April 2020

Custom at Every Level: This Moss Creek house started out as a remodel. It wound up a made-from-scratch masterpiece.

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

There are custom homes, and then there are custom homes. The distinction between them is subtle, but as with most things, it’s all in the details. After all, can a home be considered truly custom if it contains the same flooring, the same hardware, the same fixtures as every other home? Shouldn’t a custom home require a little invention along the way?

The Moss Creek home you see here is a perfect example of the level of customization we’re referring to. It’s not just that it’s a beautiful home. It is. It’s not just that it enjoys long views of Lowcountry waters that stretch to the horizon on one side and picturesque golf scenery on the other. It does. It’s that everywhere you look within this home, you’ll find something that doesn’t exist anywhere else.

It can be something as simple as the hand-carved wooden A/C vents, designed to match the European Oak flooring (which, in turn, coordinates with the custom-crafted countertops stained to match the flooring). Or it can be as extensive as the custom windows throughout the house and as elaborate as the custom-crafted nickel gap horizontal board wainscoting.

“We used PVC material to make that wainscoting detail,” Frank Roberts of Roberts Construction said. “And our PVC supplier told us he had never seen that material used that way before.”

Mahogany entry doors to butler’s pantry, which you can enter from kitchen or from hallway straight from garage

Roberts is quick to point out that creating this customized home was a team effort, carefully coordinated between interior designer Stephanie Holmes of The Working Kitchen, Rick Clanton of Group 3 Designs and Roberts Construction supervisor Lamar Hope.

Anyone who’s ever undertaken a group project knows how difficult those personal dynamics can be, but
in this case, everyone’s vision gelled together despite the miles that separated them. While Roberts Construction and Group 3 are based locally, Holmes lives and works in upstate New York. “They are a great crew, I loved working with them,” she said. “And it can be hard to undertake something like this from far away.”

The kitchen was designed and cabinets supplied by Stephanie Holmes, The Working Kitchen, Thermador appliances, open shelving and wood countertop on island to match flooring

Holmes was brought in due to her long-standing relationship with the homeowner. The owners had purchased the home following a flip and had intended to simply redo two bathrooms and a laundry room.

“It looked great at walkthrough, but then they started kicking the tires,” Holmes said. They began finding that corners had been cut everywhere duringthe flip. Roberts points to a complete renovation of the kitchen ceiling, which had been improperly installed and didn’t line up. They found similar problems throughout as they began to look closer.

“It was a little on the rough side,” Clanton said. “You’d never guess it now.”

The team was called in, and immediately the dream of what this home could be started to come together. “You need a team, especially with a renovation,” Clanton said. “Architects are not really good at telling you what things are going to cost. So, I like to get the builder involved quickly. Roberts is awesome at putting numbers on things, listening to owners and to us. They’re good team players.”

That teamwork was vital in creating the custom touches that define this home. A perfect example can be found in the living area, where a hidden wall panel opens by a touch-latch to reveal a massive wine cooler. It’s one of the signature elements of this home and a beautifully crafted custom touch.

The idea came from Holmes, adapting what had initially been a closet-style design in the originalplans. “I knew what the client wanted because I’ve put one of these into all their houses.”

Concealing it meant carrying the design of the horizontal wainscoting down from an upstairs bunk room into the bar area and living room. Complicating that was the spacing on the boards, which had been custom designed to match the height of a set of trundle beds upstairs. It was difficult but it worked. “All I had to do was give Frank’s crew a drawing and it was perfect…they made it work without a lot of effort on our part,” Holmes said.

Speaking of the upstairs bunk room, here again we see the dedication to making this home a complete original and the teamwork required to make that happen. The homeowners have adult children and five grandchildren, so sleeping arrangements had to be made for everyone. Clanton devised the unique built-in trundle beds, and it was up to Roberts to make them work.

“The challenge was bringing those beds up so they wouldn’t damage the floor. We had to come up with a special mechanism to allow the beds to pop out and float a half-inch off the floor,” Roberts said. For this, he looked outside the world of home building, finding specialized bed slides. “Not for the beds you sleep on. They’re for truck beds. You find them in the commercial world for different types of machinery.”

Like the team effort that saw creativity feeding creativity, the customization of this house fed the innovation needed to make it happen and vice versa. Matching the flooring meant creating from scratch, whether that was the doors in the butler pantry or the tops of the kitchen’s dual islands. “Everything in there is custom,” Holmes said. “There is so much cool detail.”

That even extends to the pool area, where you’ll find a unique outdoor TV console that not only conceals its screen when not in use but can also be moved around the deck. The retractable screens were another feature Clanton had to invent whole cloth and Roberts had to custom create.

The pool itself is a work of art, crafted of petite pearl aggregate finish with glass mosaic tile along the waterline, but it’s the custom details that truly elevate it. Literally. “We did a custom-cast coping elevated above the deck, which is not typical,” Dan Anderson of Diamond Pools & Spas said. “I’ve never seen that in a residential swimming pool. It’s nice to work with people and homeowners who have different ideas and think outside the box a little bit.”

Anderson is not alone in that assessment. Tyler Clark of Hilton Head Garage Doors had a similar experience creating something truly unique for this home. “We enjoy those challenges that Roberts Construction creates!

The everyday door install can get redundant, so it’s nice when we have more of a creative problem to solve,” he said.

“On this particular job, we used an 18×7-foot hurricane rated Eden Coast, which is about as big as a door gets for a residential appli-cation, but with our experienced installers, the job went off without a hitch!”

“Everything in that house was custom,” Roberts said. “There were a lot of things our suppliers hadn’t done before.”

It can be challenging to create some-thing truly custom, but for the team that came together to create this gorgeous Lowcountry home, the results are worth it.

“That’s why you go into residential design, to get the chance to do these things, Clanton said.

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