This Kiawah home offers a perfect island lifestyle


FeatureManganVer2-Image-1The design and build team reconciled height restrictions by pushing the house out horizontally. Dormers and porches open up interior spaces, allowing light to cascade through the second floor. Classic eyebrow dormers inspired curved architectural details throughout the home’s interior. Garden design by Freeman Landscape Architecture.

Long, wide views of the Kiawah River, peeks of the private Tom Fazio-designed River Course, a lush natural border of maritime forest—this serene property in Kiawah Island’s Settlement enclave had everything a buyer could desire for a second-home site. And as often happens with waterfront properties, it came with a few quirks that required some creativity to produce the home this couple envisioned. In this case, a team of proven professionals would bring to bear solid craftsmanship and out-of-the-box thinking to make the project a success.

The homeowners pulled together that team with ease, enlisting the expertise of McDonald Architects and veteran builder Maurice Mangan. His firm, Mangan Inc. Custom Homes, has a more than 20-year track record of building and renovating homes on Kiawah and Seabrook islands.

“Maurice had been recommended to us to do some alterations and repairs on a previous Kiawah house,” notes the homeowner. “His team did such a wonderful job that we didn’t hesitate to call him.”

Well accustomed to dealing with the intricacies of building homes in the South Carolina Lowcountry, the design and build team took in stride the several challenges presented by both the characteristics of the lot and the design standards of Kiawah’s Architectural Review Board (ARB). The property’s truncated shape resembled a wedge of pie, with the narrowest part overlooking the river. Also, since this waterfront lot was located within view of golf greens, it was also subject to ARB guidelines for homes built on the golf course.

FeatureManganVer2-Image-2The designers used a light touch to ensure that river views dominated the living area. An airy chandelier echoes the wrought iron in an imported curtain rod that follows the curvature of the window bay. The linen curtains feature a subtle block print. A durable European Tencel rug is imprinted with a Greek key pattern. Wall color is “Pale Oak” by Benjamin Moore.
FeatureManganVer2-Image-3The builder created a stunning double barrel-vaulted ceiling, with individual pieces of wood painstakingly installed by hand onsite. Voluptuous bell jar lighting in antiqued mercury glass and wrought iron reinforces the curved architecture and shines upward to create a soft glow.
FeatureManganVer2-Image-4Curves in the home’s design are picked up here in the oval dining table, finished in matte antique walnut, and graceful seating—all custom made in North Carolina. A carved wood and wrought-iron chandelier provides rustic texture. Flooring throughout is European oak with an oiled walnut finish.

“The lot had a fantastic view we wanted to take full advantage of,” says architect Chad McDonald, AIA, who was hired by the homeowners based on the creativity of a design he had drawn for a neighboring project. “The plans we drew angled the master bathroom and lined up the master bedroom, living and dining rooms across the back of the house to maximize the view of the Kiawah River.”

To conform to ARB guidelines, the home was required to conform to a “soft” golf experience. The team minimized the home’s scale by “nestling” down the second story and adding gables and dormers to gain more space horizontally and let in more light. “I strive to let enough natural light into a home so you don’t have to turn on a light switch during day,” notes McDonald. “It’s a much more natural experience for the homeowners.”

In fact, the homeowners’ love of indoor/outdoor living would dictate design details throughout the home. A wide front porch was added to the New England shingle-style design for a coastal Southern feel. The approach to the front steps was embellished with a custom wall fountain, a tranquil focal point for a nearby sitting area. An outdoor living space was integrated into the back porch and pool area adjacent to the kitchen, which extended its utility and created a seamless flow for entertaining. Both the pool and spa decks were dropped 18 inches, putting them on different planes and pulling them out of the interior sight line so the view of the river would be unimpeded.

FeatureManganVer2-Image-5The kitchen is inviting and intimate thanks to a blending of materials. Old Savannah tumbled brick by Cherokee warms the space while antique white granite from AGM Imports lends refinement to countertops and backsplash. Island top is polished antique brown granite. Elegant cabinetry was custom made by the builder.

The homeowners relied on Archetype Interior Design Studio, recommended by Mangan who had worked with the boutique firm in the past. “Maurice had taken us to walk through a few of his houses,” explains one of the homeowners. “When we saw the interior design work in one he’d built in conjunction with Beth Martin Cortopassi and Ann Chandler Pastore, we absolutely loved it. They brought to life our vision of casual elegance and were phenomenal with scheduling and ordering the right things at the right time.”

Restful, seaside-inspired colors were used throughout the home. “Our idea was that the views were part of the décor. You see all the live oaks and amazing sunsets outside the west-facing back of the house,” says one of the homeowners. “We wanted the interior to blend with all that stunning nature.”

“We were careful to select finishes, fixtures and materials fitting the home’s classic shingle style,” says Pastore, “and that were complementary to the beautiful landscape overlooking the Kiawah River.” A neutral palette and rustic elements were enriched by an abundance of custom trim created on-site. “Chad designed it all and then Maurice built it—they did a phenomenal job,” adds one of the homeowners.

FeatureManganVer2-Image-6The strategic placement of windows combined with a frameless glass door creates a sophisticated, light-filled experience in the shower and the master bathroom overall. Ethereal Arabescato Carrara marble was lavished on walls, countertops and shower surround. Wall color is “Cornforth White” by Farrow & Ball.
FeatureManganVer2-Image-7The designers seamlessly blended the homeowners’ existing furnishings here and throughout the home. Farrow & Ball wall color “Tunsgate Green” was paired with soft blues to reflect the colors of nature. Sheer light-filtering shades and hand-blocked linen drapes dress windows without being obtrusive.

“That’s the unique thing about Mangan Custom Homes,” observes McDonald, “they have their own masons, framers, trim and carpentry craftsmen, so they’re able to do a lot of work themselves. They’re very oldschool in that sense and great to work with.”

Wendy Swat Snyder is a Charleston-based writer.

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