No risk, no reward

A few inspired gambles paid off beautifully in this lakeside retreat.

Story by Barry Kaufman + Photos by Wayne Moore of Back River Photography

While peace and comfort often go hand in hand, they are not the same. Peace is a relaxing lake view, staring out across a Lowcountry landscape toward water that sparkles in the sunlight. Comfort is relying on the tried-and-true, knowing that what you lack in excitement, you make up for in assurances that everything you’re doing has worked before.

Open House – This magnificent Palmetto Bluff home was built around the lot’s stunning lakefront views. “The whole house is about seeing through the house,” architect Pearce Scott said.

It’s when you step outside the comfort zone that something truly remarkable can happen. This stunning lakeside home is a perfect example.

“The homeowners wanted to be a little more cutting-edge with this house,” said architect Pearce Scott of Pearce Scott Architects. “The whole house is about seeing through the house.”

And while that philosophy is summed up beautifully with one glance at the way the great room frames a lake view, it’s when you look closer at the details that you see the inspired chances the team took in creating the look of this house. 

Keeping the faith 

The lake view was made to take center stage through a series of ingenious decisions, starting with the faux foyer created by a set of glass walls.

“We wanted to create that little pause, sort of a transitional area where you can greet somebody,” said project manager Amanda Denmark, who, along with Pearce Scott and interior designer Kelly McRorie, shaped the great room into the perfect frame for lake views. 

It was McRorie who came up with the unique rear walls to the great room, L-shaped structures that help delineate the space while still allowing for a sense of openings. “We were originally going to do columns, but Kelly wanted to create space for artwork,” said Scott. “It ended up creating a very intimate yet open space.”

It was a bit of a gamble, but the owner will tell you it paid off.

“I was a nervous wreck about it because I was sure it was going to block my view of the water,” said owner Leslie Stein. “But I had faith in both of them.”

Entertaining the idea 

On one side of the entryway, tucked away yet still open, is a space that is a little trickier to define. Partially a den, partially a lounge, this space offers a sort of catch-all ideal for accommodating the owners’ love of entertaining. 

“It was supposed to be an office, but I hijacked it because I needed a card table,” said Stein with a laugh. “And it’s where we like to watch TV.”

Another eye-catching sight here is the bar. Generally something you’d find at the heart of the great room, its position off to the side opens it up to more possibilities. “It’s riskier. Some might not think it works in that area, but it serves its purpose,” said Scott.

A quiet place  

Because the Steins do so much entertaining, it was important for them to have a separate place upstairs where guests could unwind without feeling like they were imposing. As Denmark puts it, it’s “Just a great hang-out space.”

Stein agrees.

“I wanted my kids to feel like they have their own space when they visit. I do really think it allows for that,” she said. “And that is an amazing view, sitting out on that porch. It’s the best spot for reading. LL

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