0 In All Things Southern/ Low Country Style/ Our Inspiration/ Palm House at Lanier

British West Indies Meets Low Country

I have been obsessed with the architecture influenced by the British West Indies for a long while now.  And by obsessed I mean, well, I am planning our new lake home with our architect and this is our inspiration for style of home.  I think it has a feel that speaks to palms waving in the breeze, Bob Marley or Kenny Chesney singing island songs and that laid back feeling you get on vacation!  Exposed rafters, metal roofs, front porches for miles- that is my kind of home!  I’ll keep you posted as we go through the planning stages of ‘Palm Home’, our forever lake home in north Atlanta.

My husband and I visited heaven on earth as we came to find out in the summer of 2016.  Spring Island, a private enclave of 400 home and sites, little town, golf course, health club and restaurants.  Here is what Spring Island self describes itself as:

Spring Island is a 3,200-acre nature preserve and island residential community enjoyed by just 400 Members in the heart of South Carolina’s fabled Lowcountry. Our island is nestled perfectly between the South’s most storied, historic and cultural centers – Beaufort and Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Spring Island’s nature backdrop and Live oak forest is interwoven with some of the South’s most elegant private, preserve, ponds and waterfront homes.

It is honestly one of the prettiest places we have ever been to, and that is saying a lot since Chris, my husband, was an international auditor for Coca Cola for years and all he did was travel!!  It was a trip of intrigue.  You see, in my obsession of the perfect British West Indies home, I stumbled upon pictures of 20 Bee Tree which is an amazing and beautiful home designed by  James L Strickland of Historical Concepts.

So we planned a trip down to Spring Island to see the architecture, but also have a serious look at the idea blooming inside of a second home down in the Low Country.  The beauty of moss covered oaks, salt water marshes and estuaries, wild life and rivers meeting the Atlantic Ocean draw both of us.  We arrived on a humid afternoon in July, and immediately after we sat down in the real estate office with our amazing agent, Bob, the bottom fell out and we had a thunderstorm like no other!!  You could see it coming across the marshes, and as we sat in the office with it’s metal roof, I’m not going to lie, I loved the sound and the booms of the thunder.  It came and went in about 15 minutes, and afterwards the sun came out and we took a drive around the island.  We stayed at a little one bedroom cottage below.  Now, you can’t go down there and rent a place to stay.  The island is totally private and gated.  That is unless you are interested in buying real estate.  And we were seriously looking for two days.  The little bungalow we stayed in below was perfection in every way!  I remember we listened to Lady Antebellum the whole time, so now when we hear them, we are transported back to Spring Island.

 

Two Friends Cottage- Historical Concepts – One of the most perfect cottages I could ever imagine- scaled perfectly and no detail overlooked inside!

Our view off our back porch of the marshes

One of my favorite homes on Spring Island- The Southern Living ‘Tideland Haven’ home- Also Historical Concepts

I love the exposed rafters, metal roof and the endless laid back porches

Doors replace windows with large shutters- love this!  And the transoms above the doors to bring in more light!

Is there any wonder this is one of Southern Living’s Top 10 Best Sellers for Home Plans?!  Look at this- I was crazy for this house!

Even the light fixtures, in this case, outdoor pendants, were ideal choices in keeping with the low country vibe

 

And now for one of my favorite homes and the one that drew me to this magical island… 20 Bee Tree, also designed for the homeowners specifically by the impossibly talented Historical Concepts.  I took all but the first of these photos, though you can find more if you go to the Historical Concepts website.  Or better yet, buy the book ‘Coming Home- The Southern Vernacular House’

 

This is the main house- it is a compound of guest homes and a barn/garage/guest house

 

 

  From the front porch looking out on the live oaks

These doors are one of the architectural details that pulled me so strongly to this home- I don’t know how you could improve on this right here!

Last but certainly not least, a home by Historical Concepts and the same as the one featured at the top of this post, 228 Spring Island Drive.  At the time it was for sale.  The setting and home itself are as spectacular as the magic of the island… It looks like the setting for a southern novel by authoress Dorothea Benton Frank!  I could have moved right into this or Bee Tree and been happy for the rest of my life!

 

 

Spring Island, South Carolina

Spring Island, South Carolina

Here are a few more shots I took of this amazing island and the scenes we kept coming upon- my spirit was soaring the entire time- simply glorious!

So what can I tell you but that Chris and I went home rather dazed.  We talked for weeks about our experience here on Spring Island.  We studied every home that came on the market.  But it being a private island and enclave, they do not allow you to rent your home out to aid in paying for it.  And while we wanted this low country experience to be part of our journey in life, it was not to be.  In September of the same year, we went to St Simons Island for my birthday.  We obtained passes onto the very private Sea Island for my birthday lunch overlooking the ocean.  We then walked out to the beach through the Cloister’s Beach Club.  Fateful steps on a magnificent day!!  We could have turned left.  We would have walked by homes that look like small hotels- beautiful and very expensive!!  They refer to them as cottages down there.  Not!!  But we didn’t turn left… we turned right.  And walked down the beach until we saw these beautiful Addison Mizner inspired buildings- three of them- all three stories tall boasting balconies right on the ocean.  And I turned to Chris and said “I want to have a place in that last building”.  Haha- it was just a comment to him.  But maybe it was a little prayer too.  Because after all the studying and speculating and thinking we put into a second home did it’s wonders, we were READY!!

That is another post about the Cloister Ocean Residences which we now happily own and would not have been ready for had it not been for our visit to the beautiful serene Spring Island.  We will both be ever indebted to this special place, and often speak of it with a tremendous fondness as if for a dear friend we don’t see anymore.  If you are considering a second or retirement home, and you like life a bit laid back, then check out Spring Island.  You too will feel the magic I promise!

Cheers!

Leslie

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