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May 1, 2023

Daufuskie Island Dream Home: Comfortable, casual, and contemporary Haig Point haven

Cheryl Ricer

Photography By

John McManus, Savannah
Architecture by H. Pearce Scott, Pearce Scott Architects Construction by Chuck Hunter, Osprey Construction, Inc. Interiors by Janis Campbell and Jo Ann Alatis, J and J Designs

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The weekend before Hurricane Matthew hit, most people were making plans to evacuate the Lowcountry. But Ty and Kelly Wooldridge—who were living in Franklin, Tennessee, at the time—were fulfilling a longstanding intention to visit Haig Point on Daufuskie Island.

“We arrived on the Friday before the hurricane hit on Tuesday for our Discovery Weekend at Haig Point,” Kelly said. “We stayed the weekend and were evacuated on Monday.”

Rewind to 15 years prior, when one of Ty’s friends planted the seed that he should visit Haig Point. They were discussing ideas around retirement and their desire to be on the water. Ty casually mentioned it to Kelly, and from time to time they discussed visiting one day. Once they hit their 50s, they began to get more serious about exploring places to retire and booked the Discovery Weekend.

“Despite the hurricane, we knew we wanted to come back and stay longer this time, so we booked another visit a few months later,” Ty said. “This time, we stayed an entire week to get the full experience of living on an island with no bridge, no cars, and no grocery store in order to figure out how the whole thing worked. It was then that we fell more in love with the lifestyle—so much so that we couldn’t find a single reason not to make this our home.”

Despite the weather and inconvenience of the evacuation, the couple chose their lot during their Discovery Weekend based on the multiple views it offered, including the Calibogue Sound and the historic Daufuskie Lighthouse.

“That lighthouse has survived here for 150 years, and our backyard literally backs up to its lawn,” Kelly said. “So, we thought, since that lighthouse is still here after more than a century—knock on wood—maybe this would be a good lot to build on. Plus, it’s one of the highest points on the entire island, and the view over the sound is spectacular. We also realized that even if we decided not to build or move there, it was a beautiful lot and would be a good investment.”

The couple originally planned to build and move after they retired—him as president of a Medicare supplement company; her as a programmer—but when the pandemic enabled them to begin primarily working from home, they decided not to wait.

“We had already begun to work with Pearce Scott, our architect,” Ty said. “While we interviewed four architects, we felt Pearce and his team just really ‘got’ our vision, and he was able to design a home around the way we live, as well as fitting it all into the uniquely shaped lot we had already picked out.”

The layout of the home is such that the couple can live on the main level with plenty of room to expand for guests, including areas for in-laws who may have extended stays. The guest suites are on the second and third floors and all accessible by elevator. 

And as crazy as it sounds, the couple’s home was under construction during COVID; they got their certificate of occupancy in May of 2021 and moved in with a lengthy punch list mostly due to supply chain issues. They couldn’t wait to get there. The couple agreed that navigating a home construction in South Carolina from Tennessee during a pandemic was the biggest challenge they faced.

“They were literally framing our house starting in late February of 2020, and we couldn’t even come on the island,” Kelly said. “So, Janice [Janis Campbell, J and J Designs] and Chuck [Chuck Hunter, Osprey Construction, Inc.] were our eyes and ears because they live on the island full time. Making selections was a bit difficult only because we would pick things out in Franklin, then Chuck and Janis would try to source them locally. They were phenomenal to work with and made even the challenges appear seamless.”

Part of what made that long distance relationship work was the Osprey Construction, Inc. software edge. “Our cutting-edge construction management program allows the homeowner to view the overall project and see photos of their home as its being built—and is accessible from anywhere,” Hunter said. “Since most of our buyers don’t live on the island, getting to see the progress of their home is both exciting and reassuring.”

Osprey Construction, Inc is known for building some of the best homes on Daufuskie Island. Hunter believes Osprey’s success is due largely to a focus on excellence and environmental responsibility coupled with a distinct process that overcomes the challenges of building on a secluded island, accessible only by water.

“Everything—the people, the materials, and the equipment, comes here by ferry or barge,” Hunter said. “In order to better control the build timeline, we now have our own concrete plant, equipment for unloading and transporting materials from the barge, grading equipment, storage facility, and a cabinet shop for hands-on millwork.”

Plus, Hunter lives on Daufuskie (since 2010) and is friends with all his clients. He enjoys the bond created during the building process, and he understands that many of these homes are heirlooms intended to remain in families for generations.

“All of our homes include special features,” Hunter said. “If we encounter something the owner wants to change or add, we are always willing to pause and adjust to ensure the owner’s personality is truly reflected in the home. For example, Ty and Kelly wanted a hidden ‘speakeasy’ wine room and a third-level porch overlooking the sound that includes a small kitchen and pizza oven.”

Janis Campbell, the couple’s interior designer, also lives on Daufuskie Island. She, too, understands the challenges of designing a home from afar.

“Kelly and Ty were a delight,” Campbell said. “And it was so much fun seeing their excitement as their home came to fruition. When your home is on Daufuskie Island with a beautiful view of the water, you want to incorporate a coastal touch, which we did by adding touches of shiplap and coastal colors on a more contemporary and neutral color palette. They also wanted a casual living style, and they frequently entertain. Their third-floor porch is really a ‘party room,’ perfect for entertaining and with an unforgettable view.”

Everything about the home is custom, including high-quality cabinets and high-end appliances in the kitchen. Adjoining the kitchen is a large butler’s pantry that Hunter called the “Daufuskie Room,” equipped with a secondary refrigerator and ample storage to accommodate island living. Kelly loves her big kitchen that can accommodate the couple’s large family, and she loves to cook. 

“We’ve hosted Thanksgiving here two years in a row,” she said. “It was great to have my two sisters cooking with me while one of my nieces was making bread.”

Another unique quality about the kitchen is an idea that Pearce Scott offered. Initially, Kelly wasn’t sure about it, but now she’s glad they installed the double oven in the pantry. It keeps the kitchen clean and uncluttered and offers more counter space. The kitchen and dining room are separated from the screened porch by 16 feet of glass that slides open to the water view.

The master suite has a vaulted ceiling and large windows overlooking the lighthouse, huge palmetto trees, and the Calibogue Sound. The master bath is large even by standards of luxury homes. Included there are a walk-in shower, free-standing tub, his and her vanities with lots of counter space, and large closets that are accessible from the bathroom.

“We have the best shower,” Kelly said. “Janis located a large slab of porcelain that is now the focal point in the back of the shower. Also, we can stand in our shower and look through our bathroom right through the bedroom and see the water. The view from our bedroom includes the lighthouse and the water. That view never gets old!” 

The couple’s favorite spot, though, is the third-floor party area with the room inside that includes a kitchenette and an 85-inch television, with ample and comfortable lounging furniture. Out on the porch, there is a fire table, the pizza oven, and a bar area, all open to the indoors by a pass-through window.

“We just kind of live up there,” Ty said. “The view is amazing. You just can’t get enough.”

Not even Hurricane Matthew or COVID could interrupt this couple’s plans to build their dream home on Daufuskie Island. “We absolutely love everything about our life at Haig Point,” Kelly said. “The seclusion, the access to nature, the views, the beaches, the amenities we have access to, and most of all our neighbors. Hands down, it’s the people here that make this place so wonderful and inviting.”

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