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Sep 30, 2022

River Road Reverie: Finding sanctuary at the Bluff

Celebrate Hilton Head Magazine

Photography By

“We first visited Palmetto Bluff 10 years ago on our way home from a family vacation in Charleston, and it was love at first sight,” Gina Malkiewicz said. “We were in awe of all the natural beauty that surrounds and connects this community, from the coastal marsh, nature preserves and Lowcountry architecture to the beautifully […]

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“We first visited Palmetto Bluff 10 years ago on our way home from a family vacation in Charleston, and it was love at first sight,” Gina Malkiewicz said. “We were in awe of all the natural beauty that surrounds and connects this community, from the coastal marsh, nature preserves and Lowcountry architecture to the beautifully designed villages, neighborhoods and abundance of outdoor amenities. After our short visit, we could not stop thinking about this enchanted place, so we returned a few months later and purchased our home site.”

Gina and Tom Malkiewicz agree it was the nuance of their new neighborhood that inspired the design and impeccable details throughout their home, custom crafted by their builder of choice, Boshaw Residential.

“Our mission was to construct a traditional Lowcountry haven for the Malkiewiczes that includes all the charm and warmth of Palmetto Bluff,” Ron Boshaw said. “So many custom features of this River Road home are reminiscent of the original residences in this community. I’m talking about the extensive wood features, from indoor paneling and shiplap to reclaimed wood floors, built-ins, and ceiling beams. Also, the outdoor living amenities, such as the porches and fire pit are genuine Lowcountry touches.”

Elements of classic Lowcountry vernacular are present from the home’s façade to each of its elevations and within the interior spaces. Along with ongoing support from Boshaw’s team, Gina and Tom worked with Savannah architect Erik Puljung (Hansen) and interior designer Amy Porch (Hansen) to achieve the level of detail that reflects a genuine coastal vibe. Gina and Tom relied on Porch to steer interior design, including all the finishes, cabinet style, countertops, hardware, and paint selection as well as sourcing antique lighting, fabric and furniture for the great room, kitchen, and den.

Construction of the home spanned two years, from fall of 2018 to the fall of 2020, during the height of the pandemic. Despite the threats of Covid and demands of widespread quarantining, they continued to make their sometimes six-hour pilgrimages from Atlanta to Bluffton, guiding the progress at their future retirement address.

“Each time we arrived at the Bluff, we felt like we were escaping to our tranquil hideaway, and with each trip, our appreciation grew for this coastal paradise,” Gina said. “Collaborating with Ron Boshaw’s team and Hansen Architects was such a positive experience. Both were very accommodating when it came to juggling our building deadlines.”

Boshaw echoed her comments and elaborated. “Our clients always come first, so even when a crisis like the pandemic happens in the midst of building, we do everything in our power to keep the process moving as smoothly as possible so there’s no additional stress,” he said.

Upon entering the Malkiewiczes’ River Road retreat, the light and airy vibe inspires a feeling completely counter to stress. A waterfront open concept, the great room and kitchen areas are the heart of the common spaces, while an adjacent den, media room and large back kitchen embrace water and resort views.

The interior palette is as warm and inviting as the exterior ivory clapboard siding and pale blue shutters. Soothing neutral colors offset the distinctive lighting that includes custom wrought iron chandeliers and pendants, designed specifically for the Malkiewiczes’ Southern retreat.

“All the details have come together beautifully and just in time for us to celebrate our growing family,” Gina said. Daughter Carly recently married and now she and husband Kyle are enjoying the rewards of their new Lowcountry escape in at the family’s beloved community.

“When we started coming to the Lowcountry, our kids were teenagers, and we were a very busy Atlanta household! I was running a technology company; Tom had his own business; and our children, Tyler and Carly were constantly on the go,” Gina said. “Palmetto Bluff became our go-to destination where we enjoyed simpler things, like kayaking and alligator spotting in the lagoon, biking through the River Road preserve or navigating the May River with the dolphins.”

Knowing well the magic of the Bluff, eventually Tyler and Carly offered their parents good advice: “Hey, Mom and Dad, we think this is where you guys should retire.”

Gina and Tom listened and put their dreams in motion, hiring builder Ron Boshaw and the right design team to create their tranquil hideaway that is now home. “When our children, family and friends visit,” Gina said, “we do all the same things together that we did when we first fell for this magical place.”

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