Architect Darryl Cobb makes strategic use of passageways


CobbFeatureVer3Image1Architect Darryl Cobb was pleased with the high pitch of the home’s roofline and the multiplicity of gables and brackets.
CobbFeatureVer3Image2A lustrous walnut top on the breakfast bar competes with a table on the back porch as the Kyptas’ favorite spot for casual meals. Kitchen appliances are all built in, keeping the lines clean. Colorfully stocked, the plate rack is both functional and decorative. Chandelier from Circa Lighting. Pendants from Carolina Lanterns.

Located in Daniel Island Park, the home of Richard and Ellen Kypta has an intriguing, rambling quality. The two hallways and a foyer that branch off its open, central living area create the sense of multiple destinations under one roof.

Architect Darryl Cobb designed the home and brought together a specific wish list for his clients, who were then living in Iowa.

The Kyptas met Cobb through their builder Steven Kendrick of Structures Building Company and toured several homes Cobb had designed. “Darryl’s passion came through,” says Richard. “He made us excited.”

Cobb, likewise, was excited by the couple’s vision. “This house is so different from most that I do,” he says. “The Kyptas made it easy by giving me a very good description of what they wanted in the floor plan.”

Where the exterior was concerned, however, Cobb was on his own. He created “rooms” on the front and back porches by widening certain sections and, in the process, creating extra interest in the roofline. To further break up the mass of a large exterior, the architect placed shed roofs over the garage doors and designed decorative wooden brackets to go under them. For Cobb, this home logged a record number of gables and an entire pallet of decorative brackets.

Inside, a hallway proved to be the key to Ellen’s wish list. The artwork that fills one side creates a gallery—totally offsetting the utilitarian personality of the opposite wall. “She hid the powder room, a stairwell, the laundry room and a coat closet all off the hallway,” says Cobb. “It really opened up the floor plan.”

CobbFeatureVer3Image3The foyer creates a sightline through the living area, back porch, patio, lawn, a pond and the greens of the 16th hole.
CobbFeatureVer3Image4Arched doorways find their shape repeated in the bookshelves flanking the precast concrete mantel, which was given a subtle faux finish by Wall Candy. The wooden beams overhead were left unfinished for a simple, natural effect. Sofa from Southeastern Galleries. Chairs at left from Acquisitions.
CobbFeatureVer3Image5In the dining area, the huntboard and its accessories tip off visitors that Ellen Kypta enjoys incorporating black into nearly every room. Cupboard from Coralberry Cottage.
CobbFeatureVer3Image6A pair of pocket doors provide sound-control for Richard Kypta’s study, which overlooks the front porch. Chairs from Southeastern Galleries.

On the opposite end of the first floor, Cobb created another realm of utility. There, a butler’s pantry and wet bar are located just off the dining room. Beyond them is Ellen’s office, with its fresh green walls and shelving for cookbooks. The home’s second stairwell leads up and over the garage to a spacious media room and an exercise/storage room.

That leaves the center of the downstairs delightfully open. Morning sun streams into the wide front foyer, which opens into Richard’s study. Afternoon sun lights the living room, dining room and kitchen, which form an L-shaped space, unified by dark walnut floors and defined by five wood beams overhead.

The living area has a decidedly tranquil feel, reinforced by the couple’s decision not to place a TV there. Built-in shelves and cabinets flank the room’s focal point: a precast mantel surrounding the fireplace. Artwork and a wide view of the golf course bring color into a largely neutral room.

The Kyptas wanted a defined dining space, but not a formal one, an effect they achieved in part by using painted furniture. Richard’s addition to the floor plan—a wine room (the first of Cobb’s career)—is accessed through one of two arched doorways that serve as important architectural features.

After living before with a huge kitchen island, Ellen didn’t want another. Her new island contains a cooktop, lower storage and a walnut-topped breakfast bar. At her request, Cobb designed the back kitchen wall with more view than cabinetry, and the resulting three windows above the sink counter make the entire kitchen magnetic. Whether eating breakfast at the bar or washing up afterward, the Kyptas have a view of a glittering pond and the golf course beyond it.

CobbFeatureVer3Image7Coral and cobalt accents warm the master bedroom, where a ceiling fan cools in summer, and a fireplace provides extra warmth in winter. The suite includes not only a meticulously planned master closet but an alcove furnished with a makeup table. Lamps with custom shades from Charleston Lamp Company.

Then, to maximize storage, Cobb included a floor-to-ceiling bank of cabinets, plus more in the butler’s pantry. The couple topped it off by purchasing a large primitive-style cupboard for the dining room to house much of their dishware.

The Kyptas’ clean-lined master suite is downstairs, its upholstered furnishings kept deliberately simple to give the view the prominence it deserves.

Upstairs are three guest rooms. Again, the hallway that serves them functions as more than a mere passage. Built-in bookcases, painted black, anchor each end, while an enormous wooden wardrobe from California occupies the deep niche designed to hold it.

Ellen called on interior designer Carol Lund to help select design elements for the house as well as select wall colors and source furniture. “Carol really helped us pull the elements of the house together,” she says.

The Kyptas are happy to recommend both their architect and their builder. “Darryl listens,” Ellen says, “and he’s never afraid to use your ideas in the design. He and Structures work so well together.” Cobb returned the compliment, saying: “I think Structures did a fantastic job on this house. I really enjoyed working with them and the Kyptas.”

Margaret Locklair is a freelance writer working in the South Carolina Lowcountry. She can be reached at

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