Addison Bell had a plan: an island home all four of his adult children and their families would love and use throughout their lifetimes.
Bell had discovered Seabrook Island in the early years and was one of the first to invest in a High Hammock villa in the 1960s. “It was a favorite place—the vegetation, the wildlife and especially the marsh side of the island,” says Bell’s daughter, Rebecca Holland. “My parents really liked its size and how casual and uncrowded it is.”
Bell turned to Osprey Construction to make his family getaway, designed by architect Wayne Windham, a reality. “He and Mom wanted to have a big family space, something that was large enough for us to all spend time with them in Charleston, for all the kids and grandkids to spend holidays,” says Holland. “We toured a lot of homes built by Osprey and really liked the quality and attention to detail they provide.”
Osprey easily fielded the questions, concerns and input from the large clan, says Doug James, vice president of construction management who, along with president Farris Cowart, is co-owner of Osprey Construction Company. With a 23-year track record of building primarily on Kiawah and Seabrook islands, he says Osprey is organized specifically to provide personal and efficient service for its island clients. “To give a client the house they’re envisioning, we spend a lot of time listening to and hearing what they say,” says James. In this case, there were many voices and opinions, an abundance of wishes and expectations.
“My dad and brothers wanted the house to be masculine, almost a fishing-lodge style. The women in the family wanted a little more elegance,” says Holland. Guided by Osprey, the family found a happy medium.
On a deep-water lot where cattle once grazed, Bell’s dream took shape. But when the patriarch fell ill during construction, Holland says the entire family stepped up to help. “It was a hard time because my dad got sick around the time Osprey was laying the foundation. We were in the middle of construction at the same time we were helping Dad deal with his illness. We relied on Osprey a lot.
“Osprey was so wonderful to us,” says Holland. “They helped us through all that. Sometimes they needed answers and Doug would walk us through the options. Dad would tell Osprey, ‘Just do what you think is best.’ They would do it, and it would be great. They’ve done so many high-quality homes on the islands that they know exactly what to do. You can trust them to make a lot of the decisions. Honest and trustworthy, they wanted the best for us.”
Though her father died earlier this year, “he got to see the end product and was very, very, very pleased,” says Holland.
The contemporary farmhouse-style home invites family and friends inside with a traditional double staircase in brick. Fiber cement shingles by Maxitile look like cedar but have a long lifespan. The four-bedroom home features dual master bedrooms. Highlights include a spacious gathering porch with views of the Bohicket River and custom cabinetry by W.M. Pritchard. The finishing rub on the walnut floors throughout is one used commercially in restaurants. James says, “It’s not a high gloss, so it wears well and sand doesn’t scratch it.”
“We all agreed on a home that wouldn’t require a lot of maintenance,” notes Holland. James and the Osprey team guided the family, advising them on ways to achieve a family-friendly vacation home. “They helped us lighten things up and move away from the lodge look,” says Holland. “They helped us choose products that would be durable and user-friendly, products that can take a beating but still look good.”
The big family loves gathering around the huge, 14-foot walnut kitchen island, which Osprey craned in. The 18-inchthick beams in the family great room are another distinguishing feature of the house. “Sourcing beams that size and getting them in place were a big project,” says James. Both focal points were important to Bell and the family, adding the rustic touches they wanted. The home’s high-risk flood zone demanded a hefty foundation that is buried 3 1/2 feet into the ground. “There are very specific engineering requirements and increased structural integrity to build in this flood zone,” says James.
The home was and is a family affair. Four years before it was built, Bell’s son Stephen, who has his captain’s license, helped create the dock on the property. “We enjoyed the dock and time on the water,” says Holland. “That gave us time to tweak the plans and really create the house we wanted.” Her brother, Eddie, handles all the maintenance. Holland and her daughter, Mackenzie, took the lead on interior design and decorating.
“My kids love it—they love fishing, kayaking, being on the water,” says Holland. “In the morning and late evening when the deer come out, we can see them from every angle of the house. And the sunsets are beautiful.”
“Dad would be ecstatic with how much we’re enjoying the house,” she continues. “He loved family. Everything he did was for family.”
M.S. Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Charleston. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.