Tag Archives: Charleston SC

www.EastCooperBuilders.com Will Make Your Life Easier (published in Realtors’ Who’s Who East of the Cooper)

Whether you’re moving to the Lowcountry from another state and building your dream home, remodeling the family homestead or updating your office decor, http://www.eastcooperbuilders.com can help make the job easier.

Full of comprehensive information, with links to local architects, builders and home decorating companies, http://www.eastcooperbuilders.com is easy to navigate and offers all the resources necessary for designing, constructing and furnishing your home or business.

Are you unsure how to selected the right architect? http://www.eastcooperbuilders.com offers a list of Coastal Carolina architects and a handy guide containing useful questions and facts to help you choose the architect best suited for your project.

Information about the Top 10 Coastal Carolina Builders is available at http://www.eastcooperbuilders.com. Each builder profile includes a brief bio, diagrams of the builder’s number one selling floor plan, contact information. and a link to the company website. From the comfort of your own home or office, you can discover who is tops in the Charleston new home construction market and see how their company philosophy translates into outstanding customer satisfaction for you.

Do you need help choosing colors or fabrics, or do you simply want some up-to-date decorating tips? Check out the Inner Beauty section which includes new product information and helpful hints on transforming your home into a true reflection of your life. From lighting to home furnishings, to gardening tools and plants, to decorative door hardware, the Inner Beauty section lists Charleston area companies ready to assist clients with all their home and business decorating needs.

As http://www.eastcooperbuilders.com, you will also find a complete relocation package featuring local maps, a copy of the latest Carolina Homes & Interiors magazine and information from some of the area’s leading builders.

Do you have a golfer in the family? http://www.eastcooperbuilders.com has an extensive directory of golf courses located East of the Cooper as well as throughout Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head. You will also find interesting articles on golf legends Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus and others.

For up-to-the-minute weather information on Charleston, simply bookmark http://www.eastcooperbuilders.com, where you will find Lowcountry weather forecasts in addition to tidal charts and breaking weather bulletins.

At http://www.eastcooperbuilders.com, you also can access a plethora of exciting links to other coastal South Carolina communities and retirement villages, real estate and lodging information and an offer for a free issue of Carolina Homes & Interiors magazine.

Developments/Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

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.

parkwest3

 

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.

parkwest6

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!

parkwest7

 

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.

parkwest5

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. 

parkwest4

 

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.

parkwest8

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. 

parkwest2

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 Home “Quiet Elegance” November-December 2001

 

farris home

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.

farris other half

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.

farris living room

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.

farris kitchen

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.

farris 5

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!

farris 3

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.”

farris tub

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.

farris 1

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” May-October 2002

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 it’s 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.

Top: Mexican limestone tiles create winding paths through seasonal blooming plants and shrubs. Landscape Architect Robert Chestnut’s design complements the natural beauty of the Intracoastal Waterway.

 

 

Bottom: A desire to recreate a “Sullivan’s Island” look, the upstairs verandah has a beadboard ceiling, wainscoting, comfortable wicker and teak furniture. Rick Avery wrought iron railings and a spiral staircase leading to the pool.

 

 

 

 

 

Artwork and curios discovered locally as well as from all over the world are effortlessly displayed lending to the overall charm and whimsical nature of the home and grounds. A fish lounge chair, an aluminum bench designed to resemble someone doing a back flip, and metal bar stools with faces, are just a few of the fun and unusual pieces found on the many porches, verandahs and poolside.

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 traditonal 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.

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 intergrate 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 electic 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.

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: 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.

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.

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.

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 verandahs 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” November-December 2003

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Left: Bedroom furniture, handcrafted by the Paul’s grandson, Ryan Krusac, was built proportionally for each unique guestroom.
Right: Keeping with Eye of the Storm’s round shape, the kitchen’s center island and back of the bar stools are gently curved.

Living Aboard “Floating in Comfort!” September/October 2002

      Floating in Comfort

Nisus, a 36′ Bayfield, could have been named “dream boat.” She has all the style and comfort of a good liveaboard home.

Have you ever had an idea that you decided to act on, no matter how crazy your family and friends thought you were? After a life of raising a child, taking care of a big house, and working 9 to 5 for someone else, I decided I wanted to experience living on a boat while supporting myself as a freelance writer.

I learned that my new husband of two years, while gung-ho about living aboard, didn’t care for houseboats, and most of the trawlers we saw for sale were out of our price range. We looked at a couple of sailboats but weren’t impressed until the day we saw Nisus. Sitting on the hard in a Charleston, South Carolina boatyard, Nisus, a 36′ Bayfield sailboat, was everything we wanted in a boat. Lots of rich teak, a separate tub in the head, actual staterooms with doors that close, a boat built for long-range cruising–she was our dreamboat. The only problem was that I had never even been on a sailboat, and Marc’s sailing experience was limited to 16′ HobieCats. But we figured that we had learned a lot of other things in life, so we could also learn to sail. Before we knew it, the house was sold, 99 percent of our possessions either sold or donated to Goodwill, and a 5’x5′ storage room rented for personal papers and a few treasured family heirlooms. The Nisus was launched, and we moved on board with our four cats and two dogs.

That was in the middle of October and we had mild weather for approximately six weeks. A 6″ desk fan placed in our forward berth helps with air circulation on those nights when we can sleep with the hatches and portholes open. An added plus of the fan is the white noise it provides, blocking out the noise of the animals, pumps starting up, boat creaks and groans, and marina sounds in general.

The first cold night hit on a windy Saturday and since I wasn’t comfortable with the factory-installed Force10 diesel heater, we purchased an electric ceramic heater the next day from Walmart. While it did warm things up, I didn’t feel safe using it around all the animals–plus we were having increasing problems with condensation.

When we first decided to move onto a boat we agreed that we would commit to a year of boat life before making any major changes to the vessel. After six weeks aboard, we had already adjusted so well that we knew we could do this long term and we started checking into Cruise-Air heating and cooling systems. We had already planned on living in a marina the majority of the time, so being tied to shore power for the system to operate was no problem. We hired a local installer, and less than two days later Nisus was toasty warm. Plus that annoying drip drip drip from the porthole onto Marc’s face when he was asleep on his side of the berth was gone. The Cruise-Air system wasn’t inexpensive, but it was money well spent. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I think installing this system was the first step in making our boat a real home.

Our Stateroom                                                                                                                                                                                                             

One of the things we definitely wanted was a custom mattress. We are in our mid-40’s and accustomed to the creature comforts of life. Sleeping on a big piece of foam wasn’t for us. An ad in Living Aboard  caught my eye and I contacted Bob Walters, owner of Your Design Mattress Factory in Cleveland, Ohio. After a series of phone calls and e-mails, we had a custom mattress complete with inner-springs and a wonderful pillow-top–just as good, if not better, than our queen-sized Sealy at home. While it wasn’t cheap, it was worth every dime. Plus, working with Bob was a pleasant experience–he was able from our rough template to construct a mattress that fit perfectly.

In one of those liveaboard tip books I had seen a suggestion about using a two-person sleeping bag with sheets that zipped in for berths that were unusually shaped. It did the trick, but it really wasn’t comfortable, and after a while had too much of that “camping out” feeling. When the spring cleaning/redecorating bug bit me, I started experimenting with different sizes of sheets and mattress pads. After some trial and error, I found that a queen-size mattress pad worked. Since it was wider than the actual mattress, I could stretch it enouh to get it to fit length-wise. For bed linens, I purchased two full-size flat sheets and used one as a bottom sheet–there is enough extra material on the sides to stay tucked in. For the winter I used a dark red, green and blue plaid comforter on our berth. It looked great with all the dark wood, but come spring I wanted something cheerier. A bright yellow and blue comforter with matching pillow shams was perfect. Since the comforter was one of those “bed in a bag” deals, complete with a set of sheets, I purchased an additonal flat sheet and used the fitted sheet to make a shade for the hatch over the berth and to cover the stateroom’s seat cushion.

The Salon

The salon cushions were all original and looked dated, so at a fabric store I found a Sunbrella fabric in a tropical print. It brightened up the entire salon and is durable enough to withstand the dogs and cats. I plan on using the same fabric to cover the interior part of the mast. With discount-store pillows and a couple of inexpensive chenille throws, the salon is now the perfect place to curl up and enjoy a good book or take a mid-afternoon nap! 

The Head

Our head is a bit different from that found on most sailboats. We have a bathtub, which eliminates having to get the entire room wet when showering. While the tub isn’t full sized, it is large enough to sit in comfortably, and the two-tiered ledge inside the tub is perfect for storing shampoos and soaps. A colorful shower curtain, toilet-seat cover and small rug, along with matching bath accessories such as a soap dish, lotion dispenser and toothbrush holder, make the head feel as inviting and comfortable as the oversized master bath in my last home. These few accessories were inexpensive and have considerably brightened up that area of the boat.

Plants

I gave away the majority of my plants when we sold our house. I have started accumulating inside plants again, only this time they are smaller and don’t require a great deal of maintenance. Sitting outside on the transom are two plastic pots full of salmon-colored geraniums and an assortment of colorful spring flowers. In the cockpit are baskets of Swedish ivy and a Christmas cactus that I had brought from our house. It bloomed for the first time in years during our first Christmas on the boat. I took that as a good omen! These plants require little care and add a “homey” touch.

The Galley

Marc and I are big fans of a North Carolina potter and have quite of a collection of his work. I was adamant about being able to use these handcrafted serving bowls and coffee mugs on board. I also decided that, since Nisus was going to be our home, I did not want to feel as though we were camping out. We use real china and good silverware. While we do use insulated plastic tumblers for drinks, they are the same glasses we used in our last house.

I must admit, cooking in such a small space on a propane stove has taken some getting used to, although I have now become quite the boat chef. I found a small crock-pot that is just large enough to cook soups or stews for two people with a minimum of leftovers. Shopping at the mall one day, Marc discovered a wonderful appliance made by Westbend. It is a removable four-quart slow-cooker heated by a Teflon-coated base that can be used to grill two sandwiches or fry a couple of eggs. The glass lid can be turned over and used as a steamer for fresh vegetables or as a serving bowl. It also came with a handy insulated cover complete with handles, perfect for those casual marina potlucks. All pieces fit together and take up less space than my electric frying pan. It’s a very useful and versatile appliance to have on a boat.

Other Gear

Pictures, family photos, books, candles and my collection of miniature pigs are found all over the main salon and our stateroom. Even though nothing is velcroed or siliconed down, it still takes less than half an hour to secure everything in order to go sailing. By the time Marc gets things ready to go topside, I can have everything down below put up, tied down and secured.

Finally, we try to remember that what really turns any place into a home–whether boat, apartment, or 20-room mansion–are the people who live there and their attitudes. Marc and I take extra care to respect our limited amount of personal space. While living aboard is something we both wanted to do, it was, and at times still is, stressful. We try to keep a positive mind-set and a ready sense of humor. We may not live on a boat for the rest of our lives, but we are going to enjoy it for as long as we can. If and when it ends, we will move on to something else. Living aboard is another life experience–one that I am thankful to have.

After full-time boat living for almost a year now, life only keeps getting better and better. I hope these inexpensive and easy tips will help to make your boat comfortable and feel more like a home.