September 2019

Building on a Vision: Hands-on approach of Brighton Builders creates singular statement of Lowcountry beauty in Colleton River Plantation home

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: Photography by Anne


The exterior of Joe and Pauline Gereau’s beautiful Lowcountry home in Colleton River Plantation.

If a view alone could make for a stunning home, this exquisitely crafted Colleton River Plantation home would have been a masterpiece before the first hammer was swung. Staring out across a marsh thick with spartina that gradually ebbs out to the Colleton River, the sightlines here draw your gaze through the boughs of live oaks to sparkling waters beyond, stretching to Spring Island and the Broad River bridge spanning the horizon.

It’s a postcard-perfect view that demands an equally majestic home from which to take it all in. That was the challenge posed to Brighton Builders and one they rose to with practiced skill.

“Just knowing that the client was willing to invest in a beautiful piece of property like that, we knew we had to build something that would reflect that investment,” said Ben Kennedy, owner of Brighton Builders. Kennedy worked hand-in-hand with owners Joe and Pauline Gereau, drawing on their input with many inspired touches of his own.

“They came to us with a blank canvas and asked us if we could help bring their vision to life, and that is exactly what we did.” he said. “They really trusted us to use our creativity and expertise to develop the home.”

Kennedy took a deeply committed hands-on approach to the home, conferring regularly with architects Court Atkins Group when he saw opportunities to improve and embellish on an already masterful open design, and giving the smallest details his personal touch.


The interior visioning was done by Ben Kennedy and his team, from the handmade brick to the rustic oak beams

“All the interior visioning was done by myself and my team, all the way down to the handmade brick or the hand-selected rustic oak beams,” he said.

“Everywhere in there you’ll see these unique custom features.”

Kennedy saw in this home the opportunity to tie in simplistic design components but still layers of elegance to create a signature look, and his firm had a hand in everything including interior finishings and selecting custom materials like the unique handmade brick on the fireplaces, the reclaimed saw kerf variable width oak flooring, and the Carolina room’s antique rustic reclaimed oak trusses.

And the selection of each brick and beam was done with careful consideration of the overall aesthetic. “The bricks were custom made by a firm in Texas. We didn’t want to use a common brick, so we chose a custom handmade brick to match our color palette.”


A coffered ceiling delineates the living room and adds a touch of formality as the space transitions into the open dining room and kitchen.

The result of their singular focus is a home that revels in luxurious details and a wonderful sense of place. All of the traditional Lowcountry elements are there—the soaring windows designed to capture river views, the rustic patina of reclaimed wood and the mill work—but layered among these elements are clean lines and light colors that convey elegance and tempered formality.

This vision informs every room of the home, creating intriguing details across an interior that masterfully segues between soaring open spaces for entertaining and smaller spots for quiet reflection. The main living space is defined by its views, a wall of windows, capped by automated shades, that soaks in the scenery. A coffered ceiling delineates the living room and adds a touch of formality as the space transitions into the open dining room and kitchen, while a folding accordion door marks the entrance to the Carolina room. Originally planned as a screened-in porch, the team quickly realized that replacing screens with windows would extend the living space, add lush year-round relaxation and provide even more opportunities to enjoy the view.

“Everywhere you stand, you can see that water view,” Kennedy said. “Colleton River is such a beautiful estuary, and we wanted to capture every square inch of that.”


The Master Suite is a masterclass in extravagance, reveling in sweeping river views through a panorama of windows and carrying the Lowcountry theme through a soaring accent wall of vertical shiplap.

Equal attention was paid to the home’s smaller spaces, each reflecting inspired design. The darker tones and heavier millwork in a spacious office toward the front of the home create an atmosphere of classical formality. By contrast, the more modern sophistication of the front powder room is achieved through bright tones, lush natural light and a glittering chandelier. It’s a subtle play of light and dark elements that evoke elegance in their own way.

There’s even inspiration to be found in the home’s so-called utilitarian spaces. The back kitchen’s granite counters mirror the massive center island in the main kitchen, while allowing for easy prep during parties and gatherings. The wine cellar is quietly tucked away beside the wet bar, making it one of the home’s most delightful surprises. And a long hallway branching off from the kitchen leads to a boutique office and a set of built-ins Kennedy refers to as a “drop zone.” Designed to be that out-of-the-way place where you drop your keys, shoes and groceries, it’s an inspired nod to livability that leaves the main living spaces clear of clutter.

“The goal with these smaller, more tucked away spaces was to simplify, declutter and reflect the relaxed lifestyle of the house.” Kennedy said. “Simple yet elegant was the key theme for this home.”

Of course, such attention to detail and commitment to luxury demands a master bedroom of equal elegance. The master suite is a masterclass in extravagance, reveling in sweeping river views through a panorama of windows and carrying the Lowcountry theme through a soaring accent wall of vertical shiplap. The en suite is suitably grand, with its cavernous walk-in shower boasting a trio of shower heads and its indulgent soaking tub. And the closet, with its oversized granite-topped center island, serves as a luxuriously inspired use of space.

From its open spaces resplendent with Lowcountry views to the quiet spaces rife with inspired design choices, every inch of this house provides some opportunity for amazement. As lovingly planned as it was expertly crafted, this home is a perfect example of the beautiful results that come from selecting the right builder and having faith in their vision.

“It really came down to the trust level,” Kennedy said. “The client really trusted us to give them good guidance and expand upon their vision, and I’m glad they did because we are thrilled with the outcome.” 

Brighton Builders | (843) 837-1119 | www.brightonbuilderssc.com

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