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After living in 13 different communities during their married life, Gene and Denise Conahan of Colleyville, Texas, have finally settled on their haven they will soon call their permanent home.

The Conahans, originally from Philadelphia, often vacationed on Hilton Head while living in Greenville. When the couple joined forces with H2 Builders in 2008 they knew they had plans for the perfect home in the perfect location:

Bluffton’s Belfair.

“It is now our haven,” said Denise from their home about halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. “At first we fell in love with Hilton Head, then with Belfair, and then with Bluffton — we just love the way old town Bluffton is lovely and small. We hope to move there permanently by the end of next year. It’s a great house for having friends and family and entertaining. It’s a wonderful gathering place for our children.”

Initially, the Conahans were a bit concerned about building their new home “from scratch” and from a long distance, Denise said. “But, H2 Builders were wonderful and easy to work with. They have a great system, and there was no problem being here while the home was being built. We love every detail.”

hd-may2012-exteriorWhen Wayne and Helga Lilley married their talents as a homebuilder and designer, they gave birth to a beloved Lowcountry home.

Wayne, an inventor and licensed residential builder, and Helga, a designer with a master’s degree in architecture, moved to the Lowcountry in 2007 and  decided to build their own home in Oldfield in 2008 after falling in love with the Okatie community.

Before moving to the Lowcountry,  they split their time between Massachusetts and the Caribbean for seven years. In the Caribbean island of Nevis, they built a Japanese-style pole house designed by Helga with an unusual construction technique styled especially for the Caribbean.

“Because of this, Wayne decided to hire local workers, train them as his crew and build the home himself,” the couple says. “The project was challenging in many ways, including the procurement and shipping of materials that were not locally available. But the process gave us a firsthand education in building a home and also gave us the confidence to do it again.”

That practice came in handy when the couple decided to build here.

 

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When Duane Constantino’s Bay 10 Ventures began renovating a home in Baynard Cove Club, the plan was to keep approximately half of the existing structure; but it didn’t take long before Constantino, architect Terry Rosser and the owners realized that they needed to start essentially from scratch.

The Hilton Head/Beaufort section of the South Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects got together in December to unveil the winners of its annual awards. From commercial to residential, the buildings on the following pages represent the finest designs from area architects. Enjoy the tour, complete with project notes from the architects of record.

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It all started on an unassuming, humid night.

Thunderstorms had rolled in, and that evening they were severe and close. Nancy Presley, a respected Realtor, mother of two successful sons, and Grandma Mimi to two beautiful grandchildren, was sleeping restfully in her Sea Pines home on Oyster Landing when she was awakened by a loud clap of thunder seemingly shaking her house. She jumped out of bed, investigated the loud noise, and looked for any signs that something was amiss.When she could find nothing wrong and it seemed safe, she retired once again with her Maltese dog, Missy, in tow.It was 10 p.m.

Palmetto Bluff has been called the last great “land treasure” on the East Coast.

hd-nov2011-livrmHere, twisting live oaks shade lush open spaces and all roads lead to the river. The environmentally significant development first caught the attention of Susan Ketchum, 24-year resident of Hilton Head Island, during its initial development.

“I believe in land conservation. I love nature and the way that the homes in Palmetto Bluff are part of the natural setting,” said Ketchum.

Ketchum had never built a home of her own, “and this was my chance to create my dream,” she said. She found the perfect lot nestled on 3.5 acres of land that sits on a slough with a view that inspires paintings. “It was everything I wanted and more. The view, the wildlife, the water … I could not wish for anything else.”

Enlisting the aid of dear friend and internationally acclaimed interior design professional Joni Vanderslice, of J Banks Design Group, as well as Lowcountry architect Mike Ruegamer of Group 3 Design, Ketchum began what she described as a most enriching and exciting experience.

It’s become almost cliché to say that someone came to the Lowcountry for a vacation and ended up staying forever, but that’s just what happened when Jim and Liz McGuffey went looking for a place to downsize.

Their decision came quickly after a visit with friends to Hilton Head Island led them to Bluffton’s Hampton Hall. This past spring, they achieved their ideal downsizing in a house that’s around half the size of their old one.

08-2011-hd-livingroomBrett and Tara Warthen’s Gascoigne Bluff Road home, Hidden Oak, is special in many ways. For its panoramic views of the May River. For its theater, swimming pool, screened-in porch, climate-controlled wine room, chef’s kitchen (with three islands) and kids’ playhouse. For its dock on the river, and its second-floor, house-length balcony — just to name a few.

The Warthens and their son and daughter, Bryce and Kelsey, also have plenty of room to grow. The house, designed by John Pittman III and built by Casey Ricks of Baywater Properties, weighs in at a hefty 8,251 square feet, including the carriage house, four-car garage and apartment, which Brett uses as his office.

“We call it beefy,” Tara quipped. “It’s very distinguished, and when you see it, you know it’s a John Pittman design. He has that ‘large’ signature.”