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Great design lives here

The Lowcountry has that ‘wow’ factor, forcing you to stop and take notice.

Designing Woman • Publisher Lori Goodridge-Cribb knows good design. She believes in common sense, not comic sans.

If you live here, you’ve probably heard the story of real estate developer Charles Fraser a million times — how his vision helped transform Hilton Head Island from a sparsely populated sea island into a world-class resort. In my opinion, we should never stop sharing his story.

Fraser believed he could design the ideal community back in the 1960s. He recruited the best and brightest engineers and designers to help realize his dream of resort-style amenities and luxury homes living in harmony with surrounding nature. More than 50 years later, communities across the Lowcountry continue to follow in his footsteps.

Buildings here are covered in earth tones and made with select materials to help maintain the natural aesthetic. Everything is designed to blend together. If you squint, you won’t be able to see where a building ends and where nature begins.

It’s why our fast food restaurants look more like hip coffee shops, and why for many years, the roof of our Red Roof Inn was painted green.

Hilton Head, Bluffton, Okatie, Beaufort and Port Royal all believe in this beautiful design philosophy, making Beaufort County one of the most attractive counties in the Southeast, if not the entire East Coast.

This spring issue of LOCAL Life celebrates all aspects of great Lowcountry design. You will meet intriguing local designers who are at the top of their field. You will learn tips and tricks from local interior designers and be inspired by images of their most stunning projects.

Thinking of redesigning your home? Be sure to check out our living section. We’ve got plenty of hacks and advice, and introduce a few window treatments guaranteed to transform the look of your home.

This month’s fashion shoot was done at the beautiful new USCB Hilton Head Island campus. Find out what makes its design unique as you browse the hottest designer clothing and accessories available at local shops. We also unveil the colorful new apparel line offered by Spartina 449. Each pattern has an interesting story that is connected to the Lowcountry.

Read about the best design books, tour a custom Berkeley Hall home and experience one of Hilton Head’s most quintessential golf course designs at Sea Pines Country Club. Find all of this and much more inside this March issue. We hope it inspires you to design a few things of your own!

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Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” – Joe Sparano

Say cheese!

I meet a group of friends once a quarter for a fun food challenge. Our featured dish this time around was mac & cheese, and let me tell you, it was the cheesiest! Delight your taste buds with this winning recipe, then find even more mac & cheese goodness on page 100.

Natalie Usher’s grown-up mac & cheese

1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked & drained

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups cashew milk

1 stick butter

1/2 cup of flour

8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

6 ounces Swiss cheese, grated

6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs

2 tablespoon butter (for breadcrumbs)

Cherry tomatoes, sliced thin

Directions [1] Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of butter to make crumbly. [2] Cook and drain macaroni. [3] Heat milk, butter and flour over low heat while whisking. Add cheese and spices. Continue stirring. Once thickened, add macaroni. [4] Pour into 3-quart baking dish. Top with sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Bake 30-40 minutes.