From the outside, this genteelhome reads as close kin to the century-old low-country residences that dot this island off the coast of Hilton Head, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. Resting under a canopy of oaks, it’s got all the trappings of Southern charm: clapboard siding, broad porches, a hand-seamed metal roof, and a window extravaganza of casements, awnings, and double-hungs—some of which are stacked with singles to resemble the triple-hung configurations that were popular in these parts before air conditioning.
Studying the regional vernacular was imperative to get the details and proportions right, says architect Rick Clanton. “The problem you often see with new construction is that people try too hard. If you really look at old houses, the scale of the moldings and cornices are smaller than the eye seems to think is correct now. We tried to keep things quiet and played down. We didn’t want to do anything tricky or cutesy.”
Inside, the design exercises some modern license (namely with ceiling heights, open space, and a mechanical system with separate humidity controls), but holds fast to that vintage spirit. No space is too large or too small for homespun details such as painted beadboard, pine flooring, reclaimed light fixtures, and built-in closets with antique iron heart-strap hinges. The kitchen’s handcut, notched pantry shelving is a nice touch, but its tour-de-force is a SubZero fridge clad in raised-panel poplar to resemble an old-fashioned ice box.
A garage is unnecessary on this car-free island, which is reachable only by ferry. But the house is equipped with a “cart barn” and washing station for two golf carts—the primary mode of transportation for the locals.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Savannah, GA.