THE HOUSE HAS VIEWS, GLORIOUS VIEWS FROM ITS PERCH ON DAUFUSKIE ISLAND: THE ATLANTIC OCEAN TO THE EAST FROM THE FRONT, HAIG POINT GOLF COURSE TO THE WEST FROM THE BACK, WINDMILL HARBOUR AND HARBOUR TOWN TO THE NORTH/ NORTHEAST, AND LOTS OF LIVE OAK TREES TO THE SOUTH.
And it also has more than 75 windows on three stories through which to gaze from any panoramic angle, along with 4,643 square feet of wraparound decks on two levels for prime outdoor vantage points. The contemporary-style home also sits 12 feet high on pilings specifically intended to provide spectacular visual treats.
“It’s got some spectacular views,” said builder Ken Crast, owner of Crast Custom Homes LLC on Hilton Head Island. “It’s a really neat house.”
While Crast may speak with modest understated ease, the custom homes he’s been building since founding his company on Hilton Head Island in 1992 are anything but understated. They are dramatic, dazzling and unique. “I like doing custom houses, stuff that is different,” said the 58-year-old upstate New York native. “Basically, this is all I’ve ever done … I enjoy what I’m doing.”
When a French couple living in St. Louis called Crast in late 2010, they told him they admired his craftsmanship at the Calibogue Club on Haig Point that he had built a few years earlier — especially the windows. “He (the husband) saw the details of the windows,” Crast said. “He’s a very creative guy and those are the types of details he picked up on.”
They talked, and Crast and local architect Grady Woods drew up an initial design to “see what the house would look like.” With the visionary input of the owners, including a sketch of the floor plan by the husband, the trio moved forward.
“The idea was to make it very contemporary and clean,” Crast said. “The lot is beautiful and they wanted to take advantage of the views, with decks all the way around the first and second floor … We positioned the house to be built around the live oak trees.”
Woods later developed an extensive architectural design showing the “aesthetics of the house,” while Crast worked on the engineering and structural plans, as well as pricing for the home construction. The husband, Crast said, was very hands-on throughout the entire process. “It was a team effort,” said Crast, who lives in a 35-year-old waterfront home with a dock in Sea Pines with his wife, Susan.
Work began on the property, which was purchased about 10 years ago, in February 2011 and was completed one year later. The couple and their two daughters began enjoying their new second home that early spring, and entertain house guests during the summer.
“They are real family-oriented,” said Crast, who first arrived on Hilton Head in 1978 by sailboat, where he lived at Palmetto Bay Marina for a couple of years before meeting his future wife.
The luxurious main house boasts 3,758 square feet of living space and the guest house 1,525, and they are connected by a covered walkway. The main house features one guest bedroom and a master suite, three-and-half bathrooms, two fireplaces with custom-designed mantles, a “great” room showcasing the living and dining rooms, a loft/studio, an office and a gourmet island kitchen. Timber trusses share space with a 30-foot vaulted ceiling. A ground-floor garage comfortably fits up to eight golf carts (no cars are allowed on Daufuskie, remember?) and storage space.
The guest house features 25 windows, two bedrooms downstairs, an upstairs loft and one bathroom.
The 44-foot high main house encircles three live oak trees. “It’s cradled in with these live oak trees,” he said. “It makes you feel like you’re living in a tree house.”
The decision to build the house on pilings was mainly due to poor soil conditions, and initially they decided on an 8-foot elevation before finally extending it another 4 feet to maximize views of the surrounding vistas. An outside staircase stretches from the decks to the ground, and a swimming pool sits atop 21 pilings that are driven 25 feet in the ground. On the side of the house is a big screen porch, and a covered outdoor fireplace is positioned near a large dining table for social gathering.
Exotic limited-harvest tigerwood from California adorns the decks and railing posts outside and all the flooring inside the home, which was “pickled” gray to evoke a “beachtype effect.” See-through stainless steel cable layers between railings and floors inside and out and are “very contemporary looking,” Crast said.
Perhaps the home’s most exceptional feature are the windows — all 77 of them. “It’s basically glass all the way around, all four sides of the house,” Crast said.
Every energy-efficient window in the home is spaced exactly the same as the next, even in the inside corners. Steel connection frames are built between the windows “equal distance apart to give the house rigidity,” he said. “We did this intentionally because he (the owner) wanted a clean look.”
Any way you look inside or out at this Daufuskie home, it’s grand.