Low Country, Open Spaces

I was born and raised on a Carolina sea island and I carried the sunshine of the low-country, inked in dark gold, on my back and shoulders.

Pat Conroy

Low country homes are slightly elevated to allow those warm summer breezes to wander through open doors and drift lazily up the tall ceilings where the attic fan draws warm air and circulates a breeze throughout. Today, we have air conditioning and the doors stay closed to keep the heat (and mosquitoes) out- but the charm of low country remains, for both the interior and exterior. This home by Frank Snodgrass of Living Concepts Home Plans, HPP 22848, is a low country home, with ten foot ceilings on the first floor and nine foot ceilings on the second; it is ideal for any family.

Dormer windows enhance the front of the home (dormer windows project from the sloped roof and are used to direct natural light into the upper story or attic). A large covered porch, with room for rockers or even a joggling board, extends across the front of the home. Wicker furniture on the other side will complete the look you desire. Doric columns anchor the porch to the eaves.

There are two garages on the left side of the house. The single garage has a door going into the backyard. The double garage is towards the front of the home, and it has an entry into the first floor. For the serious wood worker, leaving space in either garage for a table saw and an organized wall for power tools just makes sense.

When you enter the home through the covered porch and front door, the elevated ceiling provides the breezy feel of low country. The foyer is open to both the dining and living rooms. Ahead of you are stairs that take you to the second floor; to the right is the living room. Light colored sofas will carry the open feeling into this room. From the foyer to the left, you enter the formal dining room.  A dining table and chairs in neutral colors will complement the room. Picking a rustic chandelier will provide the ambience you want.

The foyer leads you into the kitchen and breakfast rooms on the left and the family room on the right, both large open areas. The kitchen has a walk-in pantry, the ideal place for cookbooks on the top shelf and kids snacks below for an easy reach.  An L-shaped kitchen island invites your guests to sit and chat while you put the finishing touch on the low country boil or that mac and cheese you have in the oven. Room for the refrigerator and oven/stovetop are along the left wall; countertops give you plenty of room to prepare your appetizers and meals. The double sink looks out onto your backyard. A closet under the stairs gives you room for overflow from the kitchen pantry and is also accessible to the dining room.

The open concept continues when you turn around and walk into the family room. A fireplace on the far wall will light up the room on cold winter days. Whether you choose to harvest your own hardwood or you choose gas logs is a personal choice. Shelves on both sides of the fireplace give you room for collectibles or your favorite book club picks. Toss in a few comfortable chairs with ottomans to put your feet up and perhaps a large screen TV to make this your go-to room. The patio supplements the family room by adding more open space. Placing wicker chairs here, as you have for the front porch, or even Adirondack chairs, will allow you to spill out from the family room.

There are multiple ways to gain access to the second floor. Besides the stairs in the foyer, you can enter from the kitchen or even the backyard. Coming this way (from outside), you will first go through the laundry room, where there is space for a sink, counter space to fold clothes, and cabinets to store cleaning products.  Your washer and dryer, extra storage (a closet in this room and another as you depart), plus a powder room, make this space multifunctional.

All four of the bedroom suites are on the second floor. The master suite, which has a clipped (slanted) ceiling, is on the right side of the house and has a large sitting area, the optimal spot for lounging in your reading chair with the latest copy of Southern Living magazine. Walking towards the master bath, you have two walk-in closets. Then in the bathroom, you will find a garden tub, walk-in shower and his and her sinks. For even more privacy, there is a door for the toilet. A linen closet nearby stores your soft, fluffy towels and washcloths.

The bonus room shares a bathroom with the second bedroom suite. Both rooms, like the master suite, have clipped ceilings. The bedroom has a walk-in closet; adjacent to this are his and her sinks, a shower/tub and another linen closet. The third and fourth bedroom suites also share a bathroom,  (often called a Jack and Jill bathroom). Both suites have generous walk-in closets, where seasonal clothing can easily be rotated. The attic and bonus rooms are conjoined- why store seasonal decorations downstairs when you have room in the attic? The bonus room is another place to play or work out the day’s frustrations. Natural light from the dormer will fall on your yoga mat as you follow Adriene on YouTube. Perhaps table tennis is your sport- fill the room with the activities that make you happy.

Whether you live in the Carolinas or Connecticut, you can invite the low country in, too, when you build this delightful home.