October 2018

Paradise on the Bluff: Crump residence highlights elegance amidst Lowcountry’s natural beauty

Author: Justin Jarrett | Photographer: Scott Schroeder

The Crumps’ spectacular home on Mount Pelia Road balances Beth’s desire for an elegant space perfect for entertaining with Blair’s want for a rugged getaway where he can display his hunting trophies and become one with nature.

Beth Crump had one stand-out request for her family’s new home in Palmetto Bluff: She needed to be able to properly enjoy a Lowcountry sunset. She and her husband, Blair, got that and so much more.
The Crumps’ spectacular home on Mount Pelia Road balances Beth’s desire for an elegant space perfect for entertaining with Blair’s want for a rugged getaway where he can display his hunting trophies and become one with nature. In fact, designing the entire three-story residence was an exercise in balance, said architect Sam Furr—elegant vs. rugged, casual vs. refined, traditional vs. contemporary, openness vs. defined spaces.

Furr worked to achieve that balance with local builder Josh Simpson of Simpson Construction and Connecticut-based interior designer Lynn Morgan—a Savannah native—to create a home that gives everyone in the Crump family what they were looking for in a Lowcountry getaway.

“They did have some competing ideas about the house, which actually are nice because they provide a contrast in the house,” Furr said. “It’s sort of a balance between her wanting an elegant home and him wanting a little more rugged home. He’s a hunter and has all these game trophies, and she’s not into that.”

It was the first foray into Palmetto Bluff for Furr, who has earned a strong reputation building on Kiawah Island, but it certainly won’t be his last. He begins work on another project in the community this month and hopes for more opportunities in the future.

“I’m really impressed with Palmetto Bluff; I think they’re developing it in such a nice way,” Furr said. “There’s a little more space to work, a little more elbow room. Palmetto Bluff has a lot of potential, and much like Kiawah, it has a lot of the same ideas of preserving nature and working within nature.”
That philosophy is part of what attracted the Crumps to his work, and he followed through by delivering on Beth’s request to optimize the stunning homesite’s geography.

“My favorite thing is the way the house is positioned,” Beth said. ”My one criterion was I really wanted a sunset, and he did a great job of orienting the house properly to maximize that. I love all the outdoor space. The screened porch and the balcony with the daybed are two of my favorite spots in the house.”

The home features stunning views of the May River, and the house is carefully oriented to maximize those visuals from just about every vantage point, right down to interior walls that run askew of 90 degrees in order to better align the view from the master suite with the sunset over the river, in line with Beth’s top priority.

The beauty of Palmetto Bluff’s natural surroundings is also highlighted by the ample outdoor space off the back of the house, which features several balconies and nearly 2,500 square feet of porches and covered breezeway connecting the charming carriage house to the main residence.

The piece de resistance is a breathtaking screened porch that accentuates outdoor living at its finest. The large room features Ipe flooring, pine tongue-and-groove beadboard ceilings, and low-key lighting via rustic copper moon bell lights with the wiring integrated into the handrails surrounding the rounded room. A beautiful clerestory allows natural light into the space and features two remote-controlled windows that can be opened for better air circulation.

The outdoor fireplace features an oversized bluestone hearth to accommodate Blair’s love for building fires and creates a space to enjoy the outdoors on a crisp fall or winter evening. But the real star is the built-in Kalamazoo hybrid grill—a must-have item Blair discovered in a magazine while traveling for business—flanked by copper-lined storage bins for both charcoal and hickory wood with gas for lighting or cooking, a built-in rotisserie and infrared burners.

Double Dutch doors connect the screened porch and the kitchen, which is equally well-equipped for some serious food prep. The striking white marble countertops and elegant white cabinetry combine with the natural light from two large windows that give a view of the May River from the breakfast nook to provide a bright, vibrant space for entertaining.

And when the Crumps do have guests, the party can easily flow throughout the main level, which perfectly balances openness with defined spaces for dining, sitting, or sipping.

The latter can be done at a fully-stocked wet bar tucked away at the bottom of the floating stairwell, one of many “audibles” the team called during construction. Blair says the space originally was vacant, but the bar was a late addition to the plans and became one of his favorite features of the home. A copper-lined, waterproof trough houses a full complement of spirits, and the oak cabinets are outfitted with a pull-out dishwasher, under-cabinet refrigerator, ice maker, and a wine glass holder with integrated LED lighting.

Adjacent to the bar is a striking piece of art—a massive Ben Ham photo of a live oak tree. The photo haunted Blair from the first time he saw it until he purchased it – almost two years before it would become one of the focal points of the Palmetto Bluff home. The Crumps saw the piece at Ham’s gallery in Charleston about a week after purchasing their eventual homesite, but Blair had trouble sleeping for several nights until he bought it over the phone and asked Ham to hang onto it until he had the right place to hang it.

“I almost wanted to build the house around the photo,” Blair said. “It woke me up like three nights in a row thinking about that photo and that I had to have it. We made sure that Sam found a wall for it.”
The artwork, which also includes a map of the area produced by South Carolina-based New World Cartography and a painting by Connecticut artist Mary Morant, is one of many ways the home’s indoor space is designed to be an extension of the outdoors. Morgan sought to use simple materials and natural colors to reflect that concept—and leaned on her love of the Lowcountry to do so.

“We wanted to bring the sunsets in and keep the interior as simple as possible,” Morgan said. “It’s all about looking at the marsh and the beautiful sunsets, so we incorporated a lot of very low-key elements in the house. It was all about knowing the lay of the land and keeping it very simple.”

The view of the river is the star of the main living and dining room that flows from the kitchen, but the details within are equally striking.

Like the one on the screened porch, the living room fireplace features a soapstone interior arranged in a herringbone pattern, adding a touch of style to an oft-overlooked detail. The 7-inch white oak hardwood floors run throughout, including under the wool carpeting in the master bedroom, and Simpson’s team worked diligently with Blair to achieve the perfect stain.

The second story includes bedrooms for each of the Crumps’ two daughters and a guest suite, as well as a common sitting area with a spacious balcony overlooking the river.

The third floor, containing entirely within the roofline, accommodates Blair’s rugged side and is outfitted with the feel of a hunting lodge. Blair’s many hunting trophies are displayed, and the space features a custom billiards table, a Cypress bar and desk, and a balcony that serves as one of the highest vantage points in Beaufort County.

“This third floor took a lot of different shapes over the course of construction,” Simpson said. “We redesigned this area multiple times. It started out as a bar, then became an office, but we worked with the architect and designer to ultimately land in a very good place. It just took a lot of effort and a lot of design visualization to get there.”

As stunning as the home is in whole, much of its beauty and functionality is in the details. All the closets are outfitted with jam switches that automatically activate lighting when opened, permanent LED night lights are integrated into the newel posts on the elegant floating stairwell, and an array of hidden doors throughout the house provide additional storage and access points for utilities.
All of the custom touches and the fact that virtually every element was sourced locally add to the unique nature of the home.

“There aren’t any stock millwork items in this house,” Simpson said. “These are all custom milled moldings that were produced here locally.”

Among them are the radius moldings surrounding a series of bow windows on the lower level that provide ample natural lighting and a full view of the river from every vantage point.

While the Crumps still maintain their primary residence in Connecticut, they plan to begin spending more time in the Lowcountry within the next year and eventually transition into living in their new home full-time. Thanks to a great team, they have the perfect place to spend their eventual retirement.
Everyone involved in the project raves about the experience, from the Crumps to Furr, Simpson, and Morgan, and it’s clear each of them is proud of the finished product—a true paradise at Palmetto Bluff.

“It’s been fun,” Beth said. “I’m looking forward to being able to spend more time down here and be more of a resident. It’s really exciting.”

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