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.)

KITCHEN AND BATHROOM REMODELING ARE LARGE INVESTMENTS YOU CAN MAKE IN YOUR HOME GIVING YOU THE GREATEST RETURN

GRANITE-MARBLETwo of the most notable home trends in 2014 have been the amped-up transformation of two rooms that used to serve functional purposes into luxurious spaces: the kitchen and the bath.

The kitchen now is seen as a social hub for entertaining and a place for family to gather.

And bathrooms have become important spaces that define a home’s overall feel, making them some of the of the most elegant and artistic rooms in the home.

Oldfield-home01Who doesn’t cherish the Lowcountry outdoors, especially if it features twisty, towering live oak trees and a grassy marsh that stretches wide until it gives way to the peaceful Okatie River in the distance? Especially if this grand view can be enjoyed while sitting comfortably in a cozy spot somewhere in the more than 1,000 square feet of screened porch that embraces two backside floors. Inside this elegant residence, the same majestic natural backdrop captivates the eye from the kitchen, “great” room, dining room, master suite, and two upstairs bedrooms and media room.

This is the Thames family’s view in their vacation home on Old Oak Road in Oldfield Plantation. Lowcountry beauty resides in every inch of this 4,000-squarefoot, four-and-a-half bathroom architectural masterpiece that anchors the ¾-acre property. (Above the attached garage is a 400-square-foot bonus suite with full bathroom.)

homebeach01SEA PINES HOME A DREAM COME TRUE FOR OWNERS

When homeowners Rick Amatucci and Maryann Bastnagel bought the ½-acre property on which an older home sat 14 years ago as a vacation residence, the promise of that view in their mind’s eye was just a matter of when, not if, it would be theirs to enjoy.

Rick Amatucci and Maryann Bastnagel built their 4,029-square-foot, five bedroom, six bathroom dream home on Marsh Wren Road in the South Beach area of Sea Pines. The home features a T-shaped pool, an expansive living room and an unbeatable view of the Atlantic Ocean.

“It’s something we had dreamed about since our honeymoon really (21 years ago when they first visited Hilton Head Island), and, you know, we bought the older house and it was really our dream to build a house with this fabulous view,” Amatucci said, pointing to the rolling white caps from the spacious porch. “We were able to accomplish this nice vision, and the result? We couldn’t have asked for more…it’s fabulous.”

website-MovotoThe national real estate website Movoto recently ranked the Top 10 cities in South Carolina cities to live in. Hilton Head Island came in at No. 2, behind Five Forks. To justify its ranking of the island, the site said, “Even without some of the state’s most beautiful beaches taken into account, this Beaufort County town still made it to the top of our list for its overall high score in quality of life.” Charleston tied Hilton Head at the No. 2 spot.

SPRING-ISLAND01WHEN DR. RICHARD AND ANN WALTON BEGAN LOOKING FOR A RETIREMENT AREA A FEW YEARS AGO, THEY KEPT RETURNING TO SPRING ISLAND.

They scoured the Lowcountry from Charleston to Jacksonville — but nothing compared to this 3,000-acre nature preserve and secluded residential community set amidst a maritime forest teeming with loblolly pines, live oak trees, creeks, ponds, rivers, marshes, abundant wildlife and flora.

“We kept looking around and kept coming back … we loved it,” the physician said. “When we drove onto Spring Island, I thought, ‘Wow, this must be the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.’ ”

Each room of Sea Pines home is warm, comfortable

subtlegraceFrom room to room, the warmth in colors, scrutiny in fabric design, detail in millwork and other special touches make this residence on Jessamine Place in Sea Pines a home of elegant comfort.

The homeowners — Forest and Linda Frank, co-partners of Sea Pines Real Estate South Beach — and veteran interior designer Hope Hunter of Plantation Interiors on Hilton Head Island sculpted a lifestyle vision that was 18 months in the making.

“The new Sea Pines home of Linda and Forest Frank is the epitome of subtle grace,” said Hunter, a 30-plus-year veteran of the interior design business who has been with Plantation Interiors for most of that time.

“Although the rooms are different, the design flows ” said Hunter, who has teamed with the Franks on four previous home-design projects on HHI since 1999. “It’s like a collection. It’s warm and comfortable and that’s what they wanted ... they like to come home, relax and enjoy every part of their home.”

homebarklyhallTHE SIGHTLINE STRETCHING FROM FRONT TO BACK DOWN THE GRAND ENTRANCEWAY INTO THE “HEARTH” ROOM AND THROUGH THE WINDOWS TO THE LAGOON AND 15TH GREEN IS DRAMATIC AND FAR REACHING. THE SPACE IS OPEN, WELCOMING

Don and Angie McGeorge envisioned living in such an environment when they teamed up with H2 Builders in the summer of 2011 to bring their vision to life at Berkeley Hall, a private golf community in Bluffton. The Kentucky natives wanted their new primary residence to blend traditional design with Lowcountry touches and the formal with the casual.

“We love our house,” Angie said. “The house feels like it’s warm and got history; it doesn’t feel like a new house … We wanted a casual elegance rather than a stuffy formal feel. It’s an Old World feeling.”

deckhallsFOR MANY OF US, DECORATING FOR CHRISTMAS INVOLVES ONLY A FEW SIMPLE AND TIME-WORN TRADITIONS, STARTING WITH HAULING IN FLIMSY CARDBOARD BOXES PACKED WITH FAMILIAR ORNAMENTS FROM THE GARAGE OR ATTIC.

Then it’s time to wrestle the tree into position (nope, a little more to the left), untangle strings of lights and then bemoan the inexplicable absence of extension cords.

Not so for Kim and David McPhail of Wexford Plantation, who devised a different plan of attack to celebrate their first official Christmas on Hilton Head. The recent transplants from Charlotte hired a well-known North Carolina designer to transform their luxurious 8,000-square-foot home into a holiday shrine with a theme befitting their new island digs. And there won’t be an infla - able Santa or plastic snowman in sight.