By Terry Bell-Aby, Realtor, CNE Luxury Simplified Real Estate
Building your dream home is always full of challenges. There are tons of decisions to make, schedules that change sometimes hourly, and budgets that must be carefully monitored. And, if you're fortunate enough to be building your dream home on the ultra-private Kiawah Island SC, you can add to the mix Kiawah Architectural Board of Review, Charleston County requirements, and the unique architectural vernacular that dictates design on this upscale, resort island - and it can be a complicated course to run. Kiawah Island is special for a reason and understanding that can make all the difference in a successful project.
Building on Kiawah Island will come with its own set of challenges, and adding unnecessary complications right out of the gate will not help. Start by hiring a local architect. When I lived on Martha’s Vineyard, one of our construction clients hired architects from Florida. They designed a beautiful and glamorous summer home that was totally unsuited to the neighborhood in Edgartown with its traditional white clapboard siding, cladded homes. Here in Charleston, I worked on a construction project that had failed because the original design called for cedar shakes that weather well in New England coastal towns, but did not hold up in our hot and humid salt air. We moved forward with Hardieplank® siding that is engineered for our climate. Scheduling subcontractors, combined with established working relationships with the parties with whom the design decisions must be made, are important reasons to collaborate with local talent whenever possible.
Living in the Lowcountry also means risks and hazards that can be mitigated with good design principles. Hurricane protection measures are a necessary precaution and may be obvious, but also keep in mind there are construction techniques to be incorporated to combat termites and the rare earthquake in the Lowcountry.
You should know going into a project on Kiawah Island means that there will be many reviews before the first day of work. Trees need to be surveyed, the HVAC system location must be approved, exterior colors and materials are limited, in addition to a myriad of other approvals that are part and parcel of construction projects in other locales. This all means that it can be a slower process to get a house out of the ground, but that in the end your dream home will reflect the lowcountry charm and elegance that Kiawah Island has come to be known for.
On a normal day, getting there brings you through the long, winding and oak tree-filled roads that fill Johns Island. Some days it can be a challenge, let alone days with bad weather, summer vacationers, or holiday traffic. In order for materials and workers to arrive on time, gate access and work permits must be pre-arranged, so again planning ahead is paramount. Early morning at the gate can mean long lines of workers of every stripe trying to get in and get to work. Knowing the traffic patterns to a location with limited access is key as well. The remote nature that makes Kiawah Island so rustic and unspoiled also means its a bit removed from more populated areas of Charleston SC. With just two bridges on and off Johns Island, a trip from James Island can be anywhere from a 45 minute drive to an hour and a half to the gate at Kiawah Island. But with the beauty of the lowcountry, it's a picturesque drive.
NOTE: The rewards of building your dream home on Kiawah Island far outweigh what could be regarded as a cumbersome process, but waking up to Atlantic Ocean breezes and spending the day with your toes in the sand might just make it all worthwhile. Have a look at this lot currently available within Kiawah's exclusive Egret/Pintail enclave. Well-priced and ready to go, this .35 acre lot offers privacy and fairway views of the Kiawah's Osprey Point golf course. And, when it's time to build, our experienced construction group, Luxury Simplified Construction can help bring your dreams to life.