Tour a Palmetto Bluff home built on a foundation of inspiration 30 years in the making.
Story by Barry Kaufman + Photos by Mark Staff
Many homes are built from a single vision. This exquisite Palmetto Bluff home, the residence of Kathleen and Paul Kaleta, was founded on two.
The first vision was 30 years in the making – decades in which Kathleen collected magazine clippings, gathered architectural photographs and pinned inspirational images on Pinterest, all of which would some day comprise her dream home.
The second vision is far older – namely, the view of the ageless May River that greets you the moment you walk in the door. “When we found this lot, we just fell in love with the view,” said Kathleen. “From the time you stood in the door, I wanted you to see the water.”
The view out over the water is as breathtaking as you’d imagine, framed by windows of tall glass that form the back wall of the home. In fact, nearly the whole of the house’s rear is glass, two stories that enjoy uncompromised views of the water.
Standing in the foyer, soaking in that view, you’re immediately struck by the way these two visions came together. There is the river, of course, sitting center stage in the panorama of the great hall entryway. But scanning from one side to the other, you see how the visual collage of 30 years spent preparing has informed the look of the home. To your left, one edge of a sleek and modern glass-enclosed wine cellar teasing past a dividing wall. To your right, a stately formal dining room that wouldn’t be out of place in a centuries-old plantation home. Before you, guiding the eye to that river view, a European-inspired barrel ceiling flanked by neoclassical coffered ceilings.
From the time you stood in the door, I wanted you to see the water.
“It’s not your typical Lowcountry home,” said Andrea Eldred, partner of Element Construction, the firm behind this luxurious residence. But that’s somewhat the company’s stock in trade. “We like to push the envelope a little bit, so we can make our own niche,” said Brandon Edwards, also a partner with Element Construction. Element worked hand-in-glove with the Kaletas as well as architects Court Atkins Group to help realize 30 years of visioning.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to create a home with graceful proportions and a more refined sense of detail, in a perfect Lowcountry setting overlooking the May River,” said CAG partner William Court.
The home’s balance is struck by elements such as more casual furniture and reclaimed wood flooring, lending harmony to the dazzling variation of styles.
The vision board process of this home lends a sense of anticipation around each corner, with visual surprises and inspired points of interest at every turn.
The enlarged center island in the kitchen, the granite cut at a butterfly angle so the marbling guides the eye naturally to a dramatic cast stone range hood overlaid on a counter-to-ceiling slab of granite.
The back kitchen, with its built-in antique-inspired display cabinet. The downstairs half bath, where an antique dresser was ingeniously repurposed as a vanity. The elongated gallery off the front hall, bearing the couple’s favorite works of art. The cavernous wine cellar, itself a misnomer as the glass which encircles it leaving it feeling like anything but a cellar.
That last item stands out as the home’s signature piece, an expertly crafted space boasting imported Italian lights and backlit alabaster panels surrounded by mahogany shelving, is Savannah brick and towering wine racks that fill the front of the space.
“The spectacular result was well worth the numerous hours spent ensuring all the elements came together,” Edwards said.
And with each, we find details that speak to the immense care that went into making this home. The double-sided mahogany barn doors in the upstairs den, designed to match both the formality of a front hallway and the casual elegance of the den. The built-in bunk beds upstairs, with trim details that were custom honed at the carpenter’s home. The third-story den, added late in construction when Element realized finishing it off would add livable space with breathtaking elevated views. And, of course, the award-winning tile inset in the master bathroom.
“It was a splurge, but I’d fallen in love with it the first time I was in the tile store,” Kathleen said of the dazzling tile work. “I spent months trying to talk myself out of it.”
Fortunately, she didn’t. Because much like the rest of the home, the tile was a part of a vision. And that vision helped create a truly stunning retreat along the banks of the May.
THE HOME TEAM
Builder: Element Construction Architect: Court Atkins
Cabinets: Arlene Williams, Palmetto Cabinet Studio
Granite: Distinctive Granite & Marble Windows & doors: Grayco
Appliances: Billy Wood Appliance Lighting: Circa Lighting Tile: Savannah Surfaces
Wood Flooring: Timberstone Antique Flooring Plumbing: Cregger
Get the look of this featured home
Here are a few home accessories you can purchase to help achieve the look of this beautiful Palmetto Bluff home.