It comes as no surprise that the most carefully preserved sea island in the world has bragging rights to a variety of magnificent views. When a Maryland couple discovered a rare homesite where all of Kiawah’s natural charms converged, the two knew they had pinpointed the geographic equivalent of perfection.
If you stand on the site and perform a slow pirouette, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views in every direction—a copse of indigenous trees full of native birds, the meandering Kiawah River and marsh grasses that burn orange in the sunset. Even the man-made part of this view is a winner: the 17th green of the River Course, a 7,039- yard golf course designed by famed architect Tom Fazio.
According to one of the homeowners, this perfect location required nothing less than the perfect builder to create a vacation home to be enjoyed by their ever-growing troop of grandchildren. That’s when the couple turned to Buffington Homes … again.
“The family got its first taste of Kiawah Island more than a quarter of a century ago, when they visited here to attend a business conference,” explains Cathy Buffington of Buffington Homes, a premier construction company that has been building award-winning homes on Kiawah Island for nearly 20 years. “This is the fifth house they’ve owned on the island, which I think might be some kind of record. We had the privilege of building the family’s fourth and fifth homes.”
Inspired by the extraordinary views, the home features an innovative compound of four distinct, but mostly connected, structures with the Kiawah River bordering the backyard. “The owners have a large family so the house was designed with their needs in mind,” states Trevor Buffington, son and one of the owners of the family-owned and -operated construction firm. “The idea of making the home four separate structures instead of one huge house was the brainchild of architect Zach Carney. It really makes it a standout among so many beautiful homes on the island.”
Located on a cul-de-sac in an exclusive area called “The Settlement,” the 6,600-squarefoot shingle-style home with slate roof features a neutralcolored exterior that helps it fit gracefully into its surroundings. “Every time we could build a feature of the home that blended into the natural environment or captured one of the many views, we did it,” continues Trevor Buffington. “We were on the same page with the homeowners from day one, and it made the entire process go smoothly from start to finish.”
The home with its 9 bedrooms and baths includes two elevators, one of them accessible from the garage, which is one of the four separate buildings. The master and two other bedrooms are located on the first floor of the main house, while four other bedrooms, an office and a bunkroom designed especially for the grandchildren are on the second floor.
To the right of the main structure is a carriage house complete with two bedrooms, two baths, a laundry room and sitting area with a full balcony overlooking the 17th hole of the Kiawah Island Club’s River Course. A fourth structure, also connected to the main house, includes the pool and a huge screened summer porch complete with a kitchen, living and dining areas, bath and changing room, and storage for outdoor furniture. An unusual feature of the home is that it also has a winter porch with a fireplace, hot tub and living and dining areas.
While the two large porches encourage outdoor living, the house was built to bring the outside in. The views of the river and the surrounding flora, including a massive oak tree, are enhanced by huge 6-by-6 windows with transoms in the living room, master bedroom and master bath, as well as by an open, airy floor plan.
“For this couple, it was all about the family,” concludes Trevor Buffington. “I think this will be a perfect home for this growing family for years to come. There’s nothing like it anywhere else on Kiawah Island.”
Patra Taylor is a full-time freelance writer in Mount Pleasant. See more of her writing at patrataylor.com.