When Connie and John Altergott decided to relocate from the Chicago area to Charleston, they quickly fell in love with the I’On community in Mount Pleasant for its walkability and small-town feel. And, they were ecstatic to find a lot big enough to accommodate their needs, a rare score in this mixed-use, New Urbanist neighborhood.
“We wanted a great outdoor entertaining space, and the lot had enough room for what we envisioned,” says Connie Altergott. Their four-bedroom, seven-bath home has a spectacular outdoor living space, with a series of rooms that include an outdoor kitchen, sports pool and sitting area. Architect Carl McCants III of Mc3 Designs, who based the design on Lowcountry vernacular architecture, took care to marry indoors with outdoors. “He hit the nail on the head with his open space design and spacious porch areas and arches,” she says.
Thanks to Grady Jeffery, owner of Jeffery Builders, that vision sprang to life in record time, in under 12 months.
“We gave Grady lots of direction, and he was on it,” says John Altergott. With three daughters who visit often and a grandchild on the way, the couple relied on the Charlestonbased homebuilder to perfect and fine-tune their 5,700-square-foot retirement house.
McCants recommended Jeffery’s work to the Altergotts. “He thought we would be a good match because Connie and John are very hands-on, and I am, too,” says Jeffery. With more than 20 years of experience building high-end custom homes in the Charleston area, Jeffery knows that the key to developing a successful business is to listen to his clients.
“Grady was determined to get things just the way we wanted them,” says John Altergott.
“When the set of arches that led from the front door to the family room looked off-center, Grady didn’t hesitate to tear them down and rebuild them so they were symmetrical. He realigned several boards on the shiplap walls when they weren’t just right, too,” Connie Altergott adds. “He lined them up to make it a seamless breezeway.”
“Grady was a pleasure to work with,” says her husband.
The feeling is mutual. “They are such nice people, so easy to work with, I wanted to go above and beyond,” says Jeffery. “They knew what they wanted and how to make it work. A good partnership with clients is huge in the building business.”
Part of that confidence comes from the fact that this is the fifth home the Altergotts have built. And though they are experienced pros, the couple still relied on Jeffery to get the details right. “He brought our project in on budget, on time, and was always generous with his time and the suggested materials used in construction,” John Altergott says. “This home is one of the finest we have experienced in both quality and the construction process. The finishes were terrific, and Grady was able to steer us to some very talented and creative trades and vendors.”
Jeffery adjusted the details of the built-ins around the fireplace, so it wouldn’t overwhelm the room. He also gave the couple important advice, including suggesting they add a bathtub upstairs because it would come in handy for future grandchildren. And, the Altergotts credit him with their oft-enjoyed third-floor gym, a space they originally intended to leave unfinished as an attic. “I told them it could be spectacular and shared my vision for it, and it turned out to be a beautiful room,” says Jeffery, who added special supportive beams for the couple’s workout equipment.
For Jeffery, the outdoor space was also a fun project. “Getting everything they wanted in the outdoor space right, with the swimming pool and outside kitchen, was crucial,” says Jeffery. “They would come to the construction site within 30 minutes and make decisions based on my suggestions.” Patterned off of their former backyard in Illinois, the outdoor space is the couple’s favorite aspect of the home. “It really expands our capabilities for entertaining; we’re able to truly take advantage of the great weather that Charleston provides,” John Altergott says. “Our experience with Grady was nothing short of fantastic.”
M.S. Lawrence is a Charleston-based writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.