For those seeking a small piece of paradise, the Lowcountry offers endless beauty.
The quiet lapping of deep water bordering both the front and back of a lot on Hilton Head Island is what sealed the deal for these Greenville, South Carolina, homeowners. Darla and Grover Todd had combed the state’s coastal hotspots— Wild Dunes, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island—to find a locale for their second home that truly resonated. For them, the peaceful, natural setting of Calibogue Sound was the perfect foil to the many outdoor amenities the resort community of Sea Pines had to offer. Having found their site, the Todds turned to the task of building a team that would manage the project effectively in their absence.
“Darla did a good amount of research, compiled a list of architects, and we met with each one of them,” recalls Grover Todd. “Our choice was pretty clear once we met with Rick Clanton of Group 3. One of the referrals described him as an artist with an architectural degree.”
Clanton, co-founder of Group 3, brought to the table a diverse portfolio of distinctive home designs and solid island relationships. He recommended that the Todds put in place the entire team—builder, landscaper, interior designers—so all were “in sync” from the project’s start. Working from a list he’d assembled through years of collaborative experiences, the Todds quickly narrowed the field and found professionals whose sensibilities meshed with their own: Rick Leach of Paragon Construction and interior design team Debi Lynes and Pat Jackson.
“Most people don’t gather their entire team at the beginning,” notes Clanton. “I think that’s a mistake. We all met and had a programming meeting. We discussed ideas room by room—function, furniture, how it all relates—an extra step that ensures that everything falls into place in accordance with the first sketch.”
In this initial meeting the homeowners were able to articulate their vision and establish their stylistic preferences, and most importantly, convey those concepts to the entire team. “Darla mentioned Restoration Hardware and I got a mental picture that was really in sync with theirs right away,” says Clanton.
In addition to assisting the homeowners in visualizing the layout of the home, the programming meeting also helped the team project accurate square footage and realistic budget numbers for the 6,000-square-foot undertaking. “What’s unique about building a house that way,” adds Leach, whose building experience in Hilton Head spans over two decades, “is that at the onset we all agreed to meet weekly to keep an open line of communication. It enabled us to maintain a high level of efficiency and resolve issues quickly. The trades people knew our schedule so they were able to join us to address questions.”
Lynes and Jackson point to the collaborative spirit as key to the conversation. “We had a lot of active listening before arriving at a conclusion,” says Jackson. “Everyone was able to share his or her point of view—it made it so powerful.”
Drawing on the Todds’ photos and ideas—and inspired by Darla’s love of the Southampton home featured in the film Something’s Gotta Give— Clanton created a plan for a classic shingle-style design. With its characteristic New England shakes, gables and broken roofline, the house would quietly nestle into the landscape.
The team moved forward harmoniously, executing plans that required few adjustments and freeing up builder, designers and architect to focus on delivering top quality. Windows were a key element in the home’s design, and Clanton placed them floor to ceiling along the home’s back wall to showcase views of the Todds’ private, covered dock on Calibogue Sound. He brought more of the outside indoors by framing the fireplace in the oyster shell tabby the Todds had requested for several exterior walls.
bedroom with health and wellness in mind, both in the selection of color tones and the strategic placement of windows to allow for an abundance of natural light. Pool by Outdoor Quality Pool Service and Repair.
The designers used a color palette dominated by white to achieve the classic coastal look Darla desired. The palette dramatically contrasted with darker floors and vivid, strategically placed pops of color throughout the home. They say their approach to curating was mostly about paying attention to the needs of the client.
“Pat and I believe in designing a home for health and wellness,” says Lynes. “It’s called supportive design. When you understand how clients are going to live in their home, it’s not difficult to choose appropriately from a style point of view.”
From start to finish, the Todds agree that the project was seamless and their team was awesome. “As a customer, I’d say it was an efficient process,” says Grover Todd. “When it came to things we didn’t need to be involved in, they took the initiative and exercised really good judgment.”
Wendy Swat Snyder is a Charleston-based freelance writer and marketing consultant.