Home Discovery: Downsizing, the Bluffton way

It’s become almost cliché to say that someone came to the Lowcountry for a vacation and ended up staying forever, but that’s just what happened when Jim and Liz McGuffey went looking for a place to downsize.

Their decision came quickly after a visit with friends to Hilton Head Island led them to Bluffton’s Hampton Hall. This past spring, they achieved their ideal downsizing in a house that’s around half the size of their old one.


“We had lived in Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia, and we and some friends visited Hilton Head and fell in love with the area, especially Bluffton and a lot in Hampton Hall,” Jim said.

Empty-nesters, Jim and Liz decided to custom-build their home, focusing on living and entertaining space, a fun kitchen, views and outdoor enjoyment.

“Our backyard overlooks the 7th green of Hampton Hall’s Pete Dye golf course,” Jim said. As the couple gains more leisure time, they plan to take advantage of the nationally recognized golf course. “A few more lessons, and we’ll be out there. We still travel a lot, though.” Another reason they like the area: they’re not too far from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.

“And we love downtown Bluffton.”

The McGuffeys worked closely with architect Christopher Deen of Residential Concepts in Ridgeland and builder Aubrey L. Swofford of ALS Inc. of Bluffton to customize their new home to their exact needs now that their two sons have left to raise their families.

“Our previous home was 6,000 square feet,” Liz said. Their new home is 3,400 square feet, “so, we think it’s the perfect size for having guests and entertaining.” The home features four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, plus a fifth half-bath.

“We wanted to focus on the living center, the kitchen and the screened-in porch, which leads to the pool, a fenced-in yard, a view of a lagoon and the golf course,” Liz said.

This living center flows seamlessly from one end of the house to the next, starting with the wide lushly-appointed kitchen. As you’d expect from this caliber of home, the appliances are all stainless steel, but it’s the cabinetry and counterspace that dazzles here.

“When selecting the material for the kitchen I knew my client loved the look of marble,” said Gandy Taylor of Distinctive Granite & Marble, “After selecting the cabinets we decided to go with the White Carrara because of its soft grain and clean look. The overall look of the finished product is phenomenal and it is exactly what the client had in mind!”

From the kitchen it’s just a short breeze through the open living room, past the screened-in porch with outdoor kitchen and to the relaxing pool deck, where the calming trickle from the swimming pool provides the soundtrack to an impressive view.

Liz also emphasized the master bedroom’s walk-in closet. “It is big,” she said with a laugh. “And, the master bath is gorgeous.”

Liz and Jim kicked in on the design of the home’s interior, with the expertise of Floor Fashion, Bordeaux Cabinetry, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery, Distinctive Granite and Marble, and Closet Classics.

“We think the interior is unique, because of its cool colors which are quite different, and its tigerwood flooring,” Liz said.

TLC Pool Service designed and built the swimming pool, and Sunshine Hardscape, Landscape and Nursery subcontracted the exterior environments.

A two-car, one-golf-car garage also features a bonus room.


by mark kreuzwieser / photography by Rob Kaufman