Custom-built home pushes the envelope for Palmetto Bluff.
Story by Dean Rowland + Photography by Mark Staff
At times, it seems like living the life at Palmetto Bluff is a larger-than-life experience. It could be the community’s pristine 20,000 acres, its nature preserve, walking trails, equestrian presence, picturesque village, the neighboring May River, or its heritage and history.
Or it could be simply living in your own majestic home in the Anson Park area at Palmetto Bluff. In Kim and Geoff Block’s case, it’s living in a compound on the two adjoining lots they purchased. They have views of the meandering river and signature Jack Nicklaus golf course; you get the picture.
“The views from our master suite are pretty amazing,” said Kim, owner of Maluka boutique in the Bluffton Promenade. “There are definitely times when I’m tempted to linger in bed and enjoy the gorgeous sights outside my window.”
“They were looking to us to capture the potential of the views, with a high level of detail and finish in the house, and I think the results are a transitional feel to it that is not the traditional Palmetto Bluff Lowcountry casual home,” said Amanda Lamb, team architect for the home-build and Design Director at Court Atkins Group in Bluffton. “They wanted to push the envelope a little bit.”
The architectural envelope unfolded with a main residence of 7,000 square feet with the master suite downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs for the Block’s three children. Two powder rooms, two fireplaces in the living space and another fireplace in the screened porch complete the ensemble.
An attached carriage house with a bedroom over the garage corrals 700 square feet of luxury, and a detached guest house of 1,400 square feet with two bedrooms welcomes anyone who visits.
“The large guest cottage is unique to the Block compound and probably one of the most detailed we’ve ever done,” said Lamb.
Court Atkins Group and the Blocks met for a year and a half to determine the home design. Simpson Construction built the waterfront retreat in 12 months, so in approximately two and a half years, the Blocks’ dream home became reality.
“We spent a lot of time reworking the plans,” Kim said, who moved south from New Jersey three years ago and co-owns RLB Squared, a real estate investment and development company headquartered in Bluffton, with her husband. “I’m a very detail oriented, organized and decisive person. I picked every tile, every piece of hardware, every faucet in the house.”
The local industry Lighthouse Award-winner for best overall in its category exudes the best of everything in the Block’s home.
“They certainly wanted elements of the open floor plan…the living, the dining, the kitchen,” said lead architect and partner William Court. “But the house is so much more complex than that. Both Geoff and Kim have working studies/offices, there’s an extensive bar area and a great outdoor living area.”
“The front kitchen is sizable,” he said. “There’s a massive island, a cooking wall; the back kitchen is probably equally as big. When you combine the front kitchen, the pantry, storage, the back kitchen and the bar area all together, it seems to go on forever.”
“We all like to cook,” Kim said. “The kids love to bake, and we have a great baking area in the kitchen that’s hidden away so they can make a mess.”
Outside, a covered rear porch “leads out to the pool terrace, which then leads out onto the 10th fairway and the water beyond,” Court said. Of course, the 20-foot wide folding wall of glass in the great room lends itself mightily to the outside views.
The windows, some furniture pieces, reclaimed oak wood flooring and contemporary custom fireplaces contrast with the light-colored interior color scheme.
“It’s a sophisticated, updated palette,” Court said.
Court continues: “There’s a tremendous amount of woodwork in the house…a mixture of traditional details and contemporary finishes. It’s both casual and elegant at the same time. She has a very sophisticated palette of furniture and light fixtures. There’s contemporary art in the house. It’s a very good house for entertaining; it’s set up well for that.”
That’s why the Blocks invited 60 adults and children to a Super Bowl party at their home last month and an even larger crowd was on hand for their son’s recent Bar Mitzvah.
“We enjoy having guests; the more the merrier,” Kim said.
“They are an outgoing, wonderful family who love to entertain,” Court said. “It really speaks to their style and aesthetics.”
Part of that style can be found in the massive master suite/bath area closets.
“I can hide from my children,” Kim said, jokingly. “It has room for all my shoes and pocketbooks.”
Twelve-foot-high ceilings stretch the space from end to end, culminating with vaulted ceilings in the master bedroom and outdoor living porch. An outdoor gathering porch upstairs looks out over the May River and sweeping fairway.
The glorious windows connect the indoors with the outdoors.
“The windows in the front of the house are set up to give the details and character of the shingle-style home,” Court said. “In the rear of the house, it’s all about views and light: it’s glass doors, mahogany doors, folding glass walls, giant double-hungs.”
Two driveways (owners and guests) lead up to the residence that rests on slightly less than an acre. The gray-tone exterior shows a metal roof, brick foundation, cedar shingles and Hardie siding.
“It’s a blend of coastal, northeastern shingle-style house, southern Lowcountry and certainly a little bit of the arts and crafts style (from the turn of the 20th century),” Court said. “There’s a lot of unique shingle detailing…flares, triple gable detailing, and even patterns within the shingles that were created for visual interest.”
Brick and stone on the covered entrance porch with double columns encase an oversized triple mahogany glass front door.
Court, who founded his firm with James Atkins in 2004, is not prone to overstatement. Yet even he concluded: “This is truly a unique Palmetto Bluff project for us.”
Kim and Geoff continue to work with Court Atkins Group on multiple projects. “It’s a true testimony to how much we value their expertise,” Kim added.
The home team.
Schwartz Design Showroom • Simpson Construction • Witmer Jones Keefer Ltd. (Landscape Design) Waterworks Kitchen • Marmiro Stones • Prestige Stone & Tile
Bird Decorative Hardware & Bath • Livingood’s Appliance • The Light Post • 501 South Studio