Tuscan style of Colleton River home takes owners back to the Mediterranean
Sitting in his spacious Tuscan-style home in Colleton River Plantation may be the closest that Angelo Guagliano and his wife Valerie get to embracing his homeland—without actually being there.
Sure, they visit Italy often, but they wanted to replicate the Mediterranean ambiance in their sprawling 6,500-square-foot home in the Lowcountry with distinctive architecture and customized interior design.
So, three years ago the couple enlisted the considerable local talents of Court Atkins Architects, builder Nathan Cameron of Cameron & Cameron Custom Homes and Kelley McRorie of KS McRorie Interior Design.
“You can tell when you drive up to the house, it’s a Mediterranean-style home, so clearly with the interiors they wanted to keep a tone to reflect that vision,” said McRorie, who founded her boutique design company in 2007.
“Typically, when people think of Tuscany, they think of a burnt sienna color or they think of dark heavy browns,” she said. “For the Guaglianos, we wanted to lighten that up…The colors are a softer palette. What you really want to focus on is not the heaviness of the interior, but the beautiful views outside, and the windows are absolutely spectacular being on the river. Because we’re on the coast and the water, we definitely wanted to make it a little lighter and brighter and have a softer, more modernized palette.”
Nearly all of the hard and soft surfaces in the four-bedroom, four-full and two-half bathroom residence are custom made and furnished in an open floor plan downstairs with direct views of the water.
“We loved our last home, a Lowcountry plantation-style home (also in Colleton River), but with the new house—my husband is of Italian descent—we’ve always liked things that are of Italian nature and love going to Italy, and we wanted more of an Italian-style home,” said Valerie, who, with her husband, are retired as former executives in the banking and insurance industries and New York City-area natives. “We wanted open space, and highlight the views we have in our new property.”
Upon opening the 10-foot-high iron double front door, “all you see is the negative edge (pool) line on top of the Colleton River” in the rear of the home, said Cameron, who founded his construction company five years ago.
The entryway, and most of the downstairs flooring, sparkles with light-colored Italian marble, and a grand spiral staircase immediately to the left winds upstairs, anchored by a custom-made iron railing and walnut steps handscraped on-site by Cameron’s team.
Immediately to the right of the entryway is a naturally flowing formal dining room.
”We went with a pecky cypress on the ceiling and washed it in a beautiful light silver-gray color,” McRorie said. Light Italian textiles and dark walnut beams provide hue contrast.
Rough sawn cypress timbers on the ceiling beams in the great room and kitchen are stained dark. All ceilings on the first floor are 12 feet high, and walnut flooring covers the great room and master suite. Throughout the downstairs are strategically positioned white cast-stone Italian columns by Francoise & Co.
The Atlanta-based company also hand-made the kitchen’s signature focal point: the cold cast stone range metal hood in an antique brass finish. It also provided the custom mosaic tile backsplash. Palmetto Cabinet Studio crafted the natural walnut (with pigment added) cabinetry around the perimeter to match the walnut used throughout the house, including all of the custom-made interior doors.
“It’s all furniture-grade cabinetry,” Cameron said.
All counter tops are Calcutta gold granite, except for the walnut atop an extended island with seating for four, which also can double as a serving buffet. A breakfast nook sits adjacent to the enormous kitchen, and a long galley off the kitchen connects the butler’s pantry, back kitchen and wine bar. Two state-of-the-art Sub-Zero wine coolers can hold 155 bottles each, much to wine aficionado Angelo’s delight.
If the kitchen is the home’s centerpiece, the adjoining oversized great/living room surely has its own gravitational pull for commanding attention.
“We wanted the living room to have an elegant feel, but also be super comfortable,” McRorie said.
She met the challenge for achieving that goal by dividing the room into two separate seating areas.
Facing the masterful fireplace and television that’s built-in to a bookcase are a couple of arm chairs, two Italianate iron ottomans with leather tops, a leather wing chair, a washed velvet sofa, casual fabrics and a seagrass area rug. Behind that grouping is an Italian-style console table for a more intimate setting.
“We brought exterior stacked stone from outside and wrapped it into the fireplace wall to tie the exterior structure of the house into the inside,” McRorie said. Cameron’s craftsmen designed the “natural North Carolina stone surround,” he said.
Besides living the Lowcountry life of leisure since moving in last October, the couple has enjoyed sharing their bountiful amenities with family, friends and guests frequently.
The comfortable enclosed porch, with double doors leading to the breakfast room inside or to the swimming pool outside, with power screens and a large working kitchen can accommodate a dozen guests.
“The living room, kitchen and porch just flow from one to the next, and it’s so easy for entertaining,” Valerie said. “We’re able to cook outside or inside in a manner that just flows.”
The river views are part of the natural attraction, as are two dolphins that cozy up to the Guagliano’s dock every evening.
“I have to give credit to the owners,” Cameron said. “The owners made it special. They’re an Italian couple…they love Colleton River, they’re very social people and socialize a lot. They always have guests and put a lot of thought into the guest rooms, long-term guests, family members…It was really a treat working for them. They were very hospitable kind people.
“It’s definitely a showpiece home that will show for many years,” he added.