Riverbend retreat


From her screened porch, outdoor patio, manicured backyard, upstairs balcony, kitchen and most rooms at her Mediterranean-style home, Ann Bitner can see the marsh and Okatie River bend here and there.

The view is what she wanted. The view is what she got, thanks to H2 Builders in Bluffton.


After seeing a home makeover show on television featuring H2 Builders, she was impressed. She called and connected with Rush Lowther, the company’s vice president of marketing and sales, who showed her a handful of available waterfront sites.

Even though Bitner already had a home in Riverbend, she wanted the water to be part of her life — and the lives of her two dogs. With Lowther’s help, she settled on a half-acre site on Wisteria Lane with a full water vista.

“I was looking for something that was open, light and airy to showcase the view,” said Bitner, whose main residence is in Pennsylvania. “We felt that this property had the best view of the river. Once we selected the lot, we wanted to situate the house to take advantage of the view. I’m pretty much an outdoor person, so I wanted to have an outside living area.”

Lowther understood her desire to make the most of her surroundings.

“Since she’s on the marsh overlooking the Okatie River across to Berkeley Hall, we really wanted to make sure we took advantage of the outdoor area and entertainment, so we have a very nice large screened porch, an outdoor fireplace, outdoor kitchen,” Lowther said. “There are many things that make this home special. … Ann and I studied the orientation of the home to make it special with the views.”

Bitner’s kitchen is the cornerstone of the 4,100-square-foot, four bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom home. She loves to entertain, and enjoys the open floor plan and unobstructed river views from the kitchen, breakfast area, great room and Carolina room.

Distinctive Granite & Marble was enlisted to secure and install the countertops once the custom-designed cabinetry by the Cabinet Gallery was in place. Distinctive Granite provided the template design and Bitner made her selections.

The perimeter and butler’s pantry feature a dark-brown honed travertine by St. Pierre, with the two kitchen islands topped with a Marinace Gold black granite, a “quite interesting material for sure,” said Courtney Jansen of the Hilton Head office sales team.

“It’s gorgeous,” said Bitner, noting that her interior designer from Pennsylvania showed her a sample she found up north, which Distinctive Granite then matched.

Francois & Co. provided the striking range hood in the kitchen and the “very special” fireplace hearth and mantel in the great room, Bitner said.

Elsewhere, Distinctive Granite also installed a Breccia Oniciata marble vanity top and backsplash in the master bathroom. Guests will find oyster blue limestone vanity tops in one bathroom and Baccarat quartzite in two other bathrooms. In the utility/laundry room, 38 square feet of Taj Mahal quartzite sparkles on the counters, and Virginia Mist honed granite adorns the outdoor kitchen countertop.

“It’s all custom-made based on the homeowner’s vision of the entire house,” Jansen said.

Low Country Shelving & Glass in Bluffton supplied frameless shower doors and custom-made vanity mirrors in the bathrooms.

When Bitner isn’t using her expansive kitchen as home base for entertaining friends or sitting in the formal dining room hosting a dinner party, she’ll be comfortably sipping tea in the afternoon in the Carolina room. Her two dogs will be lounging nearby in their beds, with nature’s wonder as the visual backdrop through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Open the sliding doors into the adjacent great room and original artwork abounds on the spacious walls below the 13-foot-high coffered ceiling.


“There are many things that make this home special, starting with the lot itself,” Lowther said, “and especially the features she chose as far as the finishes.” There’s the low-maintenance imported travertine flooring from Turkey throughout the downstairs, tray ceilings in the master bedroom and dining room, built-out tray lighting, a free-floating bathtub, and double sinks and double vanities in the upstairs junior master suite with a walk-out balcony.

“No details were spared,” Lowther said. “She really made it well-appointed throughout the entire house.”

And outside too.

Upon arrival, guests and friends are greeted by two stone-based lampposts with gas-lit lanterns and a vase with holly spilling over center stage in the Lowcountry Mediterranean-style courtyard. A hip-style asphalt shingled roof embraces the stucco and cultured flagstone accented exterior.

Bitner, who lives in her Riverbend home about half the year, is quick to praise H2.

“I wanted somebody to do quality work, and I knew they were a quality builder,” she said. Indeed, the residence won LightHouse industry awards last year in its category for Best Overall Custom Home, Best Custom Home Exterior and Best Custom Home Bath.

She can’t wait to return to Riverbend in May.



Shore Line Design Inc., architect

Rob Kaufman, photographer

Coastal Surveying


Armor Building Solutions


Casual Living

DDH Interior & Exterior Trim

Staircrafters, Inc.

Distinctive Granite

H2 Builders Cabinet Gallery

R & S Hardwood Floors & Tile

Billy Woods Appliance

Low Country Shelving & Glass

Floor Fashion, Inc.