Watching a bald eagle take flight, soar and dive in the hunt for lunch is exhilarating. The scene connects us to our environment and brings us close to the wild.

Hot weather and high humidity are as much a part of coastal South Carolina as wraparound porches and sloping metal roofs. Traditional architectural styles frequently found in old-time Savannah and Charleston eventually took root in Beaufort and Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island, shaping the style of the Lowcountry.

WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE: HOME EXCHANGE PROGRAM LETS OWNERS VACATION WORLDWIDE

Over the past three years, Rex and Susan Gale have gone on 12 vacations to four different countries without paying a dime for lodging. 

The Hilton Head Island couple does pay $150 a year to be part of an online home exchange program, but that’s considerably less than they would spend on hotel rooms and rental properties. 

Whether you are building your dream house from scratch or remodeling, deciding which builder to work with is the most important decision you will have to make. This is the company that will be working with you to choose your floor plan, to make customizations, to choose the materials you want to work with, and much more. It is incredibly important to ensure that you choose a company that you feel confident can help you turn your dreams into a reality. You’ll be working with your builder for quite a while, and you’ll be living in your home even longer, so you want to be sure that you’re comfortable in your professional relationship.

HURRICANE MATTHEW DAMAGE CREATED OPPORTUNITY FOR A FABULOUS REBUILD

Ted Buchanan and Patra Evans couldn’t believe it when they saw the text while home in Atlanta: Hurricane Irma had blown through the South Beach area in Sea Pines with nary a scratch to their getaway villa.

“We were kind of biting our fingernails looking at Irma,” Evans said. “We didn’t want to go through it again.”

Whether you are downsizing into retirement or decorating a vacation condo, these moves tend to mean more excitement and definitely less square footage. In order to maximize your available space, so that every area looks spacious and comfortable, there are certain design and decorating rules that you should follow:

Architect William Court knows a thing or two about transforming the ordinary and everyday into the extraordinary. To him, it’s all in the details.

The ordinary — an open floorplan for a home’s lower level — has been a Lowcountry staple for decades. To elevate that floorplan to extraordinary, Court brought striking architectural elements from the outside in, creating design individual living space niches.

To increase the comfort, beauty and enjoyment of a home, many owners turn to renovations. Sprucing up also adds value to a home by keeping it up to date. In this special section, we have before and after photos of real projects handled by businesses found right here in the Lowcountry. 

When a Pennsylvania couple wanted to build a second home in Port Royal Plantation, the realtor who found a perfect half-acre-plus lot for them suggested they meet a certain architect—who in turn suggested they meet a certain interior designer.

Enter Kelly Caron, owner of Kelly Caron Designs and the 2016 LightHouse-award winner for “Best Interior Design,” bestowed by the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association.

H2 Builders helps NY couple build Lowcountry house of their dreams

Gary and Gail Neumen are “100 percent” certain they’ll be moving into their new home in Bluffton in January, leaving behind their main residence, careers and life on Long Island, New York.

They will be trading Long Island’s south shore for other bodies of water — the 28-acre lake at Hampton Hall, plus the kidney-shaped swimming pool in the backyard of their new home. After buying and selling one lot in the community in 2015, the couple is finally ready to settling into the home they’ve built on the .45-acre lakeside lot hugging the 10th hole fairway of Pete Dye’s signature course that they bought in 2009.