11 HEADWATERS ROAD, BLUFFTONThis “casual, warm” home at the headwaters of the May River is designed for rustic comfort — and the location is perfect for its photography-minded owners.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY BUTCH HIRSCH

11 HEADWATERS ROAD, BLUFFTON

With its Lowcountry appeal, thoughtful design and character-rich features — such as wooden beams and a quirky garden railroad — it’s no wonder the Palmetto Bluff property at 11 Headwaters Road won the 2009 Gold Aurora Award for being the best house in competition across the southeast United States and the National Best in Living Award for best custom home of 6,500 square feet or greater.

Kitchen and BathSometimes, the big, splashy home design trends you see in the slick pages of magazines don’t always translate to the Spanish moss-framed homes of the Lowcountry. And while the rest of the country follows the latest trends in designs and products, the South has often simply followed its own sense of style.

“In the southern marketplace, it’s more traditional,” said Lora Donoghue, president of the Carolina Chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). “In the northern marketplace, it’s more contemporary.”

Kelly Hughes of Designing to Sell, a home staging business, said today’s market is different than it has ever been.

 

130 Tidewater ManorThis masterpiece in the Tidewater Landing community can’t seem to stop collecting building and design accolades. Take a look inside.

In the past year, 130 Tidewater Manor has won Silver at the National Association of Home Builders’ Nationals in Las Vegas, was a Pinnacle Awards finalist at the South Carolina Home Builders Association and claimed Best Overall at the  Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association Lighthouse Awards, among its many local and national honors.

But for Todd Hawk, owner of H2 Builders, and wife Tracy, the initial idea was to simply turn a raw piece of land into a home wedded to its surroundings. “We’re very much outdoors people,” Tracy said. “The dark tile roof, the stone application, paver driveway, it’s all designed to aesthetically complement nature.” There’s also a sprawling outdoor entertainment area, complete with woodburning fireplace, pool with beach entry, summer kitchen and deepwater dock (where you can often find the couple’s son, Hunter, an avid 9-year-old fisherman).

 

5 WAYS to improve your home’s valueIn a tough real estate market, the difference between selling a home and watching it stay listed month after month can come down to making a few changes to capture the uniqueness of your home.

While budget busting renovation projects are one way to update your space, they are often far too expensive for people looking to sell their homes. But tearing out your kitchen and adding a new bathroom aren’t the only ways to get your house sold.

If you want to make some changes, but don’t want to empty your wallet, here are five affordable tips to help you improve your home’s marketability.

Stylish, sustainable interior design ideasWhen you think of the colors associated with cool weather, green doesn’t necessarily come to mind. Environmentally speaking, however, it should. There’s no better time than now to lessen your home’s impact on the environment and change the way you decorate and live. It’s not nearly as difficult to become earth-friendly as you might think. These days, you can find stylish, eco-friendly design elements for every room in the house. And, contrary to popular belief, going green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style for sustainability. The two can coexist quite effortlessly.

You can start simple by dressing your bed in luxurious sheets, throws and comforters made from fabrics such as rich, renewable bamboo or soft, organic cotton. Cover your floors with formaldehyde-free carpets constructed of recycled fibers or select a natural material, like stone, slate or even concrete. Then, hang energy-efficient window treatments with high insulation and shading properties.

Have you been feeling a little cramped in your kitchen, but you don’t have the finances to knock down walls or build more storage space? Don’t worry. With a few simple changes, you will discover new space that you never knew existed.

The first task is to look inside your cabinets. If there are mugs, water bottles or plastic cups that seem to never be used, donate them. For Tupperware containers, pots and pans, stack them inside each other.

Spruce up your cabinetryWhat better way to welcome in summer than to incorporate a creative color palette into your living room, bathroom or home office? With Americans spending more time at home these days, many are investing in home upgrades. Take a cue from Mother Nature and bring in functional and affordable cabinetry in surprising colors.

Designers are reporting increased demand from consumers for cabinets with painted finishes, according to the Research Institute for Cooking and Kitchen Intelligence. Cabinet manufacturers are expanding finish options beyond the traditional brown and reddish tones to include bright and relaxing hues that create a summer retreat within your own home.

Several cabinetry making companies are experimenting with surprising new colors, including a sunny, buttery yellow called Honeysuckle; a lagoon blue appropriately dubbed Oasis; a chameleon- like neutral, Portobello and Tidal Mist, which is reminiscent of foggy, ocean-front summer mornings. Other finishes include Moss — an
earthy green — and Crimson, which emulates the look of summer berries.

Yes, it does exist! And, no, you can’t do it yourself.

Kitchen RemodelingAre you looking at your kitchen, thinking it needs to be renovated and realizing the funds are just not there? Consider a cheaper alternative with an affordable facelift. Making a few budget-friendly changes and adding modern accents could be enough to transform that kitchen from frumpy to fantastic.

Where to Begin

Before starting this project, it’s important to determine what is outdated, falling apart or in need of a little improvement. Are your cabinets salvageable? Do your appliances need to be replaced?

A recent shift toward black-and-white kitchens adds a level of sleek sophistication

When it comes to spending lavishly on luxury goods, times are achangin’. But new trends show it’s not completely impossible to find quality and cost-efficiency. Merge the old with the new by incorporating cheaper, new, efficient faucet designs in your kitchen design.

Undercounter sinks and sinks without an integrated faucet platform are becoming the “it” design. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA): “This is caused in part by the fact that undercounter sinks are ideal for deck-mount bridge designs, because if the sink is already pre-drilled with three holes, the middle hole that is not needed with a bridge-style faucet will be concealed by the countertop. In a drop-in or tile-in installation, the sink rests on the countertop exposing the middle hole.”

Put a modern twist to your traditional holiday decor.

Holiday Home Makeover

By now, you’ve likely pulled dusty boxes of half-broken ornaments, partially used candles, tangled twinkling lights and themed tablecloths from the bowels of your closet. But before you deck your house in holiday splendor, reconsider the décor of old. The impending New Year marks a fresh take to tradition, according to Carmen Natschke of Decorating Diva, an online home design resource.

“As with all things décor, the basics will always have a strong influence,” she said. “I don’t see a significant down trend in traditional holiday color usage. What I do see is a fusion of traditional color basics and trendy color newcomers, such as pink, robin’s egg blue, sage, chocolate and other 2008 color favorites.”