A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

BY PATRA TAYLOR | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

FeatureStructures_1For this riverfront home, Wertimer & Cline Landscape Architecture incorporated a living fence into its landscape design to help disguise the backyard’s functional features— pool, fire pit and play area—and allow the homesite’s natural beauty to dominate the setting.

When the tide is low, it’s possible to stroll the narrow bank of the Wando River along Daniel Island’s eastern-most shoreline. Located just north of where the waters of the Wando coalesce with those of the Cooper River before they rush into Charleston Harbor, this short stretch of sand beach offers the perfect vantage point for watching cargo ships as they move gracefully to and from Charleston’s port terminal.

When the last few homesites along this limited expanse of riverfront became available, one Daniel Island couple, Ashley and Derek, took note of the beautiful lots—the last deepwater lots convenient to Daniel Island School—and thought, “Why not us?” But as much as they admired the homesites, they never imagined they would build a home there. After all, they were content with their existing home and their lifestyle in this master-planned island community. “Building a new home just wasn’t in our plans,” says Ashley. “We heard a number of horror stories about building a home…about how stressful the whole process can be. We just weren’t interested in going through all that.”

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FeatureStructures_3Regina Garcia Design selected highly functional furniture and accessories for the home’s family room, which features a navy-colored sofa and print chairs in keeping with the homeowners’ desire for traditional styling with a nod to transitional. Above: White shiplap walls and dramatic lighting fixtures inspired a family photo gallery in the upstairs hallway.

Despite the couple’s concern about taking on such a huge project, they explored the riverfront lots, never expecting to fall in love with one of the homesites. In time, Ashley and Derek agreed to further explore the building process. They began by making a list of everything they’d want in a home. Finally, they began asking their friends, “If you were going to build a house, whom would you pick to build it?”

“Hands down, it was Structures,” continues Ashley. “We set up an interview and after one meeting with them, we knew we’d found our builder.”

As an award-winning custom homebuilder, Structures Building Company specializes in building high-quality homes in Charleston and the surrounding islands. “Our mission is to treat our clients as we would want to be treated,” states company owner Steven Kendrick. “We want them to enjoy the journey while we work out the construction headaches behind the scenes. Listening closely to their needs is a vital part of the process that allows us to provide a high-touch experience for our clients.”

FeatureStructures_4Clockwise from the top: Designed for busy mornings, the breakfast room features built-in bench seating, which provides plenty of storage space. Opposite: The view from the front entryway captures the visitor’s eye and draws it over a handcrafted dining room table, built by Landrum Tables, all the way to the Wando. The rug under the table and the drapes in the family room mimic the flow of the river. Below: An extension of the main living space, this outdoor porch with a brick fireplace is a favorite spot for the family to gather to grill, watch television and play games.

Ashley and Derek already had a relationship with architect Beau Clowney. They loved his work and wanted him to design their new home. They were thrilled to learn that Structures already had established a successful working relationship with Clowney and his team, and felt they were in good hands as they made the decision to move forward.

“We were amazed,” says Ashley, “when Beau and his talented team presented us with a design that took all our ideas and created a home that seemed to magically come together.”

Watching the details of architecture and design come together delighted Ashley and Derek every step of the way. Clowney, in turn, had a positive impression of the couple: “She loves traditional details while he has a passion for more transitional details,” explains Clowney. “This home evolved into a Southern vernacular-style house. It’s a collection of building and roof forms that all speak to Southern architecture.”

FeatureStructures_5Reclaimed ceiling beams and a brick wall behind the stove are reminiscent of homes found in historic downtown Charleston. The kitchen island features a black soapstone countertop, and on the perimeter, Calacatta marble from AGM Imports tops custom-crafted cabinetry.

In the end, Kendrick and Clowney agreed that the most difficult hurdle they had to overcome was the unique shape of the lot. But through Clowney’s brilliant design, the clients were amazed to see their home fit perfectly.

The plan incorporated all the outdoor features the couple wanted—pool, dock, garden, fire pit and an actual yard for soccer games with friends—while taking advantage of the expansive vistas. “Beau captured the view of the Wando from every room in the house through his design,” notes Structures designer Deborah Way. “I enjoyed selecting finishes that gracefully complemented the outdoor views as well as the family’s active lifestyle.”

FeatureStructures_6In the master bedroom, a beaded chandelier hangs from the shiplap ceiling. Natural light pours in through windows on all four walls. Below: The master bathroom features a wall of reclaimed river cypress behind a soaking tub. His-and-her vanities flank a bank of windows that capture an expansive view of the river.

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Reflecting back on the building process, the homeowners say that Steve Kendrick, project manager Dave Hargis and Deborah Way were an incredibly talented team that made the building process so easy for them. “Through their collaborative effort they took care of every detail,” adds Ashley. “We always felt informed, educated on the countless product options, and confident that everything would come together seamlessly. I can’t imagine ever building with another team. The home is everything we wanted…and more.”

Patra Taylor is a full-time freelance writer in Mount Pleasant. Find out more at patrataylor.com.