Architect Wayne Rogers of Catalyst Architects in Lexington, South Carolina, captured the essence of beachfront living at DeBordieu Colony with his classic design.
Almost every morning, Kathi Aderholt takes the short walk along the boardwalk from her home to climb the few steps up and over the dunes to the expansive beachfront. With 2,700 acres of the private, unincorporated community of DeBordieu Colony at her back, she watches as the sun breaks the horizon, its first light sparkling like diamonds across the mighty Atlantic that’s spread out before her. With her dog at her side, Aderholt then begins her morning journey along the beach—ever a surprise, ever just the same—the place on earth she feels most grounded and renewed.
Kathi Aderholt and her husband, Danny’s, relationship with this stretch of South Carolina beach began many years ago when they first vacationed in Pawleys Island with a friend during their college days. The Aderholts later returned after they were engaged and then honeymooned just a handful of miles north of DeBordieu. After retreating to the area annually for much-needed rest and relaxation from their hectic lives in the Pittsburgh area, the couple finally decided to build a vacation home they hoped might one day become their retirement home. When a friend suggested they consider DeBordieu Colony for the site of their home, Kathi Aderholt was initially skeptical. “Once I actually came to DeBordieu and began meeting the people here, I quickly realized these are the friendliest people I’ve ever met,” she recalls, smiling at the memory.
Pickled cypress walls and dark Brazilian chestnut floors add warmth and coziness to the home’s primary living space.
DeBordieu Colony is tucked between Pawleys Island to the north and Hobcaw Barony, a 16,000-acre property dedicated to research and education and owned by the Belle W. Baruch Foundation, to the south. In 1777, French aristocrat and military officer Marquis de Lafayette dubbed this natural landscape DeBordieu, meaning “borderland of God,” claiming that its beauty was matched only by its strategic seclusion.
The Aderholts appreciated that when people take up residence alongside the numerous species of wildlife on DeBordieu’s oceanfront, or next to the Debidue Creek and the North Inlet Marsh, or among the grand expanses of live oaks and other trees, they do it gently to preserve as much of the natural habitat as possible.
The dining room was designed to gently pull the eye through the space to a spectacular view of the marsh and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
A perfect place to enjoy a good book, this second-floor window seat doubles as an extra storage space.
With a specific list of features for their home in hand, the couple turned to Wayne Rogers of Catalyst Architects in Lexington, South Carolina, to design their perfect beach getaway. “Wayne designed a number of homes along the beachfront here, all unique in their own way,” notes Aderholt. “He collaborated with us on our design. …He was a true partner with us throughout the process. He’s since become a great friend.”
Rogers’ design captured the essence of a classic beach house. He opted for the warm, cozy rooms of yesteryear, which flow easily, one to the next to the next. Simple white crown and other moldings elegantly tie together the home’s painted wood plank ceilings, pickled cypress walls and dark Brazilian chestnut floors, which run throughout. The architect’s extensive use of glass windows and doors invites the essence of the Atlantic to permeate the entire home. Even the view from the front door draws the eye through the main living space to the captivating horizon beyond.
Beautiful and functional, the kitchen captures the outside views from multiple directions, making it a primary gathering spot for friends and family.
The 4,500-square-foot home easily accommodates the families of the couple’s five adult children, with its multiple gathering spaces, seven bedrooms and adjoining bathrooms, and plenty of porches that overlook a sparkling swimming pool and outdoor dining areas.
“We like to call this the fossil house,” explains Aderholt. “After a beach re-nourishment, I found hundreds of fossils on the beach, including arrowheads, fossilized teeth from sharks, wooly mammoths and mastodons, as well as a number of other fossils. It’s absolutely amazing. I’m fascinated with these fossils, so I’ve left them out in bowls and trays for people to hold and to look at. It’s an unusual way to decorate a home, but I love it.”
Located on the first floor, the spacious master bedroom, featuring a private porch, is private and quiet—even when the house is filled with guests.
Once the home was completed, it didn’t take long for the couple to transform their vacation home into their year-round residence. They soon discovered that DeBordieu Colony offers various lifestyles, as well as unmatched social and recreational amenities, to its property owners.
A kayaking enthusiast, Aderholt often takes advantage of the intricate creek system that weaves throughout DeBordieu. A limited number of homes dot the shorelines, adding yet another amazing dimension to life in this breathtaking environment. The community boat dock provides easy access to the water for boating, fishing and dolphin watching.
In addition to oceanfront and creek-front homes, DeBordieu boasts exceptional homes, many on estate-sized lots, overlooking the community’s private golf course. Designed by Pete Dye and his son, P.B. Dye, this Scottish links course is enveloped by more than 7,000 yards of lakes, lush trees and marshlands. An extravagant 30,000-square-foot Lowcountry plantation house serves as home to the DeBordieu Club, a private equity club for property owners. Enjoying a great meal at the informal grill that serves breakfast, lunch and early dinners is a great way to get to know the neighbors. Of course, there are meeting rooms that can accommodate golf tournaments and other events for up to 200 guests.
Lounge chairs for everyone surround the sparkling swimming pool deck, which also serves as a dining area for those craving hours of fun in the sun.
Home to both fine and casual dining, the oceanfront Beach Club is the heart of social life at DeBordieu Colony. Its first-class facilities include two swimming pools, a recreation center and playground. For the tennis lover, the community features a mix of Har-Tru and hard courts, along with a comprehensive pro shop and on-site pros.
With all there is to do at DeBordieu and the surrounding area, the Aderholts are always eager to get back to their home and the beach. “I absolutely love it here,” Aderholt concludes. “I don’t want to live anywhere else.”
Anyone who wants to experience the DeBordieu way of life or to learn about renting a private home or villa for their next vacation is invited to call to schedule a visit to the community.
Patra Taylor is a full-time freelance writer who lives in Mount Pleasant.