OUTDOOR OASIS

by ROBIN HOWARD / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

This Daniel Island home balances private family space with guest quarters and fun-filled outdoor entertaining.

WE’VE ALL BEEN SPENDING A LOT MORE time at home—working, homeschooling, relaxing and entertaining. It’s no surprise that builders and renovators are seeing an uptick in people interested in building new homes or renovating their homes to include entertaining and luxurious amenities, especially outdoors.

Built by Renaissance South Construction, this Daniel Island dwelling is the ideal inspiration if you’re considering renovating or building a new home as a private oasis. The 6,500-plus-square-foot house is the domain of a busy family that loves to play and entertain. Interiors are calm and comfortable, but it’s the outdoor space that steals the show.

The open kitchen has a large sliding window that serves as a pass-through to the outdoor bar. The living room wall slides open for true indoor-outdoor living.

Inside the primary home, an open kitchen and living area is a cozy place for casual family meals. Backsplash tile laid in a herringbone pattern gives visual energy to the custom cabinets in muted tones of oystershell white. A table-style kitchen island seats up to six, with out-of-the-way cabinets beneath for storing lesser-used kitchen gear. The kitchen also has a private bar.

The glass panels that replace traditional stairway balustrades are one of the most interesting features of the house. The master bath is a private retreat with a barrel-vaulted ceiling, a generous walk-in shower and open shelving.

The owners wanted room for extended family to stay and have plenty of space and privacy, so they bought the neighboring lot and built an accessory structure. The backyard was transformed into an outdoor oasis that would provide everything the family and guests could want without having to go into the house.

With the second phase of construction, the clients also wanted room for extended family to stay and have plenty of space and privacy, so they bought the neighboring lot and built an accessory structure. Their goal was to turn their big backyard into an outdoor oasis that would provide everything the family and guests could want without having to go into the house.

Though most of the entertaining and play areas are outdoors, the second phase of the build included an indoor kitchen and bar with space for a pool table and golf simulator. Throughout the house, the transitional décor feels collected and welcoming. Unexpected touches include a contemporary black-and-white powder room with geometric wallpaper, black accents and brass details.

The existing pool also needed a renovation. The clients loved having built-in bar stools in the water, but when the kids started jumping in from all sides, they realized they needed a redesign. “We drained the pool and created a lip, so there’s a kids’ pool and an adult pool; they’re separate but contiguous,” says Renaissance South Construction owner Rob Crawford.

Though the outdoor entertaining space is the star of the show, an indoor bar and billiar ds room are on standby for rainy day fun.

The above-ground cabana was cumbersome when entertaining, so the clients asked for a sunken bar that would put them at eye level with the bartender. The new sunken bar has kitchen cabinetry made of composite materials, an ice maker and a beer fridge. Now the pool is safe for kids and more enjoyable and functional for adults.

The renovated outdoor space also has a putting green, two-sided fireplace, substantial terracing and a tennis/basketball court. Though it feels like a courtyard, the backyard takes advantage of the lush golf course and marsh views beyond. The structure also boasts a 21-foot folding wall and 12-foot folding window unit for indoor-outdoor access to the entertainment structure. “With our climate, a folding wall allows your outdoor space to become an extension of your home,” Crawford says.

Almost every new home Renaissance South Construction builds, and many of their renovations, have some pool element. Elevated pools with infinity edges or cable railings are particularly popular because they allow the builder to make the most of expansive views. Built on substantial foundations with ample room for storage underneath the deck areas, elevated pools bring the water element of a backyard oasis in line with the living space.

The outdoor space also provides for some quiet time to relax and watch TV.

The increasing popularity of pools and multifunctional outdoor living areas may be attributed to a growing desire for convenience and privacy. “There’s a certain amount of hassle going to a neighborhood pool,” Crawford says. “It’s not private, you can’t entertain there, and if you want a beer or a Coke, it’s going to cost you.” City dwellers who are moving to Charleston also want a particular lifestyle. “They want to live on the beach, and they want to be able to enjoy the warm climate. Up North, having a pool is useful about four months of the year,” Crawford says. “In Charleston, you can use your pool about nine months of the year or even all year if it’s heated.”

In addition to outdoor oases, Renaissance South has been adding other luxurious amenities that allow homeowners and guests to enjoy favorite activities, such as wine tasting, in the privacy of their homes. Wine cellars and wine rooms are growing in popularity. “Some are designed to look like an old-world wine cellar, and some are super modern with stainless steel cable wine holders and lots of glass,” Crawford says. “You can build a wine room to share with guests, or you can just build a temperature-controlled room so you can take care of your collection.”

The outdoor space includes a tennis/basketball court, a putting green, two-sided fireplace, substantial terracing, indoor kitchen/bar and pool. Though it feels like a courtyard, the backyard takes advantage of the lush golf course and marsh views beyond. PHOTOGRAPH BY ELLIS CREEK PHOTOGRAPHY

Crawford says that more and more people are retiring earlier than expected, too, and moving to Charleston to enjoy the second chapter of life as soon as possible. Working from home has also cleared the way for clients who want to be on vacation as soon as they get off work.

“These days, people are figuring out they can work from home. The pandemic has caused people to test the working-from-home waters. They’re finding they like it, and they can do it. The home office is a new normal,” Crawford says. “We’re building home workspaces that are functional, quiet and take advantage of the views. You don’t have to stare at a wall when you look up from your computer; you can look out over a marsh or a golf course or a creek.”

Renaissance South Construction created a resort-style family compound in two building phases.

Renaissance South Construction specializes in building custom homes and transforming existing residences into their most elegant, functional form. The company has been named Remodeler of the Year three times by Charleston Home Builders Association, has won 11 PRISM awards, was listed in Remodeling Magazine’s Big50 and recently won a Carolopolis Award from the Preservation Society of Charleston. *

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