A spectacular island home showcases exceptional coastal architecture and the best of Lowcountry living.
Article by Randolph Stewart / Photography by Richard Leo Johnson, Atlantic Archives, Inc.
“Many of the same extraordinary features that drew the earliest visitors to the island are still bringing them here today: majestic oak forests teeming with wildlife, saltwater estuaries with an abundance of seafood and fresh water from dozens of natural springs, hence, the island’s name.”
– Agnes L. Baldwin, “A History of Spring Island Plantation.”
Through the years, The Bluffton Breeze has published numerous articles about the history and beauty of Spring Island.
The island’s first owner, John Cochran, acquired the 5,000 acres located across the Chechessee Creek from three Indian towns in 1697, paying the Lords Proprietors 10 shillings a year. Several weeks ago, I stood near the same place where Cochran would have looked across to the lands beyond the Indian towns with my host, longtime friend and Spring Island Broker-in-Charge, John Strother.
The spot was on Pinckney Point Road, which gives you the feeling you are in a small, refined urban development skirting the river and marsh. The homes, when seen together, offer a sense of privacy with a nice blend of architectural styles. Each home looks like it was dropped into the maritime forest.
On the final bend of the narrow, winding road appeared a house anchoring the curve in such a way it seemed meant to be there. The handsome façade—with its simple, varying detailing and muted colors—gave off a feeling of quality and balance: tongue-and-groove panels, horizontal siding, articulated facades and an abundance of windows with an understated cornice. I have admired the house the few times I have passed by and was thrilled to get a personal tour.
Designing a home is much like a piece of art blending with nature. This home is the masterful work of the Atlanta-based Historical Concepts. The principal, Jim Strickland, has influenced the Lowcountry with both great land planning and architecture—Oldfield and Wilson Village at Palmetto Bluff being a few examples. Strickland was also involved in the early schematic concepts of Pinckney Point on Spring Island.
Entering the wonderfully landscaped motor court provided an intimate look at the house, raised with the garage below, which I didn’t immediately recognize, as all the underpinning is the same throughout and disguised the doors, with two stories above and a quaintly finished attic.
As we walked up the outside stairs and through a screen door, I absorbed what I was seeing. The large, wrap-around screened porches provided privacy, serenity and a sense of vastness, with panoramic, 270-degree Southern and Western views of the tidal creek and magnificent marsh beyond.
“Cocktail hour on the porch at sunset is a daily joy!” John remarked.
The furniture and accessories were so inviting, I just wanted to sit down and enjoy the immediate surroundings, as well as the natural views along the creek’s edge. What a relaxing environment! The Sideyard house plan was chosen by the design team and owner as the best way to fit in this narrow, pie-shaped lot with wide views of the river and members boat launch.
Upon entering the central front door, the interior of the house unveiled itself: the porch and the environs beyond
were inseparable. The entry, dining and living room were all one space separated by pilasters with picture-framed tongue and groove walls, patinated old pine floors and integrated cornice, which made a statement while subtly assimilating the spaces. The extensive use of triple-hung windows, which open up to permit passage from the house to the porch, allow the home to be ventilated in favorable weather and provide additional circulation when entertaining.
At the rear of the foyer, the staircase created a cantilevered bay with a hand-painted wall mural depicting
Lowcountry flora and fauna. The staircase led to the garage below and the floors above with a Palladium window and sidelights.
After speaking briefly with Aaron Daily, project architect at Historic Concepts, I left with a true sense that the New Jersey owners had assembled a “dream team” to design, build and furnish this compelling home representing Southern coastal architecture and lifestyle. The attention to detail and quality of workmanship by Clements Construction of Frogmore, SC, is a testament to their 30 years in business. The house was built in 2004, yet the condition is like-new.
The interior design was masterminded by Ruth Edwards of Hilton Head, and there is not an area of the home that is not well thought out. Her work is well-known and highly sought-after, with each space feeling inviting, without pretension, and balanced by the architecture and the owner’s wishes.
Having the opportunity to see this home and to learn what went into it was a real treat, and you can explore it yourself with the help of these wonderful pictures. Special thanks to Dawn Fritz, marketing manager at Historical Concepts, for her help and cooperation.
Historical Concepts, Architecture and Planning
- Jim Strickland, Principal / Aaron Daily, Project Architect
- historicalconcepts.com • (678) 325-6665
Ruth Edwards, Antiques and Interiors
- ruthedwardsantiquesandinteriors.com • (843) 671-2223
Clements Construction of Frogmore, SC
- (843) 521-7171
Atlantic Archives, Inc./Richard Leo Johnson, Photography