A Spring Island escape capitalizes on riverfront views and a Lowcountry color palette
Photography courtesy of COURT ATKINS GROUP
LIKE THE OPENING SCENE of a fairy tale, Patrick and Phyllis Reynolds found themselves poised on the edge of a riverscape coated in golden light, ancient oak trees swaying in the breeze and an appropriately quaint cottage ready to offer them a seat to take in the view.
Several years before stepping foot onto the Spring Island lot where they would eventually build their dream vacation home, the couple fell in love with the Lowcountry after a visit to Palmetto Bluff. Seeking a southern retreat from the hustle of northeastern cities, the Reynoldses were charmed by the acres of untouched land and tight-knit community Spring Island had to offer.
For the first year that the Reynoldses owned the property, they stayed in the cottage that had been one of the original in the Spring Island development.
“We really appreciated the opportunity to live in that cottage from time to time the first year of ownership,” the couple says. “We truly got to know the property’s nuances that way.” Once the Reynoldses became familiar with the subtleties of the land, they felt the need to take advantage of the postcard-worthy views just beyond their front door and tapped Court Atkins Group to help them build a home that did just that.
“My furniture-making is a hobby and, though not tied directly to the design of the home, it does play a sentimental role. I designed and assembled the small consul in the front hall, a gift to Phyllis. She gifted me back with the Ben Ham photograph, which hangs above the table.”
— Patrick Reynolds, homeowner
“It was an interesting project,” says William Court, the principal architect on the project. “There was a lot of conversation about whether to include this existing building, and ultimately keeping it was not the best use of the site.” All of the construction elements of the cottage, including kitchen and bath appliances, light fixtures, hardware, windows and more, were donated to the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
“Then we started from scratch,” Court says. “The bigger, more overriding conversation became, ‘How do we get this essence of a coastal Lowcountry setting and everything that Spring Island offers into the home? How do we maximize the trees and the views that are on that lot?’”
ABOVE: A Susan Harter Muralpapers wall covering differentiates between kitchen and dining spaces and creates a distinct ambience in a way that enhances — not competes with — outside views.
LEFT: “Everything is simple, but it’s highlighted by beautiful materials and interesting details that elevate it without being overly fussy,” says Adrienne Warner, the project’s interior designer.
Court took cues from the land, making sure that the mature live oaks were not only protected but also utilized to help frame the view from every window. “There are wonderful exposures to the river and quite a bit of sunlight on the property, too, so it became all about figuring out how to position elements of the home to take the best advantage of the natural light,” he says.
“The bigger, more overriding conversation became, ‘How do we get this essence of a coastal Lowcountry setting and everything that Spring Island offers into the home? How do we maximize the trees and the views that are on that lot?’” — William Court, principal architect, Court Atkins Group
The lot, as rife with views as it is, is on the smaller side and came with a square-footage requirement of 3,500 feet or less. To make the rooms feel bigger, large traditional double-hung windows that go from nearly the floor to the ceiling were implemented wherever possible. Not only did this offer a feeling of openness to the home, but also allowed for the views to become a design element.
Although there are plenty of the mainstays one would find in a traditional turn-of-the-century Lowcountry home (true masonry fireplaces, tabby brick flooring, transoms), an open floor plan lends an air of modernity to the space that presented unique opportunities — and challenges — for Court Atkins Group.
“It was important that we played on visual cues to differentiate between spaces,” says Adrienne Warner, the interior designer who worked on the home. One example is the Susan Harter Muralpapers affixed to the dining room wall. “The wall covering that we selected was perfect for it; it didn’t compete with those views, and the colors, though muted and subtle, really helped to give that space its own feeling,” she says.
The Reynoldses’ vision was to bring the Lowcountry into their home, and color was an important element of that decision. “Most of the palette themes we utilized are synonymous with the Lowcountry backdrop,” the couple shares. “Oyster shell ivories and Spanish moss greens are prevalent.”
Throughout the home, traditional elements allow for modern touches to shine. “We wanted it to feel timeless, something that got better with age,” Warner says. “Nothing was too precious. The homeowners do really appreciate design and detail. Everything is simple, but it’s highlighted by beautiful materials and interesting details that elevate it without being overly fussy.”
For the Reynoldses, this home is warm and welcoming, a dreamy escape from long, cold winters. “It’s the spirit of the Lowcountry that won our hearts,” the couple says. “The authenticity of materials, the timelessness of the vernacular, the generational aspect of the people. The mainstays of the home – gray brick, clapboard siding, an emphasis on views – continually remind us of what lured us here.”
Homeowners: Patrick and Phyllis Reynolds
Year built: 2020
Square footage: 5,769 square feet
Number of bedrooms and bathrooms: 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths
Architects/planners: William Court, Court Atkins Group
Interior designer: Adrienne Warner, Court Atkins Interiors
Contractor/builder: Andrea Eldred, Brandon Edwards, Element Contruction
Tile: Jessica Cheek, Savannah Surfaces
Wood Flooring: Scott Ziel, Ziel’s Antique Flooring Inc.
Paint/wallpaper: Benjamin Moore, Susan Harter Muralpapers (dining room), Philip Jeffries (powder room), Peter Fasano Ltd. (master bath and closet)
Door Hardware: Patrick Blair, Bird Decorative Hardware
Cabinets: Stephen Litchfield, Litchfield Custom Cabinetry
Cabinet Hardware: Patrick Blair, Bird Decorative Hardware
Countertops: AGM Imports
Fabricator: Kim Olson, Distinctive Granite and Marble
Bath design: Carla Rohal, Cregger Co.
Lighting design: Traci Henderson, The Light Post; Becky Brackett, Lowcountry Originals; Court Atkins Interiors
Furniture: Court Atkins Interiors
Appliances: Billy Wood Appliances
Accessories: Court Atkins Interiors
Art: Ben Ham Gallery, Court Atkins Interiors
All resources supplied by Court Atkins Group.