Enter the house that Structures Building Company built for Kathy and Steve Rucker, with its low-slung design and Caribbean vibe, and you immediately sense its invitation to decompress. That welcoming feeling comes to you the moment you catch sight of the garden pool and courtyard just an open door away.
The Ruckers have long had a love affair with Charleston, visiting the area often during the last 25 years and marking the day they would retire here. Sophisticated and minimalist chic themselves, they conceived of an escape where their home would almost float out to an intimate pool and gardens.
This concept for a central pool with a home connected to the yard and gardens dictated the kind of lot the Ruckers would need, says Steve Kendrick of Structures. Early on, the couple had decided on Daniel Island for its desirable amenities and proximity to Charleston and the beaches. They turned to Structures to begin the homebuilding process, asking their advice to determine the best property.
“They wanted a clean, contemporary design that would fit in the Daniel Island community,” says Kendrick. The Ruckers relied on Kendrick to match them with the right architect, too.
“This elevated corner lot property allowed for an “L”- shaped form to the house and for a natural inner courtyard and private space,” says architect Beau Clowney. Steve Rucker says, “Beau’s quality of work and the way he understood us made working with him one of our easiest decisions.”
Savvy buyers, the Ruckers recognized that building the right team would make all the difference. Living in Manhattan at the time, Kathy Rucker says they “felt very confident with whom we were working,” recalling that friends assumed they would be nervous about being so far away. “The entire team was easy to get along with to a point that New Yorkers are not used to,” says Steve Rucker.
The couple turned to their longtime friend and interior designer, New York-based Dan Barsanti, to work his magic on the interiors as he had in their previous homes. “They are all great listeners. It was the easiest collaboration I’ve been involved with. Everybody worked together so well, it all became just a function of tweaking,” says Steve Rucker.
That teamwork resulted in a home that’s relaxed in flow and style, similar to its Southern neighbors yet with a clean, mid-century sleekness. Its corrugated metal roof, popular in the Caribbean, is the first of its kind on Daniel Island, says Clowney. “The scale of the house, the size and scale of the windows and the window patterns are reminiscent of Caribbean homes, too,” he adds, “and the rambling, sprawling flow of the home lends a British Colonial quality.”
The home features clean lines, pops of color and seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces. Hard edges on baseboards, trim and other architectural elements contribute to the contemporary aesthetic. Barsanti chose neutral white walls so views and artwork pop. White oak floors throughout are fumed with an oil finish to achieve an organic and natural look. In the kitchen, shiplap walls are relaxed and informal.
Interesting artifacts and personal items throughout the home tell the couple’s history, including 19th-century family portraits and a sword on the mantel that Kathy’s father used to train as a fencer for the 1938 Olympics.
A portrait of Kathy Rucker’s ancestor oversees the dining scene; strong shapes in the dining room, including a highly polished wood table with a bold black “X” base, are low-key yet interesting. The chairs are midcentury modern covered in synthetic horsehair.
In line with the Ruckers’ style, the master bedroom is tucked away from the main house for privacy. It includes a wall of cabinets with wood inlay that elegantly hides the TV and other necessities. The luxuriously outfitted master bath features a heated floor and a steam shower.
An oyster tabby patio, a nod to the Lowcountry, wraps around the outdoor area and leads to a screened porch with gas fireplace. Feet away, a door opens to a stairway that travels up to a guest suite with a small kitchen and an airy, sunlit space that often hosts the couple’s adult children. “It’s our home, but we also wanted our children and future grandchildren to feel comfortable,” says Steve Rucker. “They love coming here.”
M.S. Lawrence writes about homes, culture and lifestyle from Charleston.