The little things

Small details of architectural intrigue and subtle additions for livability add up to a distinctive and beautiful Palmetto Bluff home.

Story by Barry Kaufman  +  Photos by Bryan Stovall

Before you even set foot in the Palmetto Bluff home of Skip and Ann Walker, you’re given the impression that something decidedly different awaits within. From the shaker shingle siding to the towering arch of the rounded entryway, it’s clear that the typical Lowcountry rulebook was left unused. Or if it was, the Walkers jotted plenty of notes in the margins.

Details first • The eye-catching custom fireplace wall and oyster-shell chandelier are just a few of the inspired details around which this stunning home was built.

“They had wanted it to be really unique and interesting, which is why you see things like the curved roof on the front porch,” said Craig Thomas of CS Construction. “They wanted it to be Lowcountry but not look the same as every other house.”

That ethos carries splendidly inside, where the basic tenets of Lowcountry construction – open kitchen leading to a back kitchen, wide screened-in porch, elements of oyster shell and shiplap – are gleefully tweaked, detail by detail, to create something new.

Start with that kitchen, where a few high-tech upgrades have pumped up functionality in a beautiful kitchen boasting paneled appliances. There’s the columned refrigeration, where a fridge and freezer conceal themselves behind paneling, while the wine cooler adds visual impact and utility. “There’s been a move toward columns in refrigeration,” said Brantley King of Billy Wood Appliance. “That gives you a lot of leeway in terms of design. Architects love it.”

But two of the appliances in particular rank among Skip’s favorites – the built-in coffee maker and the steam oven. “I use it all the time,” he said of the Miele built-in coffee maker. “It’s so simple. All you have to do is press a button and read the instructions.”

Now you’re cooking • The kitchen is a masterclass of form and function, with state-of-the-art appliances playing a vital role in the look of the space.

As for the steam oven, Walker has been handling the learning curve of the new technology with ease, cooking up whole chickens to crispy, juicy perfection. “It’s probably the wave of the future.” The steam oven is concealed in the back kitchen, an architectural element the Walkers are experiencing for the first time but one they’ve come to love.

Another Lowcountry element that’s been beautifully remixed is the rear lanai, overlooking sparkling lagoon waters. Rather than an add-on to the main house, the lanai exudes its own character with ceilings that soar toward a rounded roof topped with a cupola.

“We wanted something with a livable porch,” said Skip. “Something we could comfortably live in.”

“I love that back porch,” said Thomas. “The big sliders that open up to the porch give a nice flow from the great room to the porch. It really lets you expand the space.”

En plein air • The lanai is one of the most architecturally unique areas of the home, with its cupola and nearly 270 degree views.

Among these highlights to the home are all the small details that make it stand out. The fireplace wall, adapted from a design for a room divider. The gallery hallway, where transom windows match the curve of a barrel ceiling. The master suite, inclusive of its own private den with a ceiling of pecky cypress. The built-in sauna and adjacent outdoor shower, for hot and cold running comfort. The stunning oyster chandelier in the great room (“We were looking at houses when I saw that,” said Ann. “I said, ‘I don’t care what we do around it, I have to have that.’”)

Each of them was a fresh scribble in the margins of the typical Lowcountry rulebook. And among those gathered notes and exceptions to the rule, the result in a home that’s as refreshingly different as it is lavishly livable.


Builder CS Thomas Construction + Appliances Billy Wood Appliance + Architect Court Atkins
Plumbing fixtures Ferguson + Interior Design Kelly Caron Designs
Counters Kelca Counters + Cabinets Wilson Cabinetry
Flooring Rick Bent Flooring + Tile Savannah Surfaces + Windows Coastal Sash and Door

Get the look of this featured home

Appliances might be the most important aspect of your kitchen. If you’re looking to upgrade your space, here are three functional and stylish suggestions from Brantley King of Billy Wood Appliance.

Miele Whole Beach Coffee System
Perfect for coffee addicts and aficionados. The one-touch function produces two hot drinks simultaneously. You can program custom blends, giving each coffee lover in the house its own profile. Available through Billy Wood Appliance. $3,699.

Wolf M Series Convection Steam Oven
This smart oven makes meals easy with 10 cooking modes. It offers full steam for sous vide and flaky, crispy crusts. Gourmet mode adjusts time, temperature and humidity for perfect results. Available through Billy Wood Appliance. $4,949.

Sub Zero Integrated Wine Storage
Two independent temperature zones hold reds and whites at proper serving temperature. Dual evaporators offer constant, moderate humidity so corks don’t dry out. The bronze-tinted, UV-resistant glass protects against light exposure. Racks accommodate 750 ml bottles, half-bottles and magnums. Available through Billy Wood Appliance. $6,289.

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