Homes in the South require year-round maintenance

Lowcountry Home CareThe year-round warm and often humid weather, the sprawling live oaks with Spanish moss and surrounding fresh and salt waters that make the Lowcountry famous also provide the perfect setting for pests that threaten homes — from palmetto bugs and termites to mold and lawn fungus. Lowcountry homeowners must keep a watchful eye out for the unique problems that can affect all aspects of the home: lawns, foundation, siding, roofs and more. Here’s a peek at some of the typical home improvement issues affecting the lower part of the Palmetto State.

Outdoor kitchens a fast-rising Lowcountry trend

Planning an outdoor kitchen? Remember: Maintenance should play a significant role in the construction of your outdoor feast center, especially in the Lowcountry.From Frederick Law Olmsted’s manicured lawns to Alice Waters’ organic vegetable patch, the perfect American yard is constantly evolving. But, when it comes to entertaining, there is little doubt that the kitchen is the heart of a home. Why not merge the two and take your culinary adventures outside?

Advances in durable kitchen products coupled with inventive designs mean outdoor kitchens can be customized to fit individual preferences while being as functional as a cook’s most indispensible gadget. Imagine a pizza oven for your patio, or a bar that’ll let you mix martinis while watching a king-fisher at the end of the dock. But before you toss out your trusty charcoal kettle and rush into a sprawling outdoor cook station, here are some things to think about when planning your outdoor kitchen.

Incorporate playfulness, safety in Children’s BathroomsHave you been thinking about redecorating your child’s bathroom? If so, here are some easy ways to make the bathroom attractive, safe, clean – and entertaining.

When it comes to decorating the walls, paint them in one or two of your child’s favorite colors. This will make redecorating easy if your kids grow out of the original design or if you want to redecorate when they move out of the house.

Paint the walls in washable flat paint or exterior latex. That way the walls can be washed with bleach or antibacterial cleaning products without paint pealing.

Go green with recent trends in shower heads and faucets

Go green with recent trends in shower heads and faucetsShower heads and faucets can make a world of a difference in your everyday life and ecosystem.

Interest in eco-friendly designs is on the rise in 2009, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), with metering faucets on the market, as well as flowoptimized shower heads and other faucets that meet LEED requirements. Another key to efficiency is asking your design professional to consider “first hour rating” — the amount of water used in the busiest hour of the bathroom — when selecting shower heads.

“Bathrooms have the highest water usage of any room in the house,” said Molly Erin Mc-Cabe of NKBA. “To help minimize water consumption, choose water-saving faucets such as a sensor-activated faucet and low-flow shower heads.” Federal mandate is 2.5 gallons of water flow per minute, but there are some units with output of only 1.5 gallons per minute.

John’s Island Beach ClubSimple Elegance. These two words were the heart and soul behind J Banks Design’s vision for their recently completed project, John’s Island Beach Club; an approximately 50,000 square foot Private Club located in Vero Beach’s best-known luxury private community, John’s Island.

The firm was hired three and a half years ago to create a sophisticated, yet extremely casual and comfortable space where families would enjoy beachside living. J Banks Design was involved in every detail of the interior design process including the execution of integral millwork drawings, specifying all finish and hard material selections as well as selecting, ordering and installing all furnishings, artwork and accessories.

The original John’s Island Beach Club was torn down, and rebuilt nine feet higher and 75 feet closer to the Atlantic Ocean to afford better overall views. The design team’s main goal was to make sure that the new Beach Club was all about the gorgeous views, something that the former Beach Club “missed.” The finished product is now an interior setting that seamlessly translates to the outdoors. Soaring ceilings, classic columns and grand mahogany doors frame the view of the ocean and are responsible for evoking a design experience that is parallel to a tropical paradise.

Spring Into Action – Declutter Your HomeAre the stacks of paper, mail and magazines taking over your home?

Do you trip over the kids’ toys or someone’s shoes every time you enter a room?

Often this seems like a typical environment of a busy family, but it can create stress and frustration.

Clearing the clutter and organizing your home is the key to having more time to relax and enjoy time with your family.

As spring-cleaning begins, it is smart to look at each area of your home to see what needs to be re-evaluated for better efficiency and organization. There are a few helpful hints to make sure you avoid feeling overwhelmed with this project.

Spring Tour of Homes a Beaufort traditionIT WOULDN’T BE SPRING IN BEAUFORT WITHOUT St. Helena Episcopal Church’s annual Spring Tour of Homes. Known as a showcase of the historic city’s antebellum homes, the tour started in 1956 to help raise funds for a new parish house.

Fifty-three years later, the tour has become a community tradition and often attracts visitors from all over North America, said Reneé Killian-Dawson, tour chairwoman.

“We are blessed to have so many historic homes in the area — many surviving before the war of the states,” said Killian-Dawson, an interior designer and a historian. “We have a lot of civic pride. People from all over the place love these homes.”

Chairing a historic home tour couldn’t be more appropriate for Killian-Dawson. Her background in restoring English countryside historic homes helped inspire her Beaufort design business, English Interiors.

Hilton Head’s TidePointe offers luxury living at its finest.

Hilton Head’s TidePointe offers luxury living at its finest.TidePointe, A Classic Residence by Hyatt, offers luxury living at its finest. A continuing care retirement community, TidePointe gives its residents and their families peace of mind. Surrounded by a beautiful landscape and situated on Hilton Head Island’s south end, TidePointe is safely tucked away in a gated community with 24-hour security. Approximately 10 years ago, residents of The Sea Pines Resort sought luxury retirement living inspiring the creation of TidePointe. Then, about two years later, TidePointe became a TidePointe, A Classic Residence by Hyatt when Hyatt assumed management.

TidePointe offers a variety of well-planned villas, verandas and cottages, which are attractive, spacious and comfortable. Residents enjoy weekly housekeeping services, as well as delicious fare courtesy top chefs, plus a plethora of cultural events, social activities, health services and other amenities.

Alexa Hampton CollectionThe style of home furnishings has become less traditional and more about comfort and casual living as more American homes have adopted open-flowing floor plans. There has been a strong push recently by interior designers to go more modern and minimal with decorating. Modern, sleek designs can be seen everywhere from restaurants and hotels to residential interiors. Is it really possible to have comfort and a modern look together? The answer is absolutely yes! Explore the style trend that can be called ‘American Modern.’


During the ,80s and ,90s, most homeowners revered traditional furnishings and that included designs from around the world. French and English Country were very popular and styles from Tuscany and exotic locations were also a major influence. Now it seems the vintage looks of the ,30s, ,40s and ,50s are making a huge comeback, but with a slightly more comfortable look and with quality construction.

Fun Family Gardening ActivitiesGardening is a great way for kids to get exercise, spend time outdoors, and learn about the environment, food and wildlife. However, many kids grow up today without the benefit of having a gardening or farming background and access to free play outdoors. They often don’t know what to do in a garden. That’s where parents and grandparents come in. Adults can help kids learn about growing plants in a fun and engaging way. Plus, it will be a special time together outdoors, exploring the land, food and flowers.

But what if you don’t know where to start in the garden? What should you do with your kids so they won’t be bored, but you won’t be in over your head?