom furniture handcrafted by the Paul’s grandson, Ryan Kursac, was built proportionally for each unique guestroom. Above right: Keeping with “Eye of the Storm’s round shape, the kitchen’s center island and back of the bar stool are gently curved.

The Paul’s grandson, Ryan Krusac, owner of Ryan Krusac Studios, handcrafted furniture in two of the guestrooms. “While my grandparent’s home is very contemporary, we have a tradition of passing down family heirlooms so I took a long-term approach in my designs. I wanted a balance of modern and traditional,” Ryan says.

Mrs. Paul’s love of music is showcased in the piano nestled under the curved staircase leading to the third level.

An interior free-floating stairway leads to the third level and duplicates the exterior staircase. Helen and Huiet’s primary living quarters, complete with full kitchen and den are located on this level; affording them absolute privacy during family get-togethers. Branching off and surrounding the master bedroom is a separate double vanity area. A deep soaker tub is surrounded by windows and provides a spectacular view of the Atlantic. “Baths are my passion, and from here I have one of the best views of the ocean,” Helen says. Hidden in one of the rounded walls in an oversized shower room with tile benches. No shower door or curtain is required due to the location and design.

Accessed from the kitchen/den area is yet another curving flight of steps leading to the fourth and final level. Now decorated as a guestroom, at one time it was Huiet’s office. “My oval office,” Huiet laughs. A large skylight is positioned directly over this fourth level. When the house was originally constructed the skylight could be raised and lowered for ventilation, but is now sealed glass. ‘During a storm with 93 mile per hour winds, the original skylight got sucked out,” Huiet says.

While Eye of the Storm was conceived due to a horrific natural disaster, it has over the years become a source of harmony, tranquility, and peace of mind for Helen and Huiet. Not to mention they always have a sure-fire conversation starter.

Living Aboard Magazine Nine to Five

Published March/April 2003 issue

Work: it’s a fact of life. Since graduating from college I have always been employed by someone else – then, a couple of years ago, I was “downsized” due to the economy. After getting over the initial shock, I took losing my job as a sign to finally fulfill my dream of becoming a freelance writer.

It was also during this time that my husband, Marc and I decided to sell our home, buy a boat, a 36′ Bayfield sailboat named Nisus, and become, along with our four cats and two dogs, full-time liveaboards. Being self employed helped tremendously with the transition from land-based home to boat. As a writer my schedule was flexible enough that if we had a boat emergency I could handle it without having to explain bilges or pumps or 12-volt electrical systems to a landlubber boss.

While I wasn’t making the kind of money I had in the past by reducing living expenses we were doing OK. Until Marc, lured by tales of sailing the seven seas, came home one day to announce that he was tired of sailing the Charleston Harbor and surrounding lntracoastal Waterways and wanted to get started on our plan of sailing to Cadiz, Spain where we had friends. While that was our original plan I had become content living at the dock with all those modern conveniences shore power provides. Plus, leaving Charleston would mean that while I would still be self-employed (a writer can write anywhere), Marc would be unemployed, putting a crimp in our lifestyle. After much discussion I agreed to go back to work full-time for someone else in order to finance our voyage.

Now came the hard part – not actually finding a job-that was a snap – but the logistics of returning to a set schedule and looking presentable while doing so.

While Nisus has an almost full-sized bathtub I still use the marina shower every couple of days to wash my hair. A six-gallon hot-water heater and hand-held shower nozzle just doesn’t work well on thick, shoulder-length curly hair. Our marina has very limited facilities, and while there aren’t many liveaboards, one shower still isn’t enough when you have a couple of people trying to get to work at the same time. In the past it wasn’t a problem since I set my own hours. But now I had to be on time and professionally dressed, since I come into contact with other employees as well as the general public. I finally learned everyone’s schedule, and as long as everyone sticks to their routine things are fine. God forbid if we get a transient docked at the marina for a couple of days, especially an early riser!

When I lost my job and then moved onto the boat I donated the majority of my professional wardrobe to a local organization that helps dress low-income women transitioning from welfare to the workplace. Being self employed, my normal office attire was shorts and t-shirts when it was hot and jeans and sweatshirts when it was cold. Now I had not only to purchase a working wardrobe, I also had to find some place on the boat to store it and a way of maintaining it.

Nisus has two hanging lockers, one in each stateroom. The locker in the aft stateroom was built to fit from the underside of the side deck to the floor, but when we had a Cruise-Air heating and cooling system installed, the duct-work into the main salon was run throught the bottom of that locker. Now the inside height is approximately the same as the one in our stateroom, which was built from the underside of the top deck down to a nice and convenient built-in bench.  Great for sitting down to tie your sneakers, but it doesn’t do much in the way of keeping dresses from becoming wrinkled.

And speaking of shoes, where does one keep shoes on a boat? When not on my feet, my boat shoes are in plain view in the stateroom, while the rest are stored under one of the salon seats. Since the majority are leather, they have to be checked periodically for mold and mildew, cleaned, and then repacked. Plus, you haven’t really lived until there you are, all dressed up, hair and make-up perfect, clothes neatly pressed, crouched down on all fours with two dogs and four cats wanting to help while you search in a space 8 inches high for a shoe to match the one in your hand.

I finally purchased several pairs of lightweight knit pants with matching tops and a couple of dresses in a rayon-poly blend. All are easy to care for, machine washable and basically wrinkle-free; though l did invest in a small compact iron for those quick touch-ups. The hanging locker in our stateroom is spacious (wide) enough to accommodate my new wardrobe. After hanging the dresses, using clothes pins, I take the hems and pin them even with the shoulders to minimize wrinkling.

Then there was the lighting issue. Nisus has two lights in the head – one over the bathtub, and one next to the sink. Unfortunately, even with both turned on they don’t provide the necessary light needed for things like applying eye makeup or shaping eyebrows.

One day at Wal-Mart I discovered a small round lighted make-up mirror that can run off either batteries or shore power. It’s compact size is perfect for the boat, plus the wattage provides more than enough light needed for applying mascara or blush.

Six weeks passed and things had been going pretty well when I had to face what I had been dreading. I woke to the sound of rain. Not just a drizzle, a pounding, gully-washing downpour! Thank goodness it wasn’t hair washing day, but I still had problems since it’s a 1,200-foot walk down an uncovered dock to my car. I lay there in my nice, warm, dry berth weighing my options; (a) I could call in sick. No, hadn’t been on the job long enough for that. (b) I could just go in late. See a. (c) I could quit. No, then I would have to face the husband. (d) I could get up, get dressed, and make a run for it. Being responsible, I chose d. Even with foul- weather gear, I was still pretty damp by the time I reached my car. But worse was yet to come: it rained the following 10 days in a row. By about day five I was beginning to believe going to work looking half drown was normal!

So far I have dwelled on the practical aspects of working full time and living on a boat. While sometimes the logistics have been difficult, the hardest transition for me has been the loss of personal time and the freedom to set my own schedule. I used to think nothing of starting my daily writing before the sun rose in order to have the afternoon off for a leisurely sail. Or, if I didn’t have time to make my weekly trip to the Laundromat, no problem, I would just dig out another t-shirt. That’s no longer an option. I have also lost that special time sitting in the cockpit with a steaming cup of coffee watching the sun rise.

I know it will all be worth it in the long run. The closer we get to our goal of a long voyage, the more excited Marc becomes, and his exuberance is contagious. I am beginning to look forward to casting off the bowlines and sailing into the sunset, if for no other reason than I will again be my own boss and waking to the pitter-patter of raindrops will be nothing more than an invitation to roll over and go back to sleep – unless, of course, it’s my turn on watch.

Lee Ann Carter has recently been published in South Carolina Homes and Gardens, Southwinds Sailing, Charleston Home Design and The Charleston City Paper.