A 1960s Isle of Palms home gets a face-lift to accentuate its mid-century modern roots


A complete renovation of one of Isle of Palm’s most noteworthy homes is making waves on the island. Unlike the traditional beach cottage, this home at 1900 Waterway Blvd., which currently is listed for sale by Dunes Properties, is a throwback to a simpler time on the island. Its mid-century modern design is highly desirable in today’s marketplace, so the builder/architectural team decided it was the perfect project for a to-the-studs renovation to preserve its island legacy.

“Unlike many other older houses on the island, the owners decided not to tear it down to build a coastal-style home but to renovate it to its former glory while adding modern amenities to fit today’s lifestyle,” says Realtor Layne Kipp of Dunes Properties. Wes Mahaffey of Ironhorse Construction, the builder-in-charge and one of the property’s owners, says, “We bought it to renovate and so had full creativity to implement our vision.”

The renovation included major architectural changes, such as a roofline adjustment to modify the slope for a correct mid-century aesthetic. Exterior natural wood vertical siding provides a striking contrast to white stucco and is a nod to mid-century modern style as it highlights long exterior lines. Adding a new garage and enclosing the existing carport to create a large primary suite almost doubled the square footage of the home to 4,350 square feet with a total of five bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms. With its high ceilings, it lives large in a smart footprint.

The design team reconfigured the entire home’s interior spaces, opening up the main living area to capture tropical views and create a seamless flow between the kitchen, dining room and living area. The reconfiguration enabled the addition of features and rooms important for modern living, such as dual laundry rooms, two built-in bars, a home office and game/flex room, walk-in closets, utilitarian mudroom with built-ins, and a modernized kitchen with a spacious pantry and high-end finishes, including upscale European appliances, a custom-paneled built-in refrigerator and marble countertops. Striking interior features such as wooden ceiling details, ceiling beams, vertical shiplap and custom pecky cypress accent walls continue the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired feel throughout the entire home. A period-appropriate color palette of mauves and moody greens, brass hardware and designer-grade Circa Lighting fixtures ensure continuity.

One of the most dramatic enhancements is a result of the investment in landscaping and hardscaping that provides a full outdoor living and entertainment space just waiting for a new family. From the main living area and kitchen, an outdoor living view comes into focus through two sets of sliding glass doors. Once outside, a stunning, custom Brazilian hardwood deck surrounding a tiled pool, outdoor shower and fire pit with adjacent seating area for enjoying cool nights steal the show. A covered cabana with private dining and cooking space gives way to a lush, green landscaped backyard ringed by native palmetto trees. “This half-acre lot is large for the island and enables quite a spectacular outdoor living setup,” Kipp says. “The continuation of main floor living into outdoor living highlights the best of what the island has to offer—year-round outdoor living that is incredibly special. You can enjoy your days lounging by the pool and cooking meals in the covered cabana and finish your nights with cocktails by the fire. This is truly the epitome of Lowcountry living at its finest.”

In true mid-century modern style, this home features clean lines, large windows to enhance the symbiotic relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces, and an open layout that is abundantly functional for family living. “It’s a unique property but one that people are craving on the island,” Kipp says. “At Dunes Properties, we sell where we live, so we are attuned to what people want in island living. Between myself and my father, Realtor Cal McCombs, we have owned properties and been a part of the Isle of Palms since the mid-1970s, and we specialize in helping families find the right fit here.”

For those interested in living in a piece of mid-century modern heaven, tours and information are available by contacting Dunes Properties. *

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

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