ELEGANT DAUFUSKIE ISLAND HOME IS FAR FROM COOKIE-CUTTER
It was a warm, cloudless and very breezy Lowcountry Thursday morning when the Haig Point ferry left the dock.
Skimming slowly south on Broad Creek and then full throttling on the wide-open Calibogue Sound, all was good on this day, and 28 minutes later a golf cart was waiting as planned to take a short jaunt to Tabby Circle. (No cars allowed on Daufuskie Island, remember? All one hears are the spring leaves shuffling and the birds chirping.)
Sitting there, regally, next to the 5th green on the front nine with 270-degree views of the Sound and Atlantic Ocean, is a Mediterranean-style Italianateinfused home that stretches skyward for three stories.
A multi-tier Italian fountain bubbles near the aluminumclad mahogany front door, which is framed by three-coat hard stucco walls that are visually interrupted by custommade mahogany shutters on most of the single windows, some of which are arched. Higher still, the handmade Mexican clay tile roof absorbs the penetrating sunlight.
Center stage on the wooden table is a custom-made lazy Susan masterpiece with glass top and marble inlay of semiprecious stones, handcrafted by the same Indian artisan studio that showcased its talent at the Taj Mahal.
This is what homeowners Dr. Ravi and Nalini Raveendra from Ohio wanted — and more.
“One cool unique feature outside is if you look at the corners, they are all rounded, which you won’t see anywhere else,” said designer Mike Vaccaro, managing partner of Ludtke & Vaccaro Architects LLC of Hilton Head. “That was Ravi’s idea, and I worked with Ken (Crast of Crast Custom Homes, the builder) on the details. It turned out great.”
Step away from the live oak trees in the front yard and walk around the pie-shaped lot to the backyard bursting with pine trees, palmettos and sweeping water views, and you’ll again be reminded of an exquisite Mediterranean villa to the grandest detail.
Sharing the greatroom living space in the 11-foot high second floor are custom mahogany bookcases and a China cabinet and kitchen cabinetry by Downsview Kitchens.
Curved stone steps with custom-designed wroughtiron “belly” railings outside the main living area on the second floor wind downstairs to the 600-square-foot stucco-walled courtyard with a Moroccan fountain atop the paver bricks, Vaccaro said. The mid-floor terrace spans 300 square feet and another terrace on the third floor covers 144 square feet. Each “living” room and bedroom accesses the outdoor living space with water views 100 feet away and far beyond.
The recently retired Raveendras frequently travel abroad, whether to their native India, Greece, France, six visits to Tuscany or elsewhere.
“In our travels, we always liked the Tuscan look,” said Nalini, a former financial adviser at a major credit card company. “That was our inspiration.”
The Mediterranean design of this 2,700-square-foot home stands out at Haig Point, because it creates a distinctive personality among its neighbors of elegant Lowcountrystyle homes in the woodsy neighborhood. The details in architectural design and building craftsmanship are striking.
“We wanted something different, not cookie-cutter,” said Ravi, who researched old antebellum homes in Savannah for design ideas, such as railings, tiling and balconies.
“This home is not quantity, it’s quality,” said Crast, who founded his company on the island in 1982 and has built three custom residences on Daufuskie. Architect Vaccaro has designed 15 homes there since 1996 and formed his company in 2006.
In the informal dining room that shares open space with a comfortable living room and kitchen with granite-top island, Ravi comes upstairs from his 1,000-bottle wine cellar below and uncorks a primo bottle of pinot noir at lunchtime with a smile on his face. He could have selected from any number of California cabernets or French firstgrowths from the redwood wine racks tucked behind a custom mahogany and glass door.
Center stage on the wooden table is a custom-made lazy Susan masterpiece with glass top and marble inlay of semi-precious stones, handcrafted by the same Indian artisan studio that showcased its talent at the Taj Mahal.
Most collectibles in the home were purchased by the couple in their travels, including two frescoes from Santorini that were inset into the textured walls that “simulate Venetian plaster,” Crast said. Adjoined to the oak stairs with poplar trim on the risers to the frescoes are powder-coated aluminum railings with motifs evoking the Tuscan wine country.
“I love having the things I love around me,” said Nalini. “They bring back memories; they’re very personal.”
This Mediterranean-style Italianate-infused home offers 270-degree views of the Calibogue Sound and Atlantic Ocean.
Sharing the great-room living space in the 11-foot high second floor are custom mahogany bookcases and a China cabinet and kitchen cabinetry by Downsview Kitchens; a cast stone fireplace that Crast designed and Charlotte Architectural Casting made in addition to the stone range hood; lightivory travertine tile floors with 4x4 accents; and metallic painted crown moldings.
“We wanted to stay true to the Mediterranean feel of the house,” Nalini said. “The molding details are simple but very elegant at the same time.”
“All the details are soft ... it makes it (the home) live bigger than it is,” Vaccaro said.
Downstairs, which also has stone flooring, are the wine cellar and a guest bedroom with French doors that open to the patio. Upstairs on the third floor, with 8-inch red oak plank flooring, are the master suite and a guest room, which share a sitting sunroom. Overall, there are three-anda- half bathrooms, all of which have 18x18 travertine floor tiles.
The home also brings in light from every room.
“In designing the house we wanted a lot of light and windows, and from every room we wanted to enjoy the view of the course and water,” Ravi said.
The water, beauty, quiet and privacy of the island is what attracted the couple to Daufuski 18 years ago when they bought their property — and it still does.
“We loved it as soon as we saw Daufuskie Island and she loved the whole thing,” Ravi said. “We still do, that’s why we built it.”
“It was unique, the unique setting appealed to us,” she said.
Builder: Crast Custom Homes
Architect: Mike Vaccaro
Kitchen: Downsview, installed by
Crast Custom Homes Stone hood & fireplace: designed by Crast Custom Homes, fabricated by Architectural Cast Stone Inc.
Stone flooring: Stone Horse