Living the Lowcountry

H2 Builders helps NY couple build Lowcountry house of their dreams

Gary and Gail Neumen are “100 percent” certain they’ll be moving into their new home in Bluffton in January, leaving behind their main residence, careers and life on Long Island, New York.

They will be trading Long Island’s south shore for other bodies of water — the 28-acre lake at Hampton Hall, plus the kidney-shaped swimming pool in the backyard of their new home. After buying and selling one lot in the community in 2015, the couple is finally ready to settling into the home they’ve built on the .45-acre lakeside lot hugging the 10th hole fairway of Pete Dye’s signature course that they bought in 2009.

When the Neumens were ready to build, they contacted H2 Builders and partnered with senior vice president of sales Rush Lowther. He escorted them through H2’s “design and build” process. And once the couple’s home was finished, they leased it back to the company for a year to be used as a show home at the 1,000-acre gated golf community.

The couple — he’s vice president of information technology and chief information officer for a beverage distribution company, and she is manager of a local café —knew they would relocate to the Lowcountry since first visiting 25 years ago while on vacation with their three children.

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Gary said the Lowcountry’s location, Hampton Hall amenities — dining, pools, tennis, health and fitness center, etc. — and, of course, the weather made the decision to retire to the area early next year an easy one.

“The 40s in January is short-sleeve weather for me,” said Gary, a golfer and fisherman. He’s hoping his wife will start swinging some golf clubs and join him on the links.

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Signing the paperwork with H2 was a “no-brainer” for Gary because of the company’s reputation as a custom homebuilder with committed attention to detailed craftsmanship. Founded in 1996 by Todd Hawk, the company has built more than 300 luxury custom homes in the area.

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“All of their detail work and trim work brought me to H2,” Gary said. “I can see their craftsmanship.”

Before building, the couple toured model homes in H2’s portfolio, and selected one that suited their needs and wants — but with a few personalized modifications.

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“We chose one of the homes from their collection and then customized it,” Gary said. “I wanted certain features, and Rush was very open and helped me design the home.”

A minor but significant touch by H2 was the custom-built bench in the mudroom.

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“I sketched it out and they built it,” Gary said. “That’s what I wanted. We don’t need a jacket down there. If I have a jacket, I’ll hang it (on one of the hooks).”

Overall, the four-bedroom, three-and-a half bathroom home spreads across 2,744 square feet. The Neumens said they’ll likely use one of the bedrooms as a study, though it’s nice to have the flexibility.

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“It’s a great room concept,” Lowther said, “Open-concept living, one level, split floor plan; master suite on one side and two guest rooms on the other side with a study up front, and informal dining off of the kitchen.”

The Neumens thought long and hard about the home’s design before beginning work. They wanted to be sure the house offered everything they would need without any wasted space or unused rooms.

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“My wife and I sat down and said, ‘What do we want in this home?,’” Gary said. “We don’t use a formal dining room anymore, we don’t use a formal living room anymore. We want the kids to come down with the grandkids, and we want them to have their own rooms with attached baths.”

H2 obliged, and delivered their usual superb craftsmanship. The home, with its traditional Hilton Head stucco exterior and 50-year architectural roof shingles, has a sweeping coastal feel inside and out and showcases a variety of special features — including several archway transition points, one of H2’s signature design touches.

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A screened-in backyard porch with an outdoor kitchen and comfortable furnishings allows the family to take full advantage of the Lowcountry weather. Custom-made built-in shelving frames the custom brick fireplace in the great room, with crown molding recessed off the coffered ceiling. Twelve-foot-wide sliding French doors grant access to the porch.

An informal dining room off the kitchen offers great views of the swimming pool and the lake beyond through Marvin interior windows and a large gridless picture window, while the kitchen is home to a 10-foot-long island lit by three pendants hanging from the tray ceiling, custom cabinets built by H2 and a tiled backsplash. A solid mahogany front door with an arch transom greets guests as they arrive at the home.

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With a few more months to go before they move in, the Neumans can only dream about “really nice breezes from the lake,” Gary said. But they know their dream home is ready and waiting to welcome them to the Lowcountry.


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