July 2020

Ravishing in Red: One eye-catching adornment speaks volumes about the whimsy within this waterfront dream home.

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: Photography by Anne

At first glance, the home of Mike and Jane Rivers might seem like your quintessential waterfront Lowcountry retreat. All the classic hallmarks are there: a light and airy sense of spaciousness, a sprawling backyard oriented to capture every ounce of the blissful Carolina sun, and materials from brick to tabby that reflect the aesthetic of coastal chic.

This is what you’ll notice at first glance, assuming you don’t look up. Should you do that, the first thing that catches your eye will doubtlessly be the bold red roof that caps this beautiful Lowcountry home.

“I wanted a Lowcountry home because that’s where we came from,” Jane said. “But I wanted a red roof. We would do without something else if I could get my red roof.”

“It was something she’d always wanted, and she always said she thought it was cute,” added designer Kelly Caron, who took Jane’s vision and created a blend of classical Lowcountry and whimsical chic that informs that look of the house.

Those of you bound by restrictive covenants and HOAs, we feel your jealousy. “The owners really wanted that red roof,” Josh Mathews of Matthews Construction said. “Not being in a gated community, they were able to do that.”

Building from plans developed by Tom Parker, Matthews and his team worked closely with the Rivers as Jane and Caron developed the look of the home.

“We decided early on that comfor-table, casual and cute would be her vibe,” Caron said. That vibe was realized exquisitely throughout the home. Perhaps no space best exemplifies this like the main living space, where soaring ceilings and lush views out to the water could very easily cross the line into ostentatious. Here, the vibe is decidedly more casual. Just ask the resin-carved alligator who serves as a wine caddy.

“Jane loves animals, so you see that in some of the whimsical accessories throughout the house,” Caron said. “It wasall about being comfortable in their home.”

The Rivers have now lived comfortably here for two years, having downsized from a much larger house nearby. “We lived in Spanish Wells for nine years, and I’d done what I wanted to do,” Jane said. “We left Spanish Wells to get on the water.”

The water wasn’t the only thing on their mind when they entered into competitive bidding for the then-vacant lot. Jane especially had a vision in her head of a Lowcountry home that would spend part of the year as a dazzling free-standing Christmas display. “I needed a big attic to put all my holiday decorations in, and another must was plugs for Christmas lights in the ceilings,” she said. “And I wanted a Moravian star right outside my door.”

With Christmas comes family. For the Rivers family, everyone got to contribute to the wish list. “My son is big into music, so his big thing was speakers in every room and outside,” Jane said. “He was also the one who wanted the pool, so we gave in.” Jane added her own big-ticket item to the punch list when she asked for a spring porch. She got her wish, and the house is infinitely richer for it, with the sprawling outdoor space now offering the perfect vantage point for the sparkling waters of Broad Creek nearby.“It’s gorgeous. I was just lying outthere on my sofa bed reading, just enjoying the dolphins. They’re big down here,” she said.

The youngest members of the family even got their own space, in the form of a darling upstairs bunkroom. “When you walk in the room everyone goes, ‘wow.’ I built that room for my grandchildren,” Jane said. “I have toys up there from my two oldest grandchildren. I have toys in that room from my children that I’ve saved all these years.”


“You can see from my kitchen to the water,” Jane said. “And the bedroom and the porch and the living room…it’s just a darling house.”

The bunk beds were just one piece of the many specialized carpentry items created by J. Matthews on the spot. The bunk beds were handmade on site based on pictures she showed us,” Matthews said. “We’ve actually done that same bunk bed setup since then in a different house.”

It wasn’t just the carpentry. As a sum total of the Rivers family’s wish made manifest, the home abounds with examples of creative artistry from the whole team. For example, in your typical Lowcountry home, you’ll find the master bedroom just off of the main living space. Jane had other ideas. “I was insistent that my bedroom door not come off the living room, so Tom put the master suite under the staircase,” Jane said. “I wasn’t sure how that was going to work, but it worked perfectly.”


The design of the home offers year-round entertainment whether you are inside the home or enjoying time outside by the water.

Ultimately, it was the water that brought the Rivers family to the shores of Broad Creek. And that water, the way the home showcases it at every opportunity, defines the home.

“You can see from my kitchen to the water,” Jane said. “And the bedroom and the porch and the living room … it’s just a darling house.”

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