We collect Southern things,” says Lynn Beamer, unconsciously capturing the essence of her Wadmalaw Island home: its long, unpaved avenues; its clusters of oaks; its sense that, when the antique clock ticks, an actual unit of time has been lived in—and enjoyed.
It was a love of antiques that shaped the search for their new home as Lynn and her husband Wilson prepared to move from Tennessee to the Lowcountry. The search was wide-ranging, but ultimately, they always returned to the 4-acre site with the deep-water dock on Leadenwah Creek where the breeze blew west to east.
Located in an area with over 800 acres of conservation-protected land, the Beamers’ new home, like its furnishings, avoids looking brand new.
While the exterior is based on a published design by Herlong and Associates, the custom interior is the product of teamwork by four extremely detail-oriented people: its two owners, its builder and its interior designer.
Rob Hutzler, general contractor for the project, is regional manager of Kingswood Homes, a luxury custom home builder with offices in Charlotte, N.C., and on Kiawah Island. Jennifer Ferrell, the interior designer, is owner of Riverside Designers in downtown Charleston.
Personalities jelled as the team began the 11-month, long-distance construction process. But in the process, they also created an ongoing relationship—one of the hallmarks of Kingswood Homes, which sets an extremely high bar for service. “Our goal is 100 percent satisfaction forever,” says Hutzler. “When you see clients having fun building a home, you know you’ve done your job.”
“Rob Hutzler is the most amazing man,” says Lynn Beamer. “He has a well-trained eye for the aesthetic and a dedicated work ethic. If something isn’t exactly perfect, he isn’t satisfied until it is. In fact, Wilson learned to say, ‘Rob, just make it look good.’”
Beamer says that their home, which is situated 50 feet from the creek bank, is heaven to them. Its shiplap walls, which lend a cottage feel, are painted in a Benjamin Moore shade, “Cake Batter,” which Ferrell describes as “the softest neutral and a perfect backdrop for their artwork.”
The old heart pine fireplace mantel in the living room is original to coastal Georgia and, when Wilson Beamer discovered it, was wearing an estimated 40 coats of paint. Now its finish “is very similar to a limed oak . . . neither a white wash nor a gray wash, but something in between,” says Ferrell. “Everything else in the room was planned around that mantel,” notes Hutzler.
The floors also impart a look of instant age. Made by Burchett and Burchett, the wide, grayish-brown planks of European white oak have a fumed finish and a timeless, weathered look.
Overhead, two great beams of reclaimed heart pine, 26 feet long and 16 inches deep, rest on top of square, paneled columns that divide the open living spaces downstairs. “After sitting on waiting lists for them, I felt like an organ recipient when a company called to say they’d finally located these in an old factory,” says Hutzler.
“The kitchen cabinets also have a bit of an aged finish,” notes Ferrell, discussing her favorite room, where everyone remembers Hutzler climbing atop the counters to sketch out the curved lines of the range hood, which in final form wears a glazed faux finish.
The kitchen backsplash is a subtle clue that the Beamers enjoy fishing. The white handmade tiles appear to overlap like fish scales (Lynn Beamer actually consulted fishermen on the direction to lay the tiles), and they sparkle on a sunny day.
Likewise, light bounces from the antique mirrored glass in the upper kitchen cabinets. At night, the room glows under a combination of recessed lights, under-cabinet lights and, over the large island topped with La Dolce Vita quartzite, three clear glass pendants, signed by their Vermont maker.
The versatility of the kitchen island guarantees that the room sees near-constant use, says Lynn Beamer. A row of cabinets for kitchenware occupies one side; cabinets for the home computer and accessories occupy the other. A flat-screen TV is mounted inside one end of the island facing two comfortable club chairs in a window-filled nook, also good for bird-watching on the creek.
There, nature’s own collection of “Southern things”—about 50 white herons—fly in each evening, nest in the trees just beyond the Beamers’ back porch and share the carefully chosen site with an impeccably built home.
Margaret Locklair writes and edits books and magazine articles from her home in Berkeley County. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org