A collaboration between McConnell Real Estate Partners and Artalia Interiors reimagines a Mount Pleasant home, ready for a new family

by DANA W. TODD / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

Jen McConnell and Natalia Roca

Jen McConnell knows how to uncover the beauty and value in a home. That’s the secret behind her success helping buyers, sellers and investors achieve their real estate goals through McConnell Real Estate Partners, a boutique brokerage firm that provides concierge-level real estate services to its clients. She blends her storytelling-style of marketing with in-depth construction knowledge, personalized home staging and client collaboration to make certain her listings are distinctive.

Case in point: 1395 Madison Court in Mount Pleasant’s Brickyard Plantation. Due to a change in circumstances, the homeowners, Natalia and Art Roca of Artalia Interiors, realized they would not be able to stay in what they thought was their forever home. They insisted on making it just as special for a new family. “I envisioned the antebellum home as a blending of modern influences from my home state of New York, French modern style and coastal flavor,” says Natalia Roca of the to-the-studs renovation. “Jen understood where I was heading with the design aesthetic and helped make this a unique, approachable home.”

The home is an example of one built with love and collaboration, with a focus on fine finishes, local craftsmanship of custom built-ins and attention to detail. Acclaimed designer Roca, working in tandem with McConnell’s staging services and design advice, reimagined the four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom home for a new family. “I chose Jen because I fell in love with how she presents design ideas on her Instagram feed,” says Roca. “I liked her approach, and the process was easy and collaborative. She added a coastal feel through furniture and natural materials, like jute, that complement the high-end finishes, such as marble. I felt we worked well as a team.”

Jen McConnell and Natalia Roca

The public spaces in the home are awe-inspiring. A full chef’s kitchen provides effortless meal prep under the glow of imported pendant lighting. The Italian marble countertops and backsplash with their eye-catching veining and expressive movement highlight the space. The nearby dining room features a commissioned mural painted to capture a mixture of Southern marshland, up-country mountains and the greenery of New York’s Central Park, a nod to the designer’s background.

Marble features continue in the living room with a custom bar and imported fireplace. Handcrafted built-ins add a level of family-friendly functionality and craftsmanship. McConnell and Roca collaborated in the living area where a doorway was removed. McConnell suggested adding a storage closet, and Roca came up with the idea to hide that closet behind a jib door that blends seamlessly into the tambour paneled wall. Another jib door leads to the primary suite, where luxury abounds.

McConnell’s background in construction helps her work with clients to ensure their renovations are high-quality and on-target with market demands. She spent the first 11 years of her real estate career in high-end new construction, handling all the details, from drawing plans to designing home interiors, so she understands the building and renovation processes and the high level of customer service necessary to bring big projects to completion. “My construction experience helps me see features and possibilities in renovation and staging endeavors that others may not,” she says. “With a degree in marketing, I go so much further than just listing a home. I take pride in each listing with a passion to look at homes differently than just bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage. My job is to uniquely position each listing to tell the story of the home.”

Jen McConnell and Natalia Roca

In 2021, she opened McConnell Real Estate Partners with her husband, Josh, who is also an agent, where they provide high-end services including professional photography and videography, staging and a complimentary moving truck. “We never skimp on the details,” she says. “All of our clients deserve the same caliber of service no matter their price point.”

Through staging, McConnell helps potential homebuyers see how their respective families can live in the space. For this Madison Court home, the chosen furnishings can be purchased with the home if the buyer wants a seamless move-in experience. “On listing day, we hosted a large event for the area’s top real estate agents at this home. So many agents came up to me and said they could feel the warmth and love of the interior designer in this renovated home. That feat is incredibly hard to achieve when no one lives in the home. That is a true testament to the talents of Natalia and Art combined with impeccable staging.”

The buyer of this house will be contributing to a greater cause. McConnell Real Estate Partners donates a portion of each commission to one of the only pediatric cancer labs in the state, which is hosted at the Medical University of South Carolina. The brokerage’s donation, coupled with its nonprofit, The McConnell Foundation, aims to advance pediatric cancer research as a testament to their young son’s successful cure from cancer when he was an infant.

The new homeowner also will enjoy a home with meticulous detailing, ready for Lowcountry living. “This was a labor of love,” says Roca. “I hope this becomes some family’s forever home.” *

Dana W. Todd is a professional writer specializing in interior design, real estate, luxury homebuilding, landscape design, architecture and art.

More Information