The Lowcountry's come a longway, baby.
This will be obvious to tourgoerson the Parade of Homes tourthis weekend and next, when they visit housesranging from a restored farmer's shack onHilton Head Island to lavish modern homesin Sea Pines, Belfair and Hampton Lake.
The Parade of Homes is sponsored by theHilton Head Area Home Builders Association,in conjunction with the Home & Gardenshow going on this weekend at the Mallat Shelter Cove. The home tour continuesMarch 11-13, too.
One stop on the tour reflects the Lowcountry'shumble roots.
Members of the Hilton Head Home Builders'remodeler's council recently restoredThe Gullah Museum's "Little House" onGumtree Road, where tourgoers can see thetiny structure that's been in Louise Cohen'sfamily for 80 years. It's part of Hilton Head'snative-islander culture, which is made up ofthe descendants of slaves brought from WestAfrica to South Carolina and Georgia. TheLittle House is the first building of the HiltonHead Gullah Museum, a project Cohen announcedin 2003.
"The place was basically falling apart. It was termite riddenand had a lot of rot," said Don Lee, who headed up theproject for the remodeling council.Reclaimed materials including rough sawn cypress andpine were used for authenticity in the Little House, Leesaid.
Cypress also was used to construct another house onthe tour - an opulent oceanfront home in Sea Pines builtby The Twelve Oaks Group.
On Beach Lagoon Road close to Marriott Beach Club,the seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom home incorporates10-foot by 10-foot cypress beams.
"It's really the old way of building. This a stronger constructionfor a beach side application," said Brian Quinnof The Twelve Oaks Group. The home, which is for sale,has three master bedrooms, a pool, an outdoor kitchenand four outdoor fireplaces. It's elegantly furnished byTimeless Interiors.
Other homes on the tour and for sale include two inHilton Head Lakes North (formerly Tradition). One isthe "HGTV Green Home," and the other is a 1,912-squarefoot energy efficient home, said the owner of both, JamesEpley of Arbor Green Builders.
The Lowcountry cottage built by Home and Gardentelevision was designed to be environmentally friendly,and received a gold certification stamp for Leadership inEnergy and Environmental Design from the U.S. GreenBuilding Council.
It was given away in a national sweepstakes in 2008;Epley purchased it later and also has built seven homesin Tradition in the last three years.
In Belfair, another Lowcountry style house is one of thestops on the tour. Built by Jerry Davis Custom Homes forhomeowners who live there now, the 4,600-square footretreat has three porches with spectacular views of themarsh and the Colleton River.
OLDFIELDAlso overlooking the Colleton River, Oldfield's elegantRiver House clubhouse is on the Parade of Homestour. Built in 1972 in the style of the original plantationresidence from the mid-1700s, it includes some materialsfrom the original building.
These were salvaged by Robin Carrier, who maintainedOldfield as her private horse farm and hunting preservefor nearly 20 years.
Ownership of Oldfield recently passed from CrescentResources LLC to SF Capital, an Atlanta-based developmentcompany which is enhancing the property.
HAMPTON LAKENamed "America's Best Community" by the NationalAssociation of Home Builders, Hampton Lake is an amenity-rich, fun-for-the-whole-family private communitywhere 15 model homes are part of the tour. The housesrange from single-family homes priced below $300,000 tolarger lakefront homes that cost about $650,000.