You need only one word to describe the great room in Don and Kim Thompson’s Palmetto Dunes home: stunning.
It’s vast and angular, full of windows, sunlight and vistas of the Palmetto Dunes Golf Course. It’s also pleasantly dominated by a European villa-style limestone fireplace.
Don and Kim Thompson purchased the 3,250-square-foot house in 2004 as a second home and rental investment. “We love Palmetto Dunes — its location, the golf course and the neighbors. It’s close to the beach,” says Don. “We found this home just down the street from where we were renting, looked at it, thought about it for about half an hour and signed the contract.
“The owner was cooking an Italian meal,” he laughs, “and we joke that’s probably what put us in the mood to buy it.”
For the first few years, the Thompsons mostly rented the home to vacationers, and only used it themselves every three or four months. But after a while, they found themselves more and more drawn to it.
“It’s just so livable that we had to move in,” Kim said. “We donated all the furniture to charity thrift shops and contacted Jake.” That would be Jake Gartner of Hammerhead Custom Builders on Hilton Head. “I’m a one-man show, so I like to get involved in all aspects of a client’s project,” said Gartner, a Clevelander who migrated to the Lowcountry in the early 1990s.
Gartner and his subcontractors got busy revamping the four-bedroom, 4 1/2-bath home, including the fireplace, rear deck, windows, bathrooms and new guest apartment above the garage.
Interior design was handled by Shelley Wilkins of J Banks Design. And all floor and tile in the renovated place was handled by KPM Flooring of Hilton Head Island, which redid all of it — carpet, hardwood floors, bathrooms, kitchen backsplashes, even the steps to the garage and area rugs. The company even came up with custom stair treads to match the prefinished hardwood floors, according to Kathleen Mayers, owner of KPM.
“Kim had some definite ideas, and some very distinct things in mind,” Mayers said, including a Zen-like vibe for the main bathroom, something clean with a lot of natural stone and what Mayers said was a “really distinctive Tunisian mosaic.”
But everything comes back to that great room, with that fireplace. “We had all kinds of ideas about the fireplace,” said Kim. “We made them a mock-up of it,” Gartner said. “They loved it, and that mantel really makes for an incredible room. It’s gorgeous.”