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Timeless splendor on Spring Island

A traditional Lowcountry retreat unfolds with spectacular views from every room.

Story by Paula Magrini + Photos by Kelli Boyd & J. Savage Gibson

Without hesitation, Phyllis Reynolds identified her favorite place to relax and revel in the Lowcountry water views surrounding her new Spring Island home. “I love the peacefulness of the window seat in our master bedroom,” she said. “I could spend hours there, just gazing at the water, that endless sky and of course the sunsets.”

The view is quite a change from her home in Massachusetts, where she and husband Patrick lead busy careers. She’s an accountant, he owns a semi-conductor company. Their northeastern hometown is the family mecca, so the Reynoldses see their son, daughter and granddaughter frequently. For years they’ve all enjoyed New England summers.

“We vacationed in Bluffton for five or six years until an article in the Wall Street Journal lured us here,” Patrick explained. “When we discovered Spring Island, we knew this would be our second home.” Both Patrick and Phyllis treasure the serenity and wildlife that characterize the barrier island, located on the Chechessee and Colleton Rivers and Port Royal Sound. They quickly found their dream home site which included one of the island’s original cottages.

“At first we thought we could somehow incorporate the cottage in our new home,” Phyllis pointed out. “We lived in the cottage so we could get acquainted with our property around the clock. This was an important step in planning the design and orientation of the new home,” she added, “however, when we realized how difficult it would be to include the older structure of the cottage in our new floor plans, we had to say goodbye to it.”

Court Atkins Group Senior Design Architect Preston Bussard acknowledged the challenge. “There were many discussions on how to save the cottage including the idea of repositioning it on the home site. In the end, it was removed to make way for the new vision.” With assistance from their builder, Element Construction, the Reynoldses were able to dismantle and donate the cottage’s siding, windows, light fixtures, appliances and other elements to a Lowcountry branch of Habitat for Humanity. They believe it was the best way to preserve the legacy of the Spring Island landmark.

Once the property was cleared, Bussard and team designed a timeless riverfront retreat which embodies the Reynoldses’ wishes and embraces the influences of the iconic island community. “The owners are given hints of elegance yet allowed to experience life’s daily tasks in a relaxed and effortless manner,” Bussard said. “There are no unwanted or ‘extra’ spaces in the home. Each element of space ‘dovetails’ with one another to form a harmonious flow and progression.”

While he notes that it’s a classic traditional Lowcountry home, Court Atkins Group Project Architect Kert Huggins says the Reynolds’ retreat reflects a graceful formality and features “materials which harken back to the traditions of context one would find in stately Lowcountry riverfront homes…tabby foundations, Savannah gray brick and clapboard wood siding.” Huggins pointed out, “The use of soft, subtle colors blends very well with the beautiful natural setting of the salt marsh and moss-draped live oaks and helps reinforce the feeling of quiet and calm, which is such an important part of the Spring Island experience.”   

With the guidance of Court Atkins Group interior designer Adrienne Warner, Phyllis and Patrick infused the island’s signature salt marsh hues and live oak grandeur throughout their home. A light, natural palette prevails throughout the foyer, great room and extended dining space and is punctuated by lofty floor-to-ceiling dimensions, synonymous with the light and airy flow.

“We were designing for large-scale rooms, yet we wanted to create intimacy too,” explained Warner. “I imagined ‘dinner for two’ when contemplating dining room selections.” She said getting to know Phyllis and Patrick was the joy in this project. “They were dream clients, always willing to consider our ideas and suggestions.”

Among those suggestions was omitting draperies in the dining room, the centerpiece of the first floor, to allow full water and nature views around the clock. Warner selected a delicate yet dramatic French wired chandelier that wouldn’t compete with the views while exuding a whimsically majestic glow.

Around the corner in the owners’ entry, Warner and team proposed a brick and walnut inlaid floor to add traditional yet rustic elegance. Element’s project manager, Dave Stevenson, contributed to this area too. “At the client’s request he crafted a bench that resembles an authentic church pew,” shared Element co-owner Brandon Edwards. “It’s a loving reminder of the Reynoldses’ devotion to faith and genuine love for the Lowcountry.”

Down the hall, in the master suite, Warner introduced a pale green paint shade for Phyllis’ vanity and master bath cabinetry. “I hadn’t ever thought about green as a feature color but wound up admiring this addition to the cabinets and as well as a touch of green in my kitchen marble,” Phyllis confessed.

The Reynoldses added their own signatures to the home, with furniture pieces created by Patrick who studied at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts for eight years. His foyer table is a striking welcome for visitors, especially memorable in its pairing with a sentimental gift, a classic Lowcountry capture by renowned photographer Ben Ham.

Artwork by Phyllis’ father fills the walls, reminding the Reynoldses of their roots and the importance of embracing personal passions. “We hope to spend more time pursuing our pastimes and enjoying our extended family when we’re at our new Lowcountry address,” Patrick said.

There’s a good chance their wishes will come true. Spring Island has a way of erasing relentless work stress and pressing cares of the day.


The Home Team

Builder: Element Construction

Architect: Court Atkins Group

Lumber: Grayco

Doors: Coastal Sash & Door

Tile: Savannah Surfaces

Countertops: Distinctive

Cabinetry: Litchfield

Lighting: Lowcountry Originals

Appliances: Billy Wood Appliance

Hardware: Bird

Blinds: Budget Blinds