FAMILY AFFAIR

by ROBIN HOWARD / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

The homeowners already owned the land, and they wanted a home where their entire family could gather. The home they designed and built achieves that and takes advantage of the water views.

WITH SIX GROWN CHILDREN AND 20 GRANDCHILDREN, the Stanleys wanted a home where their entire family could gather. The homeowners already had their piece of paradise, a large plot of land in the Wando Farms neighborhood with spectacular views of the Wando River and a deep-water dock. They asked Cobb Architects to design it, and David Ebeling, of Cook Bonner Ebeling Construction, to build it.

To understand the house, it’s essential to understand the neighborhood. Wando Farms is a gated community that sits on a broad expanse of the Wando River in Awendaw. Formerly a kiwi plantation (yes, you read that right), the neighborhood was designed to preserve more than 600 acres of a pristine Lowcountry ecosystem. There will never be more than 14 homes in the community, so most acres are wild and untouched. The small group of homeowners also shares fields for hunting and skeet shooting, a horse barn, trails and a stocked fishing pond, among other amenities.

The Stanleys asked architects Brent Fleming and Darryl Cobb for a home where they could host Sunday dinners for 28, with plenty of room outdoors to swim, relax, cook and watch sports. Cobb designed a 7,057-square-foot house with a long horizontal footprint to take the best advantage of the views. The traditional Lowcountry-style home has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, three half-baths, a sunroom and outdoor space that would rival any resort. Devon Adams, the selections coordinator for Cook Bonner Ebeling, who helped the homeowners choose finishes, said they asked for a neutral palette and rustic elements to reflect and highlight the home’s unique location.

The crowd-friendly kitchen features farmhouse details that give the home old-world charm.

The home is designed so you can see straight through it to the incredible water view as you enter. French doors on the back of the house line up neatly with French doors on the front, adding symmetry. To the right of the foyer is a baronial library with sliding pocket doors, an 11-foot ceiling and walls paneled in rich mahogany. This study, with its cozy fireplace, built-in bookshelves and stately coffered ceiling, has too much old-world personality to be called a home office.

The foyer leads to an expansive living room open to a generous dining room that can seat at least half the family. Casings provide delineation between the dining room, kitchen and breakfast area without closing them off.

For the kitchen, the homeowner had an inspiration photo that she wanted Ebeling and Cobb to re-create. The farmhouse-style room has warm elements that help it read as cozy, even though it’s large enough to absorb a crowd with room to spare. A custom wood surround softens the massive hood, and the herringbone brick backsplash with built-in sconces adds texture and visual interest. The kitchen island is big enough that having more than one cook in the kitchen is no problem. A butler’s pantry keeps an army of serving ware organized and at the ready.

French doors in the dining room open to serene views and cool river breezes. Shiplap walls add a sense of place to the room, which comfortably seats 10.

Through the gothic arched glass door lies a walk-in pantry with counter space for rolling out pastries, as well as an extra refrigerator and dishwasher. The floor and reclaimed wood beams from Elliott Brothers Woodworks warm up the contemporary elements. The breakfast area is a favorite place for coffee and casual meals.

If the kitchen is the heart of this home, the large living room with a fireplace is a close second. With reclaimed beams and French doors that open to the 12-foot-deep porch, the living room feels snug and comfortable while embracing the marsh views.

For long-term convenience, the homeowners’ bedroom is on the ground floor. Large bay windows and a sitting area take advantage of the scenery and serve as a refuge after a full day with the grandkids. There are large his-and-her closets and a luxurious en suite bathroom with a freestanding tub, curbless shower and serene views of the Wando River.

With its river views, the living room opens to the dining room and another set of French doors that lead to the dining porch.

Also on this floor are a well-organized mudroom and a massive laundry room. The homeowner asked Cobb for a dedicated place where she could do crafts with her grandkids, so he gave her plenty of room and a large island on which to spread out.

Upstairs, Cobb designed a mini-master bedroom with built-ins, a spacious bathroom and two walk-in closets. There is also a spacious bunk room on this floor with four full-size beds, trundle beds and lots of floor space for extra kids. Above the garage, Ebeling and Adams created a media room out of the FROG (furnished room over garage) Cobb designed. This room has a half-bath and is perfect for movie nights.

Arguably, the outdoor space is where the home shines. “This family is all about hanging out together,” Cobb says. “They didn’t want anyone to feel like they were missing out on the action.” Porches are important to the family, so Cobb designed several. There’s a front porch, a back porch, a screened porch and a grilling porch that serves as an outdoor kitchen. The grilling porch has a built-in gas grill and burner and a kamado grill.

One of the family’s favorite places is the pool house. Inside there’s a long hallway with lockers for pool gear, durable couches, multiple TVs for watching sports and a bar with an enormous window that opens to the outside. The saltwater pool and spa sit between the house and the river, giving this backyard the feeling of a private oasis.

“Working with Darryl was amazing,” Adams says. “He brought the client’s vision to life in just a couple of rounds of drawings.” As for the family, Adams says they love it. “We were so happy for them to move into the home, but we were sad the project was over.”

“It turned out fantastic,” Cobb says. “It’s a beautiful house that will fit the family’s needs as they grow.” *

Robin Howard is a freelance writer in Charleston. See more of her work at robinhowardwrites.com.