A new home on Fish Tale Island adds California flair to Charleston living

by ROBIN HOWARD/exterior photography and photo editing by HOLGER OBENAUS/interior photography by MARGARET WRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY

Set on Beresford Creek on Daniel Island, this contemporary coastal home is a blend of East and West coast design.

When architecture and design are streamlined, it allows a home’s inhabitants to focus on what’s most beautiful and essential in life. A gorgeous, serene new home on Fish Tale Island masters this discipline. The 4,500-square-foot house is one of seven homes in the private Daniel Island enclave. It has expansive views of Beresford Creek, a half-acre of privacy and a contemporary coastal vibe that is a welcome change from the traditional Lowcountry architecture.

This home is the brainchild of builder Steve Guaglianone of Novella Homes. Because it was built as a spec house, Guaglianone had free rein to take a different approach. “My vision for the house was to build something more contemporary, but I wanted it to be laid-back too,” he says. “No bright whites everywhere. I wanted a lot of warmth and a little bit of California style.”

Open shelving, maple floors and white brick keep the kitchen clean and bright. The dark gray ceiling visually anchors the light space.

Teaming up with architect Damien Busillo of DLB Custom Home Design and Jesse Vickers of JLV Creative for interior design, Guaglianone created a home that is open but cozy and highly functional. Their complementary expertise and vision for the project resulted in a brilliant collaboration. It was important to the team that the elements of the home enhanced the natural surroundings and didn’t compete with the views. By working together from the beginning, they collectively combined their skill sets and ideas, which ultimately ensured the cohesiveness and continuity of the design throughout the home.

A double-sided stucco fireplace divides the living room and dining room. A bar with a wine fridge, icemaker and floating shelves straddles both rooms.

As we walk in the front door, we’re in a two-story foyer that leads to the open dining room and kitchen. It is clear right from the start that this house is all about living outside and connecting with the environment as much as possible. There isn’t one thing, architecturally or aesthetically, that distracts from the setting.

The sight line from the front door passes straight through to the back of the house, where light pours in the floor-to-ceiling windows. We’re looking at expansive views of Beresford Creek and the home’s sparkling infinity-edge pool. To further protect the view, Guaglianone installed mechanical screen doors that descend from the porch columns, eliminating the need for permanent screen doors.

The dining room features a California-style stucco pass-through fireplace. The wet bar with beverage cooler straddles the living room and dining room.

The dining room features a double-sided stucco fireplace that divides the space from the living room and gives it an understated California vibe. An exceptional contemporary chandelier defines the room without stealing the show. Straddling the living and dining rooms, we find a generous bar with a wine fridge, icemaker and plenty of floating shelves for glassware.

Also on the main floor, there is a powder room with a robin’s-egg blue enamel sink and beautiful black-and-white mosaic tile that extends to the ceiling. There is a crisp, tidy laundry room with a sink and cabinets that echo the powder room’s color scheme. To the left of the foyer, there is a 300-bottle wine room with steel doors.

In the kitchen, brick tile walls contrast nicely with Omega cabinets stained a warm toffee. Maple floors are slightly lighter than the cabinets and have lovely black flecks and lines running through the wood. The Calacatta marble island is double thick, and countertops made of “Super Grey” marble echo the dark gray painted ceiling.

The light-filled living room has completely unobstructed views of Beresford Creek. Eliminating floor and ceiling moldings gives the room a contemporary vibe.

The range hood is stucco, mirroring the fireplace mantel, and the True refrigerator has unique pewter hardware. Three massive casement windows open to the kitchen sink. As if all of this isn’t enough, there is a scullery to the left with a second dishwasher, sink and pantry.

On the other side of the fireplace, the living room is a serene, light-filled gathering space with 10-foot steel windows. A second reclaimed wood mantel adds warmth, and a purposeful lack of molding and trim keeps the room’s lines streamlined.

Bright turquoise tile in the shower and on the floor gives this bathroom a shot of color, which runs throughout the house in other permanent design elements.

The main bedroom has vaulted ceilings with reclaimed oak beams and 10-foot windows that overlook the marsh. Doors open to the deck and lush island views. There is an organized walk-in closet and a quiet, private office just off the bedroom.

In the main bathroom, Guaglianone created a spacious wet room with a steam shower and bath. There are no neighbors to the right, so there is no need for view-blocking window treatments. Nonetheless, the builder installed one-way tinted glass in the wet room so the homeowners can see out, but no one can see in. To add to the warm theme of the house, Guaglianone added a one-person infrared sauna. The water closet lies behind a semi-hidden door that blends in with the wall.

The main bedroom overlooks the marsh and the creek. By keeping architectural and design elements spare, the home allows nature to take center stage.

Up the stairs, we find four more bedrooms and a charming entertainment room with a powder room and river views. Wallboards are hung in a column pattern, a refreshing take on horizontal shiplap.

Built-in organizers in the mudroom create a functional and tidy drop zone for the family.

Back downstairs, we step through the sliding patio doors off the dining room onto an extensive outdoor living area with a fireplace, outdoor kitchen, dining table and several seating areas. It’s here that the home’s privacy pays off; we’re looking at nothing but marsh, river and the home’s deep-water dock. To the right of the outdoor kitchen and dining room is a saltwater infinity pool with a sun deck. Wood steps lead to the ground floor and a second garage door facing the dock. The second garage is convenient for storing boat gear, kayaks or paddleboards. From here, we can take in the mixture of rooflines that help this home feel as if it’s been added on to over the years.

The main bathroom has one-way glass that eliminates the need for window coverings. The infrared sauna is one way the builder brought warm elements to the home.

Italians have a saying: Tutto semplice è difficile (Everything simple is difficult). This home has the kind of elegant simplicity that can only be pulled off when you’ve mastered your craft. “I knew it was going to be special right from the start,” Guaglianone says. And it is. *

Robin Howard is a freelance writer in Charleston.
See more of her work at

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