Beautiful dream

Inside the elegance and innovation of ACH Custom Home’s Belle Reve lifestyle home.

Story by Barry Kaufman + Photos by Kristen Albo

There’s a school of thought in homebuilding that a theme is to be adhered to with strict determination – that the pre-set tenets of what defines a Lowcountry home make up a design’s uncrossable borders.

Antoine Iskandar does not subscribe to that philosophy. As he has impressively displayed at the Belle Reve model home in Berkeley Hall, created by his firm ACH Custom Homes, a theme’s greatest use is as a springboard for creativity. Here, a Lowcountry theme is the canvas, not the art.

Over a Barrel
The unique barrel ceiling is one of many ways that Belle Reve takes a hard turn from Lowcountry tradition.

The Belle Reve carries some hallmarks of a Lowcountry home, to be certain. And what Lowcountry elements it does contain – shiplap walls, plentiful outdoor space – are all executed with a bounty of unbridled creativity.

The shiplap runs throughout the main living spaces, sometimes as an accent wall, sometimes surrounding a room on three sides. But it’s also found running up the tapered chimney of the great room’s fireplace or lining the borders of coffered ceilings, while NYC loft-inspired, large scale upholstered furnishings lend to a casual, comfy feeling.

Lighten Up
The contrasting light fixtures between the kitchen and living room not only add flair, but playful visual interest that dances between different motifs.

The outdoor living spaces offer the luxury you’d expect – sparkling swimming pool with its water feature, private putting green and fire pit, expansive outdoor kitchen and stack-stone fireplace with TV – but also open to the inside, thanks to tri-fold sliding doors towering 10 feet tall.

The elements that make the Belle Reve a traditional Lowcountry home offer intrigue and luxury, but it’s when you examine the elements that wander far afield from that tradition that you discover the true genius of this home.

Take, for example, the gourmet kitchen, whose subway-tiled barrel ceiling soars above dual center islands. Most home designs would downplay the kitchen’s size in order to make the great room seem more impressive by comparison. Iskandar went the other way, creating a subtle distinction between the two rooms that harmonizes the two spaces.

Room to Roam
Tall ceilings lend a sense of spaciousness to rooms that revel in intriguing details, whether it’s a unique tile pattern or beadboard accents.

“While other homes may have flat ceilings with manufactured trusses, we created volume,” he said. “You come in and feel like it’s a breath of fresh air.”

And those subtle touches are everywhere, tweaks to tradition that speak to the enormous care put into the home’s construction and design. White oak floors were given a subtle whitewashing, lightening them up in defiance of the typical dark Lowcountry floors. Dark mahogany accents are punctuated at the entry and office doors on a warm, off-white palette of interior colors and soft wood-toned floors. 

The luxurious bathrooms revel in visual variety, contrasting custom tiles in a way that blend with seamless harmony.

The Great Outdoors
A melding of outdoor and indoor luxury is one of the signatures of Berkeley Hall’s lifestyle homes.

But Belle Reve is more than a showcase for ACH’s creativity – this house was truly built to be a home. Livability is key to the design. The airy master suite joins a front room that can serve as an office, nursery or guest room via a spacious, spa-like jack-and-jill en suite bath. A mud room off of the front courtyard opens into the massive laundry room, something every family can appreciate. And an incredibly roomy bonus space above the garage can serve as an entertainment room thanks to a pool table and wide-countered kitchenette, or sleep four thanks to custom whitewashed day beds and spacious private bath.

The Belle Reve is a French term meaning, “beautiful dream.” And this home welcomes you into just that, a beautiful dream to live in.”

Design/Build: ACH Custom Homes  Builder: Antoine Iskandar
Cabinetry: Medallion (ACH exclusive dealer of the Lowcountry)
Exterior Architecture & Interior Design Consultant/Architect: John Pittman III, AIA, NCARB
Furnishings & Decor: Timeless Interiors  Tile & Flooring: Floor & Decor
Lighting Fixtures: Pace Lighting  Plumbing Fixtures: Ferguson’s Plumbing
Countertops: Granite Depot  ACH Social Media & Marketing: Cheryl J. Simkins

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