Rustic hunting lodge inspired Savannah native to build luxurious Bluffton home

By Dean Rowland
Photos by Hawkeye Photography

In the beginning, there was a large unspectacular home perched on a spectacular waterfront property on the northern tip of Hilton Head Plantation.

teameffortRENOVATION GIVES HILTON HEAD PLANTATION HOME A VIEW THAT’S ALWAYS CAPTIVATING

In the beginning, there was a large unspectacular home perched on a spectacular waterfront property on the northern tip of Hilton Head Plantation.

Beyond the rambling backyard of that nearly 5,000-square-foot home built in 1989 stretched more than 200 feet of private pristine waterfront facing Port Royal Sound and a lagoon offside straddling the sixth hole at Oyster Reef golf course.

There was only one small problem with this Lowcountry piece of paradise: There were limited views of nature’s splendor from anywhere inside or outside the home.

All that changed over a 14-month period of renovation in 2012-13 when the homeowners, architect James Ogden, builder Old World Custom Homes and interior designer Kay Buck put their collective talents and visions together.

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The integration of manmade hardscapes and nature’s natural landscaping has been transforming Lowcountry outdoor living for many years. We have been moving our indoor comforts and amenities outdoors in rising numbers while watching the value of our homes increase, thanks to outdoor upgrades.

Swimming pools and spas, terraces, patios, fountains, waterfalls, ponds, fireplaces and fire pits, retaining walls, outdoor kitchens and creative lighting partner with saw palms, live oak trees, native shrubs and lush ground covers in artistic harmony to create relaxing low-maintenance personal outdoor environments.

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Lowcountry architecture a half century ago set the standard for the next two decades: simply-designed contemporary ranch homes with wood shingles, screened porches and wide overhang eaves positioned on expansive lots surrounded by towering pine and live oak trees and natural landscaping pruned to perfection.

These small, earth-toned homes in Sea Pines Plantation, Hilton Head Island’s first planned gated community, blended in with the environment and created a design style that went unchanged until the late 1970s.

Kert Huggins, vice president of Kermit Huggins Architecture & Design Inc. on the island, credits Sea Pines visionary Charles Fraser for his pocketful of new ideas for community land-use guidelines and naturalistic appreciation in home building.

“There was lots of glass to bring the outside in, taking advantage of the views and looking carefully at the lot,” the South Carolina native said. “The home would not overwhelm the landscape; the home let the homeowner take advantage of the landscape.”

In the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton area there are more than 24 gated communities. As Realtors prepare to show property to customers and clients they first interview them on lifestyle choices and how they plan to use the property. Each of the 24 communities and other traditional neighborhoods have different features and benefits. It is the Realtor that showcases the different communities and available inventory to potential buyers.  

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If you do not plan to sell your home in the near future, you may not think about it, but as a property owner you want your neighbor who is selling their house to have the most exposure of their property allowing as many potential buyers to view it and make an offer.  

PLANNED COMMUNITIES SET LOWCOUNTRY APART

When Charles Fraser first set foot on Hilton Head Island in the summer of 1950, he saw much more than beautiful beaches, virgin pine forests and rich groves of majestic live oak trees.

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He envisioned a world-class gated community, a planned development that would be low-impact and environmentally friendly. To make this grand vision a reality, he brought in the brightest, most creative minds in the real estate industry. Harvard business school graduates worked alongside land planners, contractors and marketing experts. Together, they pioneered new land development and management principals, forever changing Hilton Head Island and the surrounding Lowcountry.

coastalcausual3WEXFORD HOME EXUDES EASY-LIVING LOWCOUNTRY LIFESTYLE

The colors are soothing, like an early evening Lowcountry breeze in late summer. The backdrops in shades of whites and grays are splashed with blue, muted green, turquoise and soft red accents throughout the spacious Wexford Plantation waterfront home.

The visual color palette exudes calm and comfort and the easy-living coastal lifestyle.

BUILDER TAPS MEMORIES OF LONG ISLAND FOR OCEANFRONT HOME

When Mike Ruegamer moved from his native Long Island to the Lowcountry 30 years ago, he packed his portfolio of considerable architectural talent.

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Two years ago, he tapped his visual memory of the ubiquitous New England-style architecture of the Hamptons and Nantucket Island near Cape Cod to design a second residence on Dune Lane for a New Jersey couple.

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.

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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.)