Check out this showpiece 6,000-square-foot home, located on South Calibogue Cay Road in Sea Pines.
Story by Dean Rowland + Photography by Holger Obenaus
A wise architect in the Lowcountry once said, “We know how to play nicely with others.” A wise interior designer in the Lowcountry once said, “What this group was really good at was knowing when to step up and when to step back.” A wise builder in the Lowcountry once said, “My goal was to hang up the ego and get ‘er done.”
Yes, this talented team of Rick Clanton, Debi Lynes and Rick Leach knew how to play nice, collaborate and get it done. It wasn’t a learning, out-of-the box process; it was natural and professional. Three talents, three egos and three distinctively disparate personalities. No worries.
Just take a look at the accompanying pictures of the showpiece 6,000-square-foot home on South Calibogue Cay Road in Sea Pines they designed, built and furnished. It’s a grand testament to the intrinsic value of teamwork. The homeowners — Grover and Darla Todd from Greenville, S.C. — insisted on harmony with the team they hired, and that’s what they got.
“When all the folks work together, and you all have the same goal of pleasing the owner, and the owner allows the team to implement the plan, I think you end up with a world-class home,” said Leach, builder and president/owner of Paragon Construction on Hilton Head.
“In all cases, the owner was the leader of the team,” said Clanton, architect and co-partner of Group 3 on the island. “When it was not our time to be the pack leader, we were all happy pack mules. Nobody got their feelings hurt. Nobody went home sulking. Nobody was trying to blow up the process. They passionately stated their feelings and positions. It’s a healthy part of the process.”
The team was assembled after Clanton had sketched initial designs for the shingle-style Lowcountry home before construction began on the 22 month-long project.
“We started meeting before construction started to make sure we all had the same vision,” Clanton said. “We were working to make sure everyone’s interpretation of the drawings were the same, not making new decisions …anticipating what’s going to be happening next week and the week after that.”
The trio met for the duration of the project at the same time and same place weekly to make sure the script on the page hadn’t changed.
“My approach to this kind of construction is not to argue about things,” Leach said. “When you know you have that meeting every week, there’s a lot of things we can schedule into that meeting to get the answers we need. It’s a streamlined process.”
“We were really emotionally vested in it,” said Lynes, interior designer and owner of Lynes on Design on the island. “We all knew straight up that we would be collaborative with it…The one thing about all three of us was, none of us understood the word ‘no’.
“We all had strengths, but the one strength we all had was attention to detail,” she added.
When necessary, all three would invite specialists to sit in and discuss details and offer opinions in their areas of expertise. Lynes, for instance, enlisted talent from The Light Post, KPM Flooring, Casual Living and Camellia Art to provide creative opportunities.
Here are three examples of the masterful outpouring in the elegant five bedroom, six-bathroom home tucked away on an oversized lot overlooking Broad Creek.
Take the billiard room upstairs, for instance, with the painted sand-blasted cypress wood inverted tray ceiling.
“We wanted that to look like, a billiard room,” Clanton said, simply. “If you close your eyes and think of a billiard room, more than likely, it’s going to have an old rustic wood ceiling. It’s kind of what you expect to see… One of the things that makes the house so wonderful is that when you look at it, you go, ‘oh yeah, that’s what it ought to be’.”
Lynes, with her business partner and designer Pat Jackson, created living areas that are “grand, but there are no areas that are stuffy.”
“We had the opportunity to gather a complete picture of the lifestyle interior design plan, the way they wanted to live in this house,” Lynes said. “It’s very individualized for their family, very sophisticated but very comfortable.”
Leach explained his work: “Lots of different types of woods inside and different patterns…It’s a mixture of old antiques, resawn flooring on the main level; there’s stone and brick floors, cork upstairs in the billiard room.” He also trucked down the slate roof from Vermont and installed treated stained pine wood shakes on the exterior.
Another artistic touch that Clanton designed was oyster shell stucco on the exterior, but not just oyster shells applied randomly. He imported tabby craftsman with whom he had worked before to shape his vision.
“It’s more like old tabby and less like stucco with oyster shells put in it,” Clanton said.
In the beginning this trio envisioned the end goal and it kept them every day on the path to their destination.
“We had a plan we started with and that’s what we finished with,” Leach said. “At the end of the day, everything came out great.”